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  • Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

    I've had Costco or Sam's Club membership, on and off for the past ten years. Mostly off. I'm thinking of joining up again and tracking how much money I spend and how much I save, in order to settle once and for all whether or not it's worth it for someone who only shops for one to spend the annual membership rates.

    How many of you who are single and live alone have membership at one of these stores? Are you convinced that it's worth it? What particular items are especially money-saving when one makes the purchases at Costco or Sam's?

    I'm thinking that any money I save on food will count in the "save" column, whereas an impulse DVD purchase might require consideration: Would I have made the purchase anyway, if I'd been shopping elsewhere? If not, it's not a savings. Certain other things, such as TP and gasoline, I suppose are automatic savings, but how would you suggest I value time spent in line at the pump (milage is not a concern; I live close enough to Alakawa Street that I don't consider it out of my way at all) or the stress of being around so many PEOPLE?

    Are there other factors I'm not considering? What about spending a dollar less on three times as much broccoli, only to see half that broccoli get thrown out? Is that a personal savings but a global waste? How the heck do I factor THAT into the whole enchilada?
    But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)
    GrouchyTeacher.com

  • #2
    Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

    That's going to differ for each person but the annual amount I save on fuel makes up for the membership fee so I see the membership as a freebie.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

      Originally posted by joshuatree View Post
      That's going to differ for each person but the annual amount I save on fuel makes up for the membership fee so I see the membership as a freebie.
      Okay, but does it MORE than make up for the membership fee, or JUST make up for it? I mean, seriously. If it's a break-even, and if you have to wait in long lines, and if you can only get it in one place, is it still a freebie?

      Yes, it will differ for each person -- that's what I'm asking for here...each person's experience.
      But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)
      GrouchyTeacher.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

        i'm not single, as you know, but i was for a while before eric and i got together, plus eric's experience re costco in singlehood is similar to mine so i'll venture a reply.

        besides the gas savings, other things made the price of membership worth while, but they were generally things that were not perishable or didn't spoil as quickly as fresh broccoli. staples included (and still include, really, even in coupledom) turkey bacon, yoplait yogurt, crystal light, frozen salmon, canned chicken of the sea tuna (i don't like any other brand). i also bought electric fans and metal rubbish cans that would have cost a lot more even if on sale at city mill or home depot. the rotisserie chicken also fed me for several days straight, along with that bin of mixed greens. as much as i'm a foodie, i have no problem eating the same thing several meals in a row. i saved on books, dvds and music there, too--best buy wasn't around back then, tower records wasn't so cheap, and pre-eric, i wasn't as apt to have the patience of buying stuff online.

        i didn't buy things like toilet paper or mondo sized boxes of garbage bags, etc. from costco mostly bcs my apt lacked the storage space. now that i live with eric, his house, roomy for one, is a little tight for two so we still buy toilet paper and garbage bags in smaller quantities but on sale at longs.

        going to costco is still largely a solo affair for me bcs eric hates shopping. i avoid the place on weekends. i either go after work, or, during that year i took off to go to school full time, i'd go right when they opened or in the early afternoon--there aren't as many people, and for some reason, they're much mellower than the weekend crowd. gas lines are also much shorter during weekdays after work except for monday, thursday and friday.
        superbia (pride), avaritia (greed), luxuria (lust), invidia (envy), gula (gluttony), ira (wrath) & acedia (sloth)--the seven deadly sins.

        "when you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people i deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly..."--meditations, marcus aurelius (make sure you read the rest of the passage, ya lazy wankers!)

        nothing humiliates like the truth.--me, in conversation w/mixedplatebroker re 3rd party, 2009-11-11, 1213

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

          Originally posted by scrivener View Post
          Okay, but does it MORE than make up for the membership fee, or JUST make up for it? I mean, seriously. If it's a break-even, and if you have to wait in long lines, and if you can only get it in one place, is it still a freebie?

          Yes, it will differ for each person -- that's what I'm asking for here...each person's experience.
          It more than makes it up for me since I gave the 2nd card to my rents and they use it for their own gas savings as well. I tend to gas up early in the morning so I mostly avoid the long lines. Every now and then I save on non-perishables. I don't think too many singles benefit from the bulk food purchases, not unless you literally go through pounds and pounds of veggies, etc in a week by yourself. I also like making electronic purchases there because they have double the manufacturer's warranty such as tvs.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

            I can be in and out of Safeway in less time than it takes to just find a parking place at Costco.
            Time is too valuable to me to waste an hour just to save a buck or two.

            I might change my mind, though.
            I hear that Costco is going to add an Express Checkout Line.
            "100 Items Or Less."

