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Costco or Sam's club worth the membership fees?

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TeresaT

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There is a Cosco in north GA near me. There is a Sam's here in town. Costco's fee is $55 per year and Sam's is $45. Is it truly worth the fee to join when I would only be purchasing Olive Oil and possibly coconut oil? Or should I just buy the olive oil in bulk online? I'll be making lots of Bastille (75% OO) and my standard recipe is 40% OO. I've been buying at the grocery store.
 

not_ally

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Can't opine on Sam's, don't have one that close to me. I do find the OO cheaper at Cosco than anywhere else when you factor in shipping, and much cheaper than the grocery store. Don't know if it would be cheaper to buy in bulk elsewhere (how much would you pay including the shipping?) I briefly considered joining a restaurant supply store to get cheaper oils, but I mostly use lard and it is hard to imagine anyone has it cheaper than where I buy it now, Smart and Final, $27 for 50 lbs.

Coconut oil is a bit cheaper on line for me, but I don't buy that in bulk either.
 
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cm4bleenmb

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I have a Costco memership, and even though it's just the two of us, there are still things that do not come in overwhelming amounts. And the Kirkland brand really is good quality. I think you would be surprised by how many other things you might buy if you take the time to look around. If you soap with milks, they have a good selection, but I didn't really look at the prices. I have not used their pharmacy or any of the other services like eyeglasses or auto and travel discounts so I can't offer advice on those.

Last weekend they had their own version of Prilosec for about half of what it cost at Walmart or Amazon. I bought a pound of Gruyere for the same price as an 8 ounce chunk at Walmart and their real maple syrup is much cheaper. Ditto for Dave's Bread. I did pay a little bit more for their chicken, but it comes in a bulk package that is already divided into smaller packages--so I did not need to bring it home and repackage it for myself. I considered that a reasonable trade-off.

That said, I am thinking about checking out Sam's club because if it's anything like the one we had by us in MI, I think it will better fit us. They had a great meat department, and the Sam's Choice products were also good quality.

I know Sam's used to let non-members shop if you paid a 5% up-charge. You could go in and check on prices and look the place over. Even though I have a membership, I don't know if Costco has a similar policy, if you know someone with a membership, maybe you can go in with them. For me, they are both at least a 20 mile drive and I have to limit myself to what I buy because this house doesn't have the wonderful pantry space the house in MI had. :cry:

The only way to answer this question for yourself is to do the math and consider your personality. Compare the costs of the oils from each source, s/h vs. distance to drive, convenience of having it delivered to you vs. going to pick it up yourself, and see which option delivers the best value to you--financially and emotionally.
 

shunt2011

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I go to COSTCO at least every other week. I get my Avocado and Olive Oil from them. I also love their roasted chicken. It's 4.99 and awesome and not just scrawny little chickens like at the grocery store.

I too stocked up on their Prilosec version. My insurance quit covering it and I take 40 mg twice a day and have for years.

They run great sales.

I did have a Sam's membership but just let it lapse as COSTCO is more convenient for me to get to.
 
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snappyllama

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We have a Costco membership and find it pays for itself after just a couple of months. I only have one teenager left at home so we don't buy a lot of perishables in bulk. But the prices on chicken breasts and ground beef (we break it down into 1 pound ziplock bags) is a such a huge savings (around 2 dollars less per pound). They have good deals on pet supplies, bread, and cleaners. I avoid snack foods as having 5lbs of chips hanging around is not a good idea for me!

On the soaping side... I get olive oil, avocado oil, baking soda, sea salt and paper towels there.

The closest Costco is about 45 minutes away so I just take a cooler with me. I go about once a month to restock. I cannot compare to Sams since I don't have a membership there. We had one a while back, but I think Costco is a little more expensive on some items, but it carries more brands we like (especially on gift-type things).... and they pay their employees better/have more helpful employees. Also, the croissants are better. Ahem...

ETA: if you know someone with a Costco membership, get them to buy a gift card for you... you can shop there/check it out without buying a membership (but check with the store first. I think it's a company policy, but it might be store specific).
 
