I feel like I should change the name of my site to the “Top 5 Blog”. The format allows me to complain…errr, explain my view points in a very succinct and readable format. I’m pretty sure that whenever my blog is ready to support affiliate marketing I will have alienated so many mainstream companies that they won’t want anything to do with MoneyIsTheRoot! Today’s posting is about Costco and why I’m personally not buying the hype, or the annual membership.
This post really is about warehouse clubs in general, and not necessarily Costo only, but they seem to be the most prevalent in my area. Two representatives recently came into my work and setup shop in our company cafeteria. If you signed up for a membership between 11am – 1pm then you could receive a $10 gift card to Costco as a free bonus. I decided to give a shout over my cubicle wall to see if any of my fellow coworkers were going to bite on the deal, and that prompted several of them to walk over and extol the virtues of Costo. Gathering a quick consensus I noticed that the two biggest loves of Costco is it’s convenience of one-stop shopping, and their “discounted” products. Enough of the lead-in, let me get to the five reasons why I’m not buying into Costco.
Did You Know They Sell Consumer Electronics?
One of my eager Costco loving co-workers purchased a new television from them this past Christmas. He was absolutely convinced that purchase alone justified his annual membership fee of $50. You can currently purchase a 32” 1080P Samsung TV from Costco for $400 plus sales tax (6% in Michigan) provided you are a member, or you can purchase it on their website and have it shipped to your house for an added $50. A quick search of Google Shopping revealed a purchase price of $319, free shipping, and no sales tax. For me that is over a $100 in savings, conveniently shipped to my front door, and oh yea…no membership needed. I’m a big fan of online shopping and the money you can save, if you get a chance please check out my previous post The Beauty of Online Retail.
Yes They Even Sell Engagement Rings
Hey don’t laugh, there is even a Murray’s Auto Supply in my area that sells engagement rings…talk about product diversification. Don’ get me wrong, they have diamonds of all quality, and if they had the best prices then this post would have an entirely different theme. In all fairness, they actually have quite the selection, and there is even a ring for $227,000 available… is this Tiffany’s or Costco…I forget. I found a ring on Costco, an Asscher and Baguette diamond ring for $5,000. I went on Blue Nile (www.bluenile.com), a convenient website that allowed me to put in the exact same specifications as those on Costo.com, and I was able to piece together the exact same ring for $4,500. Not only is that a 10% discount (which I’m sure would increase with a more expensive ring), but they offer more flexibility in sizing as well.
They Offer The Cheapest Gas Around
I know more than one person that swears they have the best prices on gasoline, and will drive out of their way just to fill up the tank at Costco. A quick search of gas prices by zipcode (thank you Gas Buddy!) showed that my local Costco is $3.50 a gallon, while my local Speedway is $3.48 a gallon and one mile closer to home. Also, if you go on discounted gift card sites like Plastic Jungle you can find good deals on cards for local stations…maybe even saving 5% – 10% off your total purchase. In fact, you can use this method for a variety of purchases, see my previous post No Gift Card Left Behind.
Have You Ever Purchased Tires at Costco?
I haven’t, and I dont ever plan on doing so. I did another quick search on Costco and found that four Michelin tires for my vehicle would run me $864. I then did a search on Discount Tires website and found the exact same tires for a total cost of $804. Granted it’s only $60 in savings, but savings are savings, and that purchase won’t cost me a membership fee. If you do a search for Discount Tire on Retail Me Not you may be able to find added rebates and discounts to further those savings.
Wal-Mart vs. Costco
Let me just say that I don’t have any love for Wal-Mart, this section is not about me promoting them but rather another comparison to Costco pricing, and another option for consumers. One-stop shopping may have propelled Costco into retail stardom, but their main staple has always been groceries. A comparison of grocery prices are a bit harder to compare, they are many different brands, package sizes, etc. However, I do have a few sample items that we can compare. A 36 count package of 12 oz. cans of 7-UP is about $0.45 cheaper at Wal-mart. A 30oz. bottle of French’s mustard is $0.06 cheaper at Wal-mart, and a fresh pork loin is $.01 less per pound as well. I’m sure you could go into a Costco and find a dozen different grocery items that are less expensive than Wal-Mart, but then again, you are paying an annual fee to buy those items. Let me further clarify by explaining I am aware Wal-Mart owns a warehouse chain of their own, Sam’s Club. I’m not anymore a fan of them than I am of Costco. Though I do find it funny that the Sam’s Club near my house closed last year, and they are building a new Wal-Mart supercenter about a mile from that location…maybe they are on to something!
I probably could have extended this list to 6 reasons, since I’m especially not a fan of waiting in line to leave the building. Yes, at Costco you are guilty until to proven innocent, since they check your bags in comparison with your receipt before you can leave the place. This is just some food for thought, take from it what you will. You know my motto here…money is the root of all things good! So it’s only natural that I like to save as much of it as possible!