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Do free samples cover Costco membership?

His friends save the cost of a meal every week

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:34PM

"FMF" at Free Money Finance asked a question for the ages in a recent post. OK, it really wasn't. But it is food for thought. The post is called "Can you pay for a Costco membership by eating free samples?"

 

And just like the answers to more serious questions -- such as will the economic stimulus package work? -- the answer here is: It depends.

 

FMF thought about this because a couple he knows shop at Costco every week, and they eat so many free samples that it saves the cost of a meal.

 

The possible answers are:

  • Yes, you cover the membership -- $45, which includes a free card for your spouse -- if you eat there once a week or even once a month, and would otherwise be spending at least $2.50 per person per meal. Add in kids and it's a big bonus.
  • No, if you're buying things there that you don't need or won't use, which has been known to happen when people shop at Costco.

Is this a legitimate way to save money? FMF also asks if "using this strategy is in some way dishonest and over-the-top when it comes to saving money?"

 

This sparked a lively discussion among readers, one of whom remarked, "Maybe you folks should also bring a change of clothes, a pair of sunglasses and disguise your voice just to make sure you can go back two or three times over. This is ridiculous. Why not just crash a wedding reception every weekend?"

 

Related reading:

Published Feb. 2, 2009

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