How Does Your Spending at Costco Compare to the Average Shopper?

Shopping at Costco is something many people are passionate about, with many internet discussions dedicated to finding the best deals and discussing Kirkland brand products to identify the best culinary delights.

But how big is the checking account hit for the average Costco shopper on an average trip? Here’s what you need to know.

This is what the typical shopper at Costco is spending

The data is somewhat mixed when it comes to spending per trip, but various estimates indicate that the typical Costco shopper spends somewhere between $100 and $150 per visit. Some sources say the customary spending is closer to $100 and other sources report it’s closer to $150.

Former Costco CFO Richard Galanti also indicated in a March 2023 earnings call that Costco Executive members tend to spend more per visit compared with Gold Star members. Executive membership comes at a cost of $120 annually compared with $60 for the basic Gold Star membership, so it’s not surprising that those who spring for the upgraded membership may be bigger Costco spenders.

Since the typical person is spending around $100 to $150 per month on their Costco visits, and the typical warehouse club member makes about 30 trips a year to the store, this means that warehouse club members spend around $3,000 to $4,500 annually buying all the bulk goodies that Costco has on offer. That’s a lot of money to put on a credit card in the course of scooping up those bargains.

How does your Costco spending compare?

Now you know what the typical Costco shopper spends and you can see how your own expenditures stack up. If you’re spending more than your peers, that’s not necessarily a bad thing — but it all depends what you’re buying.

Costco offers good deals on many bulk items, including pantry staples like olive oil. So if you’re buying primarily necessities at the warehouse club — and have made sure the prices are competitive with your local stores’ — then there’s nothing wrong with using the bulk of your grocery budget or household-items budget at Costco.

But if you’re getting caught up with a bunch of impulse buys and wasting money on items you don’t really need, then it may be a problem if your spending is above average. In fact, even if your spending is less than the typical Costco visitor’s, it’s still a problem if you are:

  • Making unnecessary purchases
  • Buying bulk items you aren’t eating or using up prior to expiration
  • Going into debt to support your Costco habit

How can you stop overspending at Costco?

If you find yourself consistently overspending on visits to the warehouse club, you may want to try techniques such as shopping from a list or bringing only enough cash to the store to cover the items you need to buy. This can help you to continue taking advantage of deals at Costco that can save you money, without wasting your hard-earned funds on purchases you come to regret.

Ultimately, knowing how your spending compares to the average shopper is interesting, but you’ll want to focus on how your own spending fits in your budget to know if your Costco purchases are helping or hurting your own personal finances. If you discover you’re overspending relative to your purchasing power and financial goals, it’s time to make a change.

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