Happy new year everyone! I've been meaning to write this article since I launched the site and since this question continues to pop up on our social media channels all the time I thought I'd answer the question. The question we hear the most: "Is the $60 membership fee worth it? The simple and straight forward answer is of course yes. It comes down to simple math really. The yearly membership fee to shop at Costco is $60.00 for the Gold Star membership and $55.00 for the business membership.
Even though Costco has been operating in Australia for several years now its still a very new way to shop for Australians some are reluctant to pay the membership fee as they are worried it won't be worth it. The membership fee itself has a 100% satisfaction guarantee on it so you can go and sign up and if you decide saving money isn't for you then you can go straight back to the membership desk and they will refund your membership fee with no questions asked. This is a quote directly from costco.com.au "On Membership: We will refund your membership fee in full at any time is you are dissatisfied." So on that note there is zero risk to giving Costco a go. The other thing to consider is that you will get back your membership fee in savings within weeks of signing up ( depending on how often you shop ). There is no store that is the cheapest all the time and Costco is no exception to this rule so you need to know your unit pricing when shopping at Costco. My family still shops at the other grocery stores but we watch our prices very carefully. There are several items that I would never buy anywhere but Costco. Some of the items I buy based on price and some based on quality. Things like Milk, free range eggs, Heinz ketchup, Skippy peanut butter and bottled water are always cheaper at Costco in my experience. While I totally understand that some families are on tight budgets and can only afford to buy the cheapest mince available but when it comes to quality Costco meat is the best in my opinion. Remember to be careful to know what you are buying. Costco doesn't sell regular grade mince only premium mince. So for some items I don't let price dictate where I buy from because quality is just as important as price. In most cases you really do get what you pay for.
Another way to get back your membership fee is in specialty item purchases like that Costco carry a very wide variety of. We get our $60.00 membership fee back in savings dozens of times over every year so the membership pays for itself. When Costco North Lakes opened 3 years ago we got back our membership fee 4 times over on the very first day in savings. We bought a few large items like a sewing machine and a microwave that after price checking saved us over $180.00 alone. We saved another $60.00 on grocery items just on opening day. Costco often sells camping supplies like tents and chairs as well as barbecues and other great outdoor items that you often can't get anywhere else. Not to mention mattresses, prescription eye ware, sporting goods, office supplies, books, jewellery and watches, tv's and other electronics, fake grass, power tools and coffins .. yes coffins. And what they carry is always changing so I'm going to tell you the golden rule of shopping at Costco: "The time to buy it is when you see it" If an item turns out to be popular they may not get it back in for several months or not at all. The other major item that everyone saves money on at Costco is petrol! Costco will not always be the cheapest but as a rule Costco is consistently cheaper day to day than anyone else. If you live within 5 kilometres of a Costco you'll already be aware of the Costco effect. Petrol stations near Costco's quite often match or by a few cents beat Costco's price on e10 and diesel fuels. The big win with Costco is that they generally do not follow the petrol price cycles that the major petrol station chains do. This means there is no wrong day to go to Costco for fuel .. it is always consistently cheap. If you got your petrol elsewhere for a few cents cheaper its likely because you live close to a Costco warehouse. Competitors have been known to change their prices 2 or 3 times in a day where as Costco's petrol price almost always stays at the same price for the whole day unless a price adjustment needs to be made. I have never seen Costco price gouge on petrol and that is why I choose to buy my petrol from Costco. Costco sources its petrol from Mobil and you can read more about how the Costco petrol stations operate here https://www.costco.com.au/fuel
So there you have it! Now that you know that Costco is worth the membership fee. Is Costco for everyone? no. Some people don't like buying in bulk and I get that. But in general if you like saving money then Costco is definitely for most people. Even if you are like me and don't have a large family its still worth it. While it would be awesome if every city had several Costco's the reality is that Costco's expansion has been slow for various reasons. This year Queensland will get its long awaited second store opening in Bundamba Ipswich later in the year. Several more warehouses are planned but these things take time. Check out our article on Costco's expansion in Australia to get a better grasp on why its taking so long for Costco to expand here >> http://www.costcogeeks.com/single-post/2017/04/20/The-state-of-Costcos-expansion-in-Australia
If you're still a bit unsure be sure to check out our social media groups where you can ask questions and read about other peoples experiences and tips on shopping at Costco.
- QLD Costco Geeks facebook group
- Costco Geeks National facebook group
- Costco Geeks National facebook news page
- Costco Geeks on Instagram
- Costco Geeks on twitter