Target vs. Costco? Debating Costco membership. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey- I was thinking that y'all may know about this.

I'm thinking of getting a costco membership in order to buy paper good, dry good, etc for our family of three, going on four.

A friend of mine just mentioned she felt it wasn';t worth it and feels that it's easier to just go to target to stock up and buy food on sale.

For those of you who have thought this through- which is better. I've been to Costco, though I've never had a membership. They have good stuff, but I can't imagine going with kids in tow. Target is pretty easy to navigate with kids- but they don't have all the stuff you can get at costco.

Maybe I'm thinking too highly of costco because I haven't really shopped there.

Thoughts?
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#2 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 05:36 PM
 
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I like Costco, my hubby LOVES Costco. If you go on the weekend close to when they open it's not bad at all...at least here anyways. I think the one on highway 99 is good too
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#3 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dh is into the costco idea as well. Maybe I can get him to go.
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#4 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 09:41 PM
 
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I jointed BJs (another warehouse club) when my dd was little. I thought it would save us some $$$. However, I found that by following the loss leader sales in the regular stores and stocking up I always saved much more than I did at BJs. Also, I think most people who join those warehouse clubs end up spending more than they would anywhere else, because it is kind of fun to buy these giant packages. I would also like to add that most people I know who join these clubs gain weight. It is not good to bring home two dozen eclairs, you know!!! :LOL You can sometimes get a free trial membership to these clubs if you really wanted to try it!
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#5 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 09:51 PM
 
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I don't know - can you shop there w/ a friend who has a membership, just to see how you like the food? (our store lets you get a one-day pass to shop) the paper & dry goods are definitely a good deal.

But what I've noticed that holds me back from getting a membership is with the produce it can *look* really good and appealing, sometimes there's even organic stuff. But then I'll get it home and within like a day or 2 it starts to go bad (: confused Is there some special pesticide that keeps fruits looking good till they sense they are not at Costco anymore? very mysterious) and then you have a huge batch of something that's quickly wilting or turning brown.

Also the salmon is farmed. I don't know, I kept getting excited about something and how much money I was saving by buying a huge amount of it that would last & then was disappointed.

I've heard they have organic milk. that would definitely save me some money but I don't want to buy a membership.
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#6 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 09:54 PM
 
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It is not good to bring home two dozen eclairs, you know!!!
yeah, that's the other thing: sometimes large portions don't really last longer, everyone just eats more. So then you still have to go shopping again

I really think you can probably save more w/ Target, sales and just meal planning really well so that on WF or Trader Joe's trips, you buy just what you need to make the next 4-5 meals.
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#7 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by traceface
yeah, that's the other thing: sometimes large portions don't really last longer, everyone just eats more. So then you still have to go shopping again

I really think you can probably save more w/ Target, sales and just meal planning really well so that on WF or Trader Joe's trips, you buy just what you need to make the next 4-5 meals.
I can't imagine buying anything perishable at Costco. We'd never eat it fast enough.

I like the idea of trying it outand seeing if I think it's worth it.

Also, I should look harder at what target has. I need a good cheap source for powdered gatorade (DH). It would be nice to find that shelf-stable silk somewhere for cheap.

I also learned that the next door neighbor kid babysits for cheap. It might be worth hiring her when I go to target to stock up. I'm sure the presence of dd adds at least $10 to the trip. (Though in her absence I may impulse buy for myself.)

I think more than anything I need to learn to eat from the pantry. I have stuff in there from like a year ago. A family of five in Africa could probably live for several weeks of the food in our house when we have "nothing to eat."
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#8 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The other thing is I fear big grocery stores- hate going to safeway! QFC is a little better. I prefer sticking to TJ's where I know my way around and there are fewer choices. I suppose I worry I'm loosing $$ because I don't buy at Safeway.

though it seems like evry time I go to safeway I spend more than normal- I think because organic and health foods are $$$$$$$ at regular stores as compared to TJ's.
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#9 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 10:10 PM
 
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i like costco they do have lots of organic options... their organic frozen blueberries are awesome for muffins and pancakes
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#10 of 33 Old 05-26-2005, 10:15 PM
 
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We dont have a costco mebership, but I do go with my aunt once a month. I buy dog food, toilet paper(which I havent decided if it is really cheaper there), they have organic peanut butter, and a bunch of stuff that is good. The problem is I always spend ALOT there and end up with only a few things. I say just go with your friend when they go.

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#11 of 33 Old 05-27-2005, 08:51 AM
 
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I also learned that the next door neighbor kid babysits for cheap. It might be worth hiring her when I go to target to stock up. I'm sure the presence of dd adds at least $10 to the trip. (Though in her absence I may impulse buy for myself.)

