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

11 responses to “Costco Kinda Saves Me Money

  1. I asked for a Costco membership for Christmas mainly for one reason: gas.

    Gas prices for Costco members are 4-10 cents cheaper than what all other gas stations prices are. And even though it’s not a lot, it makes a huge difference. Right now in Calgary gas is 104.9 and I filled up on Saturday and it only cost me 98.9 to fill up. Talk about win.

    I also moved out at the beginning of this month, and although I haven’t gone to Costco yet for shopping, I know I will go there for the things that you mentioned. I will also buy flats of soup / pop there, because those can last quite a long time, and I will also buy their muffins, mozza sticks, and fries, because those are all to die for, and they are all freeze-able.

    Then, when I go shop at Costco, I can have lunch or supper there because their fast food is so cheap. $2 for a huge hot dog and a drink? That’s like the reason I go there, haha!

  2. I’ve always loved the idea of buying in bulk to try and save money here and there. I haven’t been to costco myself- it’s a bit of a trip to get to one from where I am, but often when purchasing items at shops I look to see if I can save by buying a bulk pack.

    The only downside I find is that sometimes I feel like I don’t use the items as sparingly because I know I have plenty more in reserve. This is not good because it’s not a good habit to be wasteful.

  3. Love Costco but sometimes for food they go to waste 😦 I love getting their toilet paper, paper towels and ice cream though! Oh and cereal and fruit. SO CHEAP!!!!!

  4. Dylan

    I live alone and go to Costco to stock up on household items (tp, kleenex, pt, dw soap & hygiene items) a couple times a year – as I have plenty of storage space for it. When I had a car, I bought gas from Costco, and it saved me around 10 cents a litre. I also purchase the majority of my groceries from Costco – where I divide things up like meat into smaller packages and freeze. I buy frozen fruit there for my lunch smoothies. I love all the options for frozen vegetables – as I have no excuse not to eat healthy!

    I shop from a list and have kept close track of my food costs for the last several years. Despite the cost of food going up in many stores – my annual spending went down by hundreds of dollars. It was welcome surprise.

    • That’s great that your food costs haven’t gone up.

      It seems that Costco is a great place to get gas. I wonder if they have that in Canada, too.

      • Dylan

        I live in BC, and know of a few Costco’s with a gas station.

        On, there is a Warehouse location search page where you can specify to include gas stations.

  5. My main problem is the membership fee. If I stock up on items when there is a sale at a regular store, then Costco is more expensive just because of the fee. Also, a bit far out of the way to make cheaper gas worth it.

  6. Kay

    I buy organic greens, org. baby cut carrots, org. carrot juice, quinoa, org. honey, un salted raw nuts, lara bars, eco laundry detergent, stone mill bread, breakfast pita or one buns from there. I love the price of these items at costco. we don’t buy much else..but we’ve got back out membership money worth just with these items.. love costco!

    we used to buy their org. tortilla chips + salsa.. really good! but we ate too much of it so we’ve stopped that sicne then. 🙂

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