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Today I saw Costco while driving on my way home.  It’s a relatively new Costco in my neighborhood and it made me very curious.  I’ve heard of families and even couples benefitting from a Costco membership but what about a single person? Given the cost of membership, is it worth it? I am not exactly excited about paying for the privilege to shop at a grocery store.  But, I have friends that swear by the value provided to them by their Costco membership.

I started typing into google “Costco membership for single person” came up without me even typing it completely.  So clearly I am not the only one with this question!  I started doing my research.  But, in my particular case, as a single person, what would make it worth it for me?

Cost of Costco Membership: $55 for a Gold Star Membership.  There are Executive level memberships that are more costly ($110) that include the benefit of 2% back.  But, let’s just start with the basic membership for me.

What could I buy that would help to make it worth this $55 fee? I decided to peruse the Costco site, look at reviews on blogs and on consumer reports.  There were lots of charts comparing produce, non-perishable goods, fresh and frozen meats, etc. I feel like those comparisons will best be made in person but .

1. Gas.  Right now, Costco gas is at least $.20 less than the gas stations that I usually frequent.  If I calculate filling up at least 90% of the time at Costco, then I would save $48.00.  That’s only $7 shy of the membership fee!

2. Gift Cards. I am a big fan of using periodic massages to de-stress as part of my self-care. Costco has Spa gift cards with deep discounts.  For example, in exchange for $80.00 you get $100 worth of value on a spa gift card. $20 savings!

3. Movies. I probably go to the movies about 10 times a year.  I usually go on weekend nights and will spend roughly $130 a year on movies.  Well, Costco has a ten pack of Regal Cinemas movies for $85.00. That’s a savings of $45.00!

So far, the Membership fee has paid for itself and then some.  I’m liking this :).

My research also showed that based off of my current buying habits, I could probably save money on:

– Berries

– Frozen veggies/fruits

– Eggs

– Olive Oil

– Wine :)

– Stock

– Quinoa/Rice

– Avocados

– Salmon

– Cashews

And that I would probably be wasting my money if I bought the following at Costco:

– Most Produce

– Chicken and Beef

– Books/DVDs, etc.

– Non-Perishables like Toilet Paper, Paper Towel and other Paper Goods

– Household Cleaners

– Laundry Detergent.

So, based off of my research, I think I’m going to give Costco a try.  I will make sure to report back on my experience.  I know that Costco shopping will not replace regular grocery store shopping but supplement it.  If I can go to Costco and my regular grocery store (Giant) on a rotating schedule so that I only go to one store each week, then that would be the most advantageous for me.  Stay tuned!

Do you have a Costco membership? Does it save you money? 

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My net worth continues to rise. Compared to March 2015, I’ve increased my net worth by $5320! I am almost below the $100,000 mark!


April 2015

March 2015


Savings $2,608.00 $4,206.00 -$1598
Checking $1798.00 $279.00 +$1519
Traditional IRA $5,280.00 $5,406.00 -$126
Roth IRA $2,030.00 $2,049.00 -$19
HSA/FSA $844.00 $829.00 +$15
House Value $257,000.00 $255,000.00 +$2000
Sharebuilder Stock $684.00 $705.00 -$21
Total $270,244.00 $268,474.00 +$1770


April 2015

March 2015


Mortgage $246,804.00 $247,407.00 -$603
Student Loans $123,088.00 $123,432.00 -$344
Credit Cards             $1,684.00 $4,287.00 -$2603
Total $371,576.00 $375,126.00 -$3550

 My Net Worth: – $101,332    (+$5320)

So here are a few things I noticed about my assets:

  • My home value went up by $2k but that is only because I was using an incorrect value for my prior two net worth updates.  I thought the appraisal from July 2014 had valued it at $255k but it was actually $257k.  So, I’ve started using the correct value of $257k.  I believe that the home is now worth much more than that because property values in my building and in my neighborhood have been rising. But, since I don’t have a good way of knowing exactly how much the home is worth I am going to stick with the July 2014 appraised value for right now.
  • My investments have been down this month much more than up so they haven’t done that great. Time is an investor’s best friend though so I’m not discouraged (especially given my almost $1000k increase last month).
  • My savings went down significantly because I’ve been paying off my credit card debt.

