Saturday, October 31, 2009

Costco membership: Is it really worth it?

The question "Are memberships to warehouse stores like Costco worth it?" The answer to that is tricky depending on how large your family is, how well of a couponer you are and what you buy. With Costco now taking food stamps it maybe worth it to some people but personally I don't believe it can be for the average family.

The memberships start at $50 a year and go up to $100 for an Executive membership. With the Executive membership you get 2% at the end of the year in the form of a rebate check but unless you spend over $5,000 a year it won't pay for itself.

So you want to shop at Costco without a membership? Did you know you CAN do that? How? Have a family member or friend buy you a $20 cash card - Costco's version of a gift card - and you can enter the store with that and buy stuff. Even if you go over the amount on the card you can still pay the rest with cash or a debit card (non-members can't write a check)! So skip the membership fee and get someone to get you a cash card instead. You'll need to have the friend/family member to refill it for you since non-members can't refill the cards either.

As for prescriptions... under FEDERAL law you don't have to be a member to use the Costco Pharmacy! Members and non-members can use the pharmacy and get the same great prices!

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Couponing Acronyms

$1.50 SS 10/18 - $1.50 coupon from the October 18 Smart Source insert
$1.50/3 - $1.50 of when you buy 3 items
B1G1/BOGO - Buy One, Get One
CC - Competitor Coupon
FAR - Free After Rebate
MFC or MFR - Manufacturer Coupon
MIR - Mail in Rebate
OOP - Out of Pocket
P&G - Procter & Gamble Insert
RP - Red Plum Insert
RR - Register Reward (Wags)
SC - Store Coupon
SS - Smart Source Insert
WAGS - Walgreens
WFC - Weekly Flyer Coupon
WYB - When You Buy

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Where to get coupons

BEST PLACE: The Sunday newspaper!

In stores:

Blinkies – Found on various store aisles these little machines spit out coupons as you pull them out. Most blinkies have little lights that blink hence the name.

Catalinas – Receipt-like coupons printed at the register. Not all stores have Catalinas (such as WinCo). These are typically NOT printed on the back of the register receipt.

Hang/Wine Tags – Found around the neck of a bottle with a little piece of string or rubber band.

Peelies – Coupons found on certain products that peel away from the product.

Tearpads – Coupons on a tear away pad. Typically found in a display and not directly on the product.

Other ways:

Home mailers - sign up for products online or even contact a company to either complain or complement their products. Click here for a blog with over 200 links to companies that will mail you coupons!

Internet coupons - There are many places online that you can print coupons from. See links below for printable online coupons.

Magazines – Pretty much all magazines will have coupons in it. Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset, Parenting, Working Mother are a few. The BEST magazine with coupons is All You magazine.

Stores in my area

I shop primarily at:

I may also shop at:

I rarely shop at:

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