Should You Get A Costco Membership Just To Buy A New TV?

The primary reason to get a Costco membership is, of course, to shop at Costco. Since they don't let you in the front door unless you're a member, you have to sign up if you want to take advantage of the bulk-buy deals within. But let's say, hypothetically, you're not in the market for bulk-buy cereal or socks. What if, instead, you wanted to buy yourself a new TV at your local Costco, and nothing else?

While electronics aren't Costco's primary forte, the chain does offer a nifty selection of TV sets, usually in large, attractive sizes. Much like with the other products in the store, if you're a Costco member, you might be able to score some choice deals on a new TV. The big question, then, is whether or not it's worth it to sign up for a full Costco membership if a TV is the only thing you're in the market for. Rather than a definitive yes or no, the worth of a Costco membership for a TV purchase depends heavily on the price tag of the TV you're shopping for.

The better the TV, the better the deal

It's worth noting that, even if you're not a Costco member, you can still purchase items from Costco by shopping on its online storefront. However, all purchases made by non-members on Costco's online storefront come with a 5% surcharge. Therein lies the game: the more you're potentially spending on a TV at Costco, the more worthwhile a membership becomes over buying without one.

As a reminder, Costco offers two individual membership tiers, one for $60 a year and one for $120. The basic membership eliminates the surcharge and gets you into the physical storefront, while the higher tier may net you some additional discounts.

If the particular TV you want has some kind of promotion running, that definitely makes the higher tier more attractive, but for the sake of simplicity, let's assume there aren't any additional promos running. In this case, a Costco membership for a TV purchase only really becomes worthwhile if the TV you're buying costs at least $1,200. 5% of 1,200 is 60, after all, so at that point, you might as well just pay the $60 and get the membership rather than pay the surcharge and get nothing.

If you've got your eyes on a cheaper set, you might want to shop around a bit first before paying the surcharge or getting a membership. Just remember that Costco has some products that aren't available at other retailers, so you might not have a choice.