Is Costco Worth It? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 03:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Are the big warehouse type stores, we have Costco here, worth it?

I was thinking of asking for a membership for Christmas from my parents.

When we last had Costco we barely used it. It seemed we always spent tons of money for just a few items and still had to go to the regular grocery store. Also, I mainly shop at Trader Joes & Whole Foods and Costco doesn't always have that type of stuff.

Has anyone researched this?

We're a family of 3 - me, DH & DS (nearly 5 yrs)

Sure would like one of those big bottles of vineagar though!
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#2 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 09:18 AM
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In a quick answer, for us it is. There is not Whole Foods here yet where we live, and we get alot of our organic stuff from Costco.

Where we live, we also get gas at Costco, consistently 7-10cents cheaper than anywhere else on the economy.

Consider sharing a membership. I share a membership with my mom, and our executive membership with the 1% rebate paid for itself last year (not including the gas).

There was a similar thread a couple of weeks ago.
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#3 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 09:53 AM
 
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Here is a link to the thread from a couple weeks ago:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ghlight=costco
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#4 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 10:54 AM
 
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I think that if you just want occasional items like that big bottle of vinegar, it is best to ask around and see if anyone you know has a membership and would take you along for a shopping trip.
We use it a lot for meat, wipes, canned goods, and soaps. I go every other week.
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#5 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 11:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatsuzygirl
I think that if you just want occasional items like that big bottle of vinegar, it is best to ask around and see if anyone you know has a membership and would take you along for a shopping trip.
This would only work at my local Costco if the person you know is paying for your purchases. The Costco Card used for the order MUST match the name on the payment, to the point that when DH and I go there together, whichever one of us hands over our card also has to process the payment, even though we are on the same account.
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#6 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 12:23 PM
 
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I think it depends on your grocery stores. For me, no way. I wouldn't even make back the cost of the membership fee in savings. The "big bottle" of vinegar at my Costco is only a gallon and a half, and it's the same price per gallon as it is at my local Shop-rite. In fact, I got gallon bottles on sale there the other day for less.

Just about everything I would buy in bulk at Costco, I can buy more cheaply on sale at the grocery store, and do even better with coupons. The only two things I can buy there that are priced better than anywhere else are organic eggs ($2.50/dozen vs. $2.99/doz at the store) and organic milk (I think $2.66/gallon vs. $3.29/gallon). Ours doesn't offer natural/organic meat or fresh produce or cheese. If my mom didn't have a membership, paying for one wouldn't end up saving me anything. And I find Costco extremely overwhelming--every trip there is monstrously stressful, and I end up spending more than I should on stuff I don't really need.

However, if your local stores don't have good sales, or don't double coupons or whatever, then yes, maybe it can be a good deal for you. But watch out for the overbuying on things you don't need/can't use before the expiration!

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#7 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 12:49 PM
 
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The best wayt o know your prices is to start a price book and know per gallon, per ounce, per lbs. ect how much stuff is at each store... it takes a while to get the prices, and to remeber to write them all out, ect but worth it in the end, we are familly of 5, don't eat oragnic but usally whole foods and 90% from scrach... and i only spend $250 a month to feed us and 2 dogs, and we get WIC so that helps some too... but i also go to about 5 differant stores to get all i need... woudl NEVER take the kids with me, or my dh for that matter, some time i'll let my sister or mom tag along but it's a long day! LOL
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#8 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 01:22 PM
 
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Yes it very worth it for our family. Dh and I have shopped there since before kids

Kalamata olives are sooooooo much cheaper there than at a grocery store.
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#9 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenegirl
This would only work at my local Costco if the person you know is paying for your purchases. The Costco Card used for the order MUST match the name on the payment, to the point that when DH and I go there together, whichever one of us hands over our card also has to process the payment, even though we are on the same account.
Yes, that is true. The guest would have to use cash or pay the member back later.
Suzy

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#10 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 01:30 PM
 
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We went to our local Costco and they really don't have much organic stuff at all (just the spring mix) and the things they do have that we buy, we can get just as cheaply at other stores. But I have heard each store is different... I think you need to go to your local Costco and bring your price book and look at what they have!
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#11 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 01:43 PM
 
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I like my Costco membership - we just saved a bundle on a trip by using Costco travel. You can buy a pack of 16 Boca Burgers for $8 at ours. That saves the cost of membership in and of itself in a year. I still go to our local Wild Oats store for all of our produce and organic items, as I have discovered that much of the frozen food I was buying from Costco that was labeled organic, was from China. Two big issues with this - who's regulating the "organic" name on foreign produce? Also, my wild oats store has local produce in addition to organics. Both are important to us. I get some good vitamin supplements, great prices on things like socks, and huge jugs of Martinelli's there, and good deals on DVDs and selected books. FWIW
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#12 of 20 Old 08-31-2006, 05:09 PM
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Worth it for us, definitely. I save $100 a year on contact lenses and $50 a year on dog food, so that alone pays for the membership.

