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Boxed.com is referred to as “Costco for millennials,” but can the online-only retailer really save you money?
Money expert Clark Howard put Boxed and Costco on his list of the Top 5 retailers to watch in 2018. He believes Costco’s recent enhancements to its delivery service are a response to the threat from Boxed.com — not Amazon.
Price comparison: Costco vs. Boxed
I recently placed my first order with Boxed and learned a few things about how the company operates:
- No annual membership fee
- Orders over $49 qualify for free shipping
- Most orders arrive within two business days
- Receive two free samples with every order
- Get 1% in cash rewards for every purchase
Boxed says it lets customers buy in bulk at warehouse prices, but I wanted to see how they compare to the in-club prices at Costco. Here’s my price comparison of 10 common items:
1. Airborne, 36 tablets
Costco price: $16.49
Boxed price: $19.99
2. AA batteries
Costco Kirkland Signature, 72 batteries: $19.99
Boxed Prince & Spring, 40 batteries: $10.99*
*Boxed’s app says the price per battery is $0.30, but that would add up to $12 for the 40-count package. The price per battery is actually $0.275, which is slightly below Costco’s price.
3. Puma men’s no-show socks
Costco: $11.99; 8 pack
Boxed: $11.99; 6 pack
4. Dove beauty bar
Costco: $15.99 for 16 bars; $0.99 each
Boxed: $15.39 for 14 bars; $1.10 each
5. Crest toothpaste – 5 x 8.2 ounce packages
6. Tide liquid laundry detergent
Costco: $19.99 for 170 ounces
Boxed: $19.99 for 150 ounces
7. Toilet paper, 30 rolls
Costco Kirkland Signature: $15.99*
Boxed Prince & Spring: $16.99
*If you shop on Costco.com instead of going to the warehouse, bath tissue costs $18.99 for 30 rolls. Prices for many items on Costco.com are higher than what you pay in the club.
8. Frito Lay variety pack
Costco: $12.99 for 54 bags; $0.24 each
Boxed: $13.99 for 40 bags; $0.35 each
Costco: $8.99 for 4.5 pounds
Boxed: $11.99 for 4 pounds
10. Ground coffee
Costco Kirkland Signature: $9.99 for 2 pounds
Boxed Prince & Spring: $8.99 for 1.25 pounds
And the winner is…
Costco ended up being less than $1 cheaper than Boxed when I added up all 10 items. The total for Costco was $145.40 and Boxed was $146.30. But Costco provided a better value — several products were sold in larger sizes for an equal or lower price.
For example, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the toilet paper from the private brands sold at Costco (left) and Boxed (right):
Costco Kirkland Signature bath tissue has 425 sheets per roll and they’re 4.5 inches by 4 inches, while the toilet paper from Boxed’s Prince & Spring brand has only 231 sheets per roll and is 4 inches by 4 inches.
On top of being more expensive, you get way less toilet paper with Boxed! That’s why you always have to check unit prices…
When I conducted this price comparison, I expected Costco’s in-club prices to be lower than Boxed.com. That’s no surprise. But what you have to decide is how much you’re willing to pay for the convenience of having bulk goods delivered.
For those who don’t like the idea of paying membership fees, Boxed may still be worth trying out. Read my full review here.
Have you tried Boxed yet? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below if you think it’s a good deal or not!
More stories from our Michael Saves series:
- How paying off a mortgage in 2 years changed this woman’s life
- My 7 best money-saving tips for 2018
- 7 things I learned while using my Instant Pot for 14 days straight
- 38-year-old millionaire shares 5 secrets to retiring early
- How I lowered my cell phone bill to $12 per month