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Old 02-13-2007, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I like the idea of buying in bulk to save money and hopefully make it so theres not as much packaging/waste....but other then that not sure what I think of the place...we've never been in one. I got an offer to join today for $40.00..is it worth it? We're pretty frugal and so it seems weird to pay to get into a store...
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:13 PM
 
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Some stuff is a great deal, some isn't. I'm from the Land Where Costco Began, and the lines are insane every weekend. We go about once a month. It really depends on what you're looking for.

mama to Max (2/02) and Sophie (10/06); wife to my fabulous girl
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:29 PM
 
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I would go in and ask to just look around. They will let you do that, but if you want to buy something you'll either have to join then or I think they let you pay an extra 5-10% a be able to purchase that day.

It really depends on your cooking style and what will you actually use.

I used to have a Costco membership but we got rid of it, only because I didn't like to go across town for the few items I purchased from their.

However, a few items are really worth it for me, I can buy close to the same price of these few items if it's on sale and I have a coupon.... but still really I would save.

They have such a wide variety of stuff. Also would consider if you would be purchasing any other large item things, can get a great savings, but brands/ lines can/ are limited.

Take an hour and go in and look around. bring your calculator.
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:58 PM
 
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Costco for most things is only cheaper if you buy brand-name prepared foods. I still have a membership, and I'm debating whether to renew it. All I'm buying there is toilet paper, a certain kind of sliced cheese that I like, organic butter, and not much else.

That said, I tend to spend too much money at Costco, on impulse purchases and stuff I don't need, which is why I'm thinking I shouldn't renew.
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:05 PM
 
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Warehouse clubs often let you add an extra "family" member to the account, so there are 2 cards. I have, in the past, split the cost of the membership with a friend (like, $20 each) and we each got a card. Then we could go shopping whenever we wanted. That's about the only time I'm willing to do it.

I think this is only a problem is if you write checks. I think your address is encoded on the membership card or something. (Obviously, you only have 1 address on the membership.) So, if the address of your card didn't match your checks/ID, I wonder if that's an issue?

Anyway, I split the cost, then I don't mind having a membership. Maybe you can find a like-minded friend to do that with. Good luck!

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Old 02-13-2007, 11:05 PM
 
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We belong to Costco and BJs. We like to buy certain things from there:
-tinned tomatoes
-oven fries
-mystic pizza
-OJ
-bottled water
-toilet paper
-kitchen paper
-Boca burgers
-greeting cards
-shampoo
-batteries

We also buy "natural" meats from there, separate and bag them, then pop them into the freezer. I had some natural ground beef that was delicious. Much cheaper than going to Whole Foods, and a better selection than the "natural" section at the regular supermarket.

For us it has been worth it, but then we have a big freezer and a basement to store stuff in.

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Old 02-14-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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I go in there from time to time with a friend (they'll let you use someone else's card so long as you pay with ATM or cash). The last time I went in there, I bought exactly 1 item, a broom ($5). Most of the food that is a good deal is stuff that we won't eat (prepackaged) or stuff that is in too large of portions to eat before it goes bad (fruit). They do sometimes have good prices on good quality cheeses, but I'd have to buy an awful lot of cheese to make a $40 membership pay off. And, like many warehouse stores, what they have at any given time is dependent on what is available at good prices from the manufacturers, so you can never be sure that what you see this week will still be there next week. Sometimes their prices on meat are good, sometimes not (you really need to know your prices before you go in there), but if you're big on organic or grass-fed or free-range or anything like that, you're generally out of luck (they sometimes have some organic produce). But (and this is a big one), every Costco has a different selection.

Mostly though, they make their money on impulse buy items and big ticket items. They have rows and rows of "junk food" near the check-out lanes. They have a large selection of all the current release DVDs. They have a decent sized alcohol section. They have "beautiful" baked goods from their bakery (as long as you're not a label reader). They're counting on you picking up several of these items to make a profit from your trip. And it's very easy to go over your budget. Of course, if you're uninsured, or even only partially insured, their pharmacy has pretty much the best prices in town.

DH and I just discussed this the other night, and agreed not to get a card. Between Smart & Final and Cash & Carry (neither of which has a membership fee), we figured we could get whatever we might want from Costco. Of course, the fact that it's 3 towns over through horrendous traffic, and parking is always a nightmare also factors into my lack of desire to be a member. If all else fails, I just call up my friend and offer to take her on a Costco trip.

