With so many items to choose from, smart shopping expert Trade Bodge says it’s critical to bring a list to avoid overspending, particularly on seasonal items the store loves to put right inside the front door. Costco has 53 million paid members around the world, with an 88% renewal rate worldwide (91% in the U.S. and Canada).
Caskets are often the single most expensive item purchased for a traditional funeral service, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The average cost of a casket bought through a funeral home is more than $2,000, but depending on the finish the price can climb as high as $10,000.
Before completing your purchase, you must call the casket provider at the number included with the product listing to confirm availability, pricing and shipping/delivery details. However, big-ticket items such as televisions, computers and smartphones must be returned within 90 days of purchase in order to receive a full refund.
If, after joining Costco, you decide you aren’t getting the best value on the products you buy or you simply don’t shop enough to justify paying the annual fee, you can cancel your membership anytime and get your money back. In quality testing, Consumer Reports gave low marks to Kirkland Signature toilet paper and facial tissue.
We put prices on a few Kirkland Signature items found at a Washington, D.C., area Costco to the test against similar name-brand products. In an effort to identify some of the best Kirkland Signature products to buy at Costco, we homed in on items that are not only less expensive than national brands but also on par in terms of taste and quality.
Kirkland Signature bacon, for example, bested top national brands including Oscar Mayer in testing by Consumer Reports. Kirkland's batteries might not last as long as name brands, but they’re a better value once you factor in quality and price, according to Consumer Reports.
But unless you're shopping for a large family or group, paying to join a warehouse club solely to gain access to bulk-packaged products might backfire, says Jeanette Paving, a savings expert for Coupons.com. If the items you purchase in bulk expire or spoil before you finish using them, that’s money poorly spent.
Examples of risky bulk purchases include liquid bleach (its effectiveness diminishes after six months), cereal (sale prices at traditional supermarkets are usually less per ounce) and skincare products (they lose effectiveness over time, plus the risk of contamination rises the longer a container has been open). Here’s what we found: A 16-ounce container of Earthbound Farm organic spring salad mix cost $5.49 (unit price: 34 cents per ounce) at Costco, while an 11-ounce container of Harris Teeter’s store brand organic spring salad mix totaled $4.99 (45 cents per ounce) at a nearby location.
A two-dozen carton of Costco ’s Kirkland Signature grade A organic brown eggs was $5.99 ($2.99 per dozen), while an 18-count carton of Harris Teeter’s store brand grade A large organic brown eggs totaled $6.49 ($4.32 per dozen). Costco's members in the market for a new ride can take advantage of the warehouse club’s auto program, which includes an online car-buying service.
Costco has helped one million members purchase a car over the last five years, according to its website. Once you know the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for your desired vehicle, you can then locate nearby dealers who sell it.
Costco's coupons also can be viewed and redeemed either in-store or online via the warehouse club's smartphone app. Recent Costco coupons offered discounts on products ranging from toothpaste to televisions.
But if even a day or two is too long to wait, then consider using an online grocery delivery service that will send a personal shopper to Costco to fill your order and rush it to your front door. Instacart, which operates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, promises to deliver your Costco grocery order in as little as one hour.
Another service, Ships, offers unlimited home delivery of groceries from multiple retailers including Costco for $99 a year (or $14 per month). The app-based service even offers same-day delivery and is available to Costco members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
For example, at the warehouse club you’ll pay $12.88 (without insurance) for 30 500-mg capsules of amoxicillin, a generic antibiotic, versus an average price of $16.04 for the same dosage at a drugstore, according to GoodRx.com. For non-members visiting a warehouse club location, simply let the door checker know that you’re headed to the pharmacy, and they’ll direct you where to go, notes Kyle James, founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com.
For members and non-members alike, before you’re able to fill prescriptions online, you’ll need to register on Costco ’s website and create a patient profile. Undisclosed peanuts in a packaged food item can cause severe allergic reactions in some people, and defective car seats and cribs can put children at risk.
If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest product recalls from your favorite retailers, chances are you’ll have to do a bit of legwork to find them. You either must go to the retailer’s website and navigate your way to the product recall section or follow their social media accounts.
The warehouse club e-mails members directly whenever a product or food item they’ve purchased has been pulled from store shelves due to health or safety concerns. It will also contain customer support information such as a phone number or e-mail address that you can contact to learn more about how to return the faulty product and how you can get a replacement item.
On your next Costco shopping trip, be sure to examine the product price tags carefully as you’re perusing the aisles. That’s because the warehouse club has a price tag coding system that could help you score even bigger savings.
Last year, the average cost for a wedding (including the engagement ring, ceremony/reception and honeymoon) totaled $38,700, according to WeddingWire.com’s 2019 Newlywed Report. If you’re footing the bill for your big day on a tight budget, Costco can be a resource, suggests Rather-Be-Shopping.com’s James.
Even if you chose Costco ’s most expensive invitation design (with no extra frills), it would still only cost you $150. James also points out that if you’re looking for budget-friendly inspiration, there are plenty of Costco wedding hacks available online.
The warehouse club, in partnership with MyGiftRegistry.com, allows members and non-members to create gift registries for free. You can access the registry both online and in-store, and you can add everything from bottle warmers to cookware to fitness equipment all in one place.
It’s important to note that while non-members can create gift registries, select products are exclusive to Costco members. Even better, Costco Concierge Services extends the manufacturer’s warranty on these items to two years from the date of purchase free of charge.
Select computers and major appliances also qualify, but touchscreen tablets, refrigerators (above 10 cubic feet), freezers, range ovens, cook top ovens, over-the-range microwaves, dishwashers, washers and dryers are excluded. Costco Concierge Services also offers free technical support by phone to members for most electronics purchased at the warehouse club.
We compared prices per couple on a four-night stay at The Royal Atlantis resort in Nassau, Bahamas booked through Costco and Expedia.com. Here’s what we found: At Costco, the package included taxes, round trip airport transportation and a private island excursion totaling $2,041.28.
Costco ’s vacation package also came with a $150 resort credit valid towards food and beverage, as well as a number of on-site activities. Once we added round trip airport transportation and an island excursion to this package, the final price jumped to $2,176.42.
We compared prices on general admission day and annual passes for sale on theme park sites versus Costco .com. Here’s what we found: At Lego land’s Florida park location, a single day pass costs $84.99 on their site.
At SeaWorld San Diego, a silver level annual pass, which includes unlimited general admission, dining and shopping discounts as well as two free tickets for a friend, totals $120 on their site.