8 Best Costco Items You can Buy That Will Easily Pay for Your Membership

A Costco membership can save you money — but it’s even better if it pays for itself.
Updated Nov. 27, 2023
Costco Gold Star Membership card

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If you have a big household and want to get bulk items at a discount, Costco can help you fight the rising cost of groceries and free up room in your wallet for other purchases. 

But to access those savings, you need a $60-a-year Costco membership card. If you’ve never shopped at Costco before, you might ask yourself if the upfront cost is really worth it.

According to most Costco shoppers, the answer is a definite yes. And you can make sure your membership pays for itself when you buy any of these Costco items.

Gift cards

Kenishirotie/Adobe Gift card variety on the store's wall shelf

Do you often buy gift cards to celebrate special occasions? Gift cards aren’t exempt from Costco’s buy-in-bulk discounts. 

Depending on what your warehouse has in stock, you can score a five-pack of preloaded gift cards to your favorite restaurant or streaming site for the price of four.

Along with saving money on this year’s gifts, planning ahead can help you save money at your own favorite shops as well. 

If you know you want to hit Olive Garden for your kid’s graduation party, stop by Costco to see if any discounted gift cards are in stock. Spending $80 at Costco for the equivalent of $100 worth of gift cards spells $20 off your next order of breadsticks, soup, and salad.

Big-ticket furniture items

Viktoriia/Adobe White living room with green plant and velvet blue sectional couch with silver throw pillows and throw blanket

If you typically head to Ikea or Ashley’s for your major furniture purchases, a Costco membership is a good reason to reconsider. 

Costco doesn’t have the massive inventory of furniture stores, but it’s worth browsing if you’ve been looking for the perfect sofa at the perfect price for too long.

Most notably, Costco’s frequent members-only discounts give you the chance to capitalize on great furniture deals the second one comes along.

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Expensive electronics

Pixel-Shot/Adobe Electronic products

Like furniture, Costco doesn’t have the largest electronics inventory. It buys the products it can get in bulk during a certain period of time, then resells them at a lower price. 

So if you have a specific type of computer or phone in mind, Costco might not be the place for you.

On the other hand, if you’re fine simply getting the best bargain or if the model you’ve been wanting turns up at Costco, you’ll probably save a couple (or a couple hundred) bucks buying your electronic item at Costco instead of, say, the Apple Store. 

Plus, Costco electronics come with free tech support that lets you skip the phone trees and go straight to Costco’s team for expert help.

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Party snacks

Jenifoto/Adobe Variety of snack foods like pizza, chips, cookies, burgers, pretzels, for football party

Costco’s buy-in-bulk savings become especially clear when you’re planning a huge gathering like a work party or family reunion. 

Costco’s 54-pack box of chips for $23.99 can tide over a crowd while they mix and mingle or wait for the main course. If charcuterie is more your style, bulk deli meats, cheese, vegetables, savory dips, and club crackers at Costco can help you feed your guests for less. 

And if you need to please a large group in a hurry, swing by the Costco food court to grab some 18-inch pizzas for under $10 each.

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Party decorations

luckybusiness/Adobe Birthday cake with candles and people around with party hats, celebrating, with present in hand, hugging and smiling

While we’re on the subject of partying, snacks aren’t the only party essential to get at Costco. A pack of 100 party-themed plates and 100 party-themed napkins is only $23.99. 

Depending on the deal of the month, you can also find party favors like Pokémon cards or superhero notebooks at a deep discount. 

And a six-person inflatable unicorn party island (yes, you read that right) costs at least $100 less at Costco than at Amazon, Wayfair, Best Buy, and other big-box retailers.


trongnguyen/Adobe wine in wooden boxes at costco store

Whether you’re looking to restock your wine cabinet or you’re shopping for a friend’s celebration, getting your wine at Costco helps you save without sacrificing quality. 

While wine stores often mark their prices up 50% or more, Costco limits its wine markups to 14%, then passes those savings on to you. Even the most avid wine enthusiast would be hard-pressed to find a better bargain.


Adriana/Adobe pile of michelin tyres for sale in display at costco wholesale store in sacramento

Need to upgrade your tires? Now is the perfect time for a Costco membership. 

After you purchase high-quality, lower-cost tires at Costco, you can have them installed and balanced at a Costco Tire Center for $15 apiece. Even better, your purchase comes with free lifetime tire repairs, rotation, and refills.

Costco also fills its tires with nitrogen instead of air, which can help your tires maintain air pressure longer. And for more savings, stop by the Costco gas pump once your new tires are installed. 

Costco gas is usually (though not always) priced lower than other local gas stations, so you can keep raking in the savings after you roll out of the Costco Tire Center.

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Vadim/Adobe stand with glasses in the store of optics

If you’re tired of getting mediocre eyeglasses at top-notch prices even with your insurance, try Costco. Most sources report that Costco eye exams cost between $50 and $100, even without insurance.

While anyone can make a Costco eye appointment, only members get discounts on contacts and frames, including brand-name sunglasses like Ray-Bans. 

The average amount you’ll pay for Costco frames and lenses depends on which brand of glasses you buy, what your insurance covers, and where in the country you live. 

On average, though, single-vision lenses from Costco usually start at $60, and a pair of frames can cost as little as $40.

Bottom line

trongnguyen/Adobe inside view of alaska costco store

If you plan ahead and buy these eight items at Costco, the savings you’ll get can pay for your membership in no time. 

Then, once you’ve earned back your $60 membership fee, all the other perks you get from shopping at Costco — with the right credit cards of course — are just pure savings.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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