What are good deals at Costco? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a Costco membership and I like to shop there for certain staples like toilet paper but I am never sure if something is a good deal or not. In my mind I can't seem to make a good comparison because the quantities are so different from the grocery store.

Today I was there and bought milk, tp, wipes, paper towels, dish washer detergent, some fruit, cheese, diet coke (DH is addicted), and some clothes and books for the kids. I also tend to stock up on trash bags, tooth paste, shampoo and maybe some cleaning products.


So for those of your who shop there, what do buy?

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#2 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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To be honest, I'm starting to think that Costco is good for deals on premium brand name stuff, but not good if I'm wanting to be super frugal. There are some generic (Kirkland Signature) items that are a great deal - for example, the Kirkland version of Claritin. It is so much cheaper than generic Claritin at Target. But for food, I think I can generally find better deals by buying on sale, in bulk, or getting generics elsewhere. I bought a 9 pound box of Quaker oatmeal at Costco - yes, it is a lot of servings but I think the price per pound is actually more expensive than buying oatmeal in bulk at my local store. Costco is tricky for me - I generally end up filling my stuff up with nice stuff that is usually not particularly frugal!!!
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#3 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 03:08 PM
 
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Regularly, we buy dog food, chicken breasts, the organic greens that come in the plastic clamshell (although I noticed at WF the other day they have lowered their price to be in line with Costco), Odwalla OJ and/or Superfood, eggs (only if I'm already there for something else), raw tortillas, cheese slices for dh's lunch, organic chicken broth.

Occasionally, I buy fruit, get my photos printed there, outdoor plants, brita filters, a roast chicken, bagels-can't think of anything else.

Oh and dh has a prescription (generic) that he gets filled for cheaper than at the drugstore. Although most pharmacies around us will meet the Costco price if you ask them to

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#4 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 03:46 PM
 
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Produce (if you can use it all before it goes bad), meat, and organic milk.

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#5 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 03:56 PM
 
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Couldn't resist jumping in on this one because I love "my" Costco. I buy tons of stuff from there. I recently bought two big Giovanni shampoos and 1 Giovanni conditioner for $17.99. I was soooooo excited. That was a really good price! I also buy wild Salmon and wild Snapper, organic chicken breasts, and organic ground beef there. Always buy bananas, pineapple, organic Earthbound greens, and organic Earthbound Spinach. Seasonally organic oatmeal (absolutely cannot beat Costco price on organic oatmeal and my daughter will only eat this brand oatmeal). I buy organic peanut butter and organic jelly. Organic coffee beans. Veggie patties, turkey burgers, eggs. Used to buy bulk organic jasmine rice (they don't carry it anymore). Black beans. Organic raisins. Canned tuna and salmon. Organic butter. Pretty much, almost anything organic at Costco is cheaper than anywhere else. I have checked. EXCEPT- milk. Publix Greenwise organic milk is cheaper. What I usually do is buy from Costco first, WF second, and Publix last. Except I always try to buy locally grown organic veggies from the local roadstand first. I could go on & on with what I buy from Costco, but this is what works best for me when trying to balance a budget with buying the best food (organic if possible) I can for my family.
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#6 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 04:05 PM
 
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I should have also mentioned that we also get items such as toilet paper, paper towels, softner salt, napkins, etc there as well. Books. Picture frames. We bought a refrigerator there. A juicer. Coffeepot. Clothes. A computer. Our camcorder. We don't drink soda at all. But as a treat, I bought a case of the Izze Natural Sodas. They were pretty good and came out to 93 cents a bottle. I guess this all falls into the everything category. Wow. I knew I bought a lot from Costco, but didn't realize how much until I started typing out this response!!!
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#7 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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Particularly, I have noted that coffee (Yuban) is a good deal there. I also get my baking soda and vinegar there in bulk, though I don't think the prices are THAT much better. I mean, if I save $.30 on a package, does that make CostCo worth it? Nah. But I like all their variety, and I like that they're getting a lot of organic stuff in.

All their Kirkland brand stuff seems to be a very good deal.
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#8 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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They have unit pricing on the tags at costco.

But their best deal, and the reason I have a membership, is the lamb - $17 for a boneless leg of organic grass/saltbush fed lamb. You can't beat it anywhere, and it is soooo tasty, so much nicer than domestic lamb! I used to splurge occasionally on NZ lamb at wholefoods, but with the Aussie lamb from Costco I can eat it every week.
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#9 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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The only things I got there was Morningstar soy sauages and brown gravy mix, I can find everything cheaper elsewhere, thus the reason we let our membership go after a year.

