Is a Costco membership worth the price?

Costco is known for its reduced prices, however, purchasing a membership may not actually save you money in the long term.

Prior to Costco Australia the brand was widely known through American references in movies, books, and television shows. Many were keen to find out what all the fuss was about when it first opened on our shores. However, to even step into the store you need to own a membership that costs $60 a year. Here is everything you need to know about shopping at Costco before purchasing a membership.

Bulk buy

On your first visit to Costco, you will be amazed by the big boxes and bags as well as many of their novelty items. This excitement can lead you into a trap where you start to impulse spend. Overcome this and you’ll be able to shop effectively, only purchasing the products you really need.

As Costco is an American brand there are plenty of America food items that are usually hard to come by, or generally expensive to buy Australia. Some of these products include Hershey’s chocolate syrup, Biscoff biscuit spread, Kirkland signature products and many others.

There are lots of other unexpected products such as coffins, hearing aids, giant teddy bears, LED lights, cubby houses, massage chairs, kayaks, alcohol, and more. The most popular product purchased at Costco is technology. The store has a huge reduction on popular brands such as Bose, Samsung, Sony, and Apple.

Attached cafe

Any parent who has ever been shopping with kids know how hungry they can get. Luckily Costco has an attached cafe that serves extremely cheap food. Although the food provided isn’t especially healthy, it helps get the kids through an extended shopping trip.

Factors to consider

Before you go to purchase a membership consider the following facts.

For a small business owner, a Costco membership is perfect. For example, those running cafes can easily by pastries, syrups, plates, and any other needs in bulk for cheap. Other businesses which may benefit from a membership by purchasing ink refills and gigantic tins of instant coffee.

The distance between your house and the Costco store is only beneficial if you live nearby or shop in bulk once a month. As most of the time, you will only save a few cents to a couple dollars on some products, so it does not justify the petrol you use to travel.

The size of family or how much you consume plays an important part in shopping at Costco. For example, if you have a baby and find yourself going through nappies and baby formula rapidly, as well as a teenage son who devours Nutri-Grain at a crazy pace, a Costco membership can be good value.

Many of the purchases made at Costco are done in bulk and therefore storage space at home is essential. There is no doubt that you will eventually make your way through bulk items like toilet paper and detergent. But you will need to keep in mind you have to store large quantities.

If you have a garage, deep freezer and a second fridge then storage will not be a problem. However, if you live in a small studio apartment it is unlikely that Costco would be beneficial for you. If you entertain regularly, have the storage space, and live near a Costco then purchasing an annual membership is likely to be worthwhile.