The first week back to school is often filled with free meals, t-shirts being handed out on every corner of the student center and seemingly endless student discounts. But just as quickly as those things come, they go. And suddenly you’ll be rationing your meal plan and missing the frills of your first week. I regret not getting a Costco membership while I was in college. But if you have a Costco, or a similar wholesale store, in your college town, consider these benefits:


Summer isn’t over, but it’s back to dorm life. You might entertain the idea of cooking at home, meal prepping on Sundays and cutting your junk food consumption at least by half, but chances are you’ll have all the take-out menus in the kitchen drawer between the stove and the refrigerator by mid-September. That said, Costco pizza will be a sensible option. It’s always fresh when I go (because, duh. Have you seen those lines?). Slices are cheap and the entire pizza is $10.

Split the membership

The average member is college educated, owns a home and earns about $100,000 a year, CNBC reports. You might only be working on the “college educated” part right now, but why not shop smart by spending the membership fee now for big savings later? You and your roommate can agree that it’s probably the most cost-effective thing to do.

You need toilet paper!

Toilet paper is the top-selling product at Costco and the first thing you run out of the week after you go shopping. Don’t play yourself. Stock up for the entire semester. Although, there’s no guarantee you won’t need to re-up by Thanksgiving.

Fun fact you probably didn’t know: Costco has technicians that test toilet paper for thickness, strength and softness, checking everything from paper quality to humidity levels to the water used in production.

(Quality) Wine is cheaper here

Costco is the largest seller of fine wines in the U.S., partially because some of best wine options are in-house. The Kirkland label Signature Series Russian River Valley chardonnay and the Rutherford Heritage have quite the reputation. You can’t beat quality and quantity.

Infinite freezer foods

If you can think of it, they have it in bulk. All the just-put-it-in-the-oven lasagna, pizzas, fries, wings, and taquitos you’ll need to last you the semester. But please, stay away from the TV dinners.

Fuel for the low

Costco typically sells gas between 6 and 12 cents below the market price, according to research firm Trefis. Take advantage of that discount, even if it’s the only thing you use your membership for.


Photo: Tumblr
Photo: Tumblr

You can make the most of your spring break, birthday, your roommate’s birthday (or any extended time not spent sitting behind a desk) because Costco travel deals are a thing.

Cleaning products

Cleanliness is next to godliness, and sometimes roommates can be less than godly. Shop one time, and one time only for all the dishwashing liquid, bleach, window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, Febreeze and Oxiclean you’ll need for the year. You’ll be ready to overcome any unexpected messes.

Movie tickets

Movie tickets aren’t really cheap unless you’re going to a matinee screening.  If you’re a frequent movie-goer or you want to surprise bae with dinner and movie, this is yet another benefit of your membership. The regular price for a movie can range anywhere from $13 to $20. At Costco, you can get two tickets for $17 (sometimes less).

Other good reasons to get a Costo membership: You can buy a TV, anything you could possibly need for a road trip and get the prescription for your eye glasses filled here. Honestly, the list goes on. It was a lifesaver for me and others I know, and from one student to the next, I recommend the investment.

What saved your wallet as a college student? Let us know in the comments below!

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