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Old 02-14-2007, 01:08 AM
 
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DH has a free membership through work, so we've been a few times. I find it overwhelming. I don't think it's organized well, and with a huge store, this is a big drawback (esp. since we all go, inc. the kids).

Obviously, they have a lot, but I think you have to settle. For example, DD loves canned fruit salad, but doesn't love the pears. We COULD have gotten a huge case and saved money that way (I guess) but 1/2 of the cans in the case were all pears. We went to get a car battery, and they were cheaper than other places, but they were all out of the one we needed. It seems that way with a lot of items-- the selection just isn't there. It's like it's ALMOST a good deal but in the end, not really.

I don't enjoy shopping there.

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Old 02-14-2007, 01:25 AM
 
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I love Costco but I have a set list of regular things that I buy and thats pretty much all I get:
dog food and treats
chicken
oj
organic chx broth
coffee
organic spring mix
face soap

I'm not the type to really browse and look for other deals. I also use their photo service a lot. I can upload photos and they will be there to pick up when I go. I think its 0.17 for a 4X6 and I can share out my photos to friends and family.


That being said, a friend of mine did some cost comparing on items that she bought at Costco versus the generic 365 brand at Whole Foods and she found it cheaper to buy generic at WF. I think it was a lot of cleaners and toiletries.

So I guess it depends on what you get!

Lisa, mama to A (3/05) and R (11/07) and L (8/10)
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:26 AM
 
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Wow, I'm so surprised by the responses. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Costco! I'm there at least once a week (especially since it's 45min-1hr to our nearest WF). Things we get there all the time are:
Gas!!
toilet paper
organic milk
half & half
organic eggs
bananas ($1.45 for a huge bunch)
frozen wild blue berries
stoneyfield organic yogurt
frozen organic beans
frozen organic corn
coffee beans
grapes
organic carrots
organic lettuce
sweet little peppers
red/yellow/orange peppers
whole wheat pasta
cheese
organic frozen burritos (YUM)
laundry detergent (kirkland free & clear)
dishwasher detergent
organic chicken broth
sea salt
bread
wraps
avacados

We've also bought (but not on a regular basis):
nuts
dried apples
raisins
jeans for dh (like $12 for jeans that look JUST like Levis)
shoes for dh
underwear (I LOVE their underwear)
organic pasta sauce
salmon

We also do all our photo processing (digital, I upload them online & then pick them up). I just got new glasses ($125... which is a HUGE bargain if you're a glasses wearer) & contacts. We've also got tires for our car there (they have a road hazard warantee, and they've replaced my tires for free).

Another thing I LOVE about Costco... they take ANYTHING and everything back. No questions asked. They also have really great corporate poliices. Their CEO also takes a reasonable salary (as opposed to the zillion dollar packages that many corporate CEO's take), and make customer service & employees the most important factors.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:31 AM
 
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I love costco too, I buy all kinds of stuff there and while their meat is generally not organic it is really good quality. They do have other organic stuff there. I get free range organic eggs, organic butter, TP in bulk they have excellent prices of charcoal too which we use alot of since dh lives at the bbq.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:39 AM
 
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My dh & I have gotten to a point where we do much better resisting impulse buying at costco (or somewhere like it) than regular grocery stores. If there are enough things that you like to purchase reguarly I find it is worth it to get the membership if you are saving enough purchasing items there.

For us soymilk, boca burgers, organic eggs, quality cheddar cheese, applesauce and juiceboxes are things we ALWAYS get and would pay half the price for at regular stores for 1/4 the amount (& we use them up fast enough it makes sense to get them there).

On another note, we've found that we'll eat healthier when we do make a point to buy produce there (which we don't do all the time) because we try to use it up faster we'll eat more things with it. (ie. salad, spinach, peppers). Definately get a look around before you get a membership to see if there's enough there to make it worth your while. We do one trip a month (maybe a second if there's basic things like eggs we run out of) and 1-3 small trips to other grocery stores a month that we can make more specifically around whatever we want to cook since we don't buy as many 'staples' there.
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:10 AM
 