Also, they have a promotion going now in which if a current member refers a new member, they each get a $10 Costco cash card... so that's a good deal for you and a current member.

Dar

 
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#13 of 20 Old 09-01-2006, 01:11 AM
 
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We bought our king-sized bed at costco last week. Paid $800 for a Sealy that would have cost us $1400 at a regular mattress store.
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#14 of 20 Old 09-01-2006, 01:31 AM
 
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I tend to overshop when I go to Costco, but if you can go in and just get what you really need then it can save you a bundle.
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#15 of 20 Old 09-01-2006, 01:35 AM
 
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Milk alone has saved me the cost of my membership.
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#16 of 20 Old 09-01-2006, 01:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenegirl
Here is a link to the thread from a couple weeks ago:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ghlight=costco
This one's better:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...highlight=cult





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#17 of 20 Old 09-01-2006, 11:51 AM
 
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I guess Costco is sortof like Sam's Club??
I share a membership with my mom (actually I'm listed as the primary account holder and she's my "spouse" ). I've always loved going there but because of freezer space and there only being two of us I can't buy much fresh food there. I get things like toilet paper and breakfast cereal, and only shop there about once a month.
For us, I wouldn't buy the membership myself because I don't shop there much, but I mooch off my mom since she's had a membership ever since I can remember and it doesn't cost her anymore to have me on it.
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#18 of 20 Old 09-01-2006, 11:52 AM
 
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I went to Costco yesterday after work. I realized I only shop in a fraction of the store (groceries only, don't venture into other areas), so to me, the size/time is no more overwhelming than going to the grocery store. In addition, I don't walk down many of the rows. I tend to not buy convenience type foods -- I don't buy cookies or crackers or cereal or candy bars. I generally do not buy canned items as I can get them cheaper and in more convenient sizes elsewhere. I don't usually walk through all of the dairy and frozen section as it is mostly meat (which I buy elsewhere when I buy it), dairy (which DH can't eat) and convenience items like individual sized pot pies, which I don't buy. I don't go through the health section unless there is a specific item I need in there (last time I went in there was to buy bandaids 2 months ago). I skip all the aisles with paper goods and laundry detergent.

So what DO I buy at Costco? Here's what I got yesterday, and how much it cost:

$7.49 4 lb container of strawberries
$5.69 2 or 3 pounds of tomatoes on the vine
$5.99 fresh figs (I think it was a 2 pound container)
$11.79 4 pounds of maple bacon (can't get an equivalent product anywhere else, and the quality is definitely better than what is available elsewhere. Since I don't eat it, only DH does, I repackage it into 6 slice containers and put them in the freezer, pulling them out as needed).
$3.99 1 pound of organic baby spinach
$4.49 1 pound of organic mixed salad greens
$6.49 4 pounds of green grapes
$3.49 5 pounds of frozen mixed vegetables
$9.29 approximately 2 pound container of fresh mozzarella cheese
$6.49 4 pounds of unsalted butter (that works out to $1.47/pound)
$6.49 another 4 pounds of unsalted butter
$5.79 2/128 oz containers of Motts Apple Juice
$6.49 18 oz fresh blueberries
$6.49 18 oz fresh blueberries
$4.89 2/32 oz containers of ReaLemon juice
$3.89 10 pounds of granulated sugar
$4.99 12 pounds of baking soda
$2.49 1 quart of heavy cream (I don't usually buy this, but am making some gananche for a cake this weekend)
$6.99 10 pounds of vidalia onions
$6.49 a package of 6 fresh peppers, 2 each red, yellow, orange
$7.99 3 pound package of fresh pineapple spears
$2.55 3 dozen eggs (not organic, but they are local)
$130.74 TOTAL

I generally shop this much at Costco once a month, but will do a smaller trip in two weeks. Obviously many of the things on this list will last awhile (sugar, eggs, ReaLemon juice, etc) so the next big trip will have a different list of staples.

I don't think I have mentioned it on this thread before, but I tend to cook a lot of food at one time, then repackage into individual containers and DH and I eat out of the freezer until the next time I cook. I try to plan so that I do a lot of cooking shortly after going to Costco, and that is part of my plan for this long holiday weekend.
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#19 of 20 Old 09-01-2006, 02:54 PM
 
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I remember this discussion from a few weeks ago but I don't think I posted a reply, but, yes, it is worth it for me. I usually buy whatever organics they have and stock up - pasta, sugar, peanut butter...etc. it comes and goes so if I see it I get lots of it as it is much cheaper than at our local natural/organic store. HTH
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#20 of 20 Old 09-02-2006, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for such thoughtful & detailed replies (and the past thread link)!

I will ask to go with my Mom next time she shops there so I can check it out again. It's been a couple years.

I'm leaning towards not asking for the membership for Christmas. I'm able to stay frugal if I stay out of stores (any store) whenever possible. Wandering around a big store (the stuff I needed was always in the back) either made me want to buy things I really didn't need or accentuated the fact that I didn't have money for extra "stuff". I've recommited myself to frugality and part of that is staying out of stores in general.



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