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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: Costco.com.au


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: Costco.com.au.
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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) 122 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) 125 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) 124 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|123) 124 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) 125 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) 125 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) 125 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) 125 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|633) 122 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) 124 days ago
no it isnt
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 125 days ago
no, one has to buy in bulk. most ties i only want a small amount. if i could only buy what i want .... well yes
by janic (score: 0|2) 125 days ago
Don't have a problem paying $60 . We save over a $1000 a year just on fuel . Not to mention the savings on the groceries . Thanks Costco 💜
by Jacqui (score: 0|2) 125 days ago
I love costco, the membership cost is nothing compared to the savings. Everything is of excellent quality.
by prone (score: 0|2) 125 days ago
Don't forget to mention their very generous bonus warranty on electrical goods.
by tim.n (score: 0|4) 125 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) 125 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) 125 days ago
Yes
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 125 days ago
Only (as u said several times) if you live nearby
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 125 days ago
been with costco from day one, going for the items I regularly buy it covers the fee. if you know your prices you can bulk buy and come away wondering where the hell can I store this stuff. just bought a year membership for my brother so he can go without me.
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 125 days ago
I have a membership and only shop there a few times a year, but I know my prices and only buy the things that are cheaper than the supermarkets (some in bulk, but some are not in bulk).
I find that my membership fee is well and truly covered by my first shop and usually a fair bit more than that. It really depends on what you are buying as to whether it will be worth it for you.
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 125 days ago
I don't know about in Australia but in the States you can go in without membership to purchase prescriptions, glasses and some other items.
by jodaf (score: 0|2) 125 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) 125 days ago
Absolutely. I bought a high end Laptop and saved 5 years membership. Can't fault that!!
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 125 days ago
Costco is a fantastic shopping experience as it only sells top quality products at ridiculously low prices
by kpowe (score: 1|23) 125 days ago
Costco also do optical and hearing aids, high quality and excellent professional service. I paid $2400 for 2 AIDS with blue tooth accessories for TV & phone instead of $7000 for just 2 AIDS of same quality & technology through private audiologist.
by diand (score: 1|10) 125 days ago
A Costco Membership is definitely not worth it for me. I went there as a Member's guest a few years ago. The products aren't that cheap when you include the Membership fee. The car parks were busy and so was the place. If you are a business or large family it may be worth shopping there but not for the occasional shopper.
by vdmsk (score: 0|2) 125 days ago
Not worth it.
by basan (score: 0|2) 125 days ago
If you live close by and it has petrol station is well worth it , 2 cards per household address
by bryan (score: 1|40) 125 days ago
We had a Costco membership a few years ago when the nearest store was at Docklands, a good 1/2 -3/4 hour drive away (Ringwood is only 15 minutes). Each visit cost us at least $200-300 to purchase frozen fruit, nuts, snacks, milk, eggs, bagels, meat, salmon and pantry staples in bulk. However, we also tended to use them up more quickly than if we had bought smaller quantities as needed. Some items weren't cheaper than elsewhere, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, which I found spoilt quickly and were wasted (eg. Spinach).
Worthwhile for catering for a special event but can become expensive if you're buying and consuming larger quantities of food just because of the discounts.
by barbc (score: 1|65) 125 days ago

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