When we first joined, the gas alone basically paid for our membership. The Montego’s mpg was mediocre at best, and it had a big tank. These days, we drive a Civic, which is much more fuel efficient and has a much smaller gas tank. Since neither of us has to commute, we only fill up twice a month.
Besides, the gas situation has been a pain for a while now. We hate having to make a special trip just to get gas. Costco isn’t on the way to or from anything else, except maybe Cracker Barrel. And there’s always a line at least two cars deep!
Since it’s out of our way, we inevitably put the trip off for too long. Suddenly, we’re on fumes, and we need to put a few bucks in at Circle K. At that point, the cost difference is only a few pennies a gallon, so less than $1 in savings. Plus, we might have Fry’s fuel rewards, which takes 10 cents off the price. In the end, we usually just go ahead and fill the tank there.
Of course, there were actual products we bought at Costco. We got good deals on protein shakes, my cereal, and gummy vitamins and supplements. (I’m an adult, I swear).
But I don’t drink the shakes or eat that cereal anymore, and Tim’s cereal isn’t sold there. And these days I take boring, normal vitamins.
The one thing left was cat litter. A 42-lb bag of Scoop Away goes for around $13.99. (It might actually be closer to $15.99. My memory’s a little hazy.) The best deal I can get on Amazon is $18.99. Sure, saving $5 a bag sounds good, but one bag lasts two to three months.
Meanwhile, I have to go to Costco, crouch down (lift with your legs!) and lift the 42-bag high enough to get it in the cart. Then I have to wait in line. Once that’s done, I have to get the bag from the cart to the trunk. I have to bend over the cart to do that, and that’s not a good angle to start lifting that kind of weight. Then it’s a matter of getting the litter out of the trunk, also while I’m bent over, though admittedly it’s a slightly better angle. Then I have to carry the litter about 50 feet from the trunk to the litter boxes.
If I buy through Amazon, I find the product, click to add it to the cart and click to check out. Once the box comes, I carry it around 30 feet (or just slide it on the floor).
And finally, one of the biggest complaints about club stores: You’ll usually come out with at least one item that wasn’t on your list. By and large, we’re pretty good at sticking to the plan. Still, we’ve emerged into the daylight with unplanned candy, liquor, jerky or, once, Game of Thrones DVDs. Club stores are dangerous like that.
All in all, it seems like the best thing is to let our membership lapse.
Do you belong to a club store? Do you save enough money to justify it?