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Why Shopping at Costco May End Up Costing You More Money

Costco is the world’s largest warehouse store, full of bulk items to meet the needs of households and many businesses. It is known for its discount prices on bulk purchases, with quality products. Beyond just bulk household goods, Costco also offers good pricing on electronics and groceries, with a wide variety of items that the membership store giant has the ability to pass wholesale savings on to customers. However, the actual savings realized by any one consumer may not be as much as you think.

People love a good deal and a positive shopping experience and Costco has been high successful. However, Costco also does a good job of getting people to buy more than the likely intended.

Yearly Membership Price

Some members have their annual dues paid for them through their employer. The majority of members have to pay their own way every 12 months, however. Depending on the membership type, annual fees average about $55.

A single man or woman may not save $55 per year shopping at Costco. Because many of the items are groceries that have expiration dates, buying large quantities that may have to be discarded before they are consumed means a loss of money in the long run. For singles, shopping at Costco may not make a whole lot of sense.

Impulse Buying

The attractive prices on many of the items draws in customers to stock up on groceries. However, the store also has a huge selection of books, seasonal items, furniture, TVs, computers, and clothing. It can become easy to fall into the habit of using the money saved to buy things that aren’t really needed.

Costco shoppers may also fall into the habit of consuming more than they actually need. A 24-pack of candy bars may cost only 10 percent more than a 12-pack of the same item at the neighborhood grocery store, but consumers will often reward themselves on their savings by buying the 24-pack instead. Prior to becoming a Costco member, these households were consuming only a 12-pack in the same time period!

Shopping At Costco Takes A Lot Of Time

Many shoppers pile the family into the minivan and drive 15 miles or more to the nearest Costco store. The extra gasoline used may cost half as much as the savings realized by shopping at this membership chain. Not only does the car trip cost more in fuel, it puts extra miles on the vehicle, decreasing its value at an accelerated rate.

It takes time to travel to a Costco, but shoppers spend even more time navigating the store. The locations are often crowded, especially on weekends. It is not unusual to spend over an hour at a Costco store.

A trip to Costco therefore becomes the highlight of the day for many shoppers. There is very little time to spend enjoying recreational activities, relaxing in the back yard, or using materials purchased at Costco to take care of those home improvement projects.

Budgeting Grocery Costs

Much like the problems with impulse buying, consumers who spend most of their grocery money at Costco rarely plan a weekly or monthly food budget and are likely to miss out on the savings possible at the supermarket. It becomes easy to forget about budgeting for the long-term when it appears that fantastic savings are in the offing with a Costco membership or the lure of a cash back reward.

In truth, shopping at the supermarket can be far cheaper than buying groceries at Costco. The weekly specials and manufacturer’s coupons can actually save more money than buying in bulk at a membership warehouse.

John Reynolds contributed this post on behalf of PureMatters.com an online store where you can find sleep supplements and other great health products.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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