Costco, land of bulk groceries and giant teddy bears, owes much of its appeal to the fact that you can buy a year's supply of toothpaste for the price of two tubes at most other retailers. But how much of the store's allure is owed to the fact that you need a membership to shop? For people with ample storage or big families, the $60 fee may not seem insurmountable. But for young, single apartment-dwellers, the bulk-price appeal may be just a siren song.
Shoppers who have wanted to indulge sans membership have, in some markets, been able to use Instacart to do occasional bulk shopping. There are a few drawbacks, however – Instacart isn't nation-wide, and additional fees make it so, at some point, a membership still is probably the better investment.
However, a new program called CostcoGrocery is offering a compromise between the two: you can shop online from 500 items, all dry goods or pantry items, and get them shipped to you in two days. Like Instacart, prices for CostcoGrocery are higher than in stores. Unlike Instacart, though, there are fewer fees associated with your purchase. Shoppers are only charged a $3 delivery fee, which is waived on purchases of $75 or more. The downside, of course, being that you are limited to non-perishables that ship unrefrigerated.
Despite the drawbacks, we're excited by the new world of bulk shopping that this opens up for us. And no, you don't need a giant pantry or a disaster preparedness cellar to take advantage of it. We found the most millennial-friendly items, from the things that won't take up too much space to ways to eat breakfast for two months for around a quarter a serving. Oh, and don't worry, there's a great deal on Nutella too.
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ZICO Coconut Water, 12 count, available at Costco.
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Sunshine Cheez-It Crackers, 3lbs, $8.99, available at Costco.
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Clif Bar Variety Pack, 24 count, $22.89, available at Costco.