Costco, dubbed a membership warehouse club, is Australia’s answer to bulk goods shopping, but it’s not as simple as rocking up and stocking your car with 1,000 rolls of toilet paper.
While Costco opened its first Aussie warehouse in 2009, it launched its online store just this month, sending shoppers into a frenzy.
But to shop at Costco and access their bulk deals, you need to be a member of the Costco Club, and there are two types of membership options: Costco Gold Star Membership, for $60 per year, or Costco Business Membership for $55 per year.
Most Aussie shoppers would opt for the $60 Gold Star Membership, which is a membership for individual use, but comes with a ‘free household card’, which means you get one free membership card for either your spouse, partner or immediate family member.
Also read: ‘OMG YES’: Costco goes online
Being a member also means you can bring in two other individuals with you to the store - but only you can purchase the goods.
But with Aldi Australia offering top discounts, and other supermarkets offering competitive prices, is Costco’s $60 membership fee worth it?
What do you get for being a Costco member?
The membership lets you enter and shop at any Costco, and therefore take advantage of their bulk-buy discounts.
There are currently 12 Costco warehouses in Australia across Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
Membership also lets you use their fuel stations, which claim to offer the “lowest possible prices” and “quality fuel”.
Costco also states that if, at any time, you’re unsatisfied with your membership, they’ll refund you your membership cost.
Do Aussie shoppers think it’s worth it?
Yahoo Finance asked the Mums of Mums Who Budget & Save (Mums Who) what they think of the wholesale supermarket.
According to Shelby Allen, shopping at Costco can save you over $200.
“The first 3 times I went there, I kept the receipt and did an online shop with coles, buying equal quantities of food,” Allen said. “Each time I spent around $350-$400 at Costco, and it would have cost me $550-$600 at Coles.”
“It’s totally worth it, but you need to be prepared for a large initial outlay to get those savings,” another added.
But others say it depends on your shopping habits.
“If you can get to a Costco regularly then yes the membership is absolutely worth it,” one member said. “But like all things in life, what suits one doesn’t necessarily suit another.”
Anushka Hewett said without a Costco nearby, having a membership isn’t worth it.
“For us no as we would have to buy online and have it delivered,” she said. “I don’t understand why there has to be a membership fee. It is a money making scheme.”
And if you’re regularly shopping on a budget, you might be able to find similar deals elsewhere, Brooke Davies said.
“Personally, no. As a budget shopper, most products can be purchased during sales at a cheaper price than Costco,” she said.
What’s the biggest Costco saving?
Most shoppers say filling up petrol at the Costco fuel stations offers them the biggest saving.
“I recouped the money in two months simply by buying their petrol each week,” Mums Who member Kylie Wylie said.
“I have my membership purely for the fuel and save so much so I would say yes!” another member said.
One member noted fuel was priced at $1.12 per litre at Costco, compared to $1.80 at other fuel retailers.
Coles does supersized products
Costco’s biggest selling point is that it offers bulk goods for cut price - but it’s not the only supermarket doing it.
Australian supermarket giant, Coles launched a new strategy in May last year, which saw it expand into the bulk-product market.
Now, more than 25 Coles products including dinner staples, condiments and baking products are offered in supersize form.
“We know our customers look for value when stocking up on pantry staples and offering some of our popular products in bulk is one way we are helping our customers save time and manage the family budget,” Coles chief operating officer Greg Davis said at the time.
Costco goes online
While Woolworths and Coles have offered online shopping for years, Costco jumped on the bandwagon just this month - but shopping online still requires a membership.
“We’re thrilled to share that online shopping is coming to Australia soon,” the wholesaler added on its website.
“Just like shopping at the warehouse, this service will be available exclusively to our members.”
Shipping charges are included in the price of goods on the website, and shoppers will be informed when delivery becomes available in their region.
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