Is Costco Worth It? Here’s How to Decide on a Membership

Paying for the privilege of shopping at a wholesale warehouse isn’t always worth the cost. Many shoppers think they’re saving a bundle by buying in bulk but never bother to do the math. Is shopping at warehouses like Costco really worth it compared to your local grocery store?

With lower prices per unit for buying bulk, you might save a few dollars, but that can get gobbled up by travel expenses, food waste, and Gold Star or Executive membership fees. Let’s take a closer look at when shopping at Costco makes sense and when skipping it is a smart money move for your household.

Is the Costco Membership Fee Worth It?

Whether Costco’s cover charge is worth while depends on your situation.

The money itself can mean more or less depending on how much of a stretch it is for your budget, of course… but that’s not the only factor.

To figure out whether paying the membership fee would be a savings or a needless splash, you’ve got to examine your purchasing needs and behaviors — and match them up with the goods and services Costco has to offer.

How Much Is a Costco Membership?

Costco offers three different membershipsone of which is a business membership and all of which have annual membership fees. All memberships, including the standard Gold Star membership, come with one free household card and are valid at all Costco locations worldwide.

Costco Membership Prices

Membership Annual Membership Fee Reward Points # of Members Other Benefits
Gold Star $60 no 2 N/A
Executive $120 Yes, 2% back on purchases 2 Savings on Costco services and travel benefits
Business $60 no 2 free, additional members $60 Can purchase items for resale

You’ll be tempted to sneak your entire extended family in under the membership umbrella, but don’t. Costco specifies that the Gold Star and the Gold Star Executive memberships can have only one primary cardholder. A second card is provided free of charge for any household member…

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