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What do you buy from Costco/Sam's that is cheaper than the grocery store? - Page 2

post #21 of 29
If you really want to find out the lowest prices for the items you buy regularly, then it is absolutely worth it to make a one-time price book of say, 20 basic staples, and compare prices at various places where you live. For me, this gave me a inherent sense of how much any given item should cost and therefore allowed me to figure out when something was a great deal or not. It also allows me to figure out when to purchase things, based on their price. So now, for example, I know not to buy butter unless it's less than or equal to $2/lb. or b/s chicken breasts for $1.99/lb. or less.

Until I took the time to make a price list, I bought a lot more items at Costco than I do now. For example, after comparing prices, I now know that in my area, b/s chicken breasts, ground beef, spaghetti sauce and pasta, peanut butter, jam, and milk (we don't buy organic) can all be found cheaper at a local grocery store. Produce is cheaper (and I'm not forced to buy overly large quantities) at the Farmer's market.

FYI: most grocery stores offer specials on basic staples in a 6-wk. cycle, so if you buy during a sale and stock up enough to last you through until the next sale, you can often save more than buying at Costco.

With all that said, I still have and use my Costco membership. They do still have great prices on certain staple items, like yeast, bulk flour, sugar, baking soda and vinegar (which I use for cleaning), oils, speciality cheeses, etc. And if you like brand-name products, organics, and convenience foods, they have a plentiful and inexpensive selection.

Since I started really whittling down our grocery budget, though, I have cut WAY down or completely eliminated brand names, organics, and convenience foods, so therefore Costco isn't as helpful to our regular grocery shopping as it once was. But eliminating those kinds of products has significantly decreased our spending, fwiw. Little things like buying oats in bulk instead of instant oatmeal packets and making up our own "instant" oatmeal in sandwich baggies have saved us $$$.

Finally, there are still some items at Costco that I buy for the convenience of bulk shopping, even though they aren't the lowest price anywhere. As with another poster, though, sometimes time and convenience outweigh savings, especially if the price difference isn't all that great. I buy TP there for this reason.

I also love Costco's book/DVD section and a lot of their clothes. But here is where only shopping there every couple of months works well for our family, because those are financial pitfalls for me and two categories I always tend to overspend in. Only going in there infrequently keeps my spending in check.

Finally, I have several gfs who shop at Costco 2-3x a week and use it for almost everything. Cost comparisons aside, it would drive me batty to stand in line behind people with huge carts just to get 3-4 items. There is no express lane at any of our Costcos (and there really should be!) The parking lot tends to be very crowded, too. And both of the Costcos nearest my house are around 5 miles away, compared to my local grocery store (< 1 mile) or Farmer's market (< .5 mile.) For these reasons, I really wouldn't enjoy using Costco for my primary grocery store.

Guin
post #22 of 29
Costco's price for a big bag of organic frozen blueberries can't be beat. That is the only thing we want from there, so I go with a friend.
post #23 of 29
We get Tillamook cheese ($6 bucks for 2 lbs)
Dog food
Olive oil
Frozen organic mixed veggies (some of their organic veggies are grown in china, so make sure you double check it USA grown in important to you) ($6 bucks for 5 lb bag)


Our savings on those things alone pays for our membership. Sometimes we get peanut butter, tuna fish, dishwasher soap and other assorted things, but those four listed above are the main reason we have the membership. Make sure you make a pact with yourself and whomever you are with that you WILL stick to your list because there are lots of fun impulse purchase opportunities there.
post #24 of 29
For me, Costco tends to have the highest quality meat for the price- yes, I can get cheaper steak at Smith's on Manager's Special, but sometimes it's great and other times, eh, not so much. At Costco, I get very nice cuts of meat every.single.time. Even if it's not a huge savings every trip, I know that I'm getting quality for my money, which is just as vaulable as getting more food for the same price. Same goes for produce- I pay more per pound for peaches, etc. but each and every peach is perfect and while Sunflower Market's price may be lower, there will be a few peaches that are crummy and get thrown away. Not a savings, really, if we can't eat and enjoy every single bite of fruit.

