Making sure you get the most of your Costco membership
It’s odd, but sometimes mentioning you shop at Costco can get some strange reactions. Some people love and swear by the members only bulk shop, others think it isn’t worth the price of admission. The reality is that a Costco membership does provide some serious advantages. You just have to know how to optimize the opportunity.
How Does Costco Work
You can’t take advantage of something unless you know how it works, so let’s get into it. Costco has three levels of memberships: Gold Star, Business Membership, and Executive Membership.
Gold Star ($60)
This is the most basic membership level which works best for the family. You get two cards which gives you access to any Costco location, including the online store. This membership level also gives you access to Costco gas stations, Costco Pharmacy, Costco Optical, and Costco Travel.
Business Membership ($60)
All the same perks as the Gold Star membership except you’re able to use up to six cards. This level is ideal for small businesses purchasing products for resale.
Executive Membership ($120)
On top of everything you get in the Gold Star and Business membership, you’ll also earn 2% rewards on your purchases (capped at $1,000/year). If you’re wondering how much you’ll have to spend to cover the extra 60 bucks, it adds up to $250/month or $3,000 for the year. To give some context, the average Canadian family of four spends $220/week. And if you’re a small business, you’re likely spending much more than this amount.
Saving You Dollars
Because Costco does charge a membership fee, they aren’t as concerned about the resale cost of their products. Their membership fees keep them profitable and their prices low. Keeping costs low is also why they don’t employ as many employees or give you bags to pack your groceries.
An average family could save $250 by shopping at Costco vs. a Stop & Shop location. Check out this example below:
Source: Budget Kitty (September 9, 2018)
These are some serious savings. Really serious. And that’s just from one shopping trip. You may not buy the same products, but you can definitely enjoy similar levels of savings if you decide to shop at Costco.
The downside is that you do have to buy in bulk which does open up the potential for wasting food. But this just means you need to be smart about how you store your food and realistic about how much food your family eats on a weekly or monthly basis. Because wasting food is just never a good thing.