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