3 Things You May Not Have Known About a Costco Executive Membership
By: Maurie Backman |
– First published on June 8, 2023
Shopping at Costco is a great way to save money on everything from groceries to apparel to household products. And if you upgrade to an executive membership at Costco, you may find you’re able to save even more.A Costco executive membership costs $120 a year, which is double the cost of a basic membership. In exchange, you get 2% cash back at Costco, which is a pretty sweet deal. In fact, your cash back could be enough to pay for your upgraded membership and then some.But if you’re thinking about upgrading your membership at Costco, it’s important to know how the program works. Here are a few things you may not have known about a Costco executive membership.1. You’re limited to a $1,000 reward each yearIf you shop at Costco frequently enough, you might manage to rack up a lot of cash back from your executive membership. But you should know that once you’ve accumulated $1,000 via executive membership cash back, you’re done for the year.That said, to even get to the point of being eligible for a $1,000 cash back reward from your executive membership, you’d need to spend $50,000 a year at Costco. That’s probably way more than you can imagine yourself spending, even if you have a year when you use Costco to do things like book travel and update your furniture.2. Online purchases countAlthough Costco carries an impressive selection of inventory in its warehouse club stores, you might find even more items to choose from online. The good news is that online purchases are generally eligible for 2% back if you have an executive membership, so don’t be concerned that those orders won’t count.3. Car purchases aren’t eligible for cash backIn some cases, it could pay to purchase your next vehicle via Costco. But unfortunately, your car purchase will not be eligible for the cash back rewards that are part of an executive membership. (If they were, then hitting that $1,000 limit would probably be easier.) However, there are still many perks to buying a car through Costco, such as saving money on your purchase price, so it pays to see what models are available through this program.Should you get a Costco executive membership?A Costco executive membership certainly isn’t right for everyone. If you don’t do a lot of shopping at Costco, then it may not be worth it to pay the extra $60 a year. But either way, read up on how the upgraded membership works and the benefits it offers before making your decision.Remember, too, that Costco wants you to be happy with your executive membership. If you do the upgrade and find that it isn’t worth it, you can always downgrade your membership to a basic one and ask for a refund. It’s not as though you’re stuck with the costlier membership once you decide to make that upgrade, so it’s really a pretty risk-free proposition if you want to give it a try.
6 Things I Refuse to Buy at Costco
By: Dana George |
– First published on June 10, 2023
I will gladly try almost anything at Costco, at least once. You never know when you’re going to come across a product that’s absolutely perfect for you. However, there is no chance I will ever buy any of the following products at Costco. 1. 72-pound Cheese WheelI like cheese as much as the next person, but good gravy. Who needs a 72-pound wheel of parmigiano reggiano? The bad news? It’s only available through Costco.com.The good news? Shipping and handling are included in the $950 price. At over $13 a pound, it’s not like you’d be saving money. 2. 600 Bottle Classic LX Double Wine CellarI gotta be honest. If any of my wine-loving friends ever decide to spend $5,700 on a wine cooler for their home, I’m going to be the first one to stage an intervention. Unless a person owns a bar or restaurant, I cannot reconcile spending so much money on a single luxury item, designed to make drinking even more pleasurable. Does it look cool with its “VinoView Shelving?” Absolutely. It’s gorgeous. It may, however, be a cry for help.3. 