            .
            .

            That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

              I don't have the luxury of time getting to Iwilei Costco in the morning beating the crowds to gas-up. That said, there's been times I get off work (after 5), attempt to gas-up there, only to find lines so absurd, I drive right past Alakawa, make a right and hit Tony's Gas Station on Dillingham (just before Jack in the Box), which only charges about 4 cents more per gallon vs. Costco. No lines, I'm in and out. That 20-40 cents (approx.) extra (depending how low my tank was) I spent was worth WAY LESS than the TIME & FRUSTRATION I would have spent sitting in LINE at Costco.

              Scriv', if you have a car with a small gas tank (or gas consumption), certainly don't get a Costco membership just for the cheaper gas. NOT WORTH the lines. Unless you can make it there during off-peak hours (someone else maybe can recommend a time for that). `

              Whew. At first glance seeing this thread, I thought you were asking which Big Box store had more hotties. lol That would be another fun thread!
              sigpic The Tasty Island

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

                Originally posted by Pomai View Post

                Scriv', if you have a car with a small gas tank (or gas consumption), certainly don't get a Costco membership just for the cheaper gas. NOT WORTH the lines. Unless you can make it there during off-peak hours (someone else maybe can recommend a time for that). `
                i disagree with this. i drive a small car which mostly goes only from kaimuki to kalihi and rarely past those boundaries. i filled my tank this past wednesday at about 6:00 pm for about $30. the longest line of cars was four deep before the tanks, but most had only two or three cars waiting. as i said in my earlier post--gas lines are not crowded during the workday eves excluding mon, thurs and friday.

                Originally posted by Pomai View Post

                Whew. At first glance seeing this thread, I thought you were asking which Big Box store had more hotties. lol That would be another fun thread!
                i say that costco has more hotties, if only by one...since i'm not the one who owns a sam's club card.
                superbia (pride), avaritia (greed), luxuria (lust), invidia (envy), gula (gluttony), ira (wrath) & acedia (sloth)--the seven deadly sins.

                "when you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people i deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly..."--meditations, marcus aurelius (make sure you read the rest of the passage, ya lazy wankers!)

                nothing humiliates like the truth.--me, in conversation w/mixedplatebroker re 3rd party, 2009-11-11, 1213

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

                  Originally posted by ericncyn View Post
                  i disagree with this. i drive a small car which mostly goes only from kaimuki to kalihi and rarely past those boundaries. i filled my tank this past wednesday at about 6:00 pm for about $30. the longest line of cars was four deep before the tanks, but most had only two or three cars waiting. as i said in my earlier post--gas lines are not crowded during the workday eves excluding mon, thurs and friday.
                  Oops, sorry, didn't read that part of your post. Well, considering Scriv' is located in Kapalama, the Iwilei Costco is quite convenient, and he could easily "wait out" any peak times and go then.

                  Still, let's take the high side of my weekly gas-up price of 40 cents more @ Tony's (up the street) vs. Coscto.

                  There are 52 weeks in a year. Assuming I fill my tank once per week, this is the savings:

                  40¢ (savings) x 52 weeks = $20.80 total annual savings in fuel cost (if purchased at Costco)

                  That still doesn't justify the annual membership fee at Costco. So from there, all the factors in savings (and hotties walking around) withing the store itself come into play.

                  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Costco. Just trying to analyze this properly, price-vs-price, piece-by-piece.
                  Last edited by Pomai; November 3, 2007, 09:04 PM. Reason: 52, not 56
                  sigpic The Tasty Island

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

                    Scriv: Could you go in with some of your single friends and split up bulk purchases? That's about the only way you'd end up saving money as a single person (although the savings per gallon on gas might be worth the cost of an annual membership by itself).

                    You know, buy a 10-pack of tuna and split the cost between 2 or more people and the per person cost really goes down. Nonperishables like TP and paper towels would be a place where you can save money too and that way you could save money and save storage space (why buy generic when you can afford Charmin? LOL). I like the book and CD sections in the Hawaii Costcos because I can find local cookbooks and CDs for cheap.

                    Miulang
                    "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

                      I live alone, no car and I have both memberships. Just so happen to be that I live close to Sam's Club and I work next to a Costco. Also my membership cycle on the stores is roughly 6 months apart.

                      There are times that I don't buy anything from either store. But if I am going to buy food it's from Sam's Club only because I don't have to haul it a long distance.

