Is Costco Worth it for One Person?

Buying in bulk may not be on your mind if you live alone, but then you hear about the great deals at Costco and you wonder if you’re missing out? 

Is it possible to join Costco for one person and is it worth it?

Some people say without a doubt and others don’t agree. Here’s our take on whether Costco is worth it for one person. 

How Much Does a Costco Membership Cost?

A standard Costco membership is $60 per year. It’s called the Gold Star membership and it includes your membership, membership plan for one household member, the ability to bring up to two guests when you shop, and the ability to shop at any Costco worldwide.

If you want to upgrade to the Executive membership it costs $120 per year, but you get 2% cashback on all Costco purchases. You also get exclusive Costco travel and Costco Services benefits.

So does it make sense for one person to buy a Costco membership when most of the items are sold in bulk? 

For most people it does, here’s why.

Reasons it Makes Sense for one Person

If you’re thinking about joining Costco as a single person, here are some great reasons to consider it. 

The Frozen Food Section is Amazing

Most people worry about wasting food if they buy in bulk, but when you buy frozen, there is no waste. Costco has a massive selection of frozen fruits and vegetables, not to mention many other frozen items including meat, seafood, ice cream, and plenty of snacks.

Since the food is frozen, it doesn’t go bad fast, which means you have more time to use up the bulk purchases. Many of their frozen fruits and vegetables are also organic, so it’s a great way to save money on organic foods.

There is a Large Selection of Keto, Gluten-Free, and Dairy Free Foods

If you are on a special diet, you’ll love the selection at Costco. They cater to every diet including keto, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets. From non-dairy milk to keto bread and even keto ice cream bars, there’s something for every diet.

Many of their diet-friendly foods are Kirkland brand too, which is Costco’s brand and extremely affordable. Even if you buy something like a 2-pack of gluten-free bread, you can freeze as much as you want and take it out as you need it.

You can Buy Paper Goods in  Bulk

If you have the room to store bulk paper goods, it’s often cheaper to buy them in bulk at Costco. If you live alone and don’t entertain much, one package may last you a better part of the year, but that’s another reason to love it. If you don’t have to buy paper goods very often, it saves you money and means fewer trips to the store.

There’s a Large Selection of Shelf-Stable Foods

The snack section at Costco is amazing and many of the foods are either organic, gluten-free, or just overall healthy. Since the snacks are shelf-stable, you can buy them in bulk and not worry about wasting food. 

Some of the most popular shelf-stable foods include applesauce, oat milk, natural nuts, trail mix, jerky, oatmeal, and flax seeds.

The Alcohol is Cheap

If you entertain even once or twice a year, a Costco membership can be worth it for their cheaper alcohol prices. They sell beer, wine, and liquor and as you can imagine, they have a large selection.

Whether you want seasonal liquor options or you have a favorite you drink all year long, you can’t beat the prices or selection at Costco.

They Sell Gift Cards in Bulk and at a Discount

Gift cards aren’t just to give as gifts. If you are a regular at a specific restaurant, you go to the movies often, or you’re adventurous, you’ll find great deals on Costco gift cards.

Many of the gift cards sell for $10 – $20 less than their face value. If you buy gift cards for yourself to places you frequent often, it’s like having a $10 – $20 coupon. Of course, they make great gifts too. Some gift card sets, like Starbucks, come in a pack of 4 or more, but you can split them up between several gifts at holiday time.

Gas is Cheaper 

If you live near a Costco and it makes sense to go there to fill your car, you could save a significant amount on gas. While gas prices can vary throughout the year, Costco is consistently $0.15 – $0.30 lower than other gas stations.

If you drive a lot, you could save a significant amount of money on your gas costs.

The Clothing Prices are Amazing

If you love brand-name clothes, you must shop at Costco. Their selection changes often and when there’s a hot deal it goes fast, but you could save big on some of the top brands like Hunter Boots, Calvin Klein, Lucky and more. 

Costco also throws its clothing on clearance once it’s been there for a couple of weeks. If you’re lucky, you may score brand name clothing for as little as $5 – $10. 

