4 Signs a Costco Membership Isn't Worth It for You

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  • It takes a $60 investment to be able to shop at Costco.
  • It's only worth paying for a membership if you have a store nearby, room for storage, and a way to transport your purchases back and forth.

It may not be worth the price after all.

For many people, joining Costco is an easy decision. And that was certainly the case for me.

Shopping at Costco commonly results in a much lower credit card tab compared to buying food and household essentials at my nearby supermarket or closest big-box store. And because I have an upgraded executive membership, I get 2% back on my purchases, the same way your credit card might give you cash back on the things you buy.

Now to be clear, you don't need an executive membership, which costs $120 a year, to shop at Costco. A basic membership is all you need to get in the door, and at a $60 price point, it's not such a huge investment.

But even so, a Costco membership may not automatically be the best thing for you. Here are a few signs that you might actually want to pass on a membership.

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1. You don't have a Costco nearby

I happen to have two Costco warehouses within 15 minutes of my house. But if you live nowhere near a Costco location, you may not make it to the store all that often. And in that case, a membership may not be worth paying for.

Granted, you could always shop at Costco online. But you'll often find that doing so means paying extra for the items you're buying.

Case in point: At my local Costco this week, a three-pack of cucumbers was $5.99. But to order that same item online for delivery, it costs $7.01.

2. You don't have much room for storage

The benefit of shopping at Costco is getting to save money by purchasing food and supplies in bulk. And because I live in a house with a basement, garage, and more than one refrigerator, I'm able to take advantage of bulk buying.

But if you live in a cramped apartment, then you may not have the room to store your Costco hauls. And the last thing you want is to have to live amidst clutter -- or have to store Costco paper towels at the foot of your bed.

3. You don't do a lot of cooking at home

I do my fair share of cooking at home, so I tend to spend a lot of money on groceries. But if your schedule doesn't really allow for much time in the kitchen, then it may not be worth it to spend money on a Costco membership only to barely use it.

4. You don't have a car

Though I live in the suburbs these days, I spent many years living in a city without a car. Back then, I'd shop at the supermarket frequently, and each day, I'd simply only buy what I could carry home.

That tactic might work when you're buying a single loaf of bread and a few smaller items. But when you're buying bulk items, you need a car. If you don't have one, then you may want to skip the Costco membership.

There are plenty of good reasons to join Costco. And I know I certainly rely on my membership to save lots of money on the things I buy regularly. But if these signs apply to you, then you may want to forgo the Costco membership until your circumstances change.

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