Shopping Discussion

Will giving up Costco save me money?

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 3rd, 2021 9:26 am
[OP]
Member
Sep 3, 2020
243 posts
193 upvotes

Will giving up Costco save me money?

I love Costco. We go quite regularly, and their policies really work. When I'm in there, price is no object. Everything goes into the big trolley! And I like their clothes, shoes, food objects, pharmacy items, you name it.

My membership is coming up and I'm wondering if giving up Costco might save us money. We ring up $200-300 easily for grocery trips, and while the portions are large, and some items e.g. roast chicken are better than other places, I'm not sure it's a healthy place for the wallet.

Thoughts?
47 replies
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Jul 4, 2006
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Isn't the answer for you to compare the price per unit at costco to your alternatives?

I don't know what's in your basket.
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Feb 7, 2017
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MY THOUGHTS ???

Oh goody … ANOTHER Flippin Costco thread on … is Costco right for me !!!

what-do-you-buy-costco-makes-membership ... u-2484335/
costco-membership-worth-1091701/
living-without-costco-card-2300398/
.
.
.

Truth … only you can decide what fits your lifestyle & budget

Although it sounds like you don’t operate with any sort of budget at all … and just throw stuff in your cart Willy Nilly

If that’s how you shop … doesn’t matter WHERE you shop … you are going to be overspending all the time

Personally … we are STRATEGIC SHOPPERS … meaning we track prices **
And buy almost everything on sale …

This means we spend less money than the average Cdn on OUR NEEDS … so we have more money IN OUR ANNUAL BUDGET to spend on the things WE WANT / Luxuries. Plus a nice sum we put into Savings etc

Our Costco Strategy … we go about once a month. Shop the Sales Cycle … but ONLY if it’s something we actually need / use … and KNOW it’s cheaper than elsewhere

Another words … we shop with a list.

We also peruse the aisles for the .97 Deals, and the Asterisk * Clear Outs

Only stuff we buy at Costco that’s NOT ALWAYS CHEAPER than elsewhere (although sometimes it is … in which case we stock up even more) are Meats

We just prefer Costco meats now vs all the other Grocery Stores … esp their Steaks, and various meats for Roasting (Beef, Pork, Chicken )

** Track Prices.
To everything there is LOW - MED - HIGH price
If you track prices (per unit cost … or by grams / mls etc) you can get to know what a REAL DEAL IS
When the price is at the lowest end of the cycle
The trick then is to NEVER BUY between MED & HIGH
And if it’s truly LOW … stock up
Until the next time the cycle comes around again

And another little known fact …
EVERY RETAILER HAS LOSS LEADERS
There are always things in their stores cheaper than other places
And then there are stuff in their stores that are always more expensive than other stores
And a whole lot in the middle that fluctuates up & down
The trick is to buy the stuff in the middle at its lowest price
And stay away from the overpriced goods

If you are a strategic shopper
Doesn’t matter what store you shop at you can learn what’s a good deal there and what isn’t

Example … There are plenty of things at Costco bought on sale, that are cheaper than ANYWHERE ELSE (by unit cost)
But there are also lots of things more expensive than other stores
People tho don’t track prices … so they just assume it’s Costco, it’s bulk buying … then it’s cheaper
That’s money wasted

Same thing at any other grocery store, or retailer
They ALL OPERATE THIS WAY
Lots of folks tout Walmart …
Lol I can find just about everything Walmart sells … cheaper elsewhere
Once you track prices, and know the LOW - MED - HIGH cycle for each item
Last edited by PointsHubby on Sep 1st, 2021 1:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
Deal Guru
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Jan 9, 2011
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berrytree wrote: I love Costco. We go quite regularly, and their policies really work. When I'm in there, price is no object. Everything goes into the big trolley! And I like their clothes, shoes, food objects, pharmacy items, you name it.

My membership is coming up and I'm wondering if giving up Costco might save us money. We ring up $200-300 easily for grocery trips, and while the portions are large, and some items e.g. roast chicken are better than other places, I'm not sure it's a healthy place for the wallet.

Thoughts?
If you NEED all that stuff you buy, then Costco is a good place for you. But be sure to know your prices. Some things might be cheaper elsewhere. If you don't need it but just buy it because you see it and then want it, then maybe Costco isn't so right for you. Members walking out of Costco with hundreds of dollars worth of stuff they never intended to buy when they walked in is a big part of Costco's business plan and revenue stream. And you sound like one of them.
When I'm in there, price is no object.
Yeah...that's not gonna work out well for you.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 19, 2017
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berrytree wrote: I love Costco. We go quite regularly, and their policies really work. When I'm in there, price is no object. Everything goes into the big trolley! And I like their clothes, shoes, food objects, pharmacy items, you name it.

My membership is coming up and I'm wondering if giving up Costco might save us money. We ring up $200-300 easily for grocery trips, and while the portions are large, and some items e.g. roast chicken are better than other places, I'm not sure it's a healthy place for the wallet.

Thoughts?
Since you said price is no subject, I am assuming you don’t care if you pay higher price. Then continue shopping at Costco.
Deal Expert
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Feb 8, 2014
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There is no loyalty bonus for the membership so let it lapse, see how things go for 6 month then reevaluate.

That said i suspect you will go back becasue you will then have to figure out the alternatives and thats more work then status quo.
But you may also save money becasue sale prices elsewhere are cheaper and Costco has its tricks to convince you to over consume which you may escape.

That said your money is no object made me wonder if you are a compulsive shopper and if shopping elsewhere at regular price (which is often higher than Costco) will save you money?

To save money you need to not buy the impulsive items and shop sales elsewhere. And not buy many items that are actually much cheaper at Costco and not cheaper on sale elsewhere. And finally to figure out the logistics of this which are different than the convenience of Costco.

So since i don't know your situation i cannot give you a definitive answer but you can figure it out.
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people
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PointsHubby wrote: MY THOUGHTS ???

Oh goody … ANOTHER Flippin Costco thread on … is Costco right for me !!!

what-do-you-buy-costco-makes-membership ... u-2484335/
costco-membership-worth-1091701/
living-without-costco-card-2300398/
Only three threads. Damn, Costco needs to up its game Smiling Face With Open Mouth
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people
Deal Guru
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Oct 23, 2008
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Upvote all the points @PointsHubby stated.

Like anywhere you need to comparison shop. Somethings priced at Costco is cheaper than elsewhere, whereas other items at local competitor supermarkets and big box (I.e. Wal-Mart) could be cheaper. If you really want to save money here and there, you have got to track prices and compare per unit. Costco regular price bulk isn't always cheaper when compared to sales/promos elsewhere. Depends on the product. Since most places (including supermarkets) do delivery or curbside pick-up, you can use your cell and look up the prices at competitors and crunch the math. Flipp app too is useful.

If you do lots of shopping at Costco though, as you say, you probably already earn back in savings the cost of the membership.
Tis banana is IRIE

10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
Member
Apr 10, 2019
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We're exactly like you, we end up with a $400 cart every time and it's not the money but how many golf shirts or bed linens does one really need? One thing we started doing is going to the Costco Business Center instead of their regular stores.

I'd say 60% of products are the same price/size/quantity as regular Costco + many items not carried in regular Costco. It also eliminates most impulse purchases (clothing, seasonal stuff, electronics). I also make alot of purchases on costco.ca for my business (over $30K/year) so the Executive bonus covers the membership. The gas station is also a big draw for us.

Anyways if you have a Costco Business Center near you, give it a quick stroll it really helped us.
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Oct 2, 2018
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I think many of us are in the same position, every week we end up with a bill for $350 to $400 and we leave thinking that's quite a bit of cash. Add on top you usually do another $100 at the regular grocery store filling in the items Costco doesn't carry or things at a better price/quantity like many of the fruits.

One thing i do make a point of is doing a sanity check prior to hitting the checkup, a once over of the cart to see if everything we picked up is really needed or just an impulse. At times it will make me put that one needless item back, most times it makes no difference.

It comes down to if i shopped another retailer would my costs be lower, on average i think not. Costco has good value and i like their protein section as it is a bit higher quality over super markets imho so i wouldn't make the switch to another retailer for that.

