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The No. 1 Reason to Shop at Costco (It’s Not Low Prices)

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Costco is known for offering great deals on everyday items like groceries and big-ticket purchases like furniture, appliances, and even cars. Saving money is always good, and I’m in favor of it. If you’re considering a Costco membership because you want to save money, you won’t be disappointed.

But from my experience, the best reason to shop at Costco is not saving money: it’s saving time. Costco has given me uncountable hours of my life back, instead of losing time and energy on frustrating, ineffective shopping trips.

Let’s look at why the most important reason to shop at Costco isn’t about dollars — it’s about more hours in the day, and happier days in your life.

Costco is my shopping “concierge” and curator

Time is money, and I don’t want to spend too much time shopping and comparing prices and fretting over customer reviews. I use Costco as my “concierge” and curator of shopping. Yes, it has low prices, but the really big reason why I love Costco is that Costco sells awesome stuff, and I know it’s going to be a good deal. I shop at Costco because I trust that it will curate high-quality brands and products for me; even the Costco private label Kirkland brand has become a mark of quality.

Do you feel time-starved and over-extended by your daily life responsibilities? Do you not have time to research every purchase? Costco saves you time and gives you life back (not just cash back). You can trust Costco to present you with good options for products.

Costco is like a cool friend that helps you get your life sorted out: “This pair of pants will look good on you, this leather sectional will be great in your living room, and have you tried this trail mix?” This relieves the burden of researching and comparing and deciding. Costco takes a load off of your mind.

And in case a Costco product turns out to not be the right size or the right fit for your life, you can take it back! Costco has an easy, generous return policy.

Costco: Great for price-sensitive shoppers and time-sensitive shoppers

There are a few types of bargain hunters in the world. Some people are price-sensitive bargain hunters: they love the process of looking for deals, finding lower prices, and doing price comparisons to get the right price. Other people are what I’d call “time-sensitive” bargain hunters — they want a good price, but they’ll settle for a slightly higher price if they can get the right product and save time.

At this point in my life, I’m a “time-sensitive” bargain hunter. My biggest problem is that I don’t have enough time. I work hard, I work long hours, I’m often thinking about work even when not working, and I’m at a stage of life where I’m busy with my kids and our family life and taking care of the house. I don’t have much time for hobbies, or volunteering in my community, or physical fitness, or basic self care, let alone comparing prices. (And this is all fine! I love my life and family, and this is the path I chose; but you see what I mean?)

A lot of American parents, and Americans in general, probably feel this same sense of tension about not having enough hours in the day. If you have a full-time job and a commute, if you’re caring for children or pets or older adult loved ones, if you have youth sports and home improvement projects gobbling up your weekends…how much time do you really have left to bargain hunt for your new refrigerator or get the lowest possible price on big-ticket purchases like a new set of tires?

This is how Costco helps millions of Americans: it takes the price shopping off your to-do list. You just have to trust Costco and have faith that Costco is giving you a good deal. And not every product that Costco sells will have the lowest price in town or get five-star reviews. Definitely do your research for a big purchase like a major appliance; sometimes a different store will offer a better-rated product or a slightly lower price.

But for so many everyday grocery items and higher-end affordable luxuries, Costco is not just a lower-priced shopping option — it’s a time-saving, life-simplifying option.

Bottom line

Yes, Costco has cheap hot dogs and rotisserie chickens. Yes, you can save money at Costco on everything from yogurt to eyeglasses, from pet insurance to cars. But the biggest value for me, and probably for a lot of time-starved, busy Americans, is that Costco helps you save time.

Instead of spending hours on research and price shopping and bargain hunting, Costco puts great deals right in front of you. Costco curates great deals on high-quality merchandise, so you can feel confident that everything you buy is going to fit your budget and make your life a little better.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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