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If you know what things usually cost in your area, or what good sale prices are, you'll be able to figure out what's a good deal and what's not. Milk, cheese, dish soap, laundry soap, frozen chicken breasts, chicken nuggets :, lunchmeat, some vegetables, fruits, and salads are all cheaper at costco for me. Meat, and actually a lot of stuff there, is slightly more expensive than a really good sale but less expensive than regular grocery store price, and it's convenient to know that you'll get a decent price without driving all over and to have a good amount to freeze.
Some of it though just doesn't fit the budget, like I just can't buy 45$ worth of razor blades at a go most months. And some comes in packages too large to be practical, though I agree with PP that we eat more salad, veg and fruits when we have a bunch around.
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:54 PM
 
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We have a membership, and it is worth the cost just for the few things we buy there. I am impressed with their increasing selection of organic products, too--seems like every time I go I find one more product I can get there rather than somewhere else. But others are right--it is only worth it if you can stand the hassle of going and if you can stick to your list and not impulse buy on a bulk scale.
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Old 02-14-2007, 03:18 PM
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Old 02-14-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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Costco for the

Gas,
laundry detergent
kirkland brand dishwasher det..(works better than cascade and only $6 for a bucket that lasts two months)
toilet paper
paper towels
socks for everyone
kirkland jeans for hubby... he works for qwest and wears holes in levi's too fast.
heavy cream
cheese
butter
and ribeye steaks
milk

It is known as the 300.00 dollar store in our home.

Jerry's home improvement is the 800.00 dollar store.

Their meat distribution is the same as the Outback Steak houses.
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Old 02-15-2007, 10:52 AM
 
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If you have an extra fridge or freezer I think it's worth it. We stock up on organic milk, frozen chicken breasts, and ground beef.

Mom to (5) (9)
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Old 02-16-2007, 05:26 PM
 
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I won't buy cat food anywhere else. A 25 lb bag for 8.99. Chicken is the first ingredient! We have 3 cats, so it is a big moneysaver for us. I also get the dishwasher detergent (rated really well in consumer reports) Laundry detergent and contact lens solution., and organic soymilk. Other things too, but these are the regulars.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:52 PM
 
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We find it worthwhile. We don't buy that many items, but on contacts alone, I save enough to justify the cost of a membership.

At holiday time they've had great deals on toys. We have been thrilled w/ our train table (sells for much more online if you buy the same model w/ trundles), and the Ryan's Room tent/tunnel set we bought 2 years ago (again, way cheaper than any place online).

I buy the Kirkland contact solution too which I've found to be cheaper than most generics and definitely cheaper than name-brand.

I regularly buy organic blueberries (frozen)
Organic salad mix (although it is often very close to the sell by date and I'll only buy if it is a week or so from the sell by otherwise I find it goes bad too quickly)
Organic Peanut Butter
Organic chicken broth (half the price of our co-op). I prefer to make my own but like having it on hand in a pinch
Sometimes I'll buy clamshells of fresh blueberries and blackberries
Avocados
Occasionally carter's clothes for baby or for baby gifts. Usually less expensive than at the Carter's "outlet"/store (between 6-7 dollars)
Picture developing (send in from home and pick up in an hour)

You don't need a membership to use their pharmacy. That's how we got hooked. Our dog takes medication that is significantly less at Costco than most places (he takes the generic version of human Prozac for severe anxiety).

They've been expanding their selection of organic products. Some of those are still too processed for my taste, but it is nice to see them expanding what they offer in terms of organics (i've seen organic instant oatmeal, organic cold cereals, organic fair trade coffee, precooked organic chicken breast, organic soup, etc.). They sell Tilamook sliced cheese which I think has a good reputation for a non-organic company.
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Old 02-16-2007, 09:13 PM
 
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I read an article in Consumer Reports that said Costco is an excellent place to get eyeglasses--it can be 2/3 or 1/2 of the cost of the mall stores etc. They said they also do good eye exams, AND you don't have to be a member to do this. (You can shop as a guest for 1 day, so maybe this is how you can get the good glasses deal?)

I got a membership for one big-ticket item that I'd been shopping for for about 2 years so I knew it was a good deal (an outdoor cedar storage shed, through their web site), but I probably won't renew unless I get my basement freezer going again...
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:55 PM
 
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Apparently you can also shop as a guest if you have a gift card, so if you don't have a friend nearby to take you, you could get someone who is a member to buy a gift card and mail it to you, etc. and shop that way to check it out. You could probably stock up a few times a year this way without a membership, but I'm not sure if there are any limits, etc. on how often you can use a gift card, kwim?
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Old 02-17-2007, 12:21 AM
 
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We find the value of the items they sell good. Their prices are also much better than regular stores.

