Costco Might Raise Membership Fees in 2023. Here’s Why That Doesn’t Bother Me

A person shops in the freezer aisle with a cart full of groceries.

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There is a reason those fees exist in the first place.

Key points

  • The last time Costco raised its membership fees was in June of 2017.
  • A fee hike may be coming later this year, but that’s not something consumers should panic about.
  • The price increase is likely to be small, and shoppers can save enough at Costco to make it worth paying.

When I first got a Cosco membership, I only used it a few times. But now that I have a family of hungry kids to feed, I usually shop at Costco every week. It’s my go-to source for everything from produce to dairy to school lunches. And I also like to load up on things like paper towels, cleaning supplies, and laundry detergent at Costco, where I can get a nice discount — and enjoy a lower credit card tab — by buying these -bulk goods.

Meanwhile, I have a Costco executive membership, which costs $120 a year and gives me 2% cash back on my store club purchases. A basic membership, however, costs $60.

But these numbers are not set in stone. In fact, Costco hasn’t increased the cost of a membership since June 2017. Since it typically raises its membership fees every five and a half years or so, it’s fair to say we have an increase in 2023. And since Costco, like many retailers, has been feeling the strain of inflation, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the warehouse club giant to try to recoup some of its costs in the form of higher revenues from -membership fees.

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But while the idea of ​​paying more for a Costco membership might not sit well with some people, I wouldn’t mind at all if the cost went up. And there are a few reasons why.

1. A price increase is unlikely to be substantial

In June 2017, a basic Costco membership increased from $55 to $60, while the cost of an executive membership increased from $110 to $120. If Costco follows a similar model this year, those with basic memberships are looking at a $5 increase, while those with executive memberships are looking at paying $10 more.

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I fall into the latter category. And I can honestly say that based on what I spend on groceries in a year, another $10 won’t make a difference. At least nothing.

I recognize that cash-strapped consumers may feel differently. And I really don’t want to be insensitive to that. But think about how many times most of us spend $5 or $10 without even thinking about it. One cup of coffee and a muffin you buy on a whim can cost you that much or more. So for me, it doesn’t make sense to get worked up about a $5 or $10 fee increase.

2. Those membership fees save me money

Costco uses its membership fees to offset its costs, making it possible to offer such competitive prices. The amount of money I save at Costco on an annual basis is far more than what my membership fee costs me. So even if that fee goes up a bit, I will still go ahead.

At a time when inflation is still rising and wages are not going far, nobody wants to see their bills go up. But if Costco makes the decision to raise the cost of membership, there is a chance that the increase will not be tremendous, and what you pay in the form of that increase, you will make up in savings.

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Additionally, Costco has not implemented a fee increase since mid-2017. How many of your other accounts have held steady for that long? Chances are, none. So all in all, increasing the fees in 2023 would not be unreasonable.

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