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My Sam's Club membership just expired and I am looking to try Costco for a change. I am looking for a deal on getting a free Costco membership (or may be a discount)...?

Also how much is the difference (if any) between the prices of regular grocery items at Sam's vs Costco. And is it worth getting Costco against Sam's Club...?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

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I shop around constantly for almost every product we buy. Between Costco, Amazon, Wally World, Super Target and local s... (more)

Zuke76 (Feb. 16, 2012 @ 7:44a) |

Yes, many things, at certain times can be found cheaper elsewhere, front page of supermarket ads have "loss-leaders" to ... (more)

horizon6 (Feb. 16, 2012 @ 9:37a) |

Based on your earlier post in this thread, you don't like Costco or you don't like its business model. That's fine, it'... (more)

horizon6 (Feb. 16, 2012 @ 9:41a) |

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buck two eighty C vs S

They're really very different stores. CR has a report in a current issue on retail stores.

Preference here is for Costco by far. But take a look for yourself. You could join knowing that the membership fee is refundable at any time if you're not satisfied. Alternatively, the pharmacy in Costco is accessible without membership under Federal law.

BTW, the Kirkland Signature store brand at Costco is usually very high quality. Sometimes more and sometime less expensive than some of the national brands their.

You can search FW or one of the search sites for occasional small promotions for new members. Existing members get a small payment for bring in a new member so if you know someone you could make a deal for a few dollars. The membership fee is basically the profit at Costco and more than worth it. Executive members, more expensive, get 2% of most of their purchases back as credit and can pay for the membership.

apnagirish said:   My Sam's Club membership just expired and I am looking to try Costco for a change. I am looking for a deal on getting a free Costco membership (or may be a discount)...?

Also how much is the difference (if any) between the prices of regular grocery items at Sam's vs Costco. And is it worth getting Costco against Sam's Club...?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.


if you have AMEX membership rewards, 5000points=one year free costco membership, many will also renew using the AMEX rewards

suckers pay to shop, buy a costco gift card, they all have a free day of shopping

TheChosenOne said:   apnagirish said:   My Sam's Club membership just expired and I am looking to try Costco for a change. I am looking for a deal on getting a free Costco membership (or may be a discount)...?

Also how much is the difference (if any) between the prices of regular grocery items at Sam's vs Costco. And is it worth getting Costco against Sam's Club...?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.


if you have AMEX membership rewards, 5000points=one year free costco membership, many will also renew using the AMEX rewards


Interesting. Do you know how far in advance you can renew your membership?

skh12 said:   suckers pay to shop, buy a costco gift card, they all have a free day of shopping

w/o upcharge?

TheChosenOne said:    if you have AMEX membership rewards, 5000points=one year free costco membership, many will also renew using the AMEX rewards

=$50 renewal

skh12 said:   suckers pay to shop, buy a costco gift card, they all have a free day of shopping

Your choice of choice of a descriptive word relating those who "pay to shop" is both inappropriate and unnecessary; says something more uncomplimentary about you. Red for your derogatory comment. If you want to make a point you could do it less offensively and back it with appropriate facts.

The Costco business model bases a reasonable profit, necessary for its continued long term existence as a business, on a "membership fee" for those who choose to shop there. The markup it uses on products relatively is small, below standard retail, while offering probably the highest compensation to all its warehouse staff in the retail industry and offering what its customers consider excellent value, quality, and its well known "satisfaction" policies. The markup covers basically covers the cost of operations rather than profit.

Members can bring guests and gift cards are available. That "shopping" probably makes a small contribution to covering the cost of operation and encourages people to become members. Those who shop their regularly without paying a membership fee are really taking money out of the pocket of the members (remember the need fr a small membership fee increase recently) as well as a reasonable return for those who invest in the business. To use you vernacular, you might say that those who don't pay to shop at Costco but do so anyway are "stealing" from those who shop their, perhaps their neighbors.

lol

skh12 said:    lol

skh12, lol !