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Stacyspy

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I don't have either near me, but if you check out the coupon sites, a lot of times, you can get a free one day membership to them, so you can check it out and see which you prefer.
 

cmzaha

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Until we retired I had membership at both Costco and Sams. When I decided to let one go I let go of Sams. I only shop there once a month since it is just 2 of us but I still very seldom go into a grocery store. I donot purchase my avocado oil because I would go broke with paying $10 for a litre, but do buy all my olive oil at costco. Olive oil at Costco is cheaper than Sams. I do still go to Sams once in awhile with my daughter. If you really think you are not going to buy much there Olive Oil from my Costco cost $0.246 per ounce Refined A at Soapers Choice with shipping to CA is $0.256 per ounce so not a big difference and would pay you to join. I think our Costco still give a 1 day pass to check them out, you could ask. Soapers Choice Avo is a better price than Costco
 

not_ally

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Shunt, you are right about the roasted chickens at Cosco, they are so much bigger, better and cheaper than at the grocery. Cosco is hard for me b/c I am just one person, but I always get one of those, eat a bit of it, make chicken salad, then use the carcass for broth, some of which I freeze for later. I love those things!
 

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Lets not forget about Costco muffins, those alone make a membership worth it. If you have pets, the kirkland petfoods are premium quality without the premium petstore prices.
If you want virgin, unrefined coconut oil for non soapy things, they have a good deal on a large tub. I use it straight on skin and hair, I also cook with it.
If you use sulfate free shampoo, again the kirkland brand can't be beat.
 

kumudini

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Costco membership is most definitely worth it, that is if you plan to do your general shopping there as well, not just oils. In my household its just the two of us but being vegetarians we buy lot of fruits and veggies, we buy rice quinoa, OO for cooking and soaping. water and pops are a great value too, that's where hubby buys them for his sports team. I think we have the executive membership or something like that where the 2% money back at the end of the year basically pays for next year dues+some.

ETA: as Obsidian mentioned, EVCO is a great value too, I use it in body butters and cooking and baking and hair care.
 
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navigator9

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OMG, I love Costco! I think you would be surprised at how many bargains you'd find there. Also, their Kirkland brand is really top quality. I was a coffee snob until a friend turned me on to their coffee....love it. Same friend, from China, turned me on to the green tea....delicious. Their meats are great quality, and I always buy my salmon there. Their bakery dept. is great. I buy a whole bag of lemons or limes, juice them all, freeze them in ice cube trays and have fresh juice whenever I need it. I buy my cat food there, paper towels, toilet paper. You can get an eye exam and glasses there, cheaper. As someone else mentioned, their pharmacy dept. is cheaper, and you don't even need to belong to use their pharmacy. Their frozen berries are a bargain for making smoothies. I could go on and on. Maybe you could find a friend who'd like to shop there who would share the cost of a membership with you. I don't think you'd regret it.

not_ally, I'm just me, too, and I didn't think it would be worth it for me to join, and on some things it's hard for one person to take advantage. But with most things, like the salmon, I portion it out and freeze it. I have shelves in the basement where I keep the paper towels, cat food, etc. Having a Costco just 10 minutes away makes me a happy girl! Oh, and I forgot the garbage bags.....I only buy garbage bags once a year! LOL
 

kumudini

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OMG, I love Costco! I think you would be surprised at how many bargains you'd find there. Also, their Kirkland brand is really top quality. I was a coffee snob until a friend turned me on to their coffee....love it. Same friend, from China, turned me on to the green tea....delicious. Their meats are great quality, and I always buy my salmon there. Their bakery dept. is great. I buy a whole bag of lemons or limes, juice them all, freeze them in ice cube trays and have fresh juice whenever I need it. I buy my cat food there, paper towels, toilet paper. You can get an eye exam and glasses there, cheaper. As someone else mentioned, their pharmacy dept. is cheaper, and you don't even need to belong to use their pharmacy. Their frozen berries are a bargain for making smoothies. I could go on and on. Maybe you could find a friend who'd like to shop there who would share the cost of a membership with you. I don't think you'd regret it.

