Boxed Wholesale vs Costco Prices: Which Is Cheaper?

Boxed wholesale vs Costco prices. Have you ever wondered if Boxed is cheaper than Costco, or vice versa?

I have two reasons for writing this blog post on Boxed wholesale vs Costco.

First, I recently moved.

After living for years with two Costco locations an easy drive away–and getting used to wholesale shopping at Costco–we moved to a place where the nearest Costco store is 35 minutes away.

The second reason I decided to write this blog post?

The PR folks from reached out to me.

To be honest I wasn’t familiar with Boxed.

Therefore, I had never considered it as a replacement for my Costco warehouse club membership.

boxed app vs costco

Hearing from them gave me a good excuse to reflect on the value of my wholesale club membership fee, plus educate myself–and my readers–on possible alternatives.

My Costco connection

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I have had a Costco membership since 2015.

Even with the distance to the nearest Costco store, I’m going into the writing of this blog post believing that Costco is one of the best warehouse clubs out there.

Next, one big reason I think Costco is the best warehouse club.

Costco sells the most organic products in the US

Costco is the top seller of organic foods in the United States. In fact, Costco sells more than even Whole Foods.

That’s a brand you automatically associate with certified organic food.

Our family likes to eat organic whenever possible.

Thanks to Costco, we’ve been able to enjoy a lot of organic products.

This ranges from fresh fruit and vegetables to dairy products to strawberry preserves and peanut butter.

Finally, you can never get a Costco membership discount. Until now.

Costco Membership Deal via Groupon

The best deal on a Costco Membership right now is through Groupon. When you sign up, you’ll get your one-year membership plus a $40 Costco Digital Shop Card for free.

In case you didn’t know, the Costco Shop Card is the store’s gift card. You can use it in store or online.

This offer is for new Costco memberships only or for former Costco members whose membership expired more than 18 months ago. So, if you’ve moved, there wasn’t a Costco nearby and you let your membership lapse for more than 18 months, you’re good to go to sign up for this deal again!

Also, you can avoid the lines at your Costco location by signing up for this Groupon Costco deal. This was the crowd at the new Costco in Maine near where I live. Yikes!

lines at costco on opening day
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Terms and Conditions

  • After purchase you’ll receive an email from Costco confirming your membership details. To pick up your membership card, stop by the membership counter at any Costco location and bring a copy of that email with your photo ID. Incentive will be emailed within 2 weeks after sign-up to qualifying members.
  • You’re receiving a One-Year Costco Gold Star Membership
  • A membership card for the Primary Cardholder and one additional Household Card for anyone living at the same address, over the age of 16
  • A $40 Digital Costco Shop Card (valid at Costco locations and
  • Valid only for new members and those whose previous memberships (Primary and Household) have been expired for at least 18 months or more.
  • Please allow up to two hours to receive your confirmation email from Costco. You must have either your Costco or Groupon confirmation email to receive your physical membership card at a Costco location.
  • A physical membership card is not required to shop online or receive your incentives.
  • Incentive includes a $40 Digital Costco Shop Card
  • Digital Costco Shop Card will be emailed within 2 weeks after sign-up to qualifying members.
  • Digital Costco Shop Card will be emailed to the email address provided by the Primary Member at time of sign-up.
  • Not valid for the renewal of an existing Costco membership.
  • To purchase this package, you must be 18 years of age or over, and agree to Costco’s Membership Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
  • All sales final.
  • $40 Digital Costco Shop Card is not redeemable for cash, except as required by law. Digital Costco Shop Cards are not accepted at Costco Gas Stations, Car Washes, or Food Court Kiosks.

Again, this a Groupon-only deal for a Costco membership.

Other warehouse club memberships

Perhaps you prefer to shop at another warehouse club because it is more convenient to where you live than Costco is. Good news: Both BJs and Sam’s Club have Groupon deals right now for memberships. Plus, both tend to have gas stations where members can get a cheaper price when filling up the gas tank.

What is a warehouse club?

Before I get into the details of Boxed wholesale vs Costco, let’s step back and provide the definition of a warehouse club or a wholesale club.

Those phrases are often used synonymously or interchangeably.

Think of this as a warehouse club review.

Warehouse and wholesale clubs emerged in the late 20th century as a way to allow Americans to buy in bulk.

So the term warehouse or wholesale was more about the quantity of the products you could buy at once, not necessarily that you were paying wholesale prices.

It was a way for everyday consumers to go wholesale shopping and buy large quantities of items for their home or office without having to have a corporate account.

You may recall one of the earliest warehouse/wholesale options–Price Club. Turns out Price Club and Costco actually merged in the 1990s.

Price Club is one of the stores that no longer exists.

Which wholesale club is best?

I do believe that my wholesale club membership fee is worth it, because Costco actually gives it back to me each year.

What do I mean by that?

It’s not like I have an official Costco membership discount.