The pizza by the slice at Costco is good. Use to be for $1.50, you got an all beef hot dog and a medium size fountain drink. They changed hot dogs and in my opinion, the new hot dogs suck.
My Costco is very busy so the fresh produce is always fresh. The quality and price make it a good buy even for a small family. I always buy a chicken for $5.00 (about 5 to 7 lb bird) Works for a small family and then the next night, dumplings. If you don't have a kindle, new books are cheap.
Costco is a one stop shop if you are having a get together/party.

skh12 said:   suckers pay to shop, buy a costco gift card, they all have a free day of shopping

AMEX had a promotion of a $50 statement credit if you spend $200 at at least 2 New York City stores on their promotional list, which includes each NYC Costco location, seperately. I received an offer in the mail for a $10 Costco cash card with membership ($55) or $20 with executive membership ($110) where you get a 2% rebate on purchases, with the difference from regular membership refunded if you don't save the additional ($55) during the year. I paid about $119 including tax, and bought $130 of groceries so far on my lunch hour at 2 different locations, got a $20 Costco card, a $50 statement credit, and a gaurantee that I will receive at least $55 in 2% rebates, or get the difference between what I receive in 2% rebates and the $55 back. If you ask me, your a sucker for buying a gift card and shopping your head off for one day when I can shop whenever I want through next February.

You can share a membership with another person even if they do not live with you. My dad put me on his membership instead of my mom so we each have a card. When mom goes to Costco she is always with dad anyways.

Get Executive membership. With average spending it pays around $100-$120 back in CashBack (2%). It always covers membership for me.
One year I've got $499 back, store manager got my certificate in frame as example as it's possible to get maximum CashBack allowes ($500).

In combining with 2% Cash Back from Fidelity AMEX I think it make good deal in overal for me.

luvbugium said:   You can share a membership with another person even if they do not live with you. My dad put me on his membership instead of my mom so we each have a card. When mom goes to Costco she is always with dad anyways.
That may depend on locations. I tried and they won't let me. They said the other person must live at my address and show proof -- some document/ID show the proper address.

vickh said:   skh12 said:   suckers pay to shop, buy a costco gift card, they all have a free day of shopping

w/o upcharge?


There's no upcharge. The funny thing is that you can go into Costco without a membership and tell them you want to buy a gift card for a friend that has a membership. And you can use the gift card without a membership. I think the big thing you would be missing is the warranty service on big ticket items, but if it's just for everyday household goods, it probably doesn't matter as much. Only drawback is that if you use the gift card without a membership, the manager has to come over to approve the purchase and it holds up the line. And if you don't use up the gift card, it's free shopping as long as it holds out. When you use it up, just get another one.

Take time spent there into consideration as well. I have both Sams Club and Costco.

Not sure where you live, but in Orange County, the 3 closet Costco to me are always busy. It takes a lot of time to go there and shop. I like the quality items and the cheap gas, but the wait is always too long. With Sams Club, I can go in, grab my things, and out in half the time. The gas station is the same way.

You can buy a membership through MyPoints which is $55 but you get a coupon book with free coupons (used to be free chicken, coffee, and batteries but no idea what it is now). The membership certificate you buy is only good on new memberships and not renewals. In NJ, you do save tax of $3.85 by buying the certificate. According to this site the membership price went up from $50 to $55 in November.

The only times I have seen any discounts on membership are when they open a new store and sometimes give $10-15 off.

vetaldj said:   Get Executive membership. With average spending it pays around $100-$120 back in CashBack (2%). It always covers membership for me.
One year I've got $499 back, store manager got my certificate in frame as example as it's possible to get maximum CashBack allowes ($500).

In combining with 2% Cash Back from Fidelity AMEX I think it make good deal in overal for me.


New challenge: When they raised the Executive Membership annual fee last year to $110 the raised the cap on the 2% CashBack to $750.

For others, the Executive Member CashBack is separate from the Cash Back you can earn on the Costco AMEX card, free to Costco members meeting AMEX credit requirements.

horizon6 said:   New challenge: When they raised the Executive Membership annual fee last year to $110 the raised the cap on the 2% CashBack to $750.

