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Sam's club and Costco worth it for retirees.
Old 02-18-2021, 08:42 AM   #1
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Sam's club and Costco worth it for retirees.

Back when we had 3 kids still in school we had a Sam club membership. It was worth it I think. Especially when our 2 boys were in HS and playing sports we would go through lots of staples, milk, eggs, cereal, meats, fruit, vegetables, laundry soap, TP , toothpaste etc. Now last kid (daughter) graduated in back in 2018 so we are empty nesters now. Don't need to buy the bulk items anymore so we let our Sam club membership expire back in 2018. When I was driving 80 miles a day to work usually bough gasoline at Sams as it was on way to work and usually a good 10 cents to 15 cents cheaper than local gasoline stations. Now retired a tank of gas last us a good month or more.

My wife does most grocery of our grocery shopping at Aldi's now and the rest at Hyvee.

Any empty nesters retirees still use Sams or Costco? Any items that are worth the cost of membership . I think Sam's was about $50 for a year for us.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:55 AM   #2
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I ended up joining costco soon after this thread:

https://www.early-retirement.org/for...you-87222.html

I don't do much grocery shopping there, still, but costco is close to my home. Stuff I bought recently:

New interlocking garage/gym floor mats - better and cheaper than the ones at Home Depot, Amazon, or anywhere
Storage racks for the garage, $30 each cheaper than elsewhere
A new rug for the living room, on sale, just my style (got the wrong size at first, return was very easy even though I couldn't get it back in the plastic roll)
Protein shakes by the case - much cheaper than grocery stores
Rack of Lamb is 9.99 a lb
New Dishwasher - they include delivery/install/haul-away and returns, so this saves more than a membership alone
New samsung tablet - I needed one, costco had a great one for $70 less than elsewhere
We are due for a new mattress and I'll get mine there too when it's on sale
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:57 AM   #3
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Empty nest and retired now about 6 years. We still have Sam's membership. Use it mainly when family visits and we are having to buy large amounts of meat and other groceries. Wife also checks out Sam's when XMAS shopping time comes. While wife grocery shops, I enjoy looking through tool sales and occasionally find something to buy there.
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:01 AM   #4
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I guess it depends on what you buy. For us at the $100 membership level we get generic prilosec for $12 (90 days) vs $20 through insurance so that saves us $32. I eat yogurt everyday, so that saves us about $30 a year. The bread I like is about .50 cheaper at Sams, so there is another $25 a year. So those 3 things alone save us $75 a year. We stock up on staples when they are on sale so worse case it is a wash when factoring in the annual membership.
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:05 AM   #5
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We still have a Costco membership and I've actually shopped there more during the pandemic. I don't mind the bulk sizes. We have enough room to store the non-perishables and I've learned to only buy the "assorted flavors" items if we like all the flavors in the package. We've never bought dairy or produce there, because even when we were a family of 3, those were too big for us. We also bought a washer and dryer last month and saved more than the cost of a membership when compared to the same models at Best Buy or Home Depot.

Back when my sister and I were both single, we used to shop there together and split the packages. Now our Mom and one of her friends do the same thing.
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:10 AM   #6
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I am uncertain about whether our $120 Costco membership is worth it or not. Our regular purchase items are laundry and dishwashing soaps, paper products like Kleenex, TP, and Paper Towels. Unfortunately, the business model is one that draws me in to get Kleenex and shows me a big screen TV that I had no plans to purchase. Likewise if I bring a teenager we are likely to come home with a giant box of spring rolls, sweatshirts, or who knows what.

