10 Signs You Should Cancel Your Costco Membership

Is your Costco membership actually costing you more than it's worth?

Updated July 18, 2024
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Costco can be a great place to cut grocery costs by picking up items in bulk or grabbing affordable options you may not find elsewhere.

But a Costco membership isn't for everyone. The $60 for a Gold Membership (or $120 for the Executive membership) is money you might want to save.

Before you renew your current membership, look for these signs that a Costco membership isn't for you.

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You're single

Haru Works/Adobe woman buying buns from Costco bakery.

Costco might be a great place to stock up on family meals or snacks for the kids, but buying in bulk might not be a great option if you're single.

You may appreciate buying toilet paper in bulk or a cheap rotisserie chicken when you visit your local Costco. But take a look at your other bulk purchases.

If they are just taking up space in your cupboards and take forever to get used completely, you might be better off shopping at a regular grocery store.

You drive too far to get there

Mak/Adobe Car on highway

Costco has more than 580 locations in the United States and another 100 worldwide, but your local Costco may not be that local.

Ditch the membership if you don't go often because it takes too long to get to your "local" Costco or you have issues with perishable items melting on the way home.

You just don't go

Gorodenkoff/Adobe woman placing online order for fresh fruits.

A Costco membership could save you plenty of money… if you do your shopping there.

But what happens if you don't even go to Costco? Then that membership is a waste. Drop it and put the money towards other ways to save on groceries.

Pro tip: There are ways to save money at Costco even if you don't visit a store. Check out Costco's website for shipping and delivery options for groceries, or use Costco's other programs, like Costco Travel or Costco Auto.

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You waste things you buy in bulk

Fevziie/Adobe rotten fruits and vegetables in garbage.

There are some great things to buy in bulk that you can store for a long time, like cans of soup or jars of pasta sauce.

But you may be wasting other items you buy in bulk, particularly those with close expiration dates, such as produce, bread, or milk.

Reconsider your membership if you're throwing away too many items that expire before you can use them.

You're an impulse buyer

Marine Gastineau/peopleimages.com/Adobe  man considering an impulse purchase

Costco can quickly add up if you like to grab things with little thought.

Make a list to take with you before you go shopping if you're on a budget but still want to take advantage of your Costco membership.

You like small specialty items

Rawpixel.com/Adobe gentleman enjoying a cup of tea at food festival.

Costco is the place for you if you buy meat in bulk for a barbecue or need ingredients to feed a family.

But small specialty items are not Costco's specialty. So if you like those unique finds at affordable prices, consider a place like Trader Joe's or Aldi.

You hate crowds

dennizn/Adobe costco receipt and membership card.

Costco has plenty of fans, even some who buy shirts or sweatpants with the retailer's in-store brand, Kirkland Signature, emblazoned on them. But all those fans can lead to big crowds, depending on when you shop.

You may want to stop paying for that Costco card if you hate crowds but can only go shopping on the weekends or during the evening.

You clip coupons

Kimberly Reinick/Adobe saving coupons at costco store.

Costco doesn't accept coupons, so it may not be the store for you if you enjoy adding additional deals at the checkout register with coupons you've clipped.

Instead, consider using those at other retailers like your local grocery store.

You don't have the right credit card

Pixel-Shot/Adobe woman confused about selecting credit card.

Costco is quite particular about the credit cards you can use at your local store, so skip the Costco membership renewal if you feel inconvenienced by not having a card the retailer will accept.

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You forget about your Executive benefits

dennizn/Adobe closeup of receipt and executive membership card.

If you have an Executive membership, it includes 2% annual cashback up to $1,000.

But you should drop that Executive membership if you're not spending enough or perhaps even forgetting to take in your cash back checks when you travel to Costco.

Pro tip: A great Costco hack is to keep your membership but downgrade to the $60 Gold Star membership instead of overspending at the $120 Executive membership level.

Bottom line

puhimec/Adobe mother and daughter doing grocery

Shopping at Costco can be a great way to save on groceries, but don't worry if it's not the best option.

Find what works for you it comes to keeping grocery bills low. Maybe buying in bulk isn't a great option, and another retail can better fit your needs.

And remember to check your budget to see if you're wasting money at Costco that could be spent elsewhere.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.