So, at 2% you'd have to spend $37,500 in a year to earn the full $750 Cash Back... that is a challenge.

fivetalents said:   horizon6 said:   New challenge: When they raised the Executive Membership annual fee last year to $110 the raised the cap on the 2% CashBack to $750.

So, at 2% you'd have to spend $3,750 in a year to earn the full $750 Cash Back... that is a challenge.


I'm not mathematician but I think it would take $37,500 at 2% to earn $750

Rick505 said:   fivetalents said:   horizon6 said:   New challenge: When they raised the Executive Membership annual fee last year to $110 the raised the cap on the 2% CashBack to $750.

So, at 2% you'd have to spend $3,750 in a year to earn the full $750 Cash Back... that is a challenge.


I'm not mathematician but I think it would take $37,500 at 2% to earn $750


Doh! I triple checked my math and then just typed it wrong. Thanks.

that still doesn't answer my question. If there is a coupon or a special promotion where I could get a free or cheaper Costco membership.
I don't have credit cards that gives me points I can use to buy a Costco membership...

It's always free. You buy it & then you can ask for a full refund any time during your membership period.

Now that should be the answer you want.

apnagirish said:   that still doesn't answer my question. If there is a coupon or a special promotion where I could get a free or cheaper Costco membership.
I don't have credit cards that gives me points I can use to buy a Costco membership...


Google it now and then. They used to offer a free coupon booklet that had coupons for 2lb free coffee, free case water, a free roasted chicken and other special dollar off coupons, but the only time I saw it lately was on the Geico Privalages site (free to join without being a Geico customer), but it was taken down fast. When I was with Costco re-joining, a co-worker used it, but we then found out that he customer service rep was tolfd it was for Geicgo employees only (that's why it was taken down without a trace). Anyway, as a past member I received a couple of free Costco gift cards with membership offers in the mail lately (which I used) and have seen offers occasionally where if a member brings a new member, they both get a $10 gift card. Also, when a new Cistco opens, they offer a free $10 gift card. I think your chances of finding a deal are basically luck now. Sorry.

apnagirish said:   that still doesn't answer my question. If there is a coupon or a special promotion where I could get a free or cheaper Costco membership.
I don't have credit cards that gives me points I can use to buy a Costco membership...


Costco membership is a deal. You might try some searching. Hint for a start: http://moneysmartlife.com/costco-membership-discounts-coupons-de...

Or join Costco, open a "partner" bank account and get cash which you can consider a discount on your membership:
http://www.capitalone.com/directbanking/affiliates/costco/?itc=C...

robstrash said:   You can buy a membership through MyPoints which is $55 but you get a coupon book with free coupons (used to be free chicken, coffee, and batteries but no idea what it is now). The membership certificate you buy is only good on new memberships and not renewals. In NJ, you do save tax of $3.85 by buying the certificate. According to this site the membership price went up from $50 to $55 in November.

The only times I have seen any discounts on membership are when they open a new store and sometimes give $10-15 off.
apnagirish, did you see this post above?

fivetalents said:   Rick505 said:   fivetalents said:   horizon6 said:   New challenge: When they raised the Executive Membership annual fee last year to $110 the raised the cap on the 2% CashBack to $750.

So, at 2% you'd have to spend $3,750 in a year to earn the full $750 Cash Back... that is a challenge.


I'm not mathematician but I think it would take $37,500 at 2% to earn $750


Doh! I triple checked my math and then just typed it wrong. Thanks.


Spending an average of $106/wk. there would get you the equivalent of your executive membership fee back. That's probably an amount many families probably spend on groceries. Of course there's always tires, TVs, etc. Anything over an average of $53/wk. spending can be considered a reduction in the "basic" membership fee.

Businesses buying supplies for their own use or for resale may find it easier to reach the "cap".

handyguy said:   It's always free. You buy it & then you can ask for a full refund any time during your membership period.

Now that should be the answer you want.


