Mature couple browsing bakery section of supe.width .jpg

Should You Join Costco for the Bakery Alone?

Mature couple browsing bakery section of supermarket

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There are a host of reasons why I’m a huge fan of Costco. But one of my favorite things about shopping there is getting access to the store’s fantastic bakery.

Not only are the baked goods you’ll find at Costco delicious, but the prices, in many cases, can’t be beat. But should you join Costco for the bakery alone? That’s an interesting question. Let’s explore.

You might make back your membership fee in savings

A basic membership at Costco costs $60 a year, while an Executive membership costs $120. With the latter option, you get 2% cash back on your Costco purchases.

If you’re thinking of joining Costco just for its bakery (and really, I wouldn’t judge you at all for doing that), then you may want to stick to a basic membership. But will you make your $60 back? Well, it depends on how many bakery purchases you make.

In my family, we have a tradition called Muffin Saturday where we — wait for it — eat muffins for breakfast. At Costco, I can buy 12 jumbo muffins for $9.99, and that lasts my family of five for four breakfasts. My three kids and I each eat half a Costco muffin while my husband eats a whole one. So we’re only going through three of those muffins per weekend.

At my local supermarket, a pack of four regular-sized muffins costs $5.99. And there would be no splitting of those muffins, since they’re smaller.

My kids and I would each eat one, and my husband would probably eat two. So all told, at Costco, I’m paying $9.99 for four Muffin Saturdays for my family. At my local store, I’m paying about $36. Therefore, I’m saving about $26 per month at Costco on muffins alone, which more than pays for a membership. (OK, so I might have a muffin problem, but we’ll table that for another discussion.)

Now, perhaps you don’t consume muffins in the same quantity my family does. But still, if you have multiple kids and tend to need larger cakes for their parties, you can get a giant Costco sheet cake to feed several dozen people for $24.99. At a local bakery in my area, you’d pay three times as much for a cake that size. So in that case, you might almost make back your $60 membership fee with a single large cake purchase.

There are other benefits of a Costco membership you may not know about

There’s nothing wrong with joining Costco for access to the bakery alone. But chances are, once you buy a membership, you’re likely to stumble upon and take advantage of different perks that you may not have known about initially.

For example, Costco’s auto center offers huge savings on tires and gives you perks like free rotations and five years of road hazard protection. Costco’s optical center offers lower prices on glasses. And Costco’s travel service gives you access to unique vacation packages at competitive price points.

So all told, if you’ve been introduced to a Costco bakery item you love (perhaps you had a friend who was nice enough to share one of their Costco muffins with you), then it could pay to get a membership and see what happens. And remember, if it turns out you’re not getting such great use out of your membership, you can always cancel it and get a refund. So all told, it’s a pretty low-risk proposition for your budget — and it might end up being one that puts a lot of delicious cake on your table.

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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.Maurie Backman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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