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What Am I Supposed to Buy at Costco?

Our brand new Costco [1] just opened last month. There’s a lot of hype, and I heard through a rumor that they’ve already had 14,000 people sign up since they opened. (No idea if that’s true or not.) Maybe all those people know something that I don’t. So what is it exactly that I’m supposed to buy there?

We had a membership a few years back, so that we could buy our wide screen LCD TV for a ridiculously low price online. But, this is the first time we’ll have access to an actual store.

If I find that it would save us money to shop there, I might sign up. A little bit of extra incentive for me to sign up is the $25 Sign Up Bonus From Costco and American Express [2]. Signing up both my husband and myself will pay for our Costco membership for the first year.

Warehouse Clubs

There is the risk of overbuying and wasting [3] at Costco, as with any warehouse club. Since buying in bulk [4] is cheaper, I can see how it would be easy to have stuff start jumping in your cart and spend more than you planned.

Comparison of Costco versus Sam’s Club

Consumer Reports did a comparison [5] of the two giant warehouse clubs last year (via Free Money Finance [6]).

The result? “Readers gave higher overall scores to Costco for groceries (better perishables), electronics and small appliances (lower prices), and eyeglasses (better service).”

In addition, they reminded me of the terrific business model that I’ve heard about – treating your employees really well. Last year “Costco’s average hourly wage [was] $17.25, employees [contributed] 10 percent of their health insurance premiums, and the turnover rate [was] 17 percent.” I love shopping at places that believe in their employees.

What Others Buy at Costco

I hear that you can buy fancy cheeses [7], engagement rings [8] (cheaper than at Tiffany’s [9]), coffee [10], discount postage stamps [11], and watches [12] at Costco.

Costco Gas

Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need a membership [13] to take advantage of the cheap gas at Costco [14].

What Do You Buy at Costco?

Tell me, what do you buy at Costco, and how do the prices compare? I’m especially interested in groceries compared to your supermarket and household goods compared to Target.

Based on your input, we’ll decide if it’s worth trying out.