Personal Finance

7 Purchases That Will Pay for Your Costco Membership

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Senior Costco shopper
Kristi Blokhin /

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.

If you know you’re going to need one or more of the following big-ticket items in the next year or so, it may make sense to budget and plan to make all the purchases in one year to make the most of a Costco membership fee, which starts at $60.

If you’re planning any of the following seven purchases in the next year, you may as well consider your membership paid for.

After you cover the membership fee with one or more large purchases, stock up on smaller items such as gift cards and movie passes that you will use this year and the next in order to maximize your savings in the year you purchase a membership.

1. Electronics

Laptop computers at Costco
Helen89 /

A friend saved $200 on a computer, compared with all other options. The same goes for televisions and other electronics. Obviously, you will need to shop around. Costco also extends the manufacturer’s warranty to two years of electronics, TVs and major appliances.

2. Tires

Costco tire center
Cassiohabib /

I was able to get my dealer to price match the lowest price I found at a shop in the suburbs. Still, Costco came in only a few dollars more so Costco should always be in the mix when you’re shopping for tires. And your savings increase with Costco’s free rotation service.

3. Eyeglasses and contact lenses

Costco in Los Angeles
Elliott Cowand Jr /

The Costco Optical Department is highly rated by Consumer Reports. When I had new glasses made several years ago I saved $300 compared with other options I researched. They also made a mistake on the lenses (which had to be remade) and gave me a $50 cash card for my trouble. Another friend joined Costco exclusively to save money on contact lenses, and that savings covers her annual fee every year.

4. Carpet and flooring

Trong Nguyen /

One Living on the Cheap editor found that Costco’s price to carpet her home was cheaper than anywhere else in town, even before she got an additional Costco rebate based on her top-tier membership. Costco works with local carpet and flooring stores to provide the products and installation.

5. Furniture

Furniture at a Costco warehouse
melissamn /

I searched everywhere for a reasonably priced leather ottoman with storage. All other options were $1,000. Costco’s was $275, including tax and shipping. The first one arrived with the box damaged so I sent it back (they emailed a prepaid label). They sent me another one and gave me a $25 credit for my trouble (I tried for $50).

6. Parties

Soda at Costco
Pictures_n_Photos /

If you have an anniversary or graduation party coming up, you will find the bulk quantities sold at Costco can be a very good deal when you’re cooking for a crowd, particularly steaks (they sell prime beef that you can’t get at the grocery store) and seafood. Julia Child bought her meat from Costco.

7. Wine and beer

Trong Nguyen /

Costco is the largest purveyor of fine wines in the United States. Availability will vary but you can get some great deals. A friend who is a beer enthusiast tells me the beer prices and selection are excellent also. Again, if you have big party coming up, a big Costco booze purchase may make sense.

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