For months I have been itching to get inside a Costco store to see how the savings stack up. But much as I love a good bargain, I am very wary about paying $60 for an annual membership for the privilege of shopping. $60 is a lot of money just to find out whether or not the place is good value for money, and that's the only reason I would want to shop there.
I've tried finding friends or family who would want to subsidise (or be subsidised) a membership in exchange for being the "guest" that a member can take along, but for the most part everyone I know wants to be my guest, at my cost. And since I don't throw $60 away lightly, I benched this idea for a while. (FYI, each membership comes with 2 cards for people at the same address, and each cardholder can take 2 adult guests, kids don't count).
But yay, because she could use the membership for her scouts crew, my sister had bought a membership and very nicely agreed to take me along for a visit.
And since I am sure I am not the only person who has been wondering if the place stacks up to its promises of great value through bulk buys I took my camera along for the trip. The majority of my price comparisons have been done using Lasoo or from the catalogues I would normally shop from to be as fair as possible in a reasonable shopping comparison. It’s not always like for like for quantity, so I am using unit pricing to find the value.
Firstly, the place is massive. Think Bunnings but filled with everything under the sun, electrical, clothes, meat, alcohol, baby goods, even its own hearing aid section and optometrist. I'll detail some of the less easily compared items, but here is a quick overview of some common household purchases.
Having a quick peek in electrical found a broad range of electrical items, (fridges to hair straighteners) but only 1 type of each thing. An example, Samsung 691 litre side by side fridge, was originally $1999, marked down to $1,499 for the floor model. A quick comparison with the Good Guys online shows that they offer the same model for $2057, but the cynic in me wonders how much more they would shave off the price in person a/for cash, and b/ for the floor model
The items I've detailed is just the tip of the iceberg. Like I said, think Bunnings. Massive big warehouse with dozens of aisles, toys, clothes and so much food. My main goal was to see how a Costco membership would affect the weekly budget, and I think I've seen enough savings to back up a membership. For me, the big issues remain that Costco is 1 hour away, so a shopping trip there is a big outing, but also that I am very susceptible to alot of the other products they are selling. By the time I finished in there this time I spent easily $60 I should not have on items that are pure luxury - money I don't have. Lets face it, I did not NEED those Reeces peanut butter cups. Nor did I NEED (but it was a total bargain!) the castle doll house that I bought Miss Lolly for $30 marked down from $100 because it was the last one left after Christmas. Its still on Amazon at $89.99 so BARGAIN! Its huge and complete with furniture. I foresee many a princess letting down her tresses from these turrets.
Hopefully this post will help anyone else trying to work out if a Costco membership is worth it. If you live close enough to factor the trip into a routine fortnightly/monthly shop, its absolutely worth it. Especially if you buy some of the key brands I have mentioned - if you are a Huggies buyer then these savings will stack up over your nappy changing lifetime.
Has anyone else been to Costco? I'd love to hear your experiences too.