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Is Costco Membership Worth it for Australians?

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Published April 17th 2017
Discount membership-based supermarket Costco has been in Australia for nearly a decade, with current locations in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and the ACT. Some shoppers swear by Costco, forking out $60 each year for membership. Costco sells name-brand products, including fresh produce, non-perishable food, household supplies, and liquor, at consistently low prices.

costco australia supermarket
Costco represents great value for bulk buyers, but you have to pay for a yearly membership. Image:

The first thing to know about Costco is that you cannot shop without a membership. You will not even be let into the store without a membership unless you are brought as a member's guest. A membership card must be shown upon entry, so there is no sneaking in.

Does the membership pay for itself? It depends. Costco products are good value and certainly cheaper than full-priced products at Coles or Woolworths. For those with large families that shop in bulk, a membership is likely to be worth the money if you are dedicated to shopping at Costco. If you do not live near a Costco location, you will be tempted to shop at your local supermarket instead. To take full advantage of Costco's deals, you will need to have plenty of storage space at home- you may be amazed at the price of a few kilograms of meat, but where are you going to put it?

Costco is known for its cheap petrol, priced around 10 to 15 cents per litre less than most service stations. Again, this makes the membership pay for itself fairly quickly, but only if you live close to a Costco location.

Another advantage of Costco is their cheap prices beyond groceries, such as electronics, clothing, and shoes. In this way, they are comparable to Aldi with its weekly Special Buys. If you are not intending to be a regular shopper at Costco but you know they are selling a TV that you want, it is often worth the money to take out a membership.

What is your Costco experience? Do you think the membership is worth the cost?

costco australia supermarket
Costco locations have popped up all over Australia. Image:
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Costco certainly sell ULP in Adelaide - the post that they only sell E10 refers to somewhere else, with significant savings on all fuel types. Hearing Aid prices are worth the joinup fee alone. Many instore prices are horrible though - bad place to shop if you don't know normal prices, or don't want to check.
by koj77 (score: 2|151) 65 days ago
I have a membership and what I like is that everything is guaranteed, if I'm not happy, I take it back without any argument. Also my non food purchases are covered by costco too, so I don't have to purchase extra warrantys on any products. That all adds up so I'm happy to pay the membership fee
by tfoss (score: 0|6) 68 days ago
Coles & Woolies specials are often as good, if not better, than Costco prices for many items. Some things are much cheaper. Petrol is great.
BUT now that I have been a member for 18 months I find myself strangely addicted to some brands you can't get elsewhere (eg. Skippy peanut butter) and just the whole Costco experience with the massage chair, the tasties & the cheap lunch.
I probably don't save all that much money, but I'd probably save at least the membership each year and enjoy the day out, so for me it's worth it.
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 67 days ago
My parents & I have the membership fee which makes it more cost effective and sometimes divide certain items in half. I recommend shopping for children's clothing 0-8sizing, for men's wear & some women's wear apart from food. I believe it is worth it even if you use I it every quarter.
by Susie (score: 0|3) 68 days ago
Oysters, roast chicken, and raw salmon are our main ticket items. Warranty lasts as long as your membership for electronics, which is far superior than anything Hardly Normals can offer you. What about items that are perishable but you can store for months? Buying in bulk makes sense when you're smart about it. And for those who scoff at the membership limiting customers, car parks are full on a weekend and it's chaos shopping then, so clearly, there's demand in our main cities. Oh, and if you have an ABN, it costs just $55 for membership!
by anth0 (score: 0|4) 68 days ago
I had a membership but i let it go when Woolworths ,Coles, auldi are having specials it matches Costco without the membership cost,
by pamella (score: 0|3) 68 days ago
I think it is a good value for some staples, but it is imperative that you know your prices before heading to Costco. Their electrical items are good value and even their mattresses are well priced. They stock good brands and are happy to refund if things are not what they should be. I have had my membership for many years now and will continue to keep it as I enjoy the outing.
by Tinae (score: 0|3) 68 days ago
I got one when it opened in SA so I could have a stickybeak but let it lapse. If I lived nearby I would reconsider it. Good for kids'
clothing, bulk toilet paper and nappies. If you like to buy bulk processed food (or are stocking up for a party) it's good value. However, things like passata and bread are cheaper at other supermarkets.
by Justc (score: 2|121) 67 days ago
I do not think it is right to charge someone to shop at your store as they spend money when they go there anyway. You are limiting your customers by charging them to shop. You would have a lot more customers if they could just walk in.
by dieck (score: 0|3) 68 days ago
No, $60 p.a. is far too much to pay! Other supermarkets have better specials and are much closer. It works if you have large family and lots of room to store bulk purchases. Useless for Single people, pensioners and most couples. Costco is generally too far away to make the trip worthwhile.
by fluffynut (score: 2|599) 65 days ago
some stuff can cost you a lot more than other regular supermarkets or big W n Kmart, so you do need to shop around to know your prices. and if you don't live nearby, it will cost you petrol to drive there to shop.
by Micky (score: 0|2) 67 days ago
no it isnt
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 68 days ago
I made huge savings on top of the range hearing aids at the Costco Audiologists which even the large audiology group retailers cannot match in price. Saving $6000 over the same product quoted at my private audiologist really is a shocking indictment of what gross overpricing occurs in this field. The audiologist I see is a top professional giving the most thorough testing I had ever had in 20 years of using hearing aids. Ongoing battery prices are far cheaper too at Costco, rather than having to buy at chemists as an over priced " medical product".
Petrol savings are also significant even though I live a few suburbs away. Quality every day clothing items also offer good savings. For me it is an essential membership.
by dschm (score: 0|2) 68 days ago
I do not normally like to pay any kind of membership but when introduced to Costco optical and hearing centres it is certainly worth joining up,
Their service is excellent. Their fuel prices make up for the membership cost.
As I live a long way from the nearest Costco when I do go there every couple of months I enjoy the experience
by daren (score: 0|2) 66 days ago
I don't shop there often ( perhaps every 2 months) but generally my membership costs I save in the first shop or two. Brings my weekly budget down and for the big ticket items it can be quite a drop from department store prices to theirs. My son has an Xbox and when he's saved enough for a game we check out if they have it and normally save anywhere between 20 and 50 bucks on them
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 68 days ago
I don't live close enough to make it work for me, but my daughter and husband stop in every couple of months, buying dog biscuits (20kgs?), lovely toilet paper (96 rolls) and fuel up the car. It is definitely worth it for them just on those purchases.
by lusmi (score: 1|30) 66 days ago
Costco no longer sells ordinary unleaded petrol.