Just bought a new set of tires at Sam's. I don't need a membership otherwise--it's not convenient to go and WalMart tends to be about as good for most things, so I stocked up on a few things and cancelled the next week.

kdbrich said:   handyguy said:   It's always free. You buy it & then you can ask for a full refund any time during your membership period.

Now that should be the answer you want.


Just bought a new set of tires at Sam's. I don't need a membership otherwise--it's not convenient to go and WalMart tends to be about as good for most things, so I stocked up on a few things and cancelled the next week.


This is the kind of thing that contributed to forcing Costco to limit the return period on TV and electronics to 90 days. Deals are great, but some actions unreasonable and basically make others "pay" for your "deal"

confused200 said:   luvbugium said:   You can share a membership with another person even if they do not live with you. My dad put me on his membership instead of my mom so we each have a card. When mom goes to Costco she is always with dad anyways.
That may depend on locations. I tried and they won't let me. They said the other person must live at my address and show proof -- some document/ID show the proper address.


Thanks for telling me. I feel lucky. In no way did I conceal my address and they said it was fine but that my husband wouldn't be able to shop without me. This is fine since I buy most of the household items. If this is something that could benefit you it wouldn't hurt to ask. It also works with other things. My girlfriend and I share a science museum family pass that allows two adults and up to 8 kids and again, there is no requirement that we live at the same address.

For 4+ years now I have shared a membership with my sister who lives 15 miles from me. My wife often takes my membership card and goes shopping at costco. She uses the self checkout and has never been questioned. If we need to order contacts or tires I do the shopping.

horizon6 said:   kdbrich said:   handyguy said:   It's always free. You buy it & then you can ask for a full refund any time during your membership period.

Now that should be the answer you want.


Just bought a new set of tires at Sam's. I don't need a membership otherwise--it's not convenient to go and WalMart tends to be about as good for most things, so I stocked up on a few things and cancelled the next week.


This is the kind of thing that contributed to forcing Costco to limit the return period on TV and electronics to 90 days. Deals are great, but some actions unreasonable and basically make others "pay" for your "deal"


**On soap box**

I agree. If kdbrich owned a business they would be outraged if people tried to take advantage of their business like that. The people who selfishly and intentionally abuse generous company policies cause those policies to limited or discontinued. It's sad that anyone would do that, but to coach others how to do it is reprehensible. I don't think that this is the type of behavior Fatwallet endorses or the reputation they want (e.g., we teach people to save money by intentionally defrauding companies).

**Off soap box**

I used to be a huge fan of Costco and Kirkland products. I still go there for some things I cant find elsewhere (Olive Oil, Basmati, Seafood, Bulk Nuts) but I find myself more and more drawn to Amazon for many of my other purchases. Here are the commonly quoted pros of a Costco membership -
1. You make up the $50 membership fees in cheap gas alone.
(my take: In my area Arco gas stations consistently offer gas at or very close to Costco gas price. Buy Arco GC at grocery store with your 5%-on-grocery credit card, and Arco comes out significantly cheaper)
2. Its convenient to buy months of kitchen towels and toilet paper at Deep Discount prices
(my take: Maybe it is, but its not really that cheap at Costco. Grocery stores + Coupons often beat Costco prices)
3. Samples. Gotta love them.
(my take: I agree)
4. I have a huge family and a weekly / biweekly Costco trip is the easiest way for me to load up our supplies
(my take: I wouldn't know. But I see some peoples carts and wonder why they buy so much stuff)
5. Better warranty / return period for high value Electronics
(my take: Can't beat Amazon pricing and with a good credit card, your extended warranty needs should be taken care of)

Stuff like shampoo, toothpaste, razors, office supplies are almost always cheaper elsewhere. Costco also makes you spend way more than you'd think before entering the store.