28-pound Bucket of Mac N’ CheeseI recently told a friend that I would be the first to die in an apocalypse. Mainly because I need snacks. I get that people like gearing up for the end of the world, but really, the idea of 240 servings of mac n’ cheese makes me sad.The advertisement promises that this bucket full of carbs has a shelf life of up to 25 years, which immediately made me think it was made specifically for preppers. I stand corrected. Once I saw that there are 204 reviews online, I had to see what folks had to say.My favorite review came from a lady who says she purchased the bucket for her grandson, who was “pleasantly surprised” the day it arrived. But here’s the impressive part: Not only did the reviewer purchase the 240-serving bucket once, but she says she’s purchased it again.I can’t help but be impressed, although I don’t think I’m willing to shell out $120 for a massive bucket of mac n’ cheese anytime soon.4. The Mother’s Casket You know that nervous laughter that bubbles up when you’re supremely uncomfortable? That’s what I experienced the first time I saw The Mother’s Casket. My mind didn’t quite know what to focus on. Let’s face it: The name is both macabre and hysterical. Who thought that was a good idea?And please, even though I won’t ever buy one, allow me to describe this model to you. The first, and possibly most important feature, is that it’s pink with what’s called “a purple coral finish.” There is (of course) a pink velvet interior with the word “Mother” embroidered on the head panel, and an adjustable eternal rest bed. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Mom needs to be able to adjust the head and footrest, but there you have it.Finally, there’s a matching pink pillow and throw. Overall, it’s delightful.I get why people would be attracted to a jazz-hands casket that costs $1,150. Funerals are ridiculously expensive. It’s why so many people hold on to enough life insurance to cover their funeral costs.Although I’d never buy one, I’d love to meet the family who would. They sound like fun.5. Bote Zeppelin 10″ Inflatable KayakMy husband and I once went on a whitewater rafting trip with about eight other couples, some of whom we barely knew. Between that trip and a kayaking experience we had in Puerto Rico a couple of months ago, I’ve learned one thing: Sharing a small water vessel with a partner tends to bring out the “real” you.Two of the couples on that long-ago whitewater rafting trip spent hours bickering — loudly. One couple would fall out of their kayak and be underwater long enough to provide a few moments of blessed quiet, but then the other couple would start picking at each other. Honestly, I just thought they were broken.Then, in Puerto Rico, kayaking in the ocean at night, I realized that I don’t always trust my husband. I’m pretty sure I let him know. The farther we paddled into the dark water, the more “honest” I became about my feelings. In truth, I was fairly certain he was going to get us killed. (I also realized that I’m terrified of manatees, but that’s another story).The idea of taking a $900 inflatable kayak out on any body of water is more than my heart can handle.6. Closeout Sushi TrayI often wonder about sushi here in the Midwest, especially the sushi sold at gas stations. Given the quality of other Costco food products, it’s hard to imagine that its sushi might be awful. But according to the folks on one super entertaining Reddit thread, Costco sushi is not always the greatest.Here are some of my favorite comments from that thread:According to Alternative-Skill167, “It’s like chewing soft plastic dipped in soy sauce.”TheEZG added this opinion, “Just be prepared for the clearance that will occur in your intestines.”And finally, my favorite. It’s from a Redditor with a user name that cannot be printed here. The poster inadvertently compared eating Costco sushi to preparing for a colonoscopy. “Go ahead and get some toilet paper, nausea meds, and Gatorade too.”So, it’s a no on the sushi. In my life, Costco is like a weird cousin. Once in a while he comes out with something that makes you wonder if he’s okay, but most of the time, there’s not a thing about him you’d change.
