A Costco membership opens doors, quite literally, to a vast selection of bulk-size groceries and household goods selling at discounted prices. But buying potato chips and toilet paper by the case is just the start. The warehouse club also stocks everything from tires and furniture to electronics and jewelry. With so many items to choose from, Trae Bodge, a consumer expert who specializes in smart shopping strategies, says it’s critical to shop Costco with a list to avoid overspending.
List or no list, shoppers seem to like the savings and selection. Costco has nearly 52 million paid members around the world, with an 88% renewal rate worldwide (90% in the U.S. and Canada). The chain ranks first in customer satisfaction among department and discount stores, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, edging out rivals Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale. Thinking of taking the Costco plunge? Here’s what you should know before investing at least $60 in an annual membership.