I continue to renew, but can't say whether it breaks even or not. The business model works, and we usually leave with something we were not planning on.
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:18 AM   #7
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We do 75+ % of our grocery/toiletry/wine shopping at Costco. It's a once every 10 day or so trip for us. The meat quality is very high (and with a chest freezer it's easy to portion up the sizes for the two of us). Regular buys are the bagels (they freeze then thaw as needed very well), bulk veggies, milk, half&half, cheese, meats and wine. Lots of special buys when they go on sale. So far this year a Roomba I8 (when it was $100 off its regular low price).
We shop so much that we just received two $390 rebate checks from them last year (2% for the executive membership and 2% for their credit card rebate).
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerides View Post
I ended up joining costco soon after this thread:

https://www.early-retirement.org/for...you-87222.html

I don't do much grocery shopping there, still, but costco is close to my home. Stuff I bought recently:

New interlocking garage/gym floor mats - better and cheaper than the ones at Home Depot, Amazon, or anywhere
Storage racks for the garage, $30 each cheaper than elsewhere
A new rug for the living room, on sale, just my style (got the wrong size at first, return was very easy even though I couldn't get it back in the plastic roll)
Protein shakes by the case - much cheaper than grocery stores
Rack of Lamb is 9.99 a lb
New Dishwasher - they include delivery/install/haul-away and returns, so this saves more than a membership alone
New samsung tablet - I needed one, costco had a great one for $70 less than elsewhere
We are due for a new mattress and I'll get mine there too when it's on sale
Sams is only about a mile away from us and Costco would be about 5 miles. Wife and I have no need for bulk items,now that kids are on their own we no longer need a 100 count package of TP or a 50lb box of laundry soap. .When all kids were in HS we would go through maybe 3 gallons of milk a week and 2 dozen eggs maybe 2-3 loaves of bread and big bags of apples oranges grapes etc. Now the bulk packages are just too much for the 2 of us. But like you say appliances are often cheaper at Sams. We might join just for a year because our furnace is aging and Sams has good price there and our dishwasher is at least 10 years old and acting up some. and 15 yr old PC is acting up we got it at sams about 15 yrs ago. Am thinking I will get some
new tires for car as tires are good price at Sam as well.Never thought about matress but sam has those at good price as well, and wife and I will get new eyeglasses as well. Now for wife and I a 1/2 gallon of milk will last us 2 weeks and we maybe go through 2 dozen eggs a month unless wife is cooking. Most fresh bulk food would rot before we would ever consume it. My wife is a certified chef and bough a lot of bulk yeast at sams and we keeps it in ou big freezer Wife says produce at Sams is generally better than at grocery stores, but the 2 of us just cant eat a big bag of apples or oranges up before they go bad. When kids were home it was no problem.
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:56 AM   #9
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It's an individual decision. For everyday things, there's no way I cover the membership costs, and the bulk size of perishables is usually too big for me. And it's about 20 minutes farther away than my regular grocery store.

The main draw is larger items. I signed up for Costco originally because of a very good deal for a Disney hotel, which more than paid for that year. Tires are another winner for me. Electronics doesn't seem to be as big of a price winner for me, but the extended warranty and return policy are very attractive.

And then there's the quality. I really like the qualify of some of their food like steaks. I got a small chest freezer to take advantage. If the membership cost is close to break even, this can be a decider.

One strategy might be to load up the freezer just before membership expires, then wait until you need/want something and renew then. If there is a few months gap it could be worth it, because you might pay for 3 memberships over 4 years, or 4 for 5. If it's just a matter of weeks, I wouldn't bother.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:11 AM   #10
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There are just two of us but we continue our membership. We use Costco for car buying - I will never go back to negotiating on my own.

We buy cases of Kirkland carbonated water (much like La Croix) and that alone probably pays for our membership.

If we have parties we buy wine and while in California we buy hard alcohol for gifts and parties.

My spouse buys meat there and I get veggies.

For Halloween I buy boxes of the big candy bars and can return any unopened boxes..

For Christmas I buy toys for kids in need, they usually have a good selection, but they sell out a few weeks before Christmas.

We fill up our cars when we are there.

We get a nice rebate every year.