not_ally, I'm just me, too, and I didn't think it would be worth it for me to join, and on some things it's hard for one person to take advantage. But with most things, like the salmon, I portion it out and freeze it. I have shelves in the basement where I keep the paper towels, cat food, etc. Having a Costco just 10 minutes away makes me a happy girl! Oh, and I forgot the garbage bags.....I only buy garbage bags once a year! LOL
And I thought I was the biggest Costco fan out there :p
 

dixiedragon

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If literally the only thing you would buy would be olive oil and coconut oil...no. I suggest you ask about a day membership, I think they are $10 or so? Just to check it out. Costco has wonderful cheese that's almost 50% cheaper than at Publix. For example, gruyere is $18/lb at Publix and $10/lb at Costco. Their meat prices are also very good. Produce is hit or miss- I've gotten great pears, but their apples are kind of meh for some reason. Good price on onions. Love their Sweet Italian Sausage.
 

kumudini

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If literally the only thing you would buy would be olive oil and coconut oil...no. I suggest you ask about a day membership, I think they are $10 or so? Just to check it out. Costco has wonderful cheese that's almost 50% cheaper than at Publix. For example, gruyere is $18/lb at Publix and $10/lb at Costco. Their meat prices are also very good. Produce is hit or miss- I've gotten great pears, but their apples are kind of meh for some reason. Good price on onions. Love their Sweet Italian Sausage.
I buy their Gala apples. They seem to turn less brown when cut up or juiced and they taste good enough for this non-apple eater to eat sometimes. I absolutely love their Forelle pears. another thing we buy is the coconut water cartons during summer, Vita coco and the organic real coco are both really good, we buy them mostly when they have 5$ off coupons, a great value.
I guess we could talk anyone into considering a Costco membership.
 

shunt2011

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Don't forget Vitamins, Fresh Veggies (asparagus, broccoli) Cold Meds. Their brand of mucinex is 1/3 the price and you get two bottles. I buy my fresh Strawberries and blueberries. My husband is also a huge fan of their Columbian Coffee. Paper plates, napkins, Chai Tea. So many things. I'm actually going to stop on my way home from work today.
 

navigator9

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And I thought I was the biggest Costco fan out there :p
Oh no.....that would be me. LOL And I forgot about the cheese.....and the vitamins, thanks for mentioning those! I'm someone who doesn't like to shop often, so Costco is perfect for me. And my girlfriend always says that you can put a party together in half an hour by grabbing cheese and fruit, and frozen appetizers, and a cheesecake from Costco. And there are tires, and furniture, and clothes and books, and and and.........how can you go wrong?

shopping-672164.gif
 

not_ally

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The party thing is so true. I have shown up w/a variety of things from Cosco and been treated as a saviour, I don't always admit that I didn't make them myself, pretty serving dishes go a long way :)
 

kumudini

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That's right, furniture. We are about to buy the 8 cube storage shelf, it's the best value and looks nice and really well made. Ok, no more praising Costco. But before I say bye for the weekend, I would like to remind all the Costco fans ( if you didn't know already), sign up or switch to the executive membership, it does really pay for itself, all of it, with the cash back and that is over and beyond the savings on everything.
Disclaimer: neither me nor the hubby are affiliated to Costco.
Have a wonderful soapy weekend everyone! No soaping for me till Monday :(.
 

TeresaT

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OK. You've convinced me. Costco it is!! I had a membership to Sam's a long time ago when my mom lived with me. I didn't really think it was "all that" and didn't go very often. People in my building at work have memberships to Costco and rave about it. But I hate shopping of all forms and the thought of driving down there for olive oil was a PITA. However, since y'all mentioned CHEESE, STRAWBERRIES & BLUEBERRIES, how can I resist that? I hope they have yogurt, too. And Marie Callandar's dinners. I will get a membership when I get paid again and see if I actually end up grocery shopping instead of fast food and bagged salads. Thanks everyone for your help.
 

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