Maybe the neighbor would be interested in babysitting in exchange for you picking up what she needs at Costco? Save her the expense of a membership...
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#12 of 33 Old 05-27-2005, 09:58 AM
 
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I think you can get in trouble shopping at both Target and Costco. But if you can learn self-control then either can be great!

I don't like the selection of toilet paper at Costco and have found excellent stock-up sales on it at other stores, so I don't buy it there. We do get large boxes of Kleenex at Costco, though.

The main reason we have our membership is that Iams dog food is so much cheaper there than anywhere else. We more than save our membership fee just on dog food, so any other deals we score at Costco are bonuses.

Like others, I love the frozen fruit at Costco. Also, if they sell brands of toiletries that you like it's usually cheaper than any sale anywhere. DH buys things there that I would never choose to buy anywhere (Kudos bars, Smuckers jelly, etc.) but he'd buy them anyway at another store if we didn't go to Costco, and they are cheaper this way.

Usually the day passes that they give you will cost you an extra 5% over the member prices. But if you wanted to start a price book to compare prices there with other stores, just for the things you think you'd buy there, this one day pass will get you in the door. You don't have to buy anything with it, but a price book can really help you decide if it would be worth it for your family.
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#13 of 33 Old 05-27-2005, 11:11 AM
 
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We have a Costco membership and love it. It is the closest store (aside from grocery stores) to our house. It's probably 2 miles away; the Target is probably 8 miles away.

We have 5 cats, and save a good amount on cat litter alone. We also like the salad mix and juices, and save money on beer from a local brewery. Last weekend was my FIL's 60th birthday, and about 2/3 of us picked up our contribution to the party at Costco (cake, brauts, etc.).

One think I really like about Costco - if this is important to you - is their corporate policies seem better than WalMart and even Target. Also, they tend to have some local brands - in our case coffee, beer and bbq sauce.

I think you need to be wise about what and how much one buys there. We have wasted somethings, and eaten more than we needed to. Our current battle is avoiding the XXL bag of M & Ms.

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#14 of 33 Old 05-27-2005, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Costco deifinately sounds like a good thing to just try.

My family are bad about eating things that are open- like the second half of the bag of chips. I often buy stuff in single servings even though it's more pricey because I waste less and end up saving.

But it may be worth it, but I need to go alone.

Thanks for the help.
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#15 of 33 Old 05-27-2005, 12:56 PM
 
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I think that if you shop sales and stock up you will do better going to Target & Safeway than Costco.

If you *don't* watch the sales closely, Costco has good all around prices.

We have had a membership since DD was an infant (and saved $15 on an ear thermometer).

If you drink a lot of regular cow's milk that alone makes a Costco membership worth it. They do have organic milk, but only in 2% so that doesn't work for our family. They also have Silk at a good price if you go through a lot. Gummy vites are about 1/2 the price as elsewhere (you buy a way bigger bottle, but with two kids and a serving size of 2 we go through 200 no ploblem).

We used to buy a lot more there, but they just don't have the organic selection that we need. I find their produce to generally be excellent, though. They have 3lb boxes of organic salad mix for almost the same price you can get the little bags (10oz? 12oz?) at the grocery store. We used to easily go through strawberries (4 lbs), raspberries (6 1/2 pints), watermelon (large seedless), cantelope (3 per bag), apples (6 lbs), pears (4lbs? 6lbs?), grape tomatoes (1lb?), mini-carrots (2lbs) and a variety of other produce easily before spoiling. I think it depends on how much produce you use. When we were heavy Costco users it would last one week w/out problem.

They carry Horizon Yogurt, so if you like the flavors (strawberry & peach I think) you can get it for way cheaper than most places. They have a variety of frozen food (pot stickers are our favorite), beer (Fat Tire Amber), juice, juice boxes, bottled water, toilet paper, 12 POUND containers of Oxi-Clean, blah blah blah. If you buy clothes new, they are a good source of certain things--- their Speedo swimsuits are WAY cheaper than anywhere else (something like $12 for girls, under $20 for women).

Their bagels are good, they have a lot of good bread options (you can always freeze one loaf) and they have, by far, the cheapest sheet cakes around (what $13 bucks compared to one half the size at Safeway for $20).

They also have toys for a great deal. Esp around Christmas and their books are also usually well priced (for new).

As another poster mentioned, Costco is also a place I can feel good about shopping. Their pay STARTS at $10/hour and averages just over $16, they have over 80% participation in their health insurance, promotions are almost 97% from within company, they have very low turnover and generally pleasant employees because of that.

