Costco costly: Price Comparison
I haven’t been to the Melbourne Costco yet and based on what I’ve read online, I don’t think I ever will. Don’t get me wrong, Costco is a great idea and whenever I am in the US, I try visiting there partly out of curiosity and partly to get a large quantity of US only products to bring home. But for a country with very little buying power, general isolation from the world, and the fairly good prices of local markets and Aldi, I don’t see the savvy shopper saving money.
Buckscoop has a fairly extensive list put together by it’s members. The problem with their comparison is that they are using Coles and Woolworths/Safeway online which are mostly different prices to their physical stores. There is no comparison with Aldi or any local markets. Let’s take a few common items a person would purchase.
|Product||Costco Price||Aldi Price||Coles/Woolworths Price||Total Saved/Lost|
|Wholemeal Bread (sold in 2)||$1.25||$2.69||$1.70||-$.45|
|Chicken Breasts (per kg)||$11.99||$9.99||$9.99||+$2.00|
|Tasty Cheese (per kg)||$8.00||$7.49||$7.49||+$.51|
|Cage Eggs (dz -sold in 30)||$.17||$.22||$.24||-$.60|
|Milk Light 3L||$3.19||$3.66||$3.99||-$.47|
So that’s about $1 dearer at Costco. I suppose we could remove the chicken, and we save $1, but is that really worth it?
How about the prices for those 1 off items. Let’s compare the sale items at Coles and Woolworths this week.
|Product||Costco Price||Coles/Woolworths Price||Total Saved/Lost|
|Olive Oil (4L)||$24.99||$19.99||+$5.00|
So that’s about $5-6 saved by using Woolworth and Coles.
The comparison made here is is just for food products and there may be savings on some of the other goods such as clothes and electronics. Personally, I can’t see it worth spending the money to travel to Costco, pay for parking and deal with a crowded store when I have a choice of hundreds of Woolworths, Coles, Aldis and local markets to choose from. It amazes me that people signed up for a membership without even knowing the prices and worse yet people who drive in from far away (even interstate) to get some bargains from Costco.
Wisebread (a popular American budget blog) recently published an article stating some of the same arguments with the U.S. branches. The most success smart buyers have is if they can find a specific item significantly cheaper than other retailers. The commenters on the Wisebread article point to diapers as a big saver. OzSoapbox found that premium cat food was good in bulk.
Even though it’s $60 to join, if you are not satisfied with your membership, you can get a refund. Take your shopping list there, compare prices, if you are not happy ask for a refund. Everyone shops differently and the prices from Coles/Woolworth’s multibuy specials may be a recent marketing challenge to compete with Costco. The big winner in all of this is the Docklands precinct. Every year the areas adds new unique features that is transforming it from a ghost town into a thriving surburb. Now if only we can get that wheel fixed.