How Much Does a Costco Membership Really Save You?

·7 min read
Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

It seems like a good idea -- getting that membership to Costco so you can save lots of money on groceries and household products. But if you're on the fence about whether a membership would be right for you, take some time to check out Costco's online site to see what products it has that you're interested in, or visit a location in person to look around.

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You can get a Costco membership for as little as $60 per year, which averages out to about $5 per month. If you shop once a month, do you think you can rack up at least $5 in savings during a single trip? To help you gain perspective and see how much you can potentially save with a Costco membership, here's a look at the price of 10 Costco signature products versus the price of 10 similar products at Kroger with the savings calculated for you.

Last updated: July 12, 2021

Chase Brock / GOBankingRates
Chase Brock / GOBankingRates

Olive Oil

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $2.73

Olive oil can be expensive and quality matters. Plus, according to the experts, Kirkland's Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is high-quality olive oil. A two-liter bottle of Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive oil is just $13.49 at Costco. To compare, a 51-ounce bottle of Simple Truth Organic Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil at Kroger costs $12.49. In terms of price, the Simple Truth product is $1 less than Costco's brand, but you get 16 ounces less product. The Costco product costs $6.76 per liter or $0.20 per ounce, while the Kroger product costs a bit more than $0.24 per ounce. Even though there's not a huge cost saving here, in terms of quality, the Costco product may more than make up for it.

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Costco
Costco

Mixed Nuts

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $4.21

Kirkland Signature Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts are $15.99 for 40 ounces of almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts and pecans. Kroger Deluxe Sea Salt Mixed Nuts are $16.99 for only 32 ounces or 2 pounds of cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and pecans. (Note that the Kirkland product features macadamia nuts, while the Kroger product features hazelnuts.) When you do the calculations, you're paying around $0.40 per ounce for the Kirkland product and $0.53 for the Kroger product, which is a difference of $0.13 per ounce.

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Costco
Costco

Paper Towels

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $4.14

You can get a really good deal when you buy Kirkland Signature Create-a-Size Paper Towels with 140 2-ply sheets per roll in a 12-count pack for $19.99. To compare, a pack of six-count Kroger Select-A-Sheet Double Paper Towels with 110 2-ply sheets per roll is $9.99. So, you could buy two six-packs of the Kroger product for around the same price as Costco's product, but you'd get 30 fewer sheets per Kroger roll, which can add up. Kirkland paper towels cost about $1.66 per roll, and the Kroger paper towels cost the same. The only difference is you're losing 360 sheets (30 sheets X 12 rolls) -- or about 2 1/2 rolls (there are 140 sheets in each roll of the Kirkland product) -- if you buy the Kroger product.

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Chase Brock / GOBankingRates
Chase Brock / GOBankingRates

Maple Syrup

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $4.41

There's nothing like pure maple syrup on your pancakes. You can get Kirkland Signature Organic Pure Maple Syrup for $12.49 for 33.8 0unces or $0.37 per ounce. To compare, Private Selection 100% Pure Grade A Amber Maple Syrup at Kroger is $15.99 for 32 ounces or almost $0.50 per ounce. Plus, the Kroger brand is not organic but the Kirkland brand is.

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Amazon
Amazon

Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $19.75

At Costco, Kirkland Signature Platinum Performance UltraShine Dishwasher Detergent Pacs, 115-count, are $11.30 or $0.04 each. At Kroger, Finish Powerball Quantum Dishwasher Detergent Tabs, 50-count, are $13.49 or about $0.27 each. This is where you can really rack up the savings and pay for almost one-third of your Costco membership just by the savings you'll reap from buying this one Costco product.

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Costco
Costco

Animal Crackers

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $8.35

If you have children or if you just like having something simple, yet sweet, to satisfy your sugar craving without going overboard, animal crackers may be something you'd buy. A 4-pound quantity of Kirkland Signature Organic Animal Crackers is $11.49 or around $0.18 per ounce. In comparison, two 8-ounce packages of Simple Truth Organic Animal Crackers from Kroger are $4.98 or $0.31 per ounce. If you're into animal crackers, you can really save at Costco.

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Costco
Costco

Plastic Wrap

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $11.37

Kirkland Signature Stretch-Tite Plastic Food Wrap is $11.29 for two boxes of wrap that are 758 square feet each or 1,516 square feet total, which equals about $0.0074 per square foot. In comparison, Kroger Tight Seal Cling Wrap is $2.99 for 200 square feet or about $0.01495 per square foot. The savings you can get by buying over seven times more plastic food wrap at a time may surprise you.

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Costco
Costco

Kitchen Trash Bags

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $20.70

Kirkland Signature Flex-Tech 13-Gallon Scented Kitchen Trash Bags, 200-count are $18.99 or $0.10 per bag. Kroger Tall Kitchen Super Flex Bags, 34-count, are $5.49 or $0.16 per bag. By buying the Kirkland trash bags, even though you have to buy more up front, you can save over $20. That's more than one-third of the price of the $60 Costco membership.

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Costco
Costco

Weight Control Cat Food

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $11.81

Overweight kitties need a solution, and weight control cat food can help. Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight Cat Food is $27.99 for 20 pounds or $1.40 per pound. IAMS ProActive Health Chicken & Turkey Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Adult Dry Cat Food is $13.99 for 7 pounds or $1.99 per pound. Not only is the Kirkland formula cheaper but it also doesn't contain any corn, wheat or soy.

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Costco
Costco

Absorbent Pet Pads

How much you could save by buying the Kirkland product: $3.00

If you're potty training an indoor puppy, absorbent pet pads are good to have. And you'll get a lot more value from Costco's offering. Not only are the pet pads cheaper, but they're also larger than what you can get at Kroger. You can get Kirkland Signature Extra-Large Absorbent Pads, 100-count, for $16.99 or $0.17 per pad. Kroger offers Pet Pride Super Absorbent Training Pads in a 100-count package for $19.99 or around $0.20 per pad.

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ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock.com
ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock.com

Is a Costco Membership Worth It?

If you bought every item on this list instead of buying the similar products from Kroger, you could save $90.47 in just one trip to Costco, which more than makes up for the $60 membership fee. And that's just one trip. The membership fee is due once every year, so think about how many more opportunities you'll have to save. Yes, a Costco membership is worth it -- as long as you use it.

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Methodology: It's difficult to find the same size of similar products at Costco and Kroger. In instances where the Costco product contained more ounces, pounds or units than the similar Kroger product, the "how much you could save by buying the Kirkland product" was determined by calculating how much the Costco quantity of the product would cost at the Kroger price and then subtracting the Costco price from the new Kroger price.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How Much Does a Costco Membership Really Save You?