Speak to your mechanic before using E10 as it can potentialy damage your engine.
by Andrew (score: 0|4) 67 days ago
No they have a lot of junk and gimmick products that people impulse buy and never use. Food products l have found to be not to a high quality and you can not rely on the shop to have what your after as they change stock based on what they can get in cheap. I also think that the membership fee cuts out a lot of your savings, would you pay this at your local supermarket, and what's more why are we paying to shop at a store.?
by Carol (score: 0|4) 66 days ago
Where else can you get cheaper petrol, a good lunch for $2.99 (hotdog and refillable drink) and high quality items for a competitive price which you cannot get elsewhere. We have purchased a few kitchen items which you cannot source elsewhere. The cost of Costco membership is well worth it. However, if you live too far away you might want to team up with a member and make a day out of your visit which includes a trip to Costco.
by rimaa (score: 0|2) 67 days ago
I've had a membership since he week it opened in Australia and for me it is definitely worth it. I tend to go at least fortnightly and have saved a lot of money over the years and also been able to buy things not available anywhere else. Love it!
by misst (score: 0|2) 67 days ago
No.If you do your research and check the Woolworths, Coles and Aldi weekly catalogues you will save a fortune.Just subscribe to have catalogues sent to your mailbox weekly. Woolworths and Coles also have rewards cards were you can save money on fuel also.
by paul. (score: 1|26) 67 days ago
I don't think it's worth it unless you have a big family.
I have a membership & let it lapse as for a household of 2 buying bulk only meant wasteage & having to throw food out. It's cheaper for me to shop at woolies & ALDI & I can buy smaller amounts & not have to throw food out.
Also with the DFO centres you can pick up brand name clothing at really good prices so I don't miss anything about Costco.
by viole (score: 0|5) 67 days ago
They sell coffins ...made to order so the brochure says! If you happen to be coffin shoppin you can save a motza :)
by mandy (score: 1|10) 67 days ago
I took out membership when a new Costco opened at the Churchill Shopping centre. I found that I could get groceries for the same prices or better when they were on special at other supermarkets. The other variety items were often very expensive. Yes probably good quality but I could do far better in the existing stores. I did not renew my membership after 2 months as it just was not worth it.
by tanya (score: 0|2) 67 days ago
I love Costco but it's a 90 minute round trip for me so i plan carefully. I make sure my freezer is empty so i can buy big on my favourite products. Going once per month is ideal. If we had a Costco on either the south or west side of the city, we would be using it a couple of times per week. (Great value for a Savvy shopper)
by dunca (score: 0|2) 67 days ago
We have membership but can only get to Costco a couple of time a year as it's a 6 hour drive to get to Sydney we are lucky we have a place to stay but unlucky because we can't take advantage of the frozen products I seriously would love to try.......we need a Costco closer to Tamworth.
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 68 days ago
Costco is a fantastic shopping experience as it only sells top quality products at ridiculously low prices
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 68 days ago
Absolutely. I bought a high end Laptop and saved 5 years membership. Can't fault that!!
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 68 days ago
On opening day at north lakes Brisbane we managed to get in with out joining the membership, and I'm glad we did because I felt that it was not any cheaper than going to the supermarket and getting specials
by just_ (score: 0|6) 68 days ago
Hell yes, we go to North Lakes in Queensland. I live with my daughter & her family - we share the cost of membership. Dtr and her hubby get their $$$ back in fuel savings alone in the first month-with my little car it takes a bit longer. You need to know your prices and I believe you couldn't do your weekly shop just there. Love the samples - great way to try new products. We def have our faves as do other friends.
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 68 days ago

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