When it comes to rivals BJ’s Wholesale Club and Costco Wholesale club have it going on. Almost the way Target and Walmart are?! No maybe the way Amazon and Target are?
There are similarities. Both wholesale clubs require a membership to shop. BJs Wholesale is $55 a year and Costco is $60 a year.
I can see a benefit to having both memberships as I myself do. Yet for the reasons mentioned below I’m picking BJ’s over Costco.
Let’s start with ease of shopping at BJs
Costco is always busy. Unless you go at 10 am when most clubs open by noon the crowds are picking up on a weekday. On the weekends, forget it.
If you need to pick up some hamburgers for a cookout on the way home and wanted to shop at Costco because meat is almost always cheaper at wholesale clubs no matter which one you choose, you’ll wait in line.
AT BJ’s you can use the express scan– which more clubs are rolling out or choose from the number of self checkout lanes. I like I can shop at BJ’s for a few items. Not the former thinking of wholesale members must only shop once a month and stock up, and just expect to wait.
With Instacart taking off consumers today want nothing to do with waiting right?
The Membership is Cheaper- Because there are More Deals
When I signed up for Costco there wasn’t any free trial or discount membership. At BJ’s you can always shop the club with a free 90 day trial membership. Or you can get membership deals through Groupon or sign up for a $25 year BJs membership online here.
If you think the membership is cheaper because the quality is less, I have to disagree at least for our two locations. Our local BJ’s seems to every couple weeks come out with a new store brand item and the organic line is increasing.
I honestly don’t get the Kirkland brand craze, because many of the store brands are actually name brand items anyways. Costco and BJ’s aren’t manufacturing their own fresh new items here, it’s another brand with the BJs or Kirkland brand over it. Right?!
I do see why shopping Costco Kirkland is a hit, because the name brand items at Costco are typically higher priced than at BJs because of coupons. Maybe this was a smart marketing move on Costco to create a community of loyal name brand shoppers?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy shopping both and understand everyone has their favorites.
I live in upstate New York and have four BJs’ Wholesale clubs near me to shop at. I have only one Costco.
This is a problem because we all know stores success comes from the store manager to an exception. When management level isn’t living up to the brand’s expectations, there is disappointment.
This is why it’s nice to have options. In upstate New York BJ’s Wholesale is king. The nearest Sam’s club to us is 67 miles away!
I’ve price checked in our area and BJ’s is the cheapest again this year for a propane tank refill. The price is $7.99. Non members it’s $12.45.
I’m not sure if it is dependent on your area but our local Costco doesn’t offer this option. You can purchase a pre-filled tank in club for $29.99 regular price. We often see a clipless coupon on this too.
The Prices Are Cheaper
Even with BJ’s changing their coupon policy in April 2019, you can still stack one manufacturer coupon with a BJs coupon. For me couponing and watching how we spend our money, has led us to a debt free lifestyle. One I couldn’t image not living.
If I am going to be real about my finances I want to look at item for item and see which one is cheaper.
When Lauren Gruetman a frugal living author did a price comparison of BJ’s, Sam’s and Costco, BJs came out the cheapest one.
When CNBC compared BJs and Costco’s online prices, guess who came out the winner? BJ’s!
The overall Shopping Experience of the Store
Are you familiar with Lowe’s and Home Depot? You know how Lowe’s seems to appeal to the consumer more than Home Depot? Home Depot gives the feel of come in and get what you need, you don’t need to browse.
That is how I like to compare Costco and BJ’s. BJ’s Wholesale being Lowe’s and Costco being Home Depot– in appearance.
When I went to Costco for the first time I wasn’t a fan that the aisles weren’t marked with items. As a new shopper I had no idea where to start.
At BJ’s I like the aisles having the general items listed. Like a regular grocery store.
I find the signs at BJs easier to read and where there is a sale price the price tag is highlighted yellow which really stands out.
I find it easier to spot deals– especially with BJ’s putting most of their clearance items on endcaps for us.
Cheaper Online Shopping
BJ’s Wholesale club recently started offering a $10 membership to those who want to shop ONLINE only. I see where this is a smart move for the shift of all online shopping.
For those who want a better deal on patio furniture, beds, or any large furniture item shopping online is a great option. Plus if you don’t live close enough to a BJ’s Wholesale club to shop frequently online shopping is a great option.
It’s nice to know you can pay $10 to shop online and get all the online prices members receive.
The Hours of Operation
Our BJ’s Wholesale club is open 9am- 9pm Monday – Saturday. Sunday it is 9 am- 8 pm.. And of course this changes for holidays.
Our Local Costco Wholesale club is open from 10 am – 8:30 pm. Saturday 9:30 am – 6 pm. Sunday 10 am – 6 pm.
Six o clock on a weekend is early and I get that for employees working at Costco this is a great thing. I also get for those who work weekends and shop after work this is a problem.
I hope this gives you insight into why there are some perks to shopping at BJ’s over Costco. I enjoy shopping at Both wholesale clubs but these reasons are my favorite if I had to choose one or the other.
Gas is Cheaper
If you are shopping at BJs, most likely you are used to coupons and hunting for deals. At BJ’s with their new gas promotions you get gas for as low as 2¢/gal. When I price compared in the same day Costco and BJs gas prices, Costco was slightly cheaper regular price. If I buy one select item at BJs I already get 10¢/gal of gas making BJs cheaper.
This doesn’t factor in the gas promotions you can stack either!
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If you love Costco Clearance Check out our Costco Blog!
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