Did you also know that your membership entitles you to get your tires checked for free including putting air in them? Full service gas stations are becoming more and more scarce. In some locations, if you can find one that has air, there is a charge for using the air hose. According to my friend, he recently picked up a nail in a tire causing a slow leak in it. He pulled into the Costco tire center to see if they could check and fix the tire. Here is the best part of all - the cost was zero, Nothing, Nada! He did the same thing recently and pulled into a tire store and it cost him $22.50.
That kind of savings will go far in paying for a membership. If this happens to you, hopefully you'll have your membership and can take advantage of these free services in addition to your shopping savings.
By Sandy from Elon, NC
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I agree is dh8. Anyone can drive up to a Discount Tire store and they will check your tires and air them up. In addition they have fixed flats for me. I don't know about all auto supply stores but Auto Zone will replace a lot of things free of charge like, lights, fuses, etc.
I have a Sam's membership but only because my Brother has a business card and made me the secondary. I think most things are cheaper elsewhere when they are on sale. I buy one particular type of spaghetti sauce that's cheaper at the grocery store as well as their canned chicken. Buying individual cans of chicken is cheaper at WalMart that buying the multiple packs.
Also you have to be careful with buying produce at the Warehouse clubs. I know Sams doesn't have scales to weight the produce and more often than not you're not getting the weight you think you are. I know, first hand that workers in the produce department take out apples, oranges, etc that have gone bad and won't replace with other ones.
Where I live Sprouts put boneless, skinless chicken breast on sale sometimes as low as $1.88 a pound. I've never seen it that cheap anywhere else. Paper goods and laundry detergents are cheaper at Walgreens and CVS when on sale and even cheaper when using a coupon. Sometimes those products can be found cheap at Big Lots. I do purchase electronics at Sams because of their return policy.
I absolutely love Costco. I have been shopping there for years. By buying in bulk I shaved at least $65 off my monthly shopping bill.
And I only buy items like shampoo, conditioner, etc when they offer the coupon savings a few times a year. I also have the Business Membership so I get a rebate on all my shopping throughout the year. It usually pays for the annual membership and then some. I have friends that don't want to pay the annual membership so they will either go with me or give me their shopping list. It just adds to my rebate.
There's something else that's very important at Costco. If you pay for your order with their photo-id American Express card, you get at least 1% back. Gas pays 4%. Our reward for using the card last year came to over $185.00, which we applied to a new set of already-discounted Michelin tires. We use the card when we buy gas at other stations, and to charge internet purchases. If a low-budget family like ours can benefit that much, think what someone with a so-called "average" income could do.
We do more than 75 percent of our grocery shopping at Costco for just my husband and me, as they have wonderful buyers and everything they sell is top quality. We did our weekly shopping there yesterday and bought an 18 ounce container of blackberries for $3.99, 12 ounces of raspberries for $3.49, and a fourteen count package of large Gala apples for $6.29. Our local grocery stores fruits and vegetables are more expensive and usually tasteless in comparison to what we buy at Costco.
I don't have Costco membership but a neighbor does. I go with him a little less than once a month.
It offers, hands down, the best price available for certain food items--milk, rice, eggs, chicken, walnuts, pecans is what I buy.
The thing is that those prices for those items are consistently the best I have found.
For produce and other meats, most local grocers offerings, even on a week-to-week basis, are priced lower.
Looking for an automobile is an intriguing proposition but the currently buyers market makes that mostly just an option,
Overall, particularly considering the gasoline price savings, membership fees will certainly pay for themselves. In addition, it seems Costco offers a rebate--2%(?)--to its members payable by it to them annually.
All in all, it seems to be a can't lose proposition.