However, I did sign up for an executive membership, and that membership has privileges.

The biggest privilege is the fact that I earn money back on my purchases and get a rewards certificate at the end of the year.

My membership fee ends up being a wash in that I’m earning back what I’ve spent to join Costco each year–sometimes even making a profit, if you will.

But back to the question of which wholesale club is best?

Well, I believe the answer is that the best wholesale club is the one you use and which membership you get your money’s worth paying for.

Costco vs Sam’s vs BJ’s

For years when the nearest Costco store was not very near at all, we joined other wholesale or warehouse clubs that were closer by.

This included Sam’s Club and BJ’s.

One of the benefits to a BJ’s warehouse club membership is that you could use coupons to save on purchases.

I know at Costco you cannot use coupons, though Costco does offer in-store discounts from time to time.

But I loved being able to use coupons whenever possible to save, and so when we had our BJ’s membership, I did enjoy that benefit.

Let me give one more plug for BJ’s Wholesale Club–if neither Costco or Boxed is right for you.

Here are additional benefits to a BJ’s membership:

  • Savings of more than 30% off supermarket prices
  • Acceptance of ALL manufacturers’ coupons, plus BJ’s own digital coupons accessible on the BJ’s App
  • Convenient one-stop shopping
  • Huge assortment of product categories for home and business
  • Thousands more products online at
  • Convenient Buy Online and Pick up In-Club with orders ready in 2 hours
  • Same Day Delivery at everyday club prices. Groceries delivered to you in as little as an hour

I had no idea that you could shop online and have groceries delivered to you with your BJ’s Wholesale Club membership. Wow!

What is Boxed wholesale?

So what is Boxed wholesale? enables customers to buy wholesale goods online at or from its Boxed app on any iOS or Android device.

The company gives users access to deals typically found at warehouse retailers and allows them to do wholesale shopping without an annual membership fee, long lines at checkout or lugging home bulk goods.

Boxed’s goal is to take the hassle out of warehouse club shopping by delivering big-sized favorites to homes and offices.

Boxed provides a curated selection of everything from children’s snacks and cleaning supplies to household staples and health and beauty products to groceries and green products.

Also, Boxed carries mainstream favorites along with a wide range of carefully selected premium and up-and-coming brands.

Boxed vs Costco

As I mentioned, the whole reason I decided to write this blog post was to compare Boxed vs Costco.

So when the PR people from Boxed reached out to me and challenged me to compare Boxed vs Costco, I jumped at the opportunity.

That challenge started with them sending me a shipment from Boxed.

It included many of the items I would normally buy at Costco, such as toilet paper and paper towels.

The shipment also included snacks that are available at Costco but which weren’t on my regular shopping list.

Those were items like Cheez-Its, and Halloween candy bundles from Mars and Hershey.

Now that I had my Boxed samples, I wanted to compare Boxed vs Costco prices.

I wanted to answer the question, “Is Boxed cheaper than Costco?”

So that meant a field trip to one of the Costco locations I’d found near where we’d moved.

I brought the packing slip with me so I could look at the Boxed prices and compare them with the Costco prices in the store.

Boxed wholesale vs Costco prices

That was easier said than done. Once I got to Costco, here’s what I learned.

Of the two dozen or so items that the Boxed PR people had sent to me, I could find fewer than 10 of the items in person at Costco.

I wanted to do an apples-to-apples comparison, if you will, so unless the brand was the exact same or the quantity was nearly the same, I didn’t compare prices.

Here are the three items I found exactly, and their respective Boxed prices vs Costco.

Note: these prices are from when I originally wrote this blog post in 2019.

ItemBoxed PriceCostco Price
La Croix Variety Pack$10.99 for 24 cans$7.89 for 24 cans
Milanos$9.39 for 20 count$8.99 for 30 count
Cheez-Its$11.99 for 44 pack$10.99 for 45 pack

Savings on Halloween candy

In addition, in my Boxed shipment, I received two gigantic bags of snack-sized candy–perfect for Halloween.

This included a bag of Mars chocolate favorites, which was $17.99 for 135 pieces in an almost 70-ounce bag, and a Hershey’s all-time greats, which was $16.99 for 105 pieces in an about 40-ounce bag.

Costco did not have the exact same Mars-Hershey combination but a close enough comparison.

At Costco I could have gotten a 92-ounce bag of Mars candy for $13.99 and an 80-ounce bag of Hershey candy for $14.99.

Toilet paper and paper towels are the same

Like Costco, Boxed seems to have its own brand or generic version of products.

Because I normally stock up on toilet paper and paper towels at Costco, I was interested to see how the Boxed prices and quantities stacked up.

And the result? On paper products, the price was pretty much a wash.

Whereas 30 rolls of the Boxed brand (Prince and Spring aka P&S) toilet paper was $16.99, the Costco brand Kirkland 30 rolls of toilet paper was also $16.99.