However, I also carefully watch grocery and drug store sales, so I do spend some time doing that, and time is money per se.
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#10 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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Definitely the lamb.

Also the ground beef--if one can't find a sale at a grocery store. Good price, great quality, easy to break up into freezer packets bc of the way it's packaged.

Kirkland bottled water : I need bottles of water to stay hydrated and they are the best/cheapest

And baking soda/vingar. Pretty good prices.

I don't like they're chicken. It's generally half-frozen--frozen and partially thawed--which seems to me unsafe and kinda icky.
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#11 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 05:31 PM
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Produce, toilet paper, half and half, coffee (whole bean french roast, store brand from various places - currently Guatemala), dog food, contact lenses, bagels, laundry detergent, dish soap, oatmeal (Sturm's organic steel-cut for the same cost as store brand regular), frozen veggies (nice big chunks, and organic), frozen edamame, boca burgers, cheese...

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#12 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 06:27 PM
 
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organic frozen whatever berries they have. Costco also carries whole organic chicken for $1.99/lb. They are organic, but not free-range.
Did we not mention GAS??:

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#13 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 08:51 PM
 
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Of the things you listed, we regularly get the milk (except right now when the organic stuff is slightly cheaper at our little grocery store), TP, and Tillamook Colby Jack cheese. Oh, and the Carter's PJ's. Love those for the kids.

Diswashing detergent - I only buy the Electrosol when there's a coupon. Paper towels I usually do once a year with coupon as well, we just don't reat through them quickly. Fruit and veggies, depends; on season, what it looks like, what the price is. Pop, well, we only buy the Thomas Kemper root beer when it's in season (summer) and we get a bunch of cases. Cheapest place we can buy the good stuff. Coke and Diet Coke and such - I can find better deals at local places, especially around July 4th. Even when Costco does their coupons for the pop.

DVD's are also something we keep an eye on. Books, not so much. I browse, but usually don't buy.

So, besides that... I get distilled vinegar. Baking soda. Diced tomatoes during the summer BOGO coupon. Applesauce, at least before I start canning my own. Canned peaches, pears. Dinosaur nuggets for my ultra lazy days/nights. Shrimp scampi for dh if we have money in the budget. Frozen peas. Frozen corn. Tomato sauce (the giant 106oz cans), tomato paste. Dehydrated mangoes. Cashews. Jerky. Sea salt, peppercorns for our grinder. Organic peanut butter. Huckleberry jam. Chocolate syrup. Ziplocs when there's coupons. Organic animal cookies/crackers (yummy!). Chocolate chips when there's coupons. Romano cheese - I buy a big wedge, use my hand rotary grater, and freeze most of it for later. Sometimes potatoes. Baby carrots, grapes, strawberries, sometimes lettuce, lemons, limes, etc. Depends. I'm trying to walk through the store here, sorry I'm a bit scattered. I can't think of anything else off the top of my head.

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#14 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 10:31 PM
 
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We got an awesome Canon digicamera there.

I got my eye exam there. Waiting to get new glasses.

Yes, gas.

We got awesome flannel bedsheets for 14$.

Film developing.

They have awesome parmesan wedges.

Those special lightbulb, uber cheap, forgot what they're called tho...

DP loves lamb, we'll have to look for that!
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#15 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 10:47 PM
 
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Hmmm I've been thinking about Costco, all my friends belong and rave about it but we've belong to BJ's in the past and it was ok.

I wish I could get a trial membership or free one somehow lol!
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#16 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 10:59 PM
 
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I do most of my shopping there! I would say the best deals though are the organic things. Like the organic milk (so much cheaper and SO tasty) and the organic eggs and some of the organic produce (if you can eat it quick enough) Berries are usually a good deal but apples/pears/peaches are usually not. Most of the veggies are good deals...I especially love the miniature seedless cucumbers, yum
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#17 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 11:34 PM
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I forgot yeast! I got a lifetime supply for like $3...

And Susan, if you get a Costco membership and after a couple of months (or whenever) you decide it isn't working for you, you can get a refund for your entire membership cost - so it's no risk, really. And right now you get a $10 Costco gift card if you sign up for a new membership:
http://www.costco.com/Service/Featur...uctNo=11033068

Also when we went to Hawaii, Costco was an even better deal, because stuff is generally more expensive there but a lot of the Costco prices were the same as on the mainland. They sold poi, even.

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#18 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 11:36 PM
 
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Great link!! Thank you!

