Best Things to Buy at Costco That’ll Easily Pay For Your Membership

May 29, 2015 by Kyle

(Updated 2/06/17) $55. That’s what a basic “Gold Star” annual Costco membership is going to cost you. It’s really easy to justify the $55 if you’re getting at least that much back in savings every year.

And while it can be really easy to overspend at Costco if you aren’t disciplined, it can also be really easy to find products that provide killer savings. The best things to buy at Costco can often be hidden behind the bright and shiny electronics that catch your eye as you walk into the warehouse.

Best Things to Buy at Costco That'll Easily Pay For Your Membership

My frugal hero Clark Howard recently broke down the 9 best things to buy at Costco that can single-handedly pay for your membership in terms of savings. Here are a few of the best things to buy at Costco, along with one I think he really missed.

The Best Things to Buy at Costco:


Costco is an excellent place to buy tires for your car with savings in the $70-80 range depending on the brand and time of the year. I have even heard you can negotiate the price on a set of four to bring your total down further.

While you obviously don’t need a new set every year, the savings you’ll eventually rack up will easily help pay for your Costco membership.


$1.50 for a big ol’ hot dog and a drink? Yeah, I’ll take seven please. Their pizza is a really good deal too. But would I go to Costco to just eat lunch if I wasn’t also shopping? Probably not. The warehouse where I live is just way too crowded.


If you’re a big wine drinker, you can easily save a 5 spot on every bottle you buy. If you buy at least a dozen bottles a year, you just paid for your Costco membership.

Movie Tickets

This one I never considered. If you’re a big moviegoer, you should be buying your tickets from Costco. According to Howard, you can save about 25% off the face value which can add up to some decent savings.

With ticket prices right around $12/each nationally, you can get your membership fee back fairly quickly.

Here’s a Costco smart buy that I would add to the list:

Gift Cards

Costco has some killer deals on bulk gift cards that make great gifts, especially for teachers, graduates, and random birthday parties.

Usually you have to buy a pack of 4 or 5, but the savings is in the 20-30% range off the face value of the cards. Look for gift cards to stores like Jamba Juice, Coldstone, Starbucks, and local restaurants.

Check out the article below to see all of the best things to buy at Costco:

9 Items That Will Pay for Your Costco Membership | Clark

Photo by Nazareth College.

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Clark, really, buying wine at Costco will pay for your membership? I know you mentioned you’re not a “wine guy” so I’ll give you a little slack. To make a blanket statement of “an average savings of $5 per bottle” is reckless journalism. I’m a card carrying Costco member and a small business owner of Hinton’s Wine Store/Savvy Cellar. I wine price shop Costco on a regular basis and can document your statement of savings is inaccurate. At the expense of driving my wife crazy I spend time checking prices. I then either match or beat any items that we both carry. At Costco there’s a membership fee and no case discounts! At Hinton’s and most locally owned and operated wine and spirit shops there’s a minimum 10% case discount and NO membership cost. In closing, feel free to do some comparative shopping and you’ll find that my summation is closer to the truth.
Chris Hinton
Hinton’s Wine Store Johns Creek
Hinton’s Savvy Cellar Sandy Springs