Is Your Costco Membership Worth It

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Dec 1, 2019
The Cowboy State - Wyoming
I have a local Sam's Club but there are Costco stores in Denver and Billings.... I'm halfway in between, so I would visit them 2 or 3 times a year. What are your pro's and con's of membership?
Yes... Definitely worth it....
Well I'm driving through Billings twice next weekend on my way to and from a BBQ contest. We make an annual trip to Denver because they have large Asian and Latino markets, and a Restaurant Depot.... but there must be 7 or 8 Cosco stores there.
We've never been that far from a Costco. When we had kids at home, they were a regular stop every 4-6 weeks. Now that's it just my wife and me; we go every 2-3 months. There are items we love and stock up on each visit, enough to last to the next trip. Meat? I can find meat locally at grocers priced better than Costco. The Costco meat is excellent, and I occasionally pick some up there but won't make a special trip only to get meat.

We had Sam's and Costco for many years, but the local Sam's had cleanliness issues, so we said bye-bye and haven't been back.
Yes, my Costco membership is worth it, and not just for meats. Automotive tires and batteries will pay for the membership with one purchase.
But,,..............If I did not live close to one I would have to rethink that. Travel could take any savings away in a hurry.
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I rarely go myself, but my wife goes a couple times a month to get household stuff we need. She also has some favorite food items she will only get there.
I loved Costco when we had one by us. We don’t now and with a family of 5 I really miss it (the pizzas alone were an easy lunch after shopping) like others said the automotive deals were great and it was nice to know we could get everything at one stop.
For us, Sam's is way more convenient than either Costco or BJ's, but having a membership to any of these clubs is worth it. Our household is 6 people, so buying in bulk where you can is pretty much a must, and the savings can be huge. BUT, that being said, be careful, because every so often the traditional grocery stores will cheaper on some things. I'm blessed with a wife who is a very savvy shopper, and watches the sales closely. If the shopping was left to me, we'd have a third less budget than we do:emoji_laughing:
We have BJs because it's what we're closest to. When we lived in Miami it was Costco. When in Pittsburgh it was Sam's. Any of the warehouse clubs are worth it in spades if you shop there regularly.

I've had all three of the big ones and prefer Costco, but not enough to put up with extra pain getting there and back.
About the only thing I get at Costco anymore is pork belly and that's only 2or 3 times a year. Everything else comes from Meijer or GFS.
Everything meat wise is Prime and I don't like the price. The Ground Beef is too lean for me (88/12) and the Briskets are huge here.
It's just the 2 of us and even with a vac-sealer and a full size freezer in the garage I don't need big quantities of everything.
If you have a family it would be well worth it.
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I used to have memberships at both when I lived in Ft.Lauderdale. We had 3 Costco’s & 2 Sam’s Clubs within a half hour or less from our house. They both have certain items that the other one doesn’t carry. But since moving to central Florida. Sam’s is 1 hour away & Costco is 1 1/2 hours away. So we dropped our Costco membership & since we are Premier members at Sam’s they give you free shipping, so if I’m buying anything but meat I just order it online & get it either overnight or in 2 days. Since there are just 2 of us I just buy my meat here in town or at
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Normally there's just the two of us, but a Costco membership is a definite YES for us, even though the nearest store is a 1 1/2 hour drive. We only go about once every 3 months. Then we stock up on meat, and large containers things like honey, olive oil, deserts, S&P, "Pam". Things like that. The meat gets divided into meal size portions. vac sealed, and frozen.
Being a life long truck driver, an hour and a half drive is nothing. I've driven farther than that just to have coffee with an old friend.
We also use the trip to do any shopping we need at the big box stores--all we have is Walmart and Canadian Tire in Drayton Valley.
Well I'm driving through Billings twice next weekend on my way to and from a BBQ contest. We make an annual trip to Denver because they have large Asian and Latino markets, and a Restaurant Depot.... but there must be 7 or 8 Cosco stores there.

