In November 2015, CostCo opened in Moorabbin. There are now three giant CostCo outlets in Melbourne. It is not possible to buy anything from CostCo unless you are a member. The cost of an annual CostCo membership $60, or $55 for a business.
Is CostCo's annual membership fee really worth it?
Yes, but, only if you live close to a CostCo outlet, and only if you have adequate storage at home.
You see, shopping at CostCo, means shopping BIG and in bulk. Even before you step inside a CostCo retail warehouse, you will see its enormity. No surprise considering the outlet's stock. Think of CostCo as a type of hypermarket. From new tyres on your car, spa baths, wide screen TV's, eyeglasses from an in-store optometrist, to clothing, books and toys. You could leave CostCo spending thousands.
However, most people consider CostCo as a step up from the usual grocery shop. That's exactly what it is. Food is plentiful, and you can buy a lot of it, all in one go. For example, you don't buy one mango on its own, you buy a whole tray of them. When you do buy a tray, each mango works out to be $1.58 (at the time of writing), which is a considerable saving .. if you like mangoes.
Most produce is sold in large packs; which is great if you can split it into smaller freezer portions, or if what you buy, comes with a lengthy shelf life.
Staples come in large quantities; think 60 rolls of toilet paper, minimum packs of 3 shampoo, body lotions, toothpaste and whatnot. That's when you need your storage space.
That said, when you know what you're looking for, yes you can absolutely save money. There is a useful comparison list here on moneymummy.com.au, to give you an idea of the savings on familiar staples.
Adding to the savings list, fuel is unmistakably cheaper at CostCo than most other fuel stations. You can fill your vehicle at CostCo (only available at CostCo Moorabbin) if you hold a membership card. If you are a member, you'd be daft not to make the most of the fuel discounts you get at CostCo. There's an interesting article here on yahoo explaining more. That said, would it be worth driving half way across the city to stock up on fuel? Probably not, it only makes sense to do so if you live nearby.
As a first time visitor to CostCo, you can get yourself a free day pass from the membership desk. However, it is a look but don't touch pass; you can't actually buy anything you see.
Because it is overwhelming when you first walk into a CostCo, it is better if you tag along with a current card holder; ask your friends or family. If you see what your friends or family buy, you can then gauge what is best for your household. Take advantage of the free tastings offered along the way, too.