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  1. #1
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    Default 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?
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  2. #2

    Default 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.

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    Default Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

    Quote 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)
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

    Quote 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.

  5. #5
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    Default 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!

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

    Quote 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.

    Quote 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

  7. #7
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    Default 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

  8. #8
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    Default 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.

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

    Quote 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!

  10. #10

    Default 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.

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

    Quote 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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Da Rolling Eye View Post
    [...]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?[...]
    Really? No cash sales? Only AmEx? What about personal checks? I've never purchased gas at Costco 'cuz I'm not willing to wait in those lines PLUS I have this personal goal to try to get thru my lifetime without ever pumping my own gas!!! Silly, I know, but a goal nonetheless! So far, so good thanx to Lex Brodie's!

    As a single tutu I love the frozen food section at Costco. I don't think that helps you, Scriv, as I think you love to cook.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Da Rolling Eye View Post

    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?
    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    Really? No cash sales? Only AmEx? What about personal checks? I've never purchased gas at Costco 'cuz I'm not willing to wait in those lines PLUS I have this personal goal to try to get thru my lifetime without ever pumping my own gas!!! Silly, I know, but a goal nonetheless! So far, so good thanx to Lex Brodie's!

    As a single tutu I love the frozen food section at Costco. I don't think that helps you, Scriv, as I think you love to cook.

    my american savings visa debit card is accepted. i think all debit cards are accepted. they just don't take cash and of the credit cards, they only take amex.

    you should also know that anytime you use your debit card at the gas station and they ask only that you punch in your zip code, they hold more than the actual value of the gas you buy for several days, as described in this story from a couple years ago where a couple bought $25 worth of gas but the station held $75 for three days, causing the couple's bank account to go in the red. however, if you're using a pump that requires your PIN, as costco gas does, the transaction is processed immediately in the exact amount you spent instead of a larger sum being held for several days.
    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

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    Default Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

    Quote Originally Posted by ericncyn View Post
    my american savings visa debit card is accepted. i think all debit cards are accepted. they just don't take cash and of the credit cards, they only take amex.

    you should also know that anytime you use your debit card at the gas station and they ask only that you punch in your zip code, they hold more than the actual value of the gas you buy for several days, as described in this story from a couple years ago where a couple bought $25 worth of gas but the station held $75 for three days, causing the couple's bank account to go in the red. however, if you're using a pump that requires your PIN, as costco gas does, the transaction is processed immediately in the exact amount you spent instead of a larger sum being held for several days.

    This has never happened to me. I purchase my gas with my Visa debit card all the time. I sometimes use my AmEx card, and if you have it, you can use a Costco cash card for this, too.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

    Quote Originally Posted by Da Rolling Eye View Post
    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?

    They still only accept AE but a member can now buy prepaid cash cards to use at the pump.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

    First the Costco cons:

    Most of the meats can be found on sale at the Supermarket (such as Star, which is close to Scriv's house) at an equal or sometimes cheaper per-pound price. The only thing Costco can't be beat are some of the produce items like the romaine, which is a killer deal. But is a single person going go through FOUR heads of Romaine lettuce before they spoil? I doubt it.

    Things like pasta and canned goods can also be found on sale sometimes CHEAPER than Costco. Especially with Walgreens now in town, grocery stores are having to be even more competitive. Same for frozen foods, as well as for toilet paper and paper towels. On sale at the local grocery store is often the same (+ or - just a tad), price-per-unit.

    I find Sam's Club is more geared towards businesses, offering more bulk items (like for vending machines), and even less "singles" friendly. Still, both have the same pros and cons for the single person.

    Sometimes it's frustrating shopping in there, as you're constantly calculating prices, and to much chagrin, sometimes Costco's price ends up higher than Walmart or Long's (when on sale)!

    Another frustration is the temptation of impulse shopping, and Costco has this strategy down to a science. I swear, it never fails I walk out of there having spent $40 more than I expected to, walking out with something(s) I originally hadn't planned on buying. But damned this wrist watch is cool!

    If you're a family of 4 or more, these places make shopping easy, but a single person can get frustrated.

    Costco Pros:

    The quality of their meats are better than most supermarkets, save for Safeway. Foodland's meats are pretty good, but not as good as Costco's. Not sure about Star. Don Quijote's meat department (at least the Kaheka location) is horrible. But here again, you're single, so buying a tray of four rib eye steaks isn't going to be on your shopping list, unless you're hosting a party. Even there, the rib eyes, price-per-pound is the same, if not sometimes HIGHER than the supermarket. But still, it's a better, thicker cut. They also have the cheapest lamb racks in town. WAY WAY cheaper than the supermarkets. Chicken and pork can be a toss-up. Fish prices are pretty good, and there, the portions are reasonable (single-friendly). All the other meats are in bulk.

    The things I'll hand Costco with unbeatable prices is their cheeses and their refrigerated deli section (dips, sausages, specialty foods, etc.). Great deals on some great quality stuff. And most of it is in manageable portions (except the sausages, but you can freeze that). That right there might be worth the price of admission.

    Also, they rely on "Special Buys" for the most part. So they'll bring in a really nice rocker chair, patio set, tool set, car accessory, toy or other cool household item and sell it at a really low price.

    Also, their car battery and tires are one of the cheapest in town (I know, I just bought both recently and shopped around). But how often are you going to change your tire and car battery? Probably once every so many years.

    To finish my rant, I will say, especially Costco (you can tell I prefer there more) is a very pleasant place to shop. Well-stocked with very cool stuff, often not found at the supermarkets. And their checkouts, while sometimes can get long, are very fast and efficient. So is their customer service (finding stuff) and great return policy.

    Plus, where else can you gawk at Football Field-sized wide screen TVs and a gourmet deli section filled with exotic cheeses and sausages all under one roof at really good prices. THAT to me is worth the membership, whether I'm single (I am) or have a wife and 6 kids in tow.

    For me it's kinda' like my cellphone: I don't really NEED it, but I wouldn't wanna' be without it, practicality not withstanding.

    And for you Scriv', you live so close to there, so yeah, I say go for it. Unless you're REALLY pinching pennies. What is $45 worth? You probably spend more than that a year on snacks and other consumables non-noteworthy.

    Obviously as a single person, you're not gonna' buy perishable stuff there in bulk. We don't. But the other stuff you can and will, and THAT makes it worth it, IMO.

    Nowadays, at least on Oahu, if you're not a Costco member (single or whatever), you're not with the "in crowd".
    Last edited by Pomai; November 4th, 2007 at 10:51 AM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Costco or Sam's for Singles Who Live Alone

    Oh, one thing I left out of that long rant was the FREE FOOD SAMPLES!

    I've walked in there for lunch hungry a few times, and walked out just about full off the samples alone.

    For a single guy? Common! That's gotta' be worth it! No need cook!

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