We are a family of 5 who seem to eat alot. It worth the trip to shop there.

The meat is good quality stuff. They have some nice organic stuff.
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Old 02-17-2007, 01:32 AM
 
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Another Costco lover here!

I don't buy everything there - like tp - because if you can catch a good sale just right, you can get it cheaper elsewhere. Here's what I regularly buy there -

gas!! Cheapest place around!
eyeglasses - they took my insurance. So...for really nice, flattering frames, they were free with the insurance! I only paid for the UV coating on them (optional)
laundry detergent
white vinegar (use for cleaning)
chicken breasts
chicken nuggets
wine and beer (if we're having a party....or going to a party)
bananas (99 cents for a HUGE bag!)
cheddar cheese
lunch meat (same price at Costco as it is on sale at the regular store. If I can't catch the sale, I buy it here)
eggs (sometimes....not free range or organic, so I try to do this minimally)
cat litter
sandwich bags
aluminum foil
Soft Scrub
wheat bread
coffee
Gardenburgers
hamburger patties
frozen pot pies
bags of frozen shrimp
baby wipes
tuna
chicken noodle soup cans
cream of mushroom soup cans
cans of corn
cans of organic tomatoes and tomato sauce
olive oil (EVOO)
organic applesauce (when my homemade runs out!)
books! They have great deals on some titles....
clothing - I've got some great buys on pants for DH (he only wears khakis) and stuff for DS.
ribbon
tires!! I bought a full set of all-season Michelin tires for my car last November, and it was hundreds of $$ less than the next cheapest quote!
Odwalla Superfood juice (half gallon for $4.99!)
Odwalla orange juice (full gallon for $4.99!)
organic frozen blueberries

I know there's other things.....but I try to really just stick to what we use consistently.
I will never let my Costco membership lapse.....I've got too many great deals there.

Shannon & Paul...married since 2000. Parents to Alexander Paul Martin - 30 October, 2003 Grace Elizabeth Maile - 12 June, 2009
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Old 02-17-2007, 01:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the help, I think we will take the plunge and try it out for a year!
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Old 02-17-2007, 11:27 PM
 
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I wish we had one closer. The closest one is a good 35 minutes from here. Is it worth it?

Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH

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Old 02-19-2007, 12:57 AM
 
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We live for COSTCO. We go once a month and spend on average $200. We don't typically buy only organic but our closest store has tons of organic fresh and packaged foods so we typically buy it since it's way cheaper than regular stores.

-Cheese
-Yogurt
-cheese sticks
-milk
-canned fruit
-canned veggies
-canned soup
-lunch meat
-bacon
-sausage
-meat
-some fresh things (depends on what they have and how fast we'll eat it)
-bread
-toilet paper
-cat litter
-laundry soap
-cereal
-boxed mac n cheese
-pasta sauce
-baby wipes
-tortillas
-bagels
-frozen burritos
-oils
-honey
-pb
-j
....probably much much more that I'm not thinking of now
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Old 02-19-2007, 02:12 AM
 
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I may buy a membership. There is one just down the street from us (closer than SuperTarget, which is where I shop for my consumables) and I think many things are cheaper there than they are at the regular grocery store. I have an excellent sense of what things cost, so maybe DS and I will visit tomorrow and see what's what.
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Old 02-19-2007, 02:13 AM
 
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Oh I wear both glasses and contacts, so I'd save in that area as well!
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:18 AM
 
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we love costco... im trying to remember what we buy most:

toilet paper
organic milk
bananas (we are huge banana fans.... and love banana bread. bananas at other stores are like 50cents or more a lb, much cheaper at costco)
frozen organic berries
yogurt
frozen organic green beans
frozen organic corn
coffee beans
organic carrots
whole wheat pasta
cheese (string cheese, swiss cheese, cheddar)
organic frozen burritos (YUM)
laundry detergent (kirkland free & clear)
organic chicken broth
sea salt
fruit ... i usually check sale prices first, but often fruit at costco is cheaper or the same price of the regular grocery stores here.
raisins
organic sugar
birkenstocks
organic pasta sauce
salmon
sliced turkey
canadian bacon

I am sure there is more LOL.

I also love their return policy.... I bought a food processor there once. AFter a few months I realized that I never really used it and felt bad for purchasing it. They took it back no questions asked. They will also refund your membership fee in full if you are unhappy or decide you no longer want it for any reason.
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