They Have Many ‘Quick’ Dinner Options

If you aren’t in the mood to cook, but a drive-thru meal doesn’t sound good, head to Costco. Their ready-made meals are delicious and freeze well too. Rotisserie chickens are very popular there and can be used in many ways including in soup, tacos, sandwiches, or salads. One chicken is around $4 and could get you a handful of meals.

Other quick dinner options include street tacos, meatloaf, sushi, or sandwich roll-ups just to name a few. Even though they come in larger sizes, they can get you through the week or even be your lunch for the next few days.

Travel Benefits may Save you Money

If you’re happy to be back to traveling, you may save money using Costco Travel. They have a large selection of travel packages or you could book your airfare, hotel, and car separately. The savings usually can’t be found anywhere else and the Costco travel team is amazing whether you’re booking travel or you are mid-travel and need support. 

You can Save on Glasses and Contacts

If you wear glasses or contacts, you can save on both at the Costco Vision center. While you don’t need a Costco membership to get a vision exam, you need one if you want to buy glasses or contacts and at their savings, it’s often worth it especially if you don’t have vision insurance. 

Tips to Make your Costco Membership Worth It as a Single Person

Avoid Perishables

If you live alone, you won’t go through the perishables in time – it’s impossible. Unless you’ll freeze at least half of them, it’s not worth it. You’ll end up throwing food out and making your membership pointless.

Get your Tires at Costco

You don’t have to shop around if you need new tires. Costco always has the best deals and they offer a 5-year hazard warranty on the tires. The savings you’ll earn getting tires at Costco will more than pay for your membership, making it smooth sailing the rest of the year knowing you already paid for your membership.

Get your Movie Tickets at Costco

It’s silly to pay full price for movie tickets when you can get two for the price of one at Costco. They discount the prices so low on movie tickets that it comes out to almost buy one get one free versus what you would pay in the theatre. Even if you buy a gift card from Costco to the theatre, you’ll save $10 – $20 off the face value of the gift card.

Go in on a Membership with a Friend or Family Member

Even though you’re supposed to share a membership only with household members, there’s a way around it. One person buys the membership, but you both split the cost. The cardholder can bring up to 2 guests each time he/she goes. You can be the ‘friend’ and tag along. This way you both take advantage of the warehouse savings at half the cost of membership. 

Find your Favorites and Always Buy them at Costco

If you use Costco for all or most of your paper goods, all your pantry goods, and your frozen foods, you’ll more than make up for the cost of the membership. Just make sure you have a decently sized freezer and plenty of storage space to keep the bulk items. 

FAQs – Is Costco Worth it for Singles?

Does Costco have a single-member price?

Costco is priced for 2 people, which is why they give a ‘free’ second card to a household member. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cheaper membership fee for singles.

Can you share the Costco membership?

Technically, you can only share your Costco membership with another household member. They must have the same address. It’s free to add that second person. But, there are ways to share your membership. You can bring up to two people with you every time you shop.

What is the best time to shop at Costco?

Costco gets busy, really busy. But, if you shop on weekday mornings, you may find yourself alone in an aisle or two or at least not bumping elbows with fellow Costco shoppers.

Do you need a membership to shop at Costco?

You do need a membership to shop at Costco the traditional way, but there are a couple of ways around it. You can shop with a friend on their card, you can have someone buy you a Costco card (gift card) and then you can shop without a membership, or you can shop online but some products are reserved for members only.

Final Thoughts – Is Costco Worth it for One Person?

Like anything, there will be some singles that don’t benefit from a Costco membership, but most people do. There are even more benefits you’ll realize from having a Costco membership aside from just shopping there too. 

But, even if you buy some food, some paper goods, and take advantage of their special items including clothing and gift cards, it can be well worth your membership, and let’s face it, shopping at Costco can be a lot of fun. 

Kim Pinnelli is a personal finance freelance writer and contributor. She lives in the Chicago suburbs, writing from home for the last 13 years. Kim enjoys helping people understand personal finances and writes on topics about saving money, investing, planning for retirement, and ways to increase income. In her free time, Kim enjoys hanging out with her 3 children, reading, crocheting, and spending time outdoors.

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