WinCo Is Even Cheaper Than Costco And Sam's Club, But There's A Major Catch

It's time to talk about the elephant in the room that's been weighing heavy on wallets everywhere — grocery store prices. It's no secret that grocery prices have been skyrocketing lately, and it's almost as if the grocery store is playing a game of "How much can we charge before people cause an uproar?" In 2022, food prices went up almost 10%– in one year!

A gallon of milk, eggs, bread, and much more have all increased in price to the point that many people are looking for cheaper alternatives and trying new things to decrease the hits to their bank accounts. Many people are turning to stores that offer bulk items and have loyalty programs. Some of the most popular stores for that are, of course, Sam's Club and Costco, but the fees to join these stores can be quite high. That's why people are turning to another store that rivals them both and may have more perks with less fees — WinCo.

What is WinCo?

But what exactly is WinCo? If you haven't heard of it, that may be because it's concentrated in only 10 states, specifically in the western United States. WinCo, short for WinCo Foods, is a discount supermarket chain that was founded in 1967 in Boise, Idaho. Since its founding, it has since grown to over 130 stores. WinCo offers a wide range of grocery products, health and beauty products, household items, and pet supplies. 

WinCo is an employee-owned discount grocery store with over 20,000 employee-owners. This allows the company to operate with a focus on keeping costs low, which is passed on to customers through lower prices. Other ways they keep prices low is by buying a lot of their goods directly from farms and factories, having customers bag their own groceries, cutting out unneeded frills by having basic store setups, and by not advertising with weekly ads. There's also one other unconventional practice WinCo uses to keep their prices low. 

Savings they pass along to customers

WinCo grocery stores are typically open 24 hours a day, making it a convenient option for shoppers who need to pick up groceries at odd hours. Additionally, the store is known for offering special deals and promotions on a regular basis, which can save shoppers even more money. The grocery store chain does not charge membership fees, like Costco or Sam's Club charges, so anyone can shop with the store. However, if you choose to hit up a WinCo on your next grocery trip, you should be aware that the store does not accept credit cards for payment. 

This is because credit card transaction rates are often higher– sometimes by a lot– than the rates that are charged for using debit cards. This is why WinCo does allow people to use debit cards and federal food assistance cards, but they have chosen not to use credit cards as a form of payment in order to lower the costs they pass on to customers.