There are certain situations where it doesn’t pay to be a Costco member.
From lacking the room to store bulk buys in your home to living alone or in a small household, here are some scenarios where one might reconsider a Costco membership.
You Don’t Have Room To Store Excess Items
Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com, said you might not want to buy a Costco membership if you live in a smaller space and legitimately don’t have the room to store bulk purchases. It might be tricky for individuals that reside in a studio or one-bedroom apartment to find enough storage room to accommodate everything they pick up during a Costco shopping trip.
That being said, Ramhold said a Costco membership may be worth considering if you don’t have the room but you do have someone willing to split the purchase with you. “Splitting large purchases with friends and family will help cut the cost and the space you need for them,” said Ramhold.
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You Live Too Far From Costco
Considering the ever-rising gas prices, if the drive to Costco takes an hour or longer one way, Ramhold said a membership might not be worth it if you won’t be making regular trips. In addition to reliable transportation, your car should be roomy enough to fit bulk purchases.
“If your vehicle is on the smaller side, that may be a factor as well, since you’ll have to make sure you can fit your purchases into it,” said Ramhold. “Otherwise, you risk wasting a trip.”
You Live in a Small Household
A Costco trip is a great idea for households with many family members or several roommates. However, if your household consists of only yourself or yourself and one other person, you may need to talk it over and determine if it’s worth it to buy a lot of items, especially perishable items, in bulk.
Ramhold said smaller households can benefit from a Costco trip and recommends the slightly more economical approach of tagging along with a friend who is already a Costco member instead of purchasing your own membership.
You Buy Too Many Perishables
Part of Costco’s appeal is in its bulk offerings. Many fresh food items are available to buy at a lower price, but shoppers will need to eat everything they buy before its perishable date.
Purchasing too many perishable food items that you’re unable to finish not only leads to food waste, but it can also result in expensive shopping trips over time. Apply caution when it comes to items with shorter expiration dates and assess whether or not you’ll be able to consume the product before it expires. If you’re unable, stick with the bulk buys you know you’ll use like laundry detergent or granola bars.
You Don’t Have a Car
While it is still possible to go shopping at Costco without a car, such as taking a rideshare there and back, it may be difficult to call a rideshare on the way home that is able to fit all your purchases. Shoppers without vehicles may consider doing their grocery shopping at smaller, more local grocery stores instead.
You Have a Regular Size Refrigerator and Freezer
If you have a regular size refrigerator and freezer that’s already full, it may be tough to swing a Costco trip and fit everything you buy into them.
Remember that bulk purchases are bigger than regular grocery buys and take up a lot of space. If you still plan on heading to Costco, consider clearing out your refrigerator and freezer prior to making the trip or sticking to a grocery list with minimal items that need to be refrigerated or frozen.
You Live Near Local Grocery Stores
Shoppers that live near local grocery stores may reconsider a Costco membership unless they truly need to make bulk purchases. The drive time there and back may be shorter, and you may also bring and use coupons at local stores. (General manufacturer coupons are not accepted at Costco.)
Other big-box retailers like Target and Walmart often have sales. Shoppers may find they receive better savings shopping at these stores by using coupons, the in-store app or opting to buy generic brands without paying for Costco’s annual membership.
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