3 Signs Your Sam’s Club Membership Is a Waste of Money
By: Christy Bieber |
– First published on June 10, 2023
Becoming a Sam’s Club member comes at a cost. You’ll need to pay a membership fee of $50 per year for a standard club membership or $110 annually for a Plus membership. That’s quite a bit of money to put on your credit cards just for the privilege of shopping at the warehouse club.For many people, paying this membership fee is well worth it. If you are able to take advantage of Sam’s Club’s discounted prices on groceries and other items you need, you may be able to keep more money in your bank account in the long run due to the savings — even after paying the membership fees.But for some consumers, paying for a membership fee doesn’t make sense. To avoid wasting your hard-earned cash, look out for these three signs that becoming or remaining a Sam’s Club member doesn’t make financial sense for you.1. You don’t shop at Sam’s Club oftenIn order to make up the cost of your membership fee, you’d need to save at least $50 a year on products you would have purchased anyways as a result of shopping at Sam’s Club.You can probably do this easily if you visit the store every week, or even every month. After all, if you saved just $4.17 each month by buying items that are cheaper at Sam’s Club than at your local grocery store, the membership fee would pay for itself.But if you rarely shop at Sam’s Club, then the membership is probably a waste of money for you. This could be the case if the warehouse club is far from you or if you simply prefer to visit other stores to buy things.If your Sam’s Club membership is just a habit and you haven’t been to the store in months, consider canceling to see if you really miss it. You can always rejoin if it turns out you value your ability to shop there after all.2. You aren’t using the products you buyOne of the biggest ways Sam’s Club helps you save is by offering bulk items for less money. But not everyone can make effective use of bulk products. If you’re single and live alone, purchasing huge quantities of food and household items may end up being a big waste if you can’t use everything up before it goes bad.While you may be able to team up with friends or neighbors to split bulk purchases, this is not an option for every situation. So pay attention when you buy a Sam’s Club item to see how often part of it goes in the trash. If this happens more than once or twice a month, membership may not be right for you.3. You already have other warehouse club membershipsFinally, if you already have a membership to other warehouse clubs like Costco or BJ’s, it may not make sense to keep your Sam’s Club membership as well. There’s a lot of overlap between the products you can buy at these different places so it usually makes sense to pick just one.If you keep a membership to a specific warehouse club and your friends and family members belong to a different one, you can always trade off and take each other shopping once and a while if there are a few items only one club offers.If you spot any of these three signs, consider canceling your Sam’s Club membership you can keep your club fees in your bank account. Remember, your choice to stop isn’t irrevocable, so you can always change your mind if you decide you value the membership more than the $50 or $110.
5 Great Father’s Day Gifts You Can Buy at Costco
By: Maurie Backman |
– First published on June 11, 2023
Father’s Day may not always get the same amount of media hype as Mother’s Day. But it’s an important event to celebrate nonetheless. If you’re at a loss as to what to get your dad this year, Costco may just come to your rescue. Here are just a few items that could end up being the perfect gift.1. Weber Genesis II E335 Gas GrillIf your dad could use a serious grill upgrade, here’s a Costco find worth considering. Weber has long been a trusted name in the world of grills, and this model comes loaded with features that include a side burner for sauteing vegetables and a sear station to create those perfect grill marks on meat.Now, this grill will run up a pretty high credit card tab, since it’s not a cheap model. But Costco has it marked down online from its usual price of $1,049.99 to $949.99. (Do note that Costco prices can vary by region, and also between online and in-store purchases.) If you have a bunch of siblings, it could be a great item to chip in for together. 2. 32 Degrees Men’s Shorts, 2-packMaybe you’re on more of a budget, or you’re looking for a gift your dad is apt to find useful. This two-pack of shorts could fit the bill. It’s available for just $19.99 and you can choose from blue or green, depending on which color you think your father might like the most. Best of all, these shorts are made of breathable material that can help your dad stay cool throughout the summer.3. Kirkland Signature Men’s Reversible Leather BeltIf your dad commutes to work, he might appreciate a high-quality belt he can pair with different slacks and shirts. This Kirkland belt is made of full grain leather and is reversible so your dad can switch between black and brown. It’s available online for just $24.99.4. Northrock XC27 Mountain BikeIf you have a dad who enjoys fitness and the great outdoors, you may want to consider scooping up this mountain bike. It features an aluminum frame that’s sturdy yet light and disc brakes for optimal control. You can find it for $339.97. 5. Samsung Galaxy Watch4 44mm SmartwatchIf your father’s been stuck in the dark ages with a standard watch that merely tells time, he may be eager for an upgrade. Enter this Samsung watch. It can help your dad track his heart rate, workouts, and oxygen, and it features Google app integration and call and text notifications. For $249.99, you get the watch itself, a bonus band, and an extended warranty that gives you two years of protection.Clearly, you have choices when it comes to buying a Father’s Day gift at Costco. If money is tight and you don’t want to raid your savings account too badly, opt for something economical. Your dad is apt to appreciate the thought more so than anything else.
