Earlier this year, I renewed my Costco executive membership. On top of the $55 annual cost for basic Costco membership, it cost an extra $55 and offered 2% cash back on all my purchases.
I had the following goals in mind:
- Go to Costco for products I’d normally buy at the supermarket
- Don’t spend more just to earn cash back
- Earn enough cash back to pay for next year’s membership
That was five months ago, so I wanted to see if I was on track to reach my goals.
The Five Month Check-In
I checked Costco’s website to see how much cash back I’d earned, but I couldn’t find any information. After calling the customer service number, I learned you CAN find out how much cash back has been earned — but only by calling or stopping by the service counter. I thought that was a little inconvenient, but at least the information was available somewhere.
Here’s what I found out: I’ve only earned $25.31 in cash back.
At a pace of about $5 a month, I’ll earn $60 in cash back for the year. That’s barely enough to pay for the membership upgrade, and only about half of my ultimate goal: to pay for both the basic membership and the executive upgrade ($110 total).
It was time to reevaluate the list of items I’d planned to purchase at Costco:
- Toilet paper: Costco doesn’t carry the toilet paper we use. If it were up to me, I’d switch to something comparable — but the rest of my family is very set on using one specific type of bathroom tissue.
- Cat food: Unfortunately, my Costco has a limited selection of cat food. I’m not picky about brand names, but I do need sensitive stomach formula or my cats will have issues.
- Laundry detergent: We switched brands to one we can get at Costco.
- Meat: We buy some of our meat at Costco, but not all.
- Produce: The story here is the same as our meat. When we get to Costco, we buy produce — but more often than not, we buy it at the supermarket.
- Snacks: Costco simply doesn’t have the snacks our family enjoys, though we still buy some there.
- Soda/Water: Costco stocks everything we normally use, but we haven’t purchased water or soda there once.
There are some products I was planning on purchasing at Costco that they don’t carry, and I’m not interested in switching brand names. But the bottom line is: I’m just not putting in the effort to achieve my goal.
I’ve got seven months to turn this thing around. With a little effort, I know I can do it!
Have you ever checked how much cash back you’ve earned with your Costco executive membership, or do you just wait for the check to show up in the mail?