I’ll never forget our indoctrination into Costco. Friends visiting from out of town told us about making sashimi from Costco salmon and then launched into a praise session of the warehouse retailer. I was bemused, as we had only ever once tried to join a warehouse club and abandoned cart when we got to the checkout and wondered what on earth we’d actually do with a gallon of mayo.
But our friends were so exuberant in their Costco fandom that we literally jumped in the car to head over so they could introduce us. And you know what? They were right. The people were super friendly, the prices were amazing, and there were loads of things to save money on—in addition jumbo-size condiments. We bought a membership that day and haven’t looked back.
I know it may seem funny that a family of two would belong to a warehouse club, but each year when it comes time to renew I mull it over for about half a second and go right on and sign up for another year. Here are a few reasons why.
1. The sushi-grade salmon
Really, this is honestly the number-one reason. I get that it’s not for everyone, but several times a year we buy a flash-frozen, farm-raised salmon from Costco, one that they’ve just set out that day, and slice it up to have as sashimi. It’s more than we can eat, so anything left goes into a ceviche the next day. All for around 30 bucks. If we went out for both those meals, we’d be way, way over the annual cost of a membership—and that’s just for one instance and I bet we have Costco sushi night eight or 10 times a year.
Read more: I Made Sashimi from Cheap Costco Salmon and Didn’t Die
2. The legitimately good frozen section
I try not to eat a ton of frozen foods, but do have a few favorites. And one of my go-to cheap and easy dinners is a gluten free Costco frozen pizza. They’re just a little more than five bucks each, which is a fraction of ordering in. And there’s always something new to try—on our last shopping trip we picked up a couple trays of eggplant Parm at $11.59 for two, and they each have several servings. It’ll be perfect when we work long days and have some family visiting and there’s no time to cook. Oh, and when I’m lucky, they have my favorite treat: Yasso frozen yogurt bars (and they’re way less than at my usual store).
3. All the nuts and nut butters
I love to toss walnuts into everything from salads to breakfast yogurts, and it gets to be an expensive habit. But when I’m buying them by the super-size bag at Costco, I can grab handfuls with abandon. I also stock up on almond butter, with their great big jars priced about the same as a small jar at Trader Joe’s, and peanut butter for my dogs’ Kongs (because heaven forbid I run out!).
Like lots of you, I’ve developed quite the attachment to all things LaCroix and Spindrift. But drinking one or two a day per person adds up really fast. I try to only buy them at Costco and at their prices, I don’t feel such a need to ration them. Once when several people came to our house to talk about doing a project together, I set out an array of flavors of bubbly water. They were all from much further north than here in Kentucky, and kept commenting about this Southern hospitality. (I didn’t mention it was possible because they all came from Costco!)
I work from home, but my husband works at an office and likes to have snacks once or twice a day. If he heads to his work cafeteria, the vending machine, or the nearby Starbucks, he could easily blow through a huge chunk of our grocery budget. So we usually pick up a box of snack bars and/or individually portioned Veggie Straws (it does cost more per serving that way, but we’ve never been able to finish the giant non-portioned bag before they get stale, and it’s still cheaper than his other options at about 35 cents a bag, plus the smaller ones are easier to store). Oh, and the 2.5-pound jar of salted mixed nuts lasts for a lot of cocktail hours—for only 15 bucks.
If it were just these things, our membership would be worth it. But we also get Costco brand gas anytime we’re near there, at a big savings. I also keep my Airbnbs stocked with toilet paper, trash bags, and Kleenex, and it’s such a great place to pick up gifts during the holidays. And we haven’t even talked about their bourbon prices! I understand now why our friends were so zealous—now we’re the ones out preaching the gospel of Costco to our own friends and family!