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Frugal Friday Week 39

If you don’t know it, I am a Costco fan. As with anything, people love it, hate it, or don’t happen to have one nearby, and therefore, don’t care. Countless articles on what you save at Costco vs what you’d be better off buying elsewhere. Hint – know your unit pricing. That said, my daughter asked me to print and pick up a few pictures for her to give as a gift. A bit short notice to me, she found picture frames over the weekend, and sent me the pictures to print with a day’s notice. I like CVS, and pass the local CVS pretty often, so I sent the digital pictures to CVS for printing. 19 cents each, not too bad. Until the fine print – “Orders under $5 subject to $1.49 surcharge fee.” So, the choice was to pony up $1.49 or go elsewhere. Here’s the thing. I am 10 miles away and a 45 minute round trip to Costco. So spending $3.50 in gas makes no sense, and CVS it was. It would have taken 27 pictures to hit the $5 minimum. Do people print that many pictures at once? In the old days, it was $12 or so to print a roll of film, 36 pictures, and pick out the two good shots for the photo album. Today, with digital pictures, we no longer print bad shots.

That said, let’s look at the photo cost of CVS and Costco. First, Costco –


The 4×6 pictures are a bit cheaper, 6 cents, in fact. No big deal there. Let’s look at CVS and compare the rest –


If you have a collection of 5×7 frames in your house, it’s 39 cents vs $1.69. Over 4 times the price at CVS. Plus the surcharge if we only need a few pictures. I also included the next sizes to compare 8×10 and the poster sized prints. I had a function last year, and wanted to print a 20 x 30 poster. Not being an artist or having any aesthetic skills, it took a few tries to get it right. So my Costco tab for 5 posters was $45 compared to the $100 it would have cost at CVS.

For those who are into photography, these price difference add up fast. I don’t spend that much in an average year on photos, but the savings still adds to my list of reasons I like Costco and find the membership worth it.

Do you have a Costco or other warehouse club membership? Are you happy with your saving?

  • Matt Becker May 3, 2013, 7:53 am

    We got a Costco membership about 1.5 years ago and we love it. Just on diapers and wipes alone we save a TON. We use them for pictures too, though like you it’s not all that often. As long as you go in with a plan you can really save a ton. Where they get you is with all the stuff you see there that just screams impulse buy. But otherwise I think it’s awesome.

  • Joe May 3, 2013, 9:27 am

    Yes, Matt, the diapers! I remember telling my wife, nanny, and in-laws, “Don’t open a new box unless you’re sure there’s no diapers around the house.” The size changed and I didn’t want to get caught with an opened box I couldn’t return. We were always caught with some of the last size, but not too bad. Glad those days are behind us, but, that one item more than covered the membership cost with its savings.

  • Chris May 3, 2013, 5:16 pm

    I worked close enough to a Costco that a $1.50 for a hotdog and soda was the best work lunch deal around.

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