Costco Wholesale Corporation, in short Costco, is a warehouse club that sells in bulk at a discounted price for those who have memberships. As a result, anyone who is a member, including students, can get household necessities and food at a low price!
There are a few options to choose from regarding the available memberships. Understanding the benefits available to each member can help students make an informed decision based on their affordability.
Navigating Costco can be difficult, so leave yourself plenty of time to wander, see what is available, and check out the free food samples.
Why shop at Costco?
Costco lets you buy high-quality items in bulk at a discounted price. It’s one of the best ways to save money because you buy at a lower cost per unit, avoid trips to marked-up convenience stores, create healthy shopping habits and make you aware of deals or sales.
Another great thing is that they sell everything you need.
Costco is an excellent opportunity to save money as a student, especially if you live with roommates and can split the cost of shared items like toilet paper.
Costco Memberships & Benefits
You can only shop at Costco with a membership. People without a membership can only enter with another person. According to their website, no more than two adults and children can join a membership. You also present your card again before paying.
Each membership comes with an annual fee, so keep in mind the best option for you regarding benefits and affordability.
The benefits vary greatly. Some services are Gasoline, Optical, Pharmacy, Photo Center, and Travel. Getting either membership also enables you to receive promo codes from Costco. New members or members will receive vouchers to use at checkout.
For students having not only groceries available but services as well means that they save time (and gas) when running errands.
|Gold Star Membership||Executive Membership|
|$60 / year||$120 / year|
|Promo for $20 off on a $100 online purchase on signing up||Promo for $40 off on a $200 online purchase on signing up|
|Annual 2% rewards on almost all purchases|
|Access to more offers and discounts|
Overall Costco Membership Benefits
- Free of cost, you receive an additional household card for other family members of legal age, including your spouse.
- Costco sells high-quality and a variety of foods. Their meat and perishable vegetables last longer than other grocery stores.
- There are sample kiosks, so you can get a free sample to see if you’ll enjoy it.
- Buying items in bulk saves money, and it is easily divisible if you live with roommates or family members.
- There is an excellent return policy.
- They also sell hot, ready-to-eat food and ice creams for lunch before or after shopping.
- The Pharmacy offers lower dispensing fees than other pharmacies.
- If you ever need a passport or any other type of photo, their Photo Center can print at high quality for a reasonable price.
- There are exclusive discounts for members.
- Costco is known for their Kirkland Signature brand, which has the best deals.
Costco Services and Departments
Here are some of the departments in Costco and some of the services available. Check your local Costco for their offerings.
|Car Rental||Optical Department|
|Clothing and Home Goods||Personal Checks|
|Costco Next||Photo Center|
|Fresh Deli||Return Policy|
|Fresh Meat||Rotisserie Chicken|
|Fresh Produce||Tire Service Center|
|Gas Station||Travel Center|
|Grocery Delivery||Water Delivery|
These are all services and products you require a membership to purchase and use. Entering the store requires showing an employee your membership, and you must scan your membership card when checking out.
If you ever go on a vacation, rest easy knowing you can get a discount at rental companies with Costco! Costco is partnered with Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise, and Costco Executive membership holders can still earn the 2% reward!
Our family leverage this service often.
Clothing and Home Goods
Costco has various selections for clothing, furniture, and other home goods from brands like Adidas, Casper, and LG. You can also get in-home delivery and installation on major appliances.
We like some of the basics, and there can be great deals on small appliances.
Home Product Installation
Members can get installations such as floor remodelling or adding shelves through Costco. In addition, there are several Costco partners you can work with.
We never used it.
Suppose you’re looking into buying your first car, then Costco might be a place to look! Costco sells both new and used vehicles with member prices through Costco’s partnered local dealers.
We never used it although we have seen deals with Ford.
Tire Service Center
With the Auto service comes tire services, including a tire rotation, balancing and inflation service. But, of course, if you have a vehicle, you can still use Costco’s tire service too!
We used it heavily for tires.
Costco Members have access to a program called Costco Next. This allows you to buy directly from Costco’s vendors online at a lower price than in-store prices. Unfortunately, though the 2% rewards on the Costco Executive membership do not apply to what is purchased on Costco Next, they are also not eligible for returns at Costco.
Only heard of it during the research of this article.
Gas is a hot commodity at Costco as its prices tend to be lower than other gas stations because the membership fees and the average spending people spend offset the gas price.
Heavily used as the discount is significant. Could be worth the membership alone.
For members, Costco is partnered with Instacart, which offers same-day and two-day delivery. However, something to keep in mind is the fees associated with delivery!
We used it during the pandemic but there is a surcharge which isn’t worth it.
Costco members also receive discounts on prescription medication, vaccinations, generics, and even medication for their pets.
Our Costco is a bit far for prescription but other items are a good deal.
