Costco is well-known for offering high-quality Kirkland products, as well as for providing both store-brand and name-brand items at a great price. This mistake is so common, and so easy to make, that even finance expert Dave Ramsey has admitted it's happened to him. "To this day, if I'm not careful, I'm still bad about buying things I don't need -- or too much of the things I do need -- in warehouse clubs," Ramsey said.
Retail is a tough business in any economic climate. A small number of retailers -- think Costco (NASDAQ: COST) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) -- manage to build up durable competitive advantages over the course of decades. Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) goes for around 13 times earnings, department store Macy's (NYSE: M) trades for less than 5 times earnings, and grocery chain Kroger (NYSE: KR) changes hands for roughly 14 times earnings.
When I first got a Costco membership, I only used it on occasion. Meanwhile, I have an executive Costco membership, which costs $120 a year and gives me 2% cash back on my warehouse club purchases. In fact, Costco has not increased the cost of a membership since June of 2017.