We've been members of Costco for several years now, but with our membership about to expire, I don't think we will renew. Yes. I'm writing a blog post about this. The annual Costco membership fee is now $55, either $10 or &15 more than when we first joined. However, despite having two kids and thinking that we'll need more bulk items than before, I've found that we go to Costco less and less. Let's do some math.
The primary pro for renewing the Costco membership is the gasoline prices. Costco's gas is generally about 10 cents a gallon less than any other gas station in the area. If we get gas 40 times a year (I rarely get gas for my car since I rely on public transportation and only drive locally), that's probably a savings of about $40. Yes, a $40 savings is less than the $55 membership fee. Plus, the problem with getting gas at Costco is that you have to arrive either early in the morning or late at night. If you arrive when the store is open, the line is generally at least 4 cars deep despite there being 75 pumps (slight exaggeration). I probably waste as much gas waiting in line than the savings I get.
Other than gas, there really isn't much major savings. The bulk items we buy at Costco (ex. paper towels, toilet paper) are approximately the same cost as the bulk items at Wegmans. While formula was slightly cheaper at Costco, we usually used a rebate check/coupon that Costco would not accept. That coupon made it cheaper ton buy formula elsewhere. Man, I hate that Costco doesn't take coupons. Now, we don't need to buy formula anymore. WOOO! The Target diapers work just fine too. The one plus on Costco's side is that we prefer the Kirkland wipes to others. And yes I just bought 4 boxes of them anticipating that we wouldn't renew.
So I'm sure you're asking, but Sean, what about the free samples and the $1.50 hot dog and Coke? Well, if I feel the need for this, I still have my Costco card. I can still flash it at the front door and get a free sample of some frozen appetizer. I just wouldn't be able to check out with a 24-pack of GoGo Squeeze applesauce (which is about the same price per sauce as the 16-pack at Wegmans). And if I truly need a 20-pack of soap, I can probably find a friend with a Costco membership and borrow their card.