Who Makes Sam’s Club’s Member’s Mark Products? You May Be Surprised
If you’re a frequent shopper at Sam’s Club, you’ve definitely come across the Member’s Mark brand. From household essentials to office supplies, the brand has a wide range of products that appeal to a broad demographic. However, have you ever wondered about the origins of these Member’s Mark products? Who makes them and where do they come from? Let’s find out.What is Member’s Mark?Member’s Mark is a private label brand exclusive to Sam’s Club, which means its products are sold under its own brand name. The brand has been part of Sam’s Club since 1998 and is known for its quality and value, helping members save money.In 2017, Sam’s Club brought together its 20 proprietary brands under the Member’s Mark umbrella. The brand offers a variety of products, ranging from groceries and household essentials to electronics and furniture.About 20% of all items in Sam’s Club stores are Member’s Mark products. The proprietary brand is designed to provide Sam’s Club members with high-quality items at an affordable price. Purchasing these products can lead to a lower credit card tab, compared to other grocery retailers.Who makes Member’s Mark?Walmart, the parent company of Sam’s Club, is responsible for the manufacture of the Member’s Mark brand. Walmart is a worldwide retailer that generates billions of dollars in revenue every year, and it’s no surprise that it has the capacity to manufacture the products in-house.Some Member’s Mark products are sourced from companies that offer quality products at an excellent value. According to Chandra Holt, Vice President of Private Brands, her team scours the globe in search of these products, like Italian-sourced olive oil that was discovered during Holt’s visit with local olive and tomato farmers.Another gem is the Member’s Mark sangria from Madrid, Spain, and mouth-watering frozen lasagna, traced back to an Italian family recipe, sourced from Chicago.In 2020 Sam’s Club refurbished, revamped, and revolutionized over 1,200 of its products. As a result, an increasing number of members are attributing their membership renewals to the quality and innovation of Member’s Mark offerings.Interestingly, Sam’s Club’s business model is quite different from Costco’s in terms of in-house brands. Costco is known for working with top name brands to produce its Kirkland brand products.In contrast, Sam’s Club doesn’t openly disclose the companies it partners with to produce the Member’s Mark brand. However, there are rumors that suggest that leading manufacturers in the industry make some of the products. Here are some of them:Member’s Mark dog food is made by PurinaMember’s Mark batteries are made by EnergizerMember’s Mark chicken comes from TysonMember’s Mark jeans are made by WranglerMember’s Mark milk comes from Walmart’s Great ValueIf these rumors are accurate, it means that Sam’s Club is working with powerful companies to produce in-house products.Member’s Mark rebrandsIn 2020, Sam’s Club unveiled a new Member’s Mark brand and logo that prioritizes quality and sustainability. Sam’s Club is committed to creating more sustainable products by making Member’s Mark items and its packaging more recyclable, reusable, and compostable.The company is striving to reduce the brand’s impact on the environment by encouraging suppliers to participate in the Project Gigaton™ consortium. This initiative, led by Walmart, aims to eliminate 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the private sector.Regardless of who makes Member’s Mark, Sam’s Club is focusing on meeting its industry-leading sustainability goals by 2025. Suppliers and vendors have to source the Member’s Mark products responsibly, create inclusive economic opportunities, and prioritize diverse suppliers.Sam’s Club Member’s Mark is a great option for anyone looking for high-quality products at an affordable price. With such a range of products, there’s sure to be something that meets your needs. While Sam’s Club sources its products differently than Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand, Member’s Mark is leading the way with its sustainability initiatives. Sam’s Club is committing to a regenerative mindset by prioritizing nature, humanity, and its members in the development of Member’s Mark products.