We are members at Sam's Club. My DH likes it for purchasing oil for the cars and the small bottles of juice he takes to work in brown bag lunches. Their rotisserie chicken is $4.99 per chicken (not per pound). Bananas are a good deal and although prepackaged in bunches, we more than get our money's worth (banana bread is usually a follow up). I also purchase CO Q 10, protein powder, calcium supplements with vit D, tubs of cocoa powder, bags of small peppers, frozen chicken...and anything that seems usable and reasonable for our family. They sell laundry detergent in bulk and as I can't easily lift one of those jugs, that's a savings we'll have to forego. Many years ago, the only way we could join was to buy some Wal-Mart stock. So I did. That's the only stock I ever bought that did well over the years.
The following are a few ways I have taken advantage of my Costco membership: 1. When shopping for a new/pre-owned car, I shopped through the Costco website, which works in conjunction with car dealerships to give a great discount to members. 2. The car I rented through the Costco website was gotten at a remarkable price. 3. Fridays are a great day to go to our Costco with all the samples available. 4. The bakery at our Costco bakes the most remarkable wheat bread. I am a label reader and there's nothing but wonderful and natural ingredients in their wheat bread. 5. I also used their services to get my eye glasses at a great discount. The benefits of membership are too many to review here. Don't forget the cheap lunch after shopping. Great place to shop and well worth the membership price. And by the way, Costco gas for your car is cheaper than anywhere else.
I have never used Costco for prescriptions, as my health insurance has mail order and has always seemed reasonable. But it sounds like maybe I should check it out.
I buy most of my meat at Costco, I also buy milk, sometimes produce (mushrooms are an especially good deal) and beer and wine at Costco. It is easy to get into trouble if you aren't vigilant to sticking to a list, but so is the grocery store, for that matter. I also get my gas there. It is always 10+ cents cheaper than the regular gas station. I think that I have paid for my membership in gas savings alone, especially last summer!
You do have to be careful about overbuying. Some things don't make sense to get in bulk, and some items are more expensive than if you bought them at the regular store. And the Kirkland brands (Costco brand) are not always cheaper than the name brand and sometimes are not next to each other for easy comparison.
Their snack bar is a great deal. I sometimes take my kids there for lunch on the weekends. They can graze for samples while I pick up a couple of things and then can go and buy lunch (1.50 for a hotdog and soda, a little more for pizza, etc.) while I am checking out.
If you have a friend that also would like a Costco membership, you can go in together and get one. My mother was often a "spouse" on her friend's account so they could both save on the yearly membership.
The HUGE benefit of using Costco's pharmacy for generic drugs is for most prescriptions, pay by cash, not your insurance! My wife's and my blood pressure medication costs $15 for a one month supply of 30 pills, for a three month supply, $30 for 90 pills using our insurance. At Costco, 100 of these pills paid by cash costs only $8.42. That is a huge savings. A few other generic prescriptions I have filled there have the same cost savings. AND, you don't even have to go to Costco to get these prescriptions filled! Just go to Costco.com and click on the pharmacy link and follow the instructions for mail order delivery. You start the process online, then send in your prescription order and they mail out your prescription via mail and they pay the shipping charge! YOU CAN'T BEAT THIS ANYWHERE!
Another low cost way to buy generic prescriptions is at Wal Mart. They cost a bit more then Costco, but not much. The downside, they don't do mail order as Costco does.
AND, if you don't have prescription insurance, Costco's prices for many generics is even lower!
Jim in Jax
People tend to really overbuy in warehouses and there often isn't much savings. You can do much better if you just pay attention to sales in your regular stores and stock up when prices are good.
It's so fast, easy and FREE to put air into your tires I wouldn't waste the time and gas going to a store to have them do it.
All but the worst of tires come with damage guarantees where the seller will fix nails or anything else for free. It isn't a special thing related to Costco. If you bring the tire to someone who didn't sell the tires; yes you'll pay. However, even at a ridiculously overpriced $20, it's still way cheaper than a warehouse membership.
Their pharmacy would only be of interest to those who do not have prescription drug coverage with their health insurance. If your insurance covers prescriptions, your copay will be the same no matter where you go.
I'm not a fan of warehouse stores but my household is small (2 people). $40-$50 is a lot to spend on an annual membership IMO and I wouldn't buy that much but I can see how a large family would make good use of bulk shopping.
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