Costco saves customers money, but also has some pitfalls.

Costco is a wholesale warehouse style store where you pay a yearly membership fee and purchase bulk items for a reportedly cheaper price.  Costco offers many items including groceries, meat, medications, furniture, electricals, appliances, tires, books, office supplies and more.  Many families find they can save a great deal of money shopping at Costco, but others feel the membership is a waste of money. 

LARGE QUANTITIES

Costco does not sell just one pack of toilet paper.  You have to buy 12 packs at once.  They do not sell 1 jar of mayonnaise.  Instead you get 1 humongous jar or you might have to buy two to four regular size jars at a time.  Want one can of soup?  You will have to buy multiple cans and they may be all one type like chicken noodle or they may put three different types of soup in a pack.  The meat also comes in large quantities.  You might get 12 steaks, 6 pounds of hamburger or 24 frozen chicken breasts.  You will have to separate the fresh meat into different freezer bags in portions.  Costco sells most groceries in bulk, which is what allows them to buy at a lower price and they pass it on to the customer. 

FAMILY SIZE

If you have a large family, you can definitely benefit from the Costco membership.  You will be able to use the bulk quantity items within a reasonable amount of time.  A family of six can drink 6 gallons of milk and eat 2 pounds of cheese before they go bad.  They would be buying in bulk anyway.  A family of three would most likely not be able to consume 4 heads of lettuce before it starts to rot. 

STORAGE ISSUES

Those that have limited amounts of storage space might not be able to take advantage of bulk items from Costco.  A family with an apartment size refrigerator couldn’t store much, but a family with a large chest style freezer would be able to put away large quantities.  The family who lives in a small apartment would not have much space to store multitudes of toilet paper rolls and paper towels but a family with a big basement does.  

NEEDS

Families that need new appliances and furniture can benefit from that yearly Costco membership.  Large items like furniture and appliances are cheaper and if you need to furnish a house, you can do so inexpensively with the furniture there.  Remember that Costco does not deliver.  You will have to find your own way to get it home. 

BUSINESSES

Families that have their own businesses will benefit from a Costco membership.  The office supplies are priced low and will pay for the membership in no time, plus the family can take advantage of groceries and all the other items. 

In conclusion, those that have large families, lots of storage space, are furnishing a house or have a family business will benefit from a Costco membership.  You also must take into consideration your willpower.  The store does have great items for low prices and they place them strategically to be seen.  If you do not arrive with a list and stick to it, you are likely to spend more money than planned.  Also, be aware of prices of items outside the Costco store.  You might find the cost per unit is less in stores like Family Dollar, Wal-Mart or Target.

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