Memberships at Costco start at $55 and provide access to a wealth of departments featuring low-priced groceries, home goods, electronics, furniture, pharmacy, photo printing, and more, and at some stores, even cheap wedding dresses. Members also get additional coupons for extra savings, as well as deals on home and auto insurance, car buying, car rental, travel, and numerous financial services. The in-house brand is Kirkland. This wholesale superstore is a near-miss for the top spot on our list.
Costco reviews, by consumers and our own researcher, are strongly favorable. Costco reviews posted on Viewpoints report that the wholesale superstore sells high-quality meats for discounted prices, stocks an excellent selection of wine, carries eye-pleasing high-end jewelry, and gives out coupons that can double your savings. Our in-store Costco review confirmed these assessments and also found the employees to be extremely friendly, helpful, and informative; the day we shopped the store was clean and the shelves well-stocked.
Costco sells the usual assortment of discounted items, often in bulk quantities, in categories ranging from groceries and home goods to office supplies, clothing, electronics, automotive, and more. Kirkland is the in-house brand. Costco also offers members additional coupons for even better deals on a variety of items and discounts on gasoline, photo printing, pharmacy services, even funeral caskets and cremation urns. A few stores sell discount wedding dresses and all stores offer free hearing services (hearing tests and hearing aid testing, cleaning, and battery change). While conducting our Costco review, we also learned that members qualify for discounts on car purchases through select dealers, car rentals, travel arrangements, and financial products such as loan refinancing, online investing, and auto and home insurance.
As part of our Costco review we conducted an in-store shopping cart test. The total bill for 38 items, including snack foods, dairy products, baby products, meats, fresh produce, and paper goods, came to $227.08. The bottom line for the same basket of goods at Sam's Club was $11.43 lower, but on a unit-price basis (i.e., the cost of each ounce or item you get in each package), Costco was 3.6% cheaper. American Express is the only credit card Costco accepts, but you can pay in cash or with a check or debit card.
Overall, our Costco review found this wholesale club to be a smart, money-saving choice for frugal shoppers. The everyday discounts and extra coupons make the price of a membership worthwhile. If you're a heavy user of travel and financial services, rent cars often, or plan on buying a new car in the near future, then Costco is the club for you. Its orbit spins wider than Sam's Club in terms of out-of-store deals, while its in-store perks and brand selection are just a tad limited.