Daily Archives: January 24, 2011

Costco Kinda Saves Me Money

I live on my own, so I didn’t think that Costco was the most cost effective place for me to shop.  However, I thought that I would be able to stock up on essentials that have a longer shelf life (such as face wash and sanitary napkins) at Costco and save myself some money and the extra trips out during the year.  This past holiday, I borrowed my parents’ Costco membership card, and I learned Costco kind of saves me money.  Here’s why.

What I Bought

Face wash- Spectro jel
Cost $15.99 for 900mL (unit cost $1.78/100mL)

Cotton pads
Cost $9.99 for 8 100-pack (unit cost $.125 per 100 pack)

Sanitary napkins
Cost $14.99 for 2 96-pack (unit cost $3.90 per 50 napkins)

For comparison, I’ve summarized the unit prices (using the same units as above) I’ve encountered in the table below.

In general, Costco prices are a better than retail price*, but sale prices are better than Costco prices.

Advantages of Costco

The prices are very comparable to sale prices for what I bought.  It also saves me several trips to the local pharmacy/department store for these pick ups when they are individually on sale.  Which also saves me from seeing something else that I “need” when I go in to pick the items I actually went in for.  Does that happen to you, too?  Or is it just me?

If you know what you want, and don’t mind using the same thing for a long time, Costco is for you.

Costco also has great prices on books, compared to Chapters and Indigo.  I haven’t bought books in a long time, I use the library instead.  But I took a quick peak, and they have a pretty good selection of popular reads.

Disadvantages of Costco

They usually have limited selection on their items.  For instance, I usually like to use Spectro Jel for “Combination skin”; however, at Costco they only had one type of Spectro Jel available (“fragrance-free”).   They also had very limited sizing for underwear socks.  Usually large sizes, socks were 9 – 11 and underwear was M to XL only.

Costco’s things usually come in ginormous packages, so if you get the wrong thing.  You either waste a lot or spend a long time finishing it up.  Think 1L shampoo bottles instead of 300mL.

Since Costco’s items usually come in big packages, if you can easily buy too much.  Coming armed with a list of things and sticking to it, is the best strategy.


For a single girl like me, I would use Costco maybe once or twice a year to stock up, if I could borrow someone’s card (or go with them).  I wouldn’t buy a Costco membership for myself, and I think there are better deals if you wait for things to go on sale at the local pharmacy or super market.  For a family of 4 and more, I think there are potentially some benefits.

What are your experiences with Costco and other wholesale stores?






Note*:  The price for sanitary napkins is a guestimate from my memory.


Filed under Finance