I love love LOVE Costco. As someone who spent her Saturday afternoons browsing the warehouse’s selections and filling up on all the free samples, I cannot stress how much I love this wholesaler. When I started first year, I even convinced my dad to add me onto his membership so I could stock up on the great 24 rolls of toilet paper deals.
However, every since moving out of residence and into my own apartment, I’ve realized that I haven’t gone once to Costco despite living a 10 minute bus ride away. It wasn’t practical to buy a 5kg bag of apples or 3 loaves of bread because I couldn’t possibly finish it all before it went bad. I also simply didn’t have the space for it all in our shared fridge. I started shopping at regular grocery stores such as Loblaws and Metro where I could get smaller portions – but at a higher cost.
The question of the worth of Costco then, really boils down to 2 things:
- Storage space
- Expiration date
If you’re like me and living in a 3 bedroom apartment with 1 shared fridge and a tiny storage closet, then you probably won’t even have the space to store all the bulk items you’re buying. My roommates and I barely have enough bathroom space for our personal necessities, let alone 50 rolls of toilet paper. While we may be saving money by buying in bulk, the inconvenience of storing everything outweighed the dollars saved. Only when we’re on the last few rolls do we make the trek to Costco to replenish our supply.
The same goes for produce and frozen foods. Be a considerate roommate and don’t hog all the fridge space. If you really do need extra space, invest in a mini fridge or deep freezer to store all your goodies. Or better yet, share with your roommates and split the cost!
As someone who packs lunches and cooks dinner fairly regularly, I know how much food I need to get me through the week until my next grocery run. I feel horrible about buying too much food and then throwing it out because not only is it wasteful, but also costly.
Think to yourself before buying jumbo pack of cucumbers: are you really going to be able to finish it all before it expires? While you may be saving money by buying in bulk, it might be cheaper to buy only 1 or 2 at your local grocer. Costco, however, is an amazing place to stock up on bulk foods that have a longer expiry date such as frozen veggies and granola bars. It’s even better if you share with your roommates to split the costs in case you know you can’t finish a 10 pound bag of broccoli by yourself.
At the end of the day, you really do need to weigh the costs of membership with the benefits of bulk. While my card is under my dad’s as part of the family membership, many of my friends have a household membership where everyone pitches in to lower the costs.
And if all else fails, just enjoy their $1.50 hotdog combos which you don’t need a membership to get.