If you ever need a photo printed for a project or put on your walls! Costco even offers printing, such as matte finishes. Another option is to get your photos printed on a mug or plate. You can also print out necessary business cards if you enter the work field.
While it’s now close at our Costco, it was the go to for Passport photos.
With a membership, Costco offers vacation packages. These packages include cruise ship reservations and hotel reservations, among others. In addition, there are many available countries to visit!
Our family has not used the service.
Costco’s water delivery service is excellent, as some people require large amounts of water if they live in areas without clean water. Large containers of water are also hefty, so it might be easier to get it delivered than the hassle of loading and unloading it from the vehicle.
I had never heard of this before the article.
Costco Return Policy
Costco has an one of the best return policy. You can return anything broken or unwanted, and they will refund or replace it. If items are too large for transport, Costco does offer a pickup service for more oversized items to return.
However, this service may take several weeks, refunds and replacements go through, and the things need to be sent off the same way you received them, so keep the packaging!
With online purchases, you can also go in person with the product if you bring the confirmation email upon return. Another option is to email Costco’s customer service team and write “Costco.ca Returns” in the subject line.
There is usually no problem with returns if you have the original receipt with the product. However, there are some exceptions:
- Installation services do not qualify for a refund unless there is a warranty claim.
- Some items like tires and batteries have a limited warranty lifespan, so check them before trying to return them.
- There are no returns allowed on cigarettes and alcohol.
- Items like diamonds can be returned; however, it may take longer.
- Electronic items have a 90-day return policy starting from the date of purchase.
- The Costco Executive Membership is only worth over the Gold Star Membership if you spend a minimum of $3,000 per year.
- In Canada, Costco only accepts debit, Mastercard, or cash when in store (when buying online VISA is also accepted). They take any Mastercard; however, if you do not have one, Costco and CIBC have a partnership where you can get a CIBC Costco Mastercard and receive cash back when using Costco services and buying their products. In addition, you can sign up for one online.
- There may be times when sales at grocery stores may be better than the prices at Costco.
- Buying in bulk requires planning since buying food in bulk means consuming it before it rots. Leaving it in your freezer is an option. However, it may lay there, forgotten for a while.
How to sign up for a Costco Membership
Sign up for a Costco Membership online or in person at your local Costco. Once your application is approved, you’ll get an email with your membership number. Bring this number into a Costco to get a physical card to take your picture and make your membership card. There is also a free digital membership card that you can present in Costco instead.
To apply in person, simply visit any Costco and go to the membership counter. They will help you with the process, and you will receive a physical membership card immediately.
To apply online, visit Costco.ca. When using, you will add the membership type you want to the shopping cart then Costco will then direct you to read the Conditions and Regulations and accept the terms before checking out.
Once accepted, Costco will require you to add your information for verification. Once verified then, you will finish the process of checking out and receiving your membership.
Costco Digital Membership Card
With technology becoming the norm and credit cards available on phones and watches, it is a no-brainer that students will most likely want to use a digital card rather than risk losing the physical card.
Getting a digital membership card requires a few extra steps.
- Download the Costco Mobile App. It is available in both Google and Apple stores. Then tap on the Membership Card icon.
- Use the same information from the membership to sign into your account on the app. Follow the instructions on the screen or create a new account if needed.
- Verification involves physically going into a Costco or verifying over the phone. In-person requires a visit to the membership counter at your local Costco. If you wish to confirm over the phone, you can call 1-800-463-3783, and someone will help you with the process.
- Once verified, relaunch the app, and your digital membership will be available!
Costco Mobile App
The Costco app enables you to save time and money while on the go. As discussed, one of the benefits is access to digital membership, which you can use as proof of your Costco membership upon entering and checkout.
The app allows you to access the savings available easily. In addition, it helps you better navigate the deals and offers.
You can also use the app to buy products online, and there may be more options online as it will calculate between different Costco and not just the one you frequent. There is also the benefit of free shipping but check the prices as they could be higher online.
Lastly, you can easily upload your photos on your mobile device to the photo center and format them however you wish for printing and pick up!
Costco Membership Renewal
Register your Costco membership online at Costco.ca and sign into your account. Next, click on the “Membership” tab, enter your membership information, and click “Proceed to Check out.”
Is a Costco Membership for you?
If you are a student, especially if you live with others, getting a Costco membership might be a great benefit. They sell many brands, and you can save a lot per product unit.
Even if you don’t live with others, your friends may be interested and as a group, you might be able to shop and share bulk items together. If there is a Costco gas and you have cars, that’s a great savings to get going.
On top of discounted products, you can use your membership to get deals on gas, pharmaceuticals, travel, optical, and photo center, to name a few. Another great feature is that it works all over Canada, so if you move after your studies, your membership will be available anywhere else within Canada.
Finally, if you don’t have time to go to a Costco physically, you can easily shop online, which might enable you to find unavailable products at your local Costco. For a low annual fee, you can save on groceries, gas, travel and more!