In your situation I'm not sure monetarily it is worth it.
However, money isn't the only factor to consider.

Monetarily if you live close to a Costco the way cheaper gas prices, the well priced higher quality interstate batteries, the motor oil sold in store, and if you don't need special tires then all of that makes it easily worth it. Hell the low gas prices alone make it well worth it.

Not monetarily thinking, Costco is worth it if you love high quality meat and produce and especially if you can't find certain cuts that you often love to cook or stock up on. The price may be a bit higher compared to a regular grocery but you can bet the quality is top notch all the time.
Costco is the only place I can really find pork bellies and beef plate/short ribs for smoking so if I did those all the time it would worth it.
Coscto is also the only place I can effectively find Prime briskets. I'm lucky I'm in Texas and I can throw a rock and hit a Choice or Angus brisket but finding prime is not simple. My Costco also carries freakin Waygu briskets! Costco always sells giant already skinned Salmon filets for me to do Lox with and it again is higher quality than the normal grocery store.

If nothing I just mentioned seems to apply to you then the $55-60 membership is just not worth it for you.

My guess...
With the trips you speak of making and the cost in gas savings alone, I bet you recoup over half the membership cost so for the remaining not recouped $25-$30 ( cost of case of regular beer) I'm going to guess it's probably worth it to you or at least trying out for 1 year :)
If any of you have the chance at a Costco Business Center, that's the place for real stuff.
I buy all my cheese for pizza there, and they have tons of other stuff. It is the Business Center, so things aren't broken down like you can get that the regular stores, but it's more restaurant quality stuff. In certain cases, the prices are even a little lower than the regular Costco stores, and your membership works just the same.
I don't have a picture of the meat section, but here are a few of the freezer section. Whole lambs, pigs for roasting....


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I have a local Sam's Club but there are Costco stores in Denver and Billings.... I'm halfway in between, so I would visit them 2 or 3 times a year. What are your pro's and con's of membership?

We have both a Costco and a Sam's close to each other and fairly convenient for us. I've never even heard of Costco business, but the concept sounds interesting. Sam's has been there awhile and Costco opened maybe 6-7 years ago. We've always had a Sam's membership because they were the only game in town for years. When Costco opened, we got their membership as well, to try them out. After a couple of years of both, we decided that the difference between the two really didn't amount to a hill of beans and we didn't need both. So the $15 difference in membership price, Sam's is $45/year and Costco is $60/year, came into play and we gave up our Costco membership for that one reason.

Now if the question is, "is having either one good?" Then absolutely yes, having one or the other (or both) is better than neither at all and we save money. Is one place significantly better than the other? My opinion is not really. Yes the point can be made that there are some items and specials that either will have that the other won't, but it's still not worth it to us to have Costco over Sam's or to have both.
LOVE COSTCO! they have great meats and everything else. They also have a killer customer service and when needed returns are a snap. I find that smart shopping and sale watching pays off in big dividends. I shop for a family of two, so it requires some thought. I have the Executive membership and get 2% back. only one in 10 years did the returns not put us ahead on the membership costs. I hawk the sales for items we will use us eventually and buy a lot.

One thing I think can make the memberships seem ineffective is excessive impulse buying and or buying too much perishable foods for the family size. I usually dont go with my wife - she impulse buys like mad and that runs the $$$ up super fast at a warehouse store. I make a list and generally just buy whats on the list.

If you are not in Utah, some have liquor stores that are dreamy - mostly because im in Utah and we are not allowed this privilege.
We have memberships at both. I find the meat is better at Costco. Sam's is closer to the house and more convenient, but some of the
things they have don't interest us. If you travel, The costco membership is worth the cost. Especially for cruises. We actually got
money back from a cruise to Alaska.
Last week, Sam's had prime brisket for $4.99/lb. I did not see that at Costco, They had "choice".
FWIW, Costco seems the better deal overall. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.