For me, paying for the privilege to shop at a store reeks of buying a seat license for the honor of purchasing season tickets, or a membership to a video rental store. The latter may sound nuts, but in the 1990s I was a card carrying, dues paying member of Lakeside Family Video.
I’m sure a Costco membership works out financially for some people who buy stuff they actually need. It was not worth $55 a year for me. Like I said here, most of my purchases were for booze, taquitos and tube socks.
If you are thinking about joining Costco, here are three things you might wanna consider:
- Two people in a household can share a membership, even roommates. Who are we to say what a household is? It takes a village! No H8! Sisterhood of Traveling Pants! Who’s with me?!?!?! I know a couple dudes who got a Costco membership when they were roommates. When they moved out into their own swingin’ bachelor pads, they kept the membership alive. Sure, this may get them thrown in Costco jail if their cover is blown. For now, they split the cost of membership.
- There is such a thing as a Costco Cash Card. It’s a gift card that can be purchased and reloaded by a Costco member in denominations from $25 to $1,000. Regardless of whether you are a member or not, if you have one, you may use it to buy something at Costco that costs more than the value of what is on your Cash Card. Let’s say a Costco member stuffed your stocking with one. It may take massive chutzpah to plunk down a $25 gift card to buy a $1,000 flat screen (putting the balance on your debit or Amex), but Costco told me that would be okay. And yes, I’m trying to work more Yiddish into my vokabular.
- Even if you are not a Costco member, you can still shop at Costco.com. My friend Brake bought a $119 hard drive when the next best price he could find elsewhere was $149. Even with the extra 5%, he still saved $24. Visit Costco.com, and scroll down to Membership Requirement, you will see “Non-members will be charged a 5% surcharge over the member’s posted product prices (except for prescription drugs).”
If you and Costco were made for each other, you know that you can pay in the store with cash or debit card. But if you wanna use a credit card it has to be an American Express card. The TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express functions as your membership card as well, so you don’t have to carry around two cards. It has no annual fee for Costco members. It gets you 3% cash back on gasoline purchases anywhere (not just Costco), 2% cash back at restaurants, and 1% on other purchases (not just Costco).
Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on that card and more.