IMO - if you're single or a small family, Amazon Prime may be a better value for money than Costco. If you value convenience over $$, Costco is a good choice.

saferisk said:   I used to be a huge fan of Costco and Kirkland products. I still go there for some things I cant find elsewhere (Olive Oil, Basmati, Seafood, Bulk Nuts) but I find myself more and more drawn to Amazon for many of my other purchases. Here are the commonly quoted pros of a Costco membership -
1. You make up the $50 membership fees in cheap gas alone.
(my take: In my area Arco gas stations consistently offer gas at or very close to Costco gas price. Buy Arco GC at grocery store with your 5%-on-grocery credit card, and Arco comes out significantly cheaper)
2. Its convenient to buy months of kitchen towels and toilet paper at Deep Discount prices
(my take: Maybe it is, but its not really that cheap at Costco. Grocery stores + Coupons often beat Costco prices)
3. Samples. Gotta love them.
(my take: I agree)
4. I have a huge family and a weekly / biweekly Costco trip is the easiest way for me to load up our supplies
(my take: I wouldn't know. But I see some peoples carts and wonder why they buy so much stuff)
5. Better warranty / return period for high value Electronics
(my take: Can't beat Amazon pricing and with a good credit card, your extended warranty needs should be taken care of)

Stuff like shampoo, toothpaste, razors, office supplies are almost always cheaper elsewhere. Costco also makes you spend way more than you'd think before entering the store.

iMO - if you're single or a small family, Amazon Prime may be a better value for money than Costco. If you value convenience over $$, Costco is a good choice.


Agree with the post above- also note that they have been increasing prices on many products - I noticed it and remember older prices less than a year ago. KS brand laundry detergent, softsoap, shampoo, Olay products, Bounty paper towels have all been going up in price. THe only benefit is that IF you dont have time to shop around for deals/coupon-clipping, then this is a guaranteed lower price option (not lowest). Other stuff with costco coupons works out cheaper.

great post, i agree totally, it seems once folks pay for the membership they don't shop around, years ago (1996)i was in a safeway and saw 8mm video cassettes for whatever price for a 2pk but i assumed costco would be better, to my surprise it was the same price per tape but you had to buy 12, that is when i started to really look at things.

i couldn't actually save money, i could always find a better deal, not to mention the lines at checkout and gas pumps.



saferisk said:   I used to be a huge fan of Costco and Kirkland products. I still go there for some things I cant find elsewhere (Olive Oil, Basmati, Seafood, Bulk Nuts) but I find myself more and more drawn to Amazon for many of my other purchases. Here are the commonly quoted pros of a Costco membership -
1. You make up the $50 membership fees in cheap gas alone.
(my take: In my area Arco gas stations consistently offer gas at or very close to Costco gas price. Buy Arco GC at grocery store with your 5%-on-grocery credit card, and Arco comes out significantly cheaper)
2. Its convenient to buy months of kitchen towels and toilet paper at Deep Discount prices
(my take: Maybe it is, but its not really that cheap at Costco. Grocery stores + Coupons often beat Costco prices)
3. Samples. Gotta love them.
(my take: I agree)
4. I have a huge family and a weekly / biweekly Costco trip is the easiest way for me to load up our supplies
(my take: I wouldn't know. But I see some peoples carts and wonder why they buy so much stuff)
5. Better warranty / return period for high value Electronics
(my take: Can't beat Amazon pricing and with a good credit card, your extended warranty needs should be taken care of)

Stuff like shampoo, toothpaste, razors, office supplies are almost always cheaper elsewhere. Costco also makes you spend way more than you'd think before entering the store.

IMO - if you're single or a small family, Amazon Prime may be a better value for money than Costco. If you value convenience over $$, Costco is a good choice.

I shop around constantly for almost every product we buy. Between Costco, Amazon, Wally World, Super Target and local supermarkets, Costco usually comes out on top for price/quality.
As for the check out lines I use the self checkout and have it down to a science and can be trough the line in under 2 minutes. As for gas you need to go on the weekday or learn to use to pump from either side. I see people sitting in a lane with 4-6 more cars just because the don't want to cross pump.

