How Much It Takes To Pay Off That Membership Fee

March 20th, 2014 by

Today a person brought me into Costco as they recently purchased a membership which costs about $100 a year which surprised me as for the most part the grocery bill and such is just for himself.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to check out the prices of various items as comparing the prices of a membership store versus a non-membership store always seems to spark a debate.  For the most part everything seemed as usual where some prices were better than say what you would find at a regular supermarket and some weren’t.

I then saw some almond milk that I have recently bought from the supermarket.  I pay about $2 for each normally and at Costco it seemed like they were selling it in packages of six for about $11.22.  So you save like 13 cents each.  The reaction I got at first was how this was an example on how you can save a lot of money.  I was then thinking, what happens though if you really break it down and factor in the membership fee?

If I was to buy nothing but almond milk for example, with a 13 cent saving and factoring in the current “debt” you have of paying the $100 that means you need to buy 769 cartons of almond milk to break even with the membership.  That really gets you thinking.  Let’s say on average you would go through two packages a week.  With 52 weeks in a year that means you would go through 104 cartons which costs $208.  With the other route it would be $194.48 which is a yearly savings of $13.52.  Of course if you add on the membership it doesn’t look very good.

So even if the item is slightly cheaper, for the most part you really have to make sure that you genuinely need to buy a lot of items to make it worthwhile in this type of example.  It seems like many people ignore that part or though.  There was one good example of when it does make sense.   I saw these replacement brush heads for the Sonicare toothbrush where most stores sell a pair for like $35.  In this Costco I was at you could buy a pack that had like eight of them for like $40.  Like with that it can make a lot of sense to get the membership as one purchase pretty much puts you on even ground right away without having to go out of your way.  Just need to add up those numbers to make the best decision.


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