This One Single Item Can Make Your Costco Membership Fee Worthwhile

This One Single Item Can Make Your Costco Membership Fee Worthwhile

I have long been questioning the point of paying for the privilege to shop.  Handing over hard earned money for absolutely nothing in return except for being able to step inside seems a bit looney.  After all, enough stores let you in for free!

Costco is a prime example.  For $60 a year you will receive nothing but the privilege of stepping into their store.  Although I have been a loyal customer for a number of years now, I have actually never put the numbers to the test.  Until now!

Off I went to Costco a few weekends ago and made note of the top 20 items I purchase on a regular basis.  For comparison sake, I did the same at Target and my local supermarket Food Lion.  Just out of curiosity, I added Amazon (Prime/Pantry) too.

It all sounds very involved.  And I wholeheartedly expected to have to spend hours crunching numbers.  Just to be able to justify the $60 Costco membership fee the cashiers so happily tag onto my bill every year.

To my surprise (seriously!), I was done after analyzing only one item!  Yes, you’ve read this correctly.  One single item of my top 20 justifies my entire Costco membership fee.  And no one could have been more floored than me, myself and I.

Of course, as usual, it all comes back to these two!

This One Single Item Can Make Your Costco Membership Fee Worthwhile (cats)

The ONE Item Which Justifies My Entire Costco Membership Fee!

Cat litter. Yup, freaking cat litter.  What goes in must come out and apparently, in the process, I am not only justifying handing $60 over the Costco every year.  I am actually saving three times that much.  Thank you Costco (or my cats I guess).

This One Single Item Can Make Your Costco Membership Fee Worthwhile (table)

Per lb, the differences aren’t very stark.  A few cents here and there don’t hurt, right?  Well, not quite.  Once you calculate the cost per bag and then annualize it, all of the sudden a few cents turn into a substantial amount of money.

Food Lion and Target alone would cost me an additional $180 compared to Costco.  That is three times the membership fee.  Amazon surprised me a bit given how expensive it would be.  Close to $300, or five times the membership fee.

Over the next few weeks, I will dive deeper into price comparisons for groceries and such across Costco, Target, Amazon, and my local supermarket.  And I’ll be sharing them with all of you!  Time will tell what other deals and surprises are lurking out there.

Check out this complete listing of all posts for more must reads!

6 thoughts on “This One Single Item Can Make Your Costco Membership Fee Worthwhile

  1. I have been thinking about trying to more objectively determine whether our Costco membership is a good decision or not, so it’s interesting to see how obvious the decision is for you! Twenty four 40-pound bags a year – that’s almost half a ton of kitty litter!!!

    I think there are enough things we regularly purchase at Costco that we save enough money on to justify our membership. The issue is the occasional impulse purchases at Costco of something we don’t really need. It still might be a good deal, but if I wouldn’t have ever thought about purchasing it if I hadn’t been at Costco, is that still a good purchase?!?!?

    • Financial Muse says:

      We’ve been conscientious of the same. Impulse purchases is what Costco truly profits off of I believe. We’ve been combatting the urge by making shopping lists and sticking to them. And then there’s the Mr dragging me out of Costco a few times when I wanted to buy something I didn’t need. His latest line is “how much money would gain from investing the money instead”.

  2. I <3 Costco with a passion. We opt for the Executive Membership and end up paying almost nothing for our yearly membership. It costs $110 (well, $120 now) and with the extra 2% back, we get a check for $80 – $90 each year.

    • Financial Muse says:

      We used to have the executive membership but downgraded a few years back. The 2% cash back wasn’t making the higher membership fee worthwhile for our 2 person household. If we ever up our household member number, I’d re-evaluate.

  3. I thought you were going to say tires, but cat litter is also a good one. We just bought winter tires at Costco and they were $200 cheaper than anywhere else.
    We also buy cat litter and food for both our dogs and cats and they’re all money savers.

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