Should You Cancel Your Costco Membership? The Answer Is 'Yes' if This Sounds Like You

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  • You'll get the most out of your Costco membership if you like Kirkland Signature products and don't shop frequently for low quantities of produce.
  • If you live alone with no pets, you probably don't need to buy things in large quantities.
  • You can cancel your Costco membership and get a full refund.

Costco has its perks. For $60 a year, you get unlimited access to a warehouse of goods sold in bulk. The prices are competitive, the supply is decently varied, and you can return just about anything -- apparently, even used Christmas trees in January.

But paying $60 a year for a Costco membership can sometimes work against you. You might only be paying $5 per month to wander aisles with a flatbed trolley, but if you identify with one of the following, it might be time to cancel your membership.

You don't like Kirkland Signature products

Kirkland Signature is Costco's in-house brand. And if you're not a fan of their products, you're going to have a hard time getting your $60 membership back in grocery savings.

Costco's focus on Kirkland products is how the wholesaler can keep prices so low. Producing goods in-house cuts down on outsourcing costs and gives Costco more control over production, including using cheaper packaging.

But I get it -- not every Kirkland Signature product is a hit. And if you don't like the quality of even the most popular Kirkland Signature goods, a Costco membership will likely be a continual disappointment.

You live alone (and don't own pets)

Costco helps you save when buying in bulk is cheaper than buying products individually. But if you live alone, the opposite might happen: Costco can become a ripoff if buying in bulk leaves you with more goods than you can reasonably consume.

A double whammy: you live alone and your space is small. If you don't have the storage to fit 36 rolls of toilet paper, two 3-pound canisters of coffee, and a 12 count of paper towels, Costco might make you feel claustrophobic.

But there are some exceptions to this. If you have pets, Costco could help you save on dog or cat food. And if you cook a lot for people -- or throw parties -- you might go through enough food to justify the bulk quantity and the credit card tab that comes along with it.

Your grocery list is mostly produce

Buying in bulk works well for items that don't spoil quickly, like frozen foods, canned goods, and certain snacks. But for fruits and vegetables, buying in bulk could turn your kitchen into an expensive compost pile.

Many families simply don't eat enough produce to justify buying it in large quantities. Unless you're also feeding rabbits, it's hard to get through 24 heads of lettuce, three pounds of carrots, and three pounds of broccoli before they lose their freshness, grow moldy, or develop mildew.

Aside from wasting food, you're also wasting money -- at my Costco, six pounds of carrots cost $5.89. But even when I cook recipes that require mostly carrots, my family can eat between 1.5 to 2 pounds. At that weight, I can buy two pounds of carrots from Trader Joe's for $1.99, saving about $3 and a guilt trip to the trash can.

It's true -- you can refrigerate fruits and freeze most vegetables. Even so, refrigerators can't make produce immortal, and some vegetables, like celery and cabbage, become soggy and practically inedible when thawed.

In short, if you live alone and like the taste of fresh vegetables -- but not Kirkland Signature products -- canceling your Costco membership might be healthy for your personal finances. To cancel, just talk to someone at your local Costco warehouse (or call 1-800-774-2678) and Costco will issue you a full refund.

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