 

 

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#16 of 33 Old 05-27-2005, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Tired!

The info on Gummyvites and Silk is helpful. Hopefully they have shelf-stable.

I am not good at watching sales and I avoid safeway, so maybe it's best if I try Costco. Maybe dh and I could go together and I could teach him what to get. He doesn;'t get overwhelmed with big stores like I do.

I also think it would be a good place for toys and art supplies, and office supples. DH and I both work at home so we need stuff like that.

Plus, I do like the idea of shopping somewhere I feel good about.
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#17 of 33 Old 05-28-2005, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
I also think it would be a good place for toys and art supplies, and office supples. DH and I both work at home so we need stuff like that.

Plus, I do like the idea of shopping somewhere I feel good about.
If you don't mind the crowds at Costco, they do have great deals on office and art stuff. They often have large boxes of crayons or markers really cheap and paper and pens and ink for printers is cheap there. I let my membership run out because I hated the drive and the parking lot and the crowds and am pretty good at using my coupons at Target, which is much closer. Sounds like costco is a better bet for you. And, they do treat their employees really well. We live near where they company is based and occasionally meet people who work there and they love it, get paid well, and have great benefits. My house is just way tooooo small for giant boxes or containers of anything. My parents and my mil both have large freezers in the garage and they shop at costco often and put stuff in smaller containers in the freezer. That works really well for them.
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#18 of 33 Old 05-28-2005, 03:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TiredX2
As another poster mentioned, Costco is also a place I can feel good about shopping. Their pay STARTS at $10/hour and averages just over $16, they have over 80% participation in their health insurance, promotions are almost 97% from within company, they have very low turnover and generally pleasant employees because of that.


DH works for Costco and they are an awesome company. His ARNG unit was deployed to Iraq for 18-months and Costco picked up the tab so we could keep ALL of our civilian benefits under them throughout the entire deployment. So if you want to support a great company, the membership is worth every penny. If you shop smart it can save a lot of $$ as well.

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#19 of 33 Old 05-28-2005, 04:53 PM
 
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I believe Costco will refund the amount of your membership at anytime if you are unsatisfied. I usually shop there once a month and buy t.p, paper towels, diaper wipes, soap, laundry soap etc... We also bought tickets to an amusement park and saved a lot of money. DVD's are usually reasonably priced and sometimes we'll buy stuff for the house. I'll also fill up at their gas station when I'm there.

I don't like their produce, and I rarely ever buy meat. I can also buy a roll of stamps and save a little.
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#20 of 33 Old 05-29-2005, 10:30 AM
 
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Here are my feelings about Costco

First of all we would NOT be members if my dad didn't pay for it

Their hours are inconvenient for shopping.

Prices are OK.

You MUST stick to a list. Between all the samples and the seasonal goods strategically placed, it's easy to spend too much.

The one saving grace for us is a cheap meal out. We get a huge piece of pizza and a fountain drink for a couple of bucks. We usually plan a Costco trip around a meal
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#21 of 33 Old 05-29-2005, 11:14 AM
 
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and we *love* it!

The employees are *so much* nicer! Our ds is casein free and they got a free cookie once. When the manager learned ds couldn't have the chocolate chip cookie he went out on the floor and opened a brand new box of oatmeal just for him!

I love their organics, we've started eating so much healthier since we started shopping at Costco. We get 3 half gallons of organic 2% milk for $7. It was a trial to get dh to agree to buy it but he won't go back now. They have a great selection of snacks and treats for ds who is on gfcf and feingold diets.

We get our dog food there and we stock up on meat when it's on sale to go in the 'big freezer'. I also like the fact that Costco's, unlike Sams, has coupons to use in their store.

We have different stores where we shop for certain things, but we really like our Costco membership. We're pretty good at sticking to what we need with a little wiggle room for what looks good. We spend $50-$90 a trip (every 2 weeks) depending on what we need.

Oh! And they have a store warranty for everything they sell that I guess is covered in your membership fees. We bought our vaccuum there a few weeks ago and if anything ever happens to it- even ten years from now- they will replace it for free. How awesome is that?

Plus I like that I've heard it's a really great company, the employees look like they are having fun. They are always dressed up in themes. Last time we went it was Luau Day or something. Our checker guy was doing the hula as he checked us out. Fun stuff. :LOL
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#22 of 33 Old 05-29-2005, 11:20 AM
 
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We have a membership to Sams. We don't have any other warehouse stores nearby, so I haven't compared to costco. But our membership is $30 a year. We split it with another mama - they let you have 2 on a membership and you have to live in the same house, so I got my card, and then my friend went in and gave them my address and tele # - I know, scandalous, but honestly, it's owned by Walmart, so I don't feel too bad .
We don't do any sort of impulse buying, and do save money. We also religiously follow sales, and buy in bulk from various grocery stores. But not EVERYTHING goes on sales that can beat Sam's Club prices.