Here are some things I noticed about my liabilities:

  • I’m making headway on that credit card debt.  My employer still hasn’t reimbursed me for my work-related expenses but I’ve been pretty aggressive at paying it down this month because I just don’t like having credit card debt!  They processed the reimbursement this week so I expect the debt to be fully paid off by next month!

My goal next month is to get my total net worth below the $100,000 mark. What is your goal?

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Money Coins

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We are almost three months into 2015 and I wanted to write a post to update you all on my progress with my 2015 financial goals.

Here is a color-coded key for describing my progress with each goal:

  • Green= met my goal
  • Orange= making steady progress but I still have work to do
  • Red= things aren’t looking good :(

Update on My Goals

1. Earn Extra Income through a Part-Time Job or Side Hustle(s).  So far I’ve earned $322.37 through selling things on Ebay and Craigslist. Awesome, huh?? I’ve been selling stuff that I don’t use anymore, old textbooks, things that I bought and never used, things that I bought and planned to returned but never got around to doing so.  I’ve been surprised at how easy it is.  And now that it is officially spring cleaning season I plan on making a lovely little outbox to help me gather all of the things that I plan on selling next.  The only drawback to this is that at a certain point I feel like I won’t have anything to sell so my earnings will go down.  I think the next step is finding a part-time job. I would love to teach online as an adjunct professor.  I think that will be what I focus on doing this Spring and Summer.  My plan the next few months: more purging and focusing on finding a part-time job.

2. Pay off my Credit Card Debt by March 2015.  I failed on this deadline. :( However, the credit card debt is going down. :)  My new plan is to have it paid off by May 2015 and unless something crazy happens, I am on track to do that.

3. Increase my Emergency Fund account by $4000.  My emergency account has been going up steadily so I’m working towards this!  My plan is to maintain my contributions to this account.

4. Fund the Savings accounts for Vacation, Condo Repairs, Car Repairs, and Gifts. I’ve been able to steadily increase these accounts as well! I’m struggling a little bit with my Vacation 2015 account because I have been dipping into to, well, pay for my vacations this year. Haha.  So, I might have to rethink whether or not I continue funding that account or just have it come out of my monthly budget.  But, the others are going strong, probably because those other accounts are rainy day accounts and I don’t depend on them on a month to month basis. My plan is to keep adding savings and side-hustle money to these accounts.

5. Increase my Roth IRA in 2015 by $2400. This fund is on autopilot so it’s increasing bit by bit. My plan is to keep up those automatic contributions.  Automation is my best friend!

6. Pay off $20,000 in student loan debt.  This is the one goal that I am realizing that I probably won’t be able to meet it this year.  I had thought I could participate in another government-sponsored loan repayment program. I was planning on getting a nice $20k loan repayment fund check from the government in exchange for working with low-income and underserved populations but it looks like that won’t be happening unfortunately.  Without that check I am still paying my loans off through the income-based repayment plan which is pretty much only covering my interest :(.  The topic of my student loans deserves its own posts because I do have quite a few options actually.  So next time I’ll lay all them out and maybe that will give me clarity on how best I can get them paid off!  My plan is to use the blog post to help me weigh my options carefully and actually make a plan.

We are three months into 2015.  Where are you with your financial goals

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My budget for March looks pretty similar to how it did in February 2015.

Monthly Bills Amount
Mortgage $1803
Credit Card $500
Student Loans $827
Phone $84
Car insurance $63
Giving $80
Gym $68
Electricity $68
Internet $50
Security $49
Netflix $9
Gas $12
Regular Expenses Amount
Hair $105
Groceries $180
Eating Out $60
Transport $120
Entertainment $80
Household $80
Set Aside Amount
Roth IRA $200
Savings $400
Buffer $1775
TOTAL $6613

Did you notice that my buffer is getting higher? Last month it was about $1625 and now it is $1775.  I am working steadily at increasing my buffer until it equals a whole month’s expenses.  That will allow me to feel like I am not living month to month and give me a little breathing room.  Do you know how difficult it is to just let money sit in your bank account. It’s. Not. Easy. I’m just saying.

I’m slowing down on my Credit Card payment because I’m anticipating that my job will finally give me a reimbursement check for work expenses that I’ve put on my credit card.  It will be a large lump sum and I’m looking forward to applying it to that Credit Card debt.

Do you buffer? How do you juggle debt reduction, savings, and buffer additions all at the same time?