Is Costco all that? I finally bought a membership, and here’s what I learned

Shoppers walk into a Costco store, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Tacoma, Wash. Costco Wholesale Corp. reports earnings results, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) (Ted S. Warren, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – I finally did it. I am officially a card-carrying Costco shopper.

After more than 18 years working as a consumer investigative reporter, comparison shopping and helping you all find the best ways to save money, I bit the bullet and shelled out $120 for an Executive membership.

Even when I did this whole series comparing the pros and cons of warehouse clubs last fall, I didn’t splurge on the members only privilege to save money.

So what made me finally do it now?

Big savings on Appliances

My washing machine went out last week. After shopping around for a new set at all of the usual places, I realized all of the usual appliance retailers now charge installation fees and a fee to haul away your old appliances. It can add nearly $200 to your purchase price. My mom told me to check Costco because they offer, free delivery installation, haul away and a 2-year warranty on all appliances they sell.

Costco benefits when purchasing appliances from the members-only chain (KPRC)

I found the same Maytag set I was planning to buy at Home Depot for $1589.00 would cost $1289.00 from Costco after delivery, installation and haul away. After I paid for the membership, I still saved $180.

The following day, I drove to the closest Costco for my regular shop. I was almost immediately overwhelmed. Just about everything in the warehouse is $15 or more because the quantities are ginormous. I mean, do I really need 35 cans of Coke Zero? Of course not. But, at 45 cents a can, why not? After shopping, I came home and did some research to find out just how much I saved on each individual item.

Take these Finish Powerball Quantum Dishwasher Tabs. At Costco, I purchased 100 for $14.99. On, I found a 50-count bag for $15.44. I would have to purchase 2 bags for $30.88 to get the same amount. My savings on just this item was $15.89.

Finish Powerball Quantum dishwasher tabs at WalMart (KPRC)

These Lysol Disinfecting Wipes are $13.47 at WalMart for 240 wipes. At Costco, I paid $10.99 for 380 wipes. That is a savings of $10.32 (after doing the math to account for the different package sizes).

Lysol Disinfecting wipes from WalMart (KPRC)

Clearly, the savings is real.

While in store, I asked many of you via Facebook what you love to buy at Costco. Several of you told me I need to buy these Chick-fil-A chicken nugget dupes.

These Just Bare chicken chunks from Costco are recommended by many consumers. (KPRC)
Viewers share what they buy frequently from Costco. (KPRC)
Viewers share their favorite Costco products (KPRC)


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About the Author:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.