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#23 of 33 Old 05-29-2005, 11:31 AM
 
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We just got a Costco card because my MIL joined and gave us the other card. When my mom would come and visit- we would go and thay was usually enough. I take a list of they things I buy there:
Cases of Kirkland Soy milk (Made by Silk- it's the same as silk only packaged for Kirkland for Costco, shelf stable)
Cheese- because we eat a lot of it and it lasts for quite some time
Progresso Soups
Case of Frappuchinos for DH
Butter
Children's tylenol/advil/motrin etc.
Mouthwash
toothbrushes
batteries
Gifts (books etc.)
frozen fruit
and a few others items...

I AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE- those jugs of brownie bites (FIL has brought those to our house and my chocolate avaoidance powers are rendered useless around those things!)

If you can go with a friend- check out what you would buy, write down the costs and then compare. If you will save more than the membership fee per year- then it's worth it!
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#24 of 33 Old 06-07-2005, 03:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tempestjewel


DH works for Costco and they are an awesome company. His ARNG unit was deployed to Iraq for 18-months and Costco picked up the tab so we could keep ALL of our civilian benefits under them throughout the entire deployment. So if you want to support a great company, the membership is worth every penny. If you shop smart it can save a lot of $$ as well.
Wow!!! I am so glad to know that. I'm going to share that with my dh. He is AGR (active guard reserve) so he is a full time soldier. We just went in on a membership with my neighbor.

We went back and forth for a while on whether or not to get a membership. Certain items (Tide detergent, for example) are cheaper when you find them on sale elsewhere. I'm not sure we would have paid the full amount for a membership but splitting it made good sense. My nieghbor got a projection tv there much cheaper than from Dell. I've found that their generic brand (Kirkland) is good quality!

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#25 of 33 Old 06-07-2005, 07:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
The other thing is I fear big grocery stores- hate going to safeway! QFC is a little better. I prefer sticking to TJ's where I know my way around and there are fewer choices. I suppose I worry I'm loosing $$ because I don't buy at Safeway.

though it seems like evry time I go to safeway I spend more than normal- I think because organic and health foods are $$$$$$$ at regular stores as compared to TJ's.
I'm sorry this is OT, but I just have to ask. I visit this board and another and there are a decent number of people, but when they talk about groceries, the never mention PCC. Is it still there?
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#26 of 33 Old 06-08-2005, 12:53 AM
 
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I'm sorry this is OT, but I just have to ask. I visit this board and another and there are a decent number of people, but when they talk about groceries, the never mention PCC. Is it still there?
We have PCC here. I just can never get the hang of it, and I prefer Whole Foods meat section so we just stick to Costco & Whole Foods primarily.

 

 

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#27 of 33 Old 06-08-2005, 01:13 AM
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We have PCC here. I just can never get the hang of it, and I prefer Whole Foods meat section so we just stick to Costco & Whole Foods primarily.
I love pcc. I go on a big shopping trip monthly with my member coupon and then go back for little trips weekly. I never shop at whole foods anymore because the one near my house has terrible meat and it is way too much of a singles or hip mama scene for me. We've had awful meat that made us sick several times. I buy all our meat mostly at Central Market as they have awesome, fresh seafood, the best of all the grocery stores if you ask me. PCC has nice chicken and ok deli meats. I like the Greenlake Store as it always has everything I need and want.
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#28 of 33 Old 06-20-2005, 12:04 AM
 
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I like Costco. I find many things that our family can use there cheaper. I often buy with my mom and split the large quantities. If you can get a membership with a friend and both share that annual fee, that is one way to get around it. Your friend may even want to split stuff too. Some things are cheaper elsewhere, but I have found good deals on produce and other items too. We got an American Express card there and the money spent gives you a % back towards Costco. We pay off the card each month and it is a way to get a return on your money for items you can use. Just an idea!
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#29 of 33 Old 06-21-2005, 09:14 AM
 
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We belong to Sam's Club and make up our membership fees in kitty litter alone! I don't usually buy much in terms of bulk items, I don't think you save very much. Laundry detergent is a good deal as are the big bags of frozen chicken breasts. If we didn't have four indoor cats with three litter boxes, I doubt the membership would be worth it. Did I mention we go through a lot of kitty litter?!

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#30 of 33 Old 06-24-2005, 11:23 PM
 
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Thanks for the advice on memberships. I am going to have to check out the day passes and get out my price book

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