So i hear you, best i can suggest is trying to get over the impulse purchases and do that sanity check right before checkout. While tempting to give up membership the reality is then you'll need something and wish you had the membership all over again.

Costco opened it's first store in Vancouver in 1985, in Ontario in 1988. During the first 8 years of operations in Canada, customers (members) needed to be business owners or work for the government to be eligible for membership.

I have been a member since 1992, hard to believe it's been 29 years........
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berrytree wrote: I love Costco. We go quite regularly, and their policies really work. When I'm in there, price is no object. Everything goes into the big trolley! And I like their clothes, shoes, food objects, pharmacy items, you name it.

My membership is coming up and I'm wondering if giving up Costco might save us money. We ring up $200-300 easily for grocery trips, and while the portions are large, and some items e.g. roast chicken are better than other places, I'm not sure it's a healthy place for the wallet.

Thoughts?
Costco isn't the problem. It's your self control. If you can't control your spending at Costco, then it'll probably be spent elsewhere.
Deal Addict
Dec 6, 2017
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It will not as you will probably go somewhere else and spend the same amount.

It all comes down to discipline, self control and ignoring "I DESERVE THIS" voice in the back of your brain.
Sr. Member
Dec 8, 2017
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Personally, I hate the experience of shopping at Costco and gladly pay higher prices elsewhere to avoid having to go there, but I understand that I am probably in the minority here especially on red flags :).
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Sep 16, 2013
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bubaglobalj wrote: Personally, I hate the experience of shopping at Costco and gladly pay higher prices elsewhere to avoid having to go there, but I understand that I am probably in the minority here especially on red flags :).
So, why do you go there? Costco addiction? :)
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alpovs wrote: So, why do you go there? Costco addiction? :)
Probs for the $1.50 hotdog Hot Dog and pop
Tis banana is IRIE

10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
[OP]
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Sep 3, 2020
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Hey thanks everyone - I really appreciate all the points and pointers. Cheers.
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joeyjoejoe wrote: Costco isn't the problem. It's your self control. If you can't control your spending at Costco, then it'll probably be spent elsewhere.
That message is lost on most RFDers. RFDers who spend all their time in Hot Deals looking for stuff to buy aren't on RFD to save money. They're here to spent it. "I wanna spend money, and I don't even know what I want or need, so let me spend all my RFD browsing in Hot Deals looking for stuff to buy!" The thread view counts in Hot Deals compared to the rest of the forums are off the charts; so it seems that the great majority of RFDers are here for this reason: To spend, not to save. Maybe this is the reason the RFD tagline was recently changed from "Where Canadians Save" to "Uniquely Canadian" lol
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Kiraly wrote: That message is lost on most RFDers. RFDers who spend all their time in Hot Deals looking for stuff to buy aren't on RFD to save money. They're here to spent it. "I wanna spend money, and I don't even know what I want or need, so let me browse in Hot Deals for something worth buying!" The thread view counts in Hot Deals compared to the rest of the forums are off the charts; so it seems that the great majority of RFDers are here for this reason: To spend, not to save. Maybe this is the reason the RFD tagline was recently changed from "Where Canadians Save" to "Uniquely Canadian" lol
Buy now, be ashamed later.
Tis banana is IRIE

10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
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GrumpyOne1 wrote: We're exactly like you, we end up with a $400 cart every time and it's not the money but how many golf shirts or bed linens does one really need? One thing we started doing is going to the Costco Business Center instead of their regular stores.

I'd say 60% of products are the same price/size/quantity as regular Costco + many items not carried in regular Costco. It also eliminates most impulse purchases (clothing, seasonal stuff, electronics). I also make alot of purchases on costco.ca for my business (over $30K/year) so the Executive bonus covers the membership. The gas station is also a big draw for us.

Anyways if you have a Costco Business Center near you, give it a quick stroll it really helped us.
Interesting idea.

We live pretty close to the new Costco Business Centre on Cyrville. I haven't been in yet. I keep taking the 5 minute longer drive to the new Costco on Ogilvie.

I should take a stroll through the Business Centre.
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Dec 8, 2017
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alpovs wrote: So, why do you go there? Costco addiction? :)
I usually only go when my in-laws are visiting as we don't have a membership (:

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