How Rice Changed My Mind About Costco Membership

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Closeup picture of white rice.

Have you been considering a Costco membership, but balk at shelling out $55 a year?

I’ve been a member now for over ten years, but I still remember when I wasn’t. No matter how much everyone seemed to love it, I swore there was no way I would ever pay to shop! Then I was given a one month free trial.

Free — now that’s a totally different story, so of course I gave it a try. By the end of the month, I was full-fledged, paying member of the club.

What did it take to change my mind? Rice.

I was still married at the time to a little Asian man (who had not yet been diagnosed diabetic) and boy, did he love his rice. We had it in some form at nearly every meal, using almost 50 pounds of it each month. At Costco we could buy rice in 50 pound bags for much less than we could get it anywhere else. I did the math and realized that we could save enough on rice alone in a year to pay for the cost of membership.

And that’s the way it goes… sometimes all it takes is one thing.

What’s Your One Thing?

I realize not everyone goes through mounds of rice every month. I don’t either anymore. Since divorcing the-rice-eating-one my family and I may not go through 50 pounds in an entire year, but there are many other things which still make a Costco membership a smart deal.

1. Gas

It’s not unusual to find gas .20 to .25 cheaper at Costco than I can find it anywhere else in town. I drive a lot, so that’s huge. Costco was .31 cheaper this week. At that amount of savings I would save $27.93 on gas alone this month, and I drive right by Costco on my route anyway.

2. Rotisserie Chicken

A 3 pound bird is still $4.99 and has been for many years. At $1.66 a pound fully cooked and ready to go, that’s a super bargain for a meal you don’t need to cook yourself. Costco’s ‘cheap chicken strategy’ basically says they believe we, the shoppers, keep coming back for the chicken so they have no intention of raising the price. It gets us in the door, and no one ever walks out with just a chicken. (Actually, I do occasionally walk in and out with nothing but a chicken, but I’m kind of a rebel like that.) Check out the chickens Facebook page and my other posts about what I do with rotisserie chicken.

3. The Food Court

A huge quarter pound hot dog and coke are $1.50 and have been for about 30 years. While living in sunny San Diego years ago, the kids and I made regular trips to Costco just for lunch. Their food court was outdoors. We would grab a dog and coke and sit outside at the picnic tables. The kids loved feeding their leftover hot dogs buns to the birds… but don’t… we got in trouble with the manager for feeding those darn birds. 🙂 A story for another time.

4. Gift Cards

It’s not unusual to find $100 gift cards for $79.99 or $50 gift cards for $39.99. The selection is limited, but different cards are rotated through frequently. Buy them for yourself or give as gifts.

5. Pies

Pecan. Apple. Pumpkin. Oh my! These are not carried all year, but something for which I am willing to wait patiently. They will make your Thanksgiving or Christmas complete, if can leave them alone that long. These are giant pies are 12″ in diameter and price depends on which variety you’re buying, but always cheaper than you can get anywhere else.

7. Organic

I’m not really into organic, but there are a few items I buy on a regular basis because they’re a great price. Organic is just a bonus. I like the organic pasta and pasta sauce, and big jugs of olive oil. Costco has cases of canned tomatoes, which at about .52 a can are cheaper than non-organic at the grocery store. For my sister who is crazy for all the organic stuff, I snatched up a new item Costco has begun to carry, an entire gallon of organic, non-GMO coconut oil for only $19.99.

8. The Costco Warranty

Many people shop Costco for their warranty alone because it’s that good. They have a 90 day no hassle return policy and will extend the manufacturer’s warranty to two years.

Are you a Costco member? What makes shopping there worth it for you?

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