Is Costco in Brisbane Worth Going To?
After years of rumours followed by months of anticipation, finally Queensland has its very first Costco!
But with a $60 annual membership ($55 for ABN holders) we all must ask ourselves, is it really worth it for my family?
Is Costco North Lakes worth the membership fee?
First impressions: Now that the initial hype is over and you can actually get to the car park, you’ll be pleased to know it is very customer friendly, nice wide parking spaces, lots of trolley return bays, flat (so your trolley doesn’t roll away), unfortunately no shade as yet, but over all a good set up. The trollies are HUGE, and ALL of them have 2 baby seats, which is a total win for parents IMO. I didn’t however, see any with actual new born seats. So if you are taking a baby that can’t yet sit up, maybe bring a carrier or helper with the pram. The line up for new cards only takes a few minutes now. Each member card has a black and white photo on it and the cards are generated instantly.
The petrol station or ‘Gasoline station’ as it is labelled, has longer operating hours than the main store, but is not 24 hour. Fuel prices are around 15c per litre cheaper, with no store purchase required (just membership)
As you walk in you are confronted by white goods, large TV screens and electrical goods with big price tags. Not exactly what you have in mind when you think ‘bulk goods’ but all are at competitive prices. Once you get through the electrical and jewellery as quickly as you can before the kids break something, you’ll find yourself surrounded by shoes and clothing.
The clothes are cute, well made and from brands you know and trust. Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Fila, Osh Kosh as well as some lesser known brands in Australia like Carters and Jona Michelle. They are well priced for what they are, but if you generally buy your kids clothes from Kmart or Target during the sales, you wont be too impressed with the prices. If you are are looking for a nice outfit as a gift though, they might have just what you’re after.
Costco really does have a bit of everything, but not necessarily a huge variety of anything. The toy range is limited, but within it there are some very cool items. It’s the type of place you’d go to buy a major Christmas present for one of your own kids, but not somewhere you’d stop on the way to a 5 year olds party to pick something up for under $25. As with all the other products though, they are of quality and competitively priced. There is quite a good range of books, children’s and adults, with prices comparable to any major book store.
Costco is the place for Party planning
Now, toys and pretty clothes aside, the one area Costco completely won me over in is party planning and catering. They have a huge range of disposable plates, cups, cutlery etc and it is all really nice, not cheap and nasty looking. There’s also platters of ready to go chicken pieces with dipping sauce, buffalo wings, wraps, sandwiches and lots more. They have huge pizzas with generous topping, massive lasagnas, boxes of 88 party pies, everything you can think of for any kind of party. Chips, dips and an amazing cheese and cold meat section. If you love to entertain then membership for this stuff alone may very well be worth it. They have a range of decorated slab cakes ready to go or that can be made fresh to order, that would easily feed a class full of kids. $27 for 2.9kg of cake – yes please!
Of course, where there’s a party, there’s usually lollies, and of course they have that more than covered too. The downside is there is really no small quantities, it’s bulk or nothing. While the $179 10kg block of Cadbury Dairy milk might be the extreme, the smallest and cheapest bags of say snakes or mixed lollies are still going to set you back close to $10. With prices averaging at $15 to $20 for 1 to 2kgs. There is also not a lot of variety packs, which I found disappointing.
Again there is lots of brands you know and love, as well as a few US candy brands you may not be so familiar with. There’s also bulk cake and brownie mix if you feel like baking some some sweets yourself.
Are Costco groceries cheaper than Coles and Woolworths?
As for meals and school lunch box ideas, Costco carries most of what you’d expect. I feel the every day prices on most things are comparable to Coles and Woolworths, but instead of buying one jar of pasta sauce, you have to buy 6. Items will come on special, but nothing was really better value than a Coles or Woolworths special and don’t even come close to Aldi prices. So if you are the type of shopper that scans the catalogues and finds the cheapest poppers and muesli bars each week, then you probably wont be saving anything by buying these products at Costco. You would also have to have a decent size cupboard or storage area to store all the extras that you wouldn’t normally buy. A 10kg bag or rice or 600 meters of glad wrap is not for everyone! Although 36 LCMs and 2kgs of corn might be.
What about Nappies at Costco
Which brings us to the bottom end, which is what most mums will be wondering about – nappies! Huge boxes, reasonable prices, but again if you keep your eye on catalogues, they are no cheaper per nappy than what you’ll pick up on sale at any major super market. They stock Huggies as well as brands you may never have heard of. They also sell formula, pregnancy tests, ovulation kits, vitamin, creams, sanitary products (128 tampons anyone?) sunscreen and everything between. Big packs, big brands.
Fruit and Vegetables- are they fresh? are they cheap?
The fruit and vegetable section is fresh and appears to be of quality, but again the prices are nothing to get excited about. $10 for 2kg of apples, $9 for a 1kg punnet of strawberries etc. The juice and milk was again comparable to supermarket prices. They sell a selected range of pet food in bulk, but your more expensive brands like Optimum, at $60 for an 18kg bag. Which per 100g works out a lot more expensive than supermarket brands, but presumably you are paying for quality.
You’ll see lots of people walking out with these massive packets of Kleenex toilet tissue. Once again though, if you’re a bargain hunter like myself, you know you can always pick up Kleenex for 50c or less per roll, and you don’t need to find somewhere to store 48 rolls of it when you do! And this is their ‘coupon’ price, not the every day price.
Over view: Costco is big brands, and in most cases big quantities. If you’re short on space, or shop to a weekly budget, then it’s probably not for you. If you are an Aldi shopper and are happy with their brands, you will not be impressed by these prices.
If you do like bulk, entertaining groups of people, don’t have time to shop around for specials, like big name brands at low prices, then you will love Costco! While it is not all processed food, there is a unbelievable range of ready made frozen food, great for busy parents who needs a few easy meals during the week.
Lastly, I’d like to share some random cool things that you’ll also find at Costco!
A block of 648 pages or coloured paper – every little crafters dream! ($14.69) They also have a range of other bulk stationery.
900g Coconut oil, bargain at only $13.59 (every day price)
Aloe Vera drink? Mmmm, sounds like it would be good for you!
Ready to go helium tank, no party should be without one!
Funky giant plastic wear,
45 meter rolls of ribbon – $9.99
And on your way out, you can pick up a cheap hot meal!