Bigger Might Be Better

How to tell if a membership to a big box store is worth it

The upside of big box stores like Costco is obvious: You save money by buying in bulk. But what if it’s not always that simple? The annual cost of a Costco membership is $60. Are you actually saving money if you’re shelling out that amount every year? Here are some ways to know if a membership to a big box store is worth it for you.

Fill It Up

One of the main allures of Costco and the like are their cheap gas prices. As US News reports, big box stores often have prices as much as 10 cents cheaper per gallon than local gas stations. If you go past a Costco on your commute and fill up weekly with 10 gallons of gas, you’d be saving about $36.40 per year. However, these savings only make sense if the store is on your normal route. Check gas station prices along your typical commute and compare them to the big box’s. If the math works out, the membership fee is worth it.

Bulk Products

A big box membership is often worth it for households with three or more people because of the savings gained from bulk purchases. Check the warehouse store’s prices on things like trash bags, toilet paper and laundry detergent. Compare those listings to your local grocery store. If there’s big time savings from shopping at the big box store, stick with it.

Big Purchases

If you’re in the market for new tires, a flat screen TV or a household appliance, chances are the prices at a big box store will be cheaper than other retailers. Like always, do the research before you buy.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea