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“Is Costco membership worth it?” Well, the answer is different depending on who you ask and how they use their membership. Joe and I have been Costco members since 2005 and we have done the calculation. For us, a Costco membership is absolutely worth it.
Is Costco Membership Worth It?
Yes. As long as you use it enough to cover the cost of the membership. As of the post publication date, the base membership cost is $60 a year. The video breaks down the ways you can save money at Costco to make the membership worthwhile.
12 Ways of Saving Money at Costco
Table of Contents
1. Costco Gas Stations
Kirland gas can be anywhere from $.01 to $.20+ less per gallon. If fuel is your only consideration for a Costco membership, make sure you will buy enough to cover the membership cost. At a $0.03 discount per gallon, it would take 2,000 gallons of gasoline a year to pay for the $60 Gold Star membership.
Note: The height clearance is 13’6″ at all locations. Diesel is available at some Costco gas stations.
Costco Locations with Diesel: https://www.costco.com/gasoline-diesel.htmlJoin as a new Executive Member and enroll in auto renewal to receive a $20 Digital Costco Shop Card. Or, a new Gold Star Member and enroll in auto renewal to receive a $10 Digital Costco Shop Card
2. Costco Propane Refill
Newer Costco warehouse locations have propane stations with lower prices compared to feed stores, trailer rental places, or RV parks. One of the best propane refill prices we found was at a Costco in Prescott, Arizona at $1.49/gallon. Let’s assume other propane services charge $2.99/gallon, it will take 40 gallons of propane a year to cover the cost of the Gold Star Costco membership.
Note: Propane refill is available for fixed tanks on RVs and portable tanks. The service is not available at all Costco locations.
3. Costco Warehouse Coupons
Each month, Costco releases warehouse coupons online. It’s a great way to find out what items are on sale. After being a member for a while, you will notice certain items go on sale regularly. Unless you need an item right away, save money by waiting for the next sale.
One example is Mobil 1 Motor Oil. You can pick up a 6-pack of 1 quart bottles at $10 off. Instead of paying $36.99, it’s $26.99. Costco prices are already competitive so when you add a coupon, it’s even a better deal.
Note: If an item goes on sale within 30 days after purchase, you can request a price adjustment at the refund counter with the original receipt.
4. Look for Manufacture Rebates
Keep an eye out for instant rebates when you’re walking around a Costco warehouse. These rebates are not publicized on Costco’s website and only last for a limited time. Manufacturer rebates can range from a few dollars to ell over $100 depending on the product.
5. Shop for Clothes at Costco
Costco carries a limited selection of clothes at reasonable prices and they often go on sale. You can also find seasonal items such as swim wear, halloween costumes and winter clothes. Some of our favorite articles of clothing are from Costco. You can pick up a pair of well made shorts for $10-$15. It’s even better when the clothes go on sale.
With Costco’s great return policy, if something doesn’t fit you can return it for a full refund.
6. Buy Tires at Costco
Costco has an ongoing discount on tires when you purchase four. It comes with free tire rotations, flat tire repairs and nitrogen fill. Some warehouse locations even provide free air to fill up your tires.
Note: Costco will work on tires not purchased through their warehouse. At one of the Costco locations it cost us $10.99 to repair a flat and $25.99 for a tire rotation.
7. Shop Costco Online
Many items on Costco’s website include free shipping. This is a great option when there isn’t a warehouse nearby or the item is only available online. We have noticed that certain items are priced higher online compared to the warehouse.
Note: Items purchased online can be returned to any Costco warehouse.
8. Buy Beer, Wine and Liquor at Costco
Costco is the largest wine buyer in the world with a good wine selection to choose from. The prices are the same or lower than stores like Total Wine, BevMo or Liquor Barn. Certain stores also offer discounts on alcohol especially around the holiday season. We have found that some Costco liquor stores will get a limited selection of items and once it’s sold out, it’s gone.
Note: Alcohol discounts are not advertised in the coupon book.