They pay their employees well so I feel good about shopping there.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:17 AM   #11
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There are just two of us but we continue our membership. We use Costco for car buying - I will never go back to negotiating on my own.
we love costco

can you advise on your car buying experience?
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:20 AM   #12
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I dropped my membership when it expired last year. I read an article, somewhere on the internet that said you break Ben on membership cost when you buy about $2,500 worth of stuff there. I don’t remember the exact number and I don’t even know if it was accurate, but I really only went there 3-4 times per year and I usually bought more stuff that I didn’t need. It was nice to be a member when I needed new tires though.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:21 AM   #13
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Just 2 of us - the closest Sam's is 80 miles, and the closest CostCo is 200 miles. Very few local options to buy anything at all at a discount.

But we have always bought non-perishables in bulk, things like paper towels, toilet paper, water softener salt, liquor, etc. Just the liquor savings alone are more than enough to pay for our membership. Besides, sometimes we just need an excuse to come down off the mountain...
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:22 AM   #14
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Last year Costco accounted for around 4% of our spending. There are certain things we buy there consistently because they are the best for our taste, or are the best deal for bulk. Since retiring I stated tracking our "restocking" frequency for certain items and it makes sense for some of them to get at Costco. It is also convenient, we are less than 15 minutes from one store; we I commuted, 2 other stores were either near my work location or on my commuting route.

Included in our Costco spending is Costco gas. In our area it is consistently at least 20 cents a gallon cheaper than other stations. We still drive enough so that it makes a difference. That alone more than covers the membership cost.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:23 AM   #15
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I dropped my membership when it expired last year. I read an article, somewhere on the internet that said you break Ben on membership cost when you buy about $2,500 worth of stuff there. I donít remember the exact number and I donít even know if it was accurate, but I really only went there 3-4 times per year and I usually bought more stuff that I didnít need. It was nice to be a member when I needed new tires though.
We break 'ben' pretty quickly as we spend about $500/month there. I don't know how, but we do.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:23 AM   #16
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Included in our Costco spending is Costco gas. In our area it is consistently at least 20 cents a gallon cheaper than other stations. We still drive enough so that it makes a difference. That alone more than covers the membership cost.
us as well
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Sam's club and Costco worth it for retirees.
Old 02-18-2021, 10:31 AM   #17
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Sam's club and Costco worth it for retirees.

We love Costco. We buy beef tenderloins and cut them before putting in the freezer. We also like their salmon. We also buy tp, paper towels, clothing, prescription eyeglasses, medications, diapers for grandkids and more. We get more than enough back to pay for the fees. Using the Costco Visa card also adds warranty protection. Returns are a piece of cake.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:34 AM   #18
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We love Costco. We buy beef tenderloins and cut them be putting in the freezer. We also like their salmon. We also buy tp, paper towels, clothing, prescription eyeglasses, medications, diapers for grandkids and more. We get more than enough back to pay for the fees. Using the Costco Visa card also adds warranty protection. Returns are a piece of cake.
their beef tenderloin alone is worth the membership
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:40 AM   #19
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Yes, I use Costco a lot. It is very conveniently close to me.

If one does shop at Costco , one might as well get the Costco VISA card otherwise it is like leaving money on the table. Between the two I save good money on most purchases and then get the cash back.

Not everything is cheaper at Costco. Sales as the local Kroger owned grocery store can beat them. The same goes with Target which can be cheaper than Costco when they have sales.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:43 AM   #20
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we love costco

can you advise on your car buying experience?
Yes, you send in an email letting them know what brand of car you want to test drive and they send back the dealership name and name of a salesperson to meet with. Then I set up an appointment for the next day and test drove.

I did this for 3 or 4 different types of cars, Subaru, Honda, Jeep, etc.

Once we decided on the car we wanted we told them what options we wanted on the car. We didn't have to dicker with the price, everything is preset.

We paid cash but they still had us meet with someone who tried to sell us a protection plan, that was a quick conversation.

There have been threads on this in the past where some people have been able to bargin a better price, but not by much. I feel confident the Costco price is better than what I could do on my own and I really hate the experience of the game playing. It's really easy just to go thru Costco.
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