Does It Pay to Join Costco if You Live Alone?

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  • The benefit of Costco is getting to load up on items in bulk.
  • It could still pay to have a membership even if you don't share a living space with anyone else.

The quick answer? It depends on your situation and setup.

When I first abandoned a big city to move in with my husband in suburbia, I was surprised when he told me he had a Costco membership. "Aren't those mostly for families?" I asked him.

Well, it turns out they're not. My husband got plenty of good use out of his Costco membership when he was living alone. And once we moved in together, we shopped at our local warehouse club on a regular basis and got to enjoy plenty of savings on household essentials and even food.

Now these days, I shop at Costco far more frequently and run up a larger credit card tab per trip because we have kids to feed as well as ourselves. But while I definitely get my money's worth, I can easily see how someone living solo might still benefit from a membership. To see if shopping at Costco is right for you, ask yourself these key questions.

1. Do I do a lot of cooking?

If you're the type who tends to dine out a lot or order takeout five nights a week, then you may want to pass on a Costco membership. If you don't tend to buy a lot of groceries, you may find that there's definitely no sense in purchasing them in bulk.

2. Do I clean my own home?

If you don't, no one's judging you. A lot of people find that paying for a cleaning service is worth the money. And if you work long hours, you may not have time to give your living space the attention it needs. But if you do use a cleaning service, you may not need Costco. One of the best reasons to get a membership is to score household cleaners and products on the cheap. But if you have a service that brings its own supplies, it eliminates that need.

3. Do I have a pet?

Costco isn't just a great source for food items and household essentials. You can also stock up on pet food, treats, and other supplies. If you have a pet, that alone could justify a Costco membership.

4. Do I have a lot of room for storage?

If you live alone, you may only rent or own a small home or apartment. And in that case, you may not have a lot of room to load up on things like toilet paper or paper towels in bulk. But if you have a larger home so there's room to store bulk items, then a Costco membership could result in big savings. And unlike bulk food items, paper products really don't expire, so you can take your time going through them.

5. Do I host a lot of gatherings?

Living solo means you don't need to check with a partner or roommate every time you want to have friends over. If you tend to host a lot of parties, you may find that a Costco membership saves you money on things like snack items and paper goods.

Joining Costco isn't right for everyone. Although a basic membership only costs $60 a year, it doesn't pay to spend that money if you aren't going to make it up in the form of savings. But in some cases, getting a Costco membership does make sense even if you live alone.

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