saferisk said:   I used to be a huge fan of Costco and Kirkland products. I still go there for some things I cant find elsewhere (Olive Oil, Basmati, Seafood, Bulk Nuts) but I find myself more and more drawn to Amazon for many of my other purchases. Here are the commonly quoted pros of a Costco membership -
1. You make up the $50 membership fees in cheap gas alone.
(my take: In my area Arco gas stations consistently offer gas at or very close to Costco gas price. Buy Arco GC at grocery store with your 5%-on-grocery credit card, and Arco comes out significantly cheaper)
2. Its convenient to buy months of kitchen towels and toilet paper at Deep Discount prices
(my take: Maybe it is, but its not really that cheap at Costco. Grocery stores + Coupons often beat Costco prices)
3. Samples. Gotta love them.
(my take: I agree)
4. I have a huge family and a weekly / biweekly Costco trip is the easiest way for me to load up our supplies
(my take: I wouldn't know. But I see some peoples carts and wonder why they buy so much stuff)
5. Better warranty / return period for high value Electronics
(my take: Can't beat Amazon pricing and with a good credit card, your extended warranty needs should be taken care of)

Stuff like shampoo, toothpaste, razors, office supplies are almost always cheaper elsewhere. Costco also makes you spend way more than you'd think before entering the store.

IMO - if you're single or a small family, Amazon Prime may be a better value for money than Costco. If you value convenience over $$, Costco is a good choice.


Yes, many things, at certain times can be found cheaper elsewhere, front page of supermarket ads have "loss-leaders" to get you into the store and most buy enough else there to much more than make up for the front-page items. Of course, at certain times Costco has arranged coupons, MIRs, etc. to make its regular low prices lower too. Impute some time value for the time and effort in beating some Costco prices by using multiple sources and add the cost of gas for driving from place to place. Yes, on most things the warranty is not used. But almost surprisingly it is needed more than in the past as things simply are often not made as well, even with the supposedly "top-of-the-line" brands and stuff, and when something does go wrong, often easier to just bring it back letting Costco handle it than dealing with warranties including their fine print and getting the warranty service.

Shop with a list at Costco, explore for treasure hunt items and return when its convenient any you get home and find you simply bought on impulse and won't use, and supplement with the really great deals you find at FW and elsewhere simply.

Skipping 1 Messages...
skh12 said:   great post, i agree totally, it seems once folks pay for the membership they don't shop around, years ago (1996)i was in a safeway and saw 8mm video cassettes for whatever price for a 2pk but i assumed costco would be better, to my surprise it was the same price per tape but you had to buy 12, that is when i started to really look at things.

i couldn't actually save money, i could always find a better deal, not to mention the lines at checkout and gas pumps.



saferisk said:   I used to be a huge fan of Costco and Kirkland products. I still go there for some things I cant find elsewhere (Olive Oil, Basmati, Seafood, Bulk Nuts) but I find myself more and more drawn to Amazon for many of my other purchases. Here are the commonly quoted pros of a Costco membership -
1. You make up the $50 membership fees in cheap gas alone.
(my take: In my area Arco gas stations consistently offer gas at or very close to Costco gas price. Buy Arco GC at grocery store with your 5%-on-grocery credit card, and Arco comes out significantly cheaper)
2. Its convenient to buy months of kitchen towels and toilet paper at Deep Discount prices
(my take: Maybe it is, but its not really that cheap at Costco. Grocery stores + Coupons often beat Costco prices)
3. Samples. Gotta love them.
(my take: I agree)
4. I have a huge family and a weekly / biweekly Costco trip is the easiest way for me to load up our supplies
(my take: I wouldn't know. But I see some peoples carts and wonder why they buy so much stuff)
5. Better warranty / return period for high value Electronics
(my take: Can't beat Amazon pricing and with a good credit card, your extended warranty needs should be taken care of)

Stuff like shampoo, toothpaste, razors, office supplies are almost always cheaper elsewhere. Costco also makes you spend way more than you'd think before entering the store.

IMO - if you're single or a small family, Amazon Prime may be a better value for money than Costco. If you value convenience over $$, Costco is a good choice.


Based on your earlier post in this thread, you don't like Costco or you don't like its business model. That's fine, it's not for everybody. Guess we won't see you there; one less person in line Yes, the post you quoted was much better than yours earlier as it gave reasons and wasn't insulting.



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