Our family also eats at Sam's Club sometimes- I can feed my 3 big kids and myself (esp. if DH is working) for WAY less than fast food places. Pizza slices, hotdogs, frozen yogurt and triple berry topping, etc.

Big things (Sonicare toothbrush, Hoover rug shampoo machine, etc) are also generally cheaper than local "regular" stores.

Our Costco has been carrying Hanna Andersson jammies for babies for only $13!! And their Kirkland brand of organic kids jammies are FANTASTIC and very well priced ($15-ish, I think). We buy lots of Carters baby clothes there, as well for great prices- lower than most other stores' sale prices. Oh- and I buy our whole family's socks there and oftentimes clothing for DH and myself, too. Good brands, good prices, and I don't have to go somewhere else- it's great when I'm shopping w/4 kids to be able to buy myself a couple of tops AND get groceries at the same place.

We also pay for the Executive membership and with the 2% cash back, it pays for itself every year. Plus, we get to shop an hour earlier than people w/the regular membership, so it's not as crowded (although, there are front door workers who let the gold star members in at 10 sometimes, even though they're not supposed to)
post #25 of 29
Ditto to Kayleezoo. I pretty much only buy meats at Costco, I've never gotten anything bad. The fruit and veggie selection is top notch and often local (at least at my store). I like that I can get organic meats for just a little more than regular meat at other stores. Their clothing is great quality, DH had gotten nearly all his clothing there, lots of Ralph Lauren cargo type shorts for $15, nice T-shirts for $10. I've also picked up Roxy bathing suits for my DD there, plus the Carters baby clothes are cheap, like $5 for an outfit.

It's VERY easy to overspend there...you see so many deals, plus there are markdowns around the store if you look (prices ending in .97) so it makes it more tempting! They sell 3 packs of Holy Guacamole, and while I normally make my own, it's nice to freeze and have on hand and if you catch it a few days before it's expiration, it goes cheap, like $3 for 3 packs. (normally $12?)
post #26 of 29
Our Sam's Club has good prices on cleaning supplies and paper products.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayleeZoo View Post
We also pay for the Executive membership and with the 2% cash back, it pays for itself every year. Plus, we get to shop an hour earlier than people w/the regular membership, so it's not as crowded
I have the Exec. membership and didn't even realize I could do that! Is that at every Costco, do you know?
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
I have the Exec. membership and didn't even realize I could do that! Is that at every Costco, do you know?
Our area did away with the early hour years ago.

We were just at Costco tonight. We purchased far more than usual tonight because DH is going to a conference most of next week and DD & I are going camping with friends. Plus, DD is getting out of school mid-week (year-round school schedule), so we're changing the types of snacks.

chicken wings (for cat; we feed a raw diet)
stew meat (partially for cat; partially for us)
wild salmon (First time we've seen it FRESH; the cat will only get nibbles, she only likes catfish raw. Tomorrow night's dinner and we'll freeze the remaining dinner amount for next week.)
cheese
frozen organic veggies (first time)
frozen organic yogurt bars
local specialty nuts
Green Machine
dual-flush toilet (We've been needing a new toilet for a long time and this just happens to be exactly what I've been looking for and the price was right and the timing was good since DH was with me.)
post #29 of 29
I know my prices so it's easy to figure out what is cheaper at Costco and what isn't. Like pp's have said, tp and such usually is NOT cheaper at Costco (not in my area, anyway), and I can get chicken and meat cheaper at my local market. What I save on is:

Rice
Olive oil
Jimmy Dean turkey sausage (it isn't organic but it isn't total junk, either, lol)
Bacon
Individual soy milk boxes (for ds2 lunches for school)
dog food
produce: potaotes, carrots, organic salad, apples etc. but make sure you will eat it or you have someone to split it with

sometimes they have great deals on clothes. I went last week and they had name brand kids shirts for 8.00 and mens for 12.00.
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