Do you need a membership to shop at Costco and/or Sam's Club? Is it worth going there?
Trying to feed 4 people on a tight budget. Is it worth going? Do I need a membership? Should I get one just to try shopping there?
Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
Yes, you need a membership to shop at both of those stores. I'm a member at Costco, and my membership is about $50 a year. We joined because I needed tires for my car. We were told that we could buy tires without a membership, so we got an estimate there. It turns out that you DO have to be a member to buy tires there, but even with the cost of the membership, they were cheaper than any place else we got an estimate.
As far as groceries, I love Costco's quality. The prices really aren't that much better than you'd pay if what you're buying was on sale at the grocery store, but you don't have to wait for it to go on sale. And you have to buy in bulk, so if you don't have a large family, you have to have lots of storage (pantry, tons of cabinet space, deep freeze, etc). You also have to be organized. For example, I bought a 5 pound pack of pork chops on Friday. When I got home, I individually wrapped them, then put them in a freezer bag, so I can take them out 2 or 3 at a time to thaw.
They also don't have a lot of variety, so it can be kind of hit and miss on some things. For example they have a variety pack of Dannon Light and Fit yogurt, which is pretty much a staple in our house, but we would only eat 2 of the 3 different flavors, so I didn't buy it, even though I would have saved about 10 cents per container. And you can only buy milk in 2 gallon units. We don't go through that much milk (it's just my husband and me) so even though it works out to be cheaper than at the grocery store, I'd end up throwing at least a half a gallon away, so it would really end up costing me more money.
I get some of our H&B items there (soap, deodorant, razors), and my husband likes these Kashi chewy granola bars, so I buy a case of those whenever I'm there.
The best savings was when I threw a party for my husband's 50th birthday last month. I got a ton of plastic glasses, plastic silverware and disposable chaffing dishes for way cheaper than I would have paid for them at the party store. And they have really good cakes...not a great choice of designs, but it was only $16 for a half sheet cake that served 30-40 people. And it was DELICIOUS!
I'd suggest you go to the customer service counter for both stores and ask for a free one day pass to check out the store. I don't think you can buy anything, but you can check them out to see which store you like better and/or carries the products you would be more likely to buy. If you're a bargain shopper, you probably know what the average price is for most of your groceries. Check out the prices at both stores. If you think that it's not that much better than watching the sales at the regular grocery stores, then it might not even be worth it for you to pay for a membership to either store.
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