Nearly the same thing with the paper towels.

P&S paper towels from Boxed came with 12 rolls for $16.99; at Costco it was 12 rolls for $15.99.

So with toilet paper and paper towels? It’s a wash between Boxed and Costco.

Costco prices online vs in store

Now keep in mind that my apples-to-apples comparison of brands was from an in-person visit to the nearest Costco store.

So the prices represented above aren’t 100 percent apples to apples in that they are online versus in store.

What happens when I shop on

Did you even know you could shop on Yep.

However, you do need your Costco membership to do so and not incur a 5 percent, non-member fee.

There is no Costco membership discount for just shopping online.

That means you’re looking at a fixed, annual cost of at least $60 for a household membership.

Costco vs Boxed

So let’s take a look at some of the items that I comparison-shopped in person.

Let’s compare the prices on the Costco website.

This should answer the questions, “Is Boxed cheaper than Costco?”

Because when it comes to Costco’s prices online vs in store, there is a big difference.

ItemBoxed PriceCostco Online Price
La Croix Variety Pack$10.99 for 24 cans$7.89 $9.49 for 24 cans
Milanos$9.39 for 20 count$8.99 $10.79 for 30 count
Cheez-Its$11.99 for 44 pack$10.99 $11.99 for 45 pack

So how does Costco vs Boxed end up above?

In two of the three instances, the prices flip flop.

One time Costco is cheaper than Boxed.

The other time Boxed is cheaper than Costco.

However, you’re getting less for your money.

In the third instance, the price is the same, with Costco offering a slightly larger package.

Keep in mind, this is my membership pricing.

If you don’t have a Costco membership, then you’re going to pay more.

Also, if a Costco warehouse isn’t convenient to you, then having a membership makes no sense.

So, in that instance, shopping with does make sense, if you want the wholesale, buy-in-bulk experience.

Because if your only option is to shop online, then Boxed is definitely cheaper than Costco.

However, if you like the warehouse club experience, then look into joining Sam’s Club or BJ’s Wholesale Club if Costco isn’t near you.

On the other hand, this article on new store locations coming soon can let you know if a Costco will opening near you soon.

Sam’s Club Groupon Membership Deal

Join Sam’s Club via Groupon between now and 3/31/23 for just $25.

That’s 50% off the normal price for a one-year membership.

Now, that’s a deal!

What’s Included: Sam’s Club Membership

Terms & Conditions

Valid at over 589 U.S. Sam’s Club locations. However, it isnot valid in Puerto Rico.

Final Thoughts on Boxed Wholesale vs Costco

The whole reason for writing the Real Sophisticated Consumer blog is to help you get the most value for your time and money.

Sometimes that doesn’t mean simply going for the lowest price.

However, if you can pay less for good quality products that will last a long time–and don’t take a lot of your time to acquire–then I’m all for it.

Therefore, on the non-perishable front, with Boxed wholesale vs Costco, well, it’s a toss up.

However, with everything else, I think Costco is the clear winner.

As I mentioned earlier Costco is the largest seller of organic products in the United States.

If eating clean and green is important to you, then you’ll make the trek to Costco.

On a recent trip to my nearest Costco store, I purchased organic honey crisp apples, organic salad greens, organic milk and organic strawberry jam.

Finally, read how I shopped at Costco to save money on eggs.

One last thing: Costco is one of the places where you can go each year for a cheap or free flu shot. 


  1. But, which states are “right” to buy alcohol? I’ll bet NC is “wrong”!

  2. Hi. I picked up your Suddenly Frugal book yesterday. I noticed a slight mathematical error in chapter 2. I see you did the same thing here.
    On the cheese you bought, you did not save $3. You actually saved $10 since you got double the cheese. $3 off that trip and you didn’t have to buy the next package.
    If you are going to be exact be exact. 16 oz of shredded cheese would be $14. 16 oz of block cheese was $4.
    Since you only needed 8 oz, you saved $7 on a future trip.

    Today, you said the Milanos were higher at Costco. Yes, initially but not with the quantity. Boxed was 4.6 cents each while Costco was 3.5 cents each.
    If you don’t have the extra dollar then Boxed is less money out of pocket but you also get 33% less.

    Interesting article but I am at least 300 miles from Costco or BJ. I only have Sam’s.
    In my area some people commute 70 to 90 miles or more to work. That is one way.

  3. Hi, I realize this article was written a while back. The costco toilet paper offers about 1500+ sq ft of toilet paper and the P &S offers 600+ sqft. Both have 30 rolls. You are obviously getting a waaaaay better deal from Costco. I believe the paper towels are also a better deal. Many people don’t read the square footage or price per unit. I really want to try Boxed, I just need to see a bigger benefit than me not having to drive to Costco. Interesting article!

    1. Thanks for your reply! Clearly you are a very smart, sophisticated shopper. I like the math and agree with it wholeheartedly. Thanks again.


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