                      Batteries usually I get from Costco. DVD's sometimes I get from Costco, or Sam's Club or even Wal-Mart.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

                        Hands down, Costco is worthwhile for our family, but of course, it's a big family. We spend so much at Costco per year that we definitely went for the higher level of membership... that two percent refund is anywhere from $300 to $500 for us. That alone dwarfs the membership fee, outside actual savings.

                        I never, ever wait in line for Costco gas. Then again, I leave for work at 6 a.m. and drive past the Waipio location, so there's never a crowd and it's off and back onto the H-2 with barely a hiccup. Driving from Mililani to town every weekday and Sunday means that gas savings alone, also, pay for the membership fee.

                        Come to think of it... savings on diapers alone pay for the membership fee!

                        Of course, none of this is helpful for scrivener's query, but I thought I'd share, anyway. Every time I have to buy something in a pinch at Star Market or Longs, I cringe. Costco has been a lifesaver.

                        I know what you mean, by the way, about offsetting savings with impulse purchases like DVDs or fancy dish drainers. It took us a while to develop the discipline not to be wooed by the gadgets and doodads down every aisle.

                        And yes, the perishability of some products (and the fact that most of it came a long, long way to get to the store, further shortening its lifespan) is an issue. Moldy bread. Spoiled chicken. Rotten spinach. Some things we just avoid outright, now.

                        But you know what? Stuff like canned tuna, veggies or soups, staples like paper products or toiletries? You'll use it up, eventually, and ultimately save there, to be sure. Frozen goods, too, though of course you'd probably only be able to have one giant bag of frozen green beans in your freezer and nothing else!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

                          Originally posted by scrivener View Post
                          I've had Costco or Sam's Club membership, on and off for the past ten years. Mostly off. I'm thinking of joining up again and tracking how much money I spend and how much I save, in order to settle once and for all whether or not it's worth it for someone who only shops for one to spend the annual membership rates.

                          How many of you who are single and live alone have membership at one of these stores? Are you convinced that it's worth it? What particular items are especially money-saving when one makes the purchases at Costco or Sam's?

                          I'm thinking that any money I save on food will count in the "save" column, whereas an impulse DVD purchase might require consideration: Would I have made the purchase anyway, if I'd been shopping elsewhere? If not, it's not a savings. Certain other things, such as TP and gasoline, I suppose are automatic savings, but how would you suggest I value time spent in line at the pump (milage is not a concern; I live close enough to Alakawa Street that I don't consider it out of my way at all) or the stress of being around so many PEOPLE?

                          Are there other factors I'm not considering? What about spending a dollar less on three times as much broccoli, only to see half that broccoli get thrown out? Is that a personal savings but a global waste? How the heck do I factor THAT into the whole enchilada?

                          Start cooking for friends! Become known for your broccoli soup or salad! I agree, though. With our family of four, we tend to send some of the dregs of old veggies to the rubbish more than I'd like to admit. I know this isn't just about broccoli, but I like to fill a skillet with it, add about half a cup of water, cover and let steam until the water evaporates, then add olive oil and saute another two minutes or so. Mahvelous!
                          Aloha from Lavagal

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

                            We have a family of 3 and we end up dumping a lot of uneaten food from Costco. The packages are simply too big for us to consume before they spoil. We no longer buy a lot of food from Costco anymore, including meat. Found one too many spoiled packages of lamb or pork ribs from their chiller. They pile the meats so high, much of it is no longer at the proper cooling temp to keep from spoiling.

                            They're still good for the occasional package of hotdogs or frozen fajitas, but we limit our buying to bulk paper goods and batteries and sometimes water. Safeway's weekly specials often beat Costco prices so we do much of our food shopping there or at Foodland.

                            We don't buy Costco gas as they stopped accepting major credit cards except for American Express and they don't do cash sales. We've since cut up all our cards. Has it changed?

                            IMHO, Scriv, it's not worth it for a single person.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

                              Originally posted by Da Rolling Eye View Post
                              Found one too many spoiled packages of lamb or pork ribs from their chiller. They pile the meats so high, much of it is no longer at the proper cooling temp to keep from spoiling.
                              Wow, I thought I was the only one who had this experience. We've had milk that went bad 2 days after we bought it, a couple weeks before the expiration date. Their produce is sometimes pretty poor quality, and 2 months ago we brought home a famous rotisserie chicken that was totally uncooked in the center.

                              I've found that the grocery prices at Daiei/Don Quijote are often comparable to Costco, without having to commit to the bulk sizes. Don Quijote's wine prices are often cheaper than Costco.

                              That said, my husband and I do love Costco for nonperishables such as soup, beans, salsa, paper towels, ramen, and over-the-counter medication.

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