Is it $50 to join? Hmmmm
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#19 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 11:54 PM
 
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Costco is a great place to find many, many organic products, and I'm trying to buy as much organic as possible. Their prices are way better than Whole Foods organics, usually. One son and I both wear contacts. Each year I check everywhere to find the best price and Costco is the cheapest by far of any other vendor, including internet sources. I will have vision insurance in a few months, so I will be able to save even more on our contacts. Good vision is worth the price, but there is no sense in paying more than you have to.
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#20 of 76 Old 07-25-2007, 11:56 PM
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Yeah, they just raised it to $50 a year... but that's just a little over $4 a month, and I definitely save more than that... I actually save that much just on my contact lenses.

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#21 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 02:49 AM
 
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Boca Burgers are a great price . . when they are in stock. I am frustrated that they often are not. Also soymilk is a good price for the Kirkland brand.

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#22 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 03:26 AM
 
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We bought the executive membership 4 years ago & share it with my parents (we have a card & they have a card) and we have earned a rebate equal to or more than the cost of the membership for the next year ever since. Believe me, the rebate really does add up quickly!
I take benadryl for my allergies and the costco brand costs $3.50 ish for 400 tablets instead of $4 for 32 brand name benadryl at target.
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#23 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 03:54 AM
 
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Film/developing, gas, clothes, books, Gameboy games, paper towels, tp, ziplock bags, kitty litter, salmon, cake, bagels, pretzels, butter, cheese, olive oil, Cheerios, applesauce, canned vegies, ketchup, coffee, bread, magazines, cut flowers, holiday wreaths, plants, batteries.

The coupons are great when they come out. Just bought dp boxer briefs tonight (on coupon) when I went to get dd1's birthday cake.

Oh, and pine nuts, capers, and kalamata olives - staples for orzo salad!

I actually DON'T buy Coke there as I can always find it cheaper on sale at the grocery store if I plan it right.
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#24 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 04:03 AM
 
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Gas
frozen veggies, sometimes chicken
yeast
various baking stuff/staples, such as flour, rice, oatmeal
nutrogena rainbath (one of the few scented products I can stand)
some vitamins and generics
sun dried tomatoes in a big ol' jar
nuts

when we buy them, cottage cheese and sour cream

and when we can't stand it any longer....the gallon bucket 'o ice cream is a steal! Dairy products are just outrageous here.

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#25 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 04:50 AM
 
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My neighbor thinks they do a military discount on the membership, I think I may do this next month! Cheaper organic milk is tempting!

I pay $4.99 for a 1/2 gallon at the commissary (which is at cost), I wonder what it is at Costco? (in Hawaii)
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#26 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 05:01 AM
 
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blueberries! My two little ones can go through the huge tub in 2 days. No joke!

We also get ink for the printer, TP, paper towels, Frappuccino, canned beans/tomatoes.
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#27 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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Oh yeah, I forgot about gas and contacts!

One thing I really wish CostCo would stock is yogurt in one huge tub, rather than all the little cups. I mainly use it for smoothies, and it is soooo not worth buying it there for that purpose.

We have an Executive Membership as of last year. It paid for itself the first year, and we should get a HUGE rebate back this year. I bought new tires for my car, so that's $600 worth of rebate. Not to mention that all prescriptions at the pharmacy qualify for the rebate, so that's helpful too.
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#28 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 01:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanInItaly View Post
I pay $4.99 for a 1/2 gallon at the commissary (which is at cost), I wonder what it is at Costco? (in Hawaii)
Not sure how the prices vary in Hawaii (I can't even say I've been there ), but here at ours the organic milk is around $9 including tax for 3 half-gallons.

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#29 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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nak-
the savings on contacts alone (as the PPs have mentioned) pays for our membership cost. I save $4ish a box over the evil empire (Walmart) and about $10 a box over what my eye doc used to charge.

The last time I ordered contacts they had an additional $30 rebate if you ordered a whole year up front, so I saved $4 a box over walmart, plus got an additional rebate of $30. It was profitable (LOL) for us to join costco

The killers are impulse purchases. Use a price book to figure out what is worthwhile.
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#30 of 76 Old 07-26-2007, 05:05 PM
 
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The big money saving things I like to buy there are:

frozen organic veges
Annies boxed mac and cheese
natural laundry detergent
cheese (we go through cheese like crazy here. One of their huge blocks of cheese for $25 is gone in 2 weeks in our house!)
dog food
energy drinks (my husband drinks these for work instead of coffee. It gives him the extra kick he needs at 4:30 am LOL)
garbage and recycling bags

. : Jill, mama to 5 kiddos, soon to be 6 in June 2013 : .

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