Warehouse stores may charge a membership fee, but a website says the numbers add up in favor of buying in bulk at them. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Sure, you have to pay an annual fee to shop there, but when it comes to warehouse clubs, membership has its privileges, according to the website Cheapism.com.
The website recently compared Costco's prices to those at other retailers like a grocery store and an office supply chain. The numbers add up big in favor of buying bulk.
"Consumers can save 25 percent when shopping at Costco versus traditional retail stores," says Max Levitte, the CEO and founder of Cheapism.
Levitte is also a Costco member himself.
"I do it mostly for the toilet paper and the Advil," he says.
While his card costs him a fee of $55 per year, he says membership pays for itself pretty quickly, often in your first trip, maybe even in a single item.
"So if you want to buy a television, it would be $100 cheaper at Costco, or if you want to buy a Dyson vacuum cleaner, it would be $150 cheaper at Costco," he says.
Of course, there are some drawbacks. Yes, you can buy a TV for less, but you also have fewer TVs to choose from compared to what you'll find at a specialty retailer like Best Buy.
"There were 10 or 15 televisions at Costco and 55 televisions at Best Buy, and on the website, there were 56 televisions at Costco but 500-and-something televisions at Best Buy," Levitte says.
Which isn't to say the selection is dismal. While you may equate warehouse stores with 48 rolls of paper towels, shoppers say they find most of what they need, even organic food.
"I buy, like, coconut oil and the organic chicken," says one shopper. "The berries are delicious."
Don't think you have the space to store or enough people in your house to need 10 tubes of toothpaste? You can always split the cost of a membership and the goods with a friend.
In fact, Trae Bodge of RetailMeNot suggests smaller families buddy up to do a bulk of their back-to-school shopping, including what you need for classroom supplies, at a warehouse store.
"These days, schools are not paying for a lot of things like the hand sanitizer, the tissues," Bodge says. "Do that shopping at Costco, Sam's Club. Buy it in bulk because you know you're going to go through it."
While Cheapism.com looked specifically at Costco, Levitte says similar savings can be found at most warehouse stores.