I love Costco! In fact, I have highlighted before how you can use Costco to save.
Well, after a recent trip to Costco, I discovered how it is great for college students to save as well!
The Best Costco Membership for College Students
The tough part about shopping at Costco is that it requires a membership to join. A lot of students have been hoping for a Costco college student membership (think Amazon Student), but Costco doesn’t offer one.
Instead, they offer three levels:
- Gold Star Membership: $60 per year
- Business Membership: $60 per year (it just gives you more membership cards and allows you to purchase products for resale)
- Executive Membership: $120 per year (this gives you 2% cash back plus other perks)
For most college students, the Gold Star Membership is probably perfect. Remember, to make the Executive Membership worthwhile, you need to either spend $6,000 per year to get your 2% cash back, or take advantage of the services below.
Some of the services provide extra rewards for Executive Membership, which could easily pay for the difference.
Costco.com is a great place for college students to save. They have a huge technology section that includes laptops and software, and most of their prices are cheaper than other stores, and very competitive with campus bookstores.
The great thing about Costco.com is that they never charge shipping and handling, and that every product is returnable to a store no matter if the store carries the item or not.
One thing that many people see in Costco but very few use are Costco’s services. Many of these services are great for college students. Here is a quick breakdown of some great services Costco offers:
- Auto Program: If you are looking for a new or certified pre-owned car, Costco can arrange for special member pricing at local dealerships. The savings can be huge, and I have heard that car dealers will even go lower than the Costco price sometimes.
- Online investing: Costco has also partnered with ShareBuilder to offer members up to a $50 bonus and $2 trades. For college students, if you sign up for an automated plan, this is probably the best investing plan available. Plus, you get that $50 bonus if you hold an Executive Membership.
- Insurance: If you live in California, you can buy supplemental insurance through Costco and it is relatively cheap. This can be especially helpful for college students who may not get coverage through their parents or university.
Other Great Things at Costco for College Students
Another great thing that Costco offers for everyone, but could be helpful to college students saving, is the Costco cash cards. These cards are essentially gift cards, and members can load them up with the amount they would like to give.
The great thing about these cards is that the person using them does not need a membership of their own. The card counts as a membership when used. So, parents can load the card up at home and send it to their child in college, who can use it without having their own Costco membership card.
I hope this helps you save some money on stuff you would buy anyway!
Readers, what do you love about Costco?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.