Saving on Costco Membership Fees

By | October 21, 2013
Source: nytimes.com

Source: nytimes.com

Costco is one of those places where you can walk in and walk out $100 poorer and with just 6 items in your cart (albeit bulk items).  Am I right?  It seems like every time we go to Costco, we end up spending about $50 on average, which is a good chunk of our grocery budget, especially if we go more than once a month.  As shocking as the monthly Costco total can be to us at times, we would not give up our Costco membership or going to Costco.  We buy many of our staple items there, such as toilet paper, milk, cheese, eggs, bread, and so on.  For many people, the money they save by buying certain items in bulk at Costco is well worth the cost of the membership fees.

Source: costco.com

Source: costco.com

But is it possible to save on the membership fees?  The answer is yes!

Check the Costco website and other deal sites for discounts

Every so now and then, the Costco website will offer discounted membership prices.  On occasion, other deal sites such as Retailmenot.com or zulily.com will feature Costco membership packages at a discounted price.  These packages usually come with special coupons redeemable at Costco.  These promotions are usually short-lived however, and you have to really be on the look-out for them to be able to catch them.

Share with a family member

One idea is to split the membership among family members.  Within the Costco membership tiers, there are three levels: gold, business and executive.  It costs $55 for the gold and business membership levels, and $110 for the executive level.  All levels include household membership for one year, meaning two family members can share the same membership account.  For years, my husband has shared the membership with his mom (she is the primary account holder), effectively enabling us to go to Costco for free.  We don’t pay the membership fee, his mom does.  In return, she keeps all the money earned on the card, which is 2% on the purchases made throughout the year.  One catch is that when you sign up for this, both the primary and add-on cardholders must be living at the same address.  At the time my mother-in-law set this up, my husband was still living at home (his immediate post-college days), so it worked out.  When she renews the membership, they don’t check.  Whether or not they do check upon sign up may just depend on the sales person who helps you.

Use a gift card to gain entry

If you don’t have a family member to share the membership with, you can ask someone who does have a membership to buy you a gift card to Costco.  I personally do not have a Costco membership, so this is what my husband did for me.  With the gift card, I’m able to enter Costco (just show it to the team member at the door like you would a regular Costco card) and pay for groceries using it.  You can reload the gift card as needed.  I know of some other people who use this method without problems.  Its actually quite handy if you want to go to Costco on occasion, but don’t go often enough to make the membership fees worthwhile.

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link for zulily.com

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  1. Pingback: Costco Membership Deal at Zulily | Frugal Adventures

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