9. Choose Kirkland Signature
Costco has its own brand of products labeled as Kirkland Signature. These are always less expensive compared to its name brand equivalent. Items include, but are not limited to food, alcohol, toilet paper, clothes, dog food and even engine oil (see photo above). We’ve found the Kirkland Signature products to be as good or better than the name brand equivalent.
Kirkland Signature Products: https://www.costco.com/kirkland-signature.html
10. Save on Car Batteries
The next time you need a new recreational or automotive battery check out the selection at Costco. Interstate Batteries is the brand sold at the Costco warehouse locations and each automotive battery comes with a 36 month limited warranty.
The two automotive batteries in our Ford F350 Super Duty 7.3 Powerstroke were purchased from Costco.
Costco batteries: https://www.costco.com/automotive-batteries.html
11. Get a Costco Credit Card
The Costco Anywhere Visa credit card offers 4% cash back on all eligible gas fuel ups including Costco gas. 3% back on eligible travel and restaurant purchases. 2% back on all Costco warehouse and online purchases. 1% on all other purchases. We spend enough money on fuel (breakdown of travel expenses) each year to more than cover the cost of the $60 membership.
Citi Costco Credit Card: https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/
12. Costco Travel Benefits
Costco members have access to Costco Travel which offers discounts on amusement parks, cruises, hotels, rental cars and more. We booked our Transatlantic Cruise through Costco Travel which included a $120 Costco cash card after the cruise, $200 additional onboard credit on top of the lower fare for the cruise. A $120 cash card will cover the cost of a one year Executive Costco Membership or two years of a Gold Star Costco Membership.
Note: Members will need to set up a separate Costco Travel account.
Costco 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
The Costco policy on membership is “We will cancel and refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.”
Policy on merchandise is “We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, and will refund your purchase price.” There is a 90 day time limit for returns on some electronics (TVs, computers, cameras, etc).
If you’re still asking Is Costco worth it? Reread their membership policy. If you’re not satisfied with the membership, you can get a full refund.
Costco’s Return Policy: https://customerservice.costco.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1191
Sign Up for a Costco Membership
If you found this Costco review helpful and decide to sign up for a Costco membership, please consider using our Costco Membership affiliate link. There is no additional fee for the buyer and in return we receive a small percentage of the sale. Thanks for your support! We really appreciate it.Join as a new Executive Member and enroll in auto renewal to receive a $20 Digital Costco Shop Card. Or, a new Gold Star Member and enroll in auto renewal to receive a $10 Digital Costco Shop Card
*Valid only for nonmembers for their first year of membership. Limit one per household. Nontransferable and may not be combined with any other promotion. You must join in person with a Costco representative. New members will receive their Costco Shop Card by mail in 4 to 6 weeks. Costco Shop Cards are not redeemable for cash, except where required by law. A Costco membership is $60 a year. An Executive Membership is an additional $60 upgrade fee a year. Each membership includes one free Household Card. May be subject to sales tax. Costco accepts all Visa® cards, as well as cash, checks, debit/ATM cards, EBT and Costco Shop Cards. Departments and product selection may vary.
Costco Membership In Action
Costco isn’t just for big families or bulk purchases. We are a family of two and spent nearly seven years RV living full time. Watch the video to get an idea of how we use our Costco membership.
Some of our favorite items to purchase at Costco are: spices, nuts, fruits, vegetables, organic diced tomatoes, sardines and hot sauce.
Having traveled to 49 of 50 U.S. states so far, we have found some local gems at the Costco and often make it a point to take a quick walk through a warehouse to see what special items we find. For example, while traveling around Maui in a camper van, we stopped at the Costco in town and found amazing shrimp chips and other local items that are not sold at Costco locations on the mainland.
Costco Warehouses in Canada
Locations in Canada are similar to the ones in the United States. A major difference is Costco Canada accepts Mastercard versus Visa. You will also find different food court items such as poutine and cappuccino.
Thank you for reading! Check out our list of Money Saving Memberships.