Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Lowdown on Costco - Part 2

Today we continue on with the lowdown on Costco. If you missed Part 1, click HERE.

The Cons of Costco

  • $100 Rule – As a rule of thumb, it’s very difficult to get out of Costco without spending more than $100. You’ll also have a limited variety of items in your cart for $100 because of the larger quantities. If you were to do all your shopping for the week there, you total could likely be even higher.

  • Large Quantities/Limited Variety - I would estimate that we do about 50% of our regular shopping at Costco. We still need to go to a regular grocery store for the items we only use in smaller quantities and for more variety than what’s provided at Costco.

  • Coupons/Bags – Costco does not accept manufacturer coupons (but they do send you Costco store coupons occasionally), and they do not provide shopping bags. They usually have a supply of boxes available for free.

What Works for the Diva Family

We limit impulse purchases. Costco makes a lot of money from members who make impulse purchases. Although we love to try the samples, we consider whether it’s something we need before purchasing sample items.

Finally, as I mentioned before, we use a pricebook to compare the Costco prices to other stores. We focus on buying the items that are cheaper per ounce at Costco and pass up the items that are more expensive per ounce. Over time, you’ll begin to recognize a good deal without having to reference a pricebook. For our family, some of the things that are consistently a better deal at Costco are: milk (usually equivalent to Aldi), bread machine yeast, rice, flour, sugar, spices, butter, and cheese.

Our Best Deal: The Diva Boys were recently enamored with a twin sized Lightening McQueen racecar trundle bed on display at Costco. The Costco website price for the bed was $799. In the warehouse, the price for the bed was $499. (Costco Tip: There's a wide selection of items available on, but the prices tend to be higher than in the warehouse.) Baby D is almost ready for the transition to a "big boy" bed, yet we didn't want to spend an excessive amount of money on a new bed. (As a side note, in true "Deal Diva" fashion, we purchased Junior D's bedroom set on Craigslist in excellent used condition for a fraction of the furniture store cost.) So, on a recent Costco trip, when we spotted the racecar bed marked down to $199, we decided to make the purchase. In talking with the manager, the price had been marked down that morning, and there was only one left. (Another Costco Tip: Items that do get marked down tend to go VERY fast.) In the end, we got a high quality bed for well over half off the regular price.

Now it’s your turn. Are you a member of Costco (or Sam’s Club)? What is your approach to shopping at a warehouse store? What items are the best value for you? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail with your feedback.

1 comment:

Ginger said...

My favorite ways to save at the warehouse stores are to buy the things we use the absolute most of and that includes:

Bath Tissue - Sam's brand is thicker and softer than Charmin. My fave brand!Usually save about $4.00 per purchase on a large bulk pack.

Shredded cheese: We repackage in Handy Vac bags and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator and it is just like you purchased it that day.

Dog Food: I can buy a more expensive brand that my pets like for about 1/3 less for the 40# bag.

Water: A case is about $2 cheaper.

Chips: 2 large bags for $6.

Smart Source Margarine: 3# tub for about $2.50

Also get really nice prices on my husband's slacks and polo style shirts. Slacks that are usually around $40 elsewhere are $20 at Sam's

Name brand tennis shoes are generally about 1/2 price or less too as compared to other retail stores.

Sorry I don't have more prices but it will give you an idea of what I purchase and why.

It is rare that I go into a traditional grocery store. When I do, it is usually Target even though I live about 1 mile from a Walmart.

I think my next home will be closer to Target so I can report more deals and clearance items on my blog. ROFL!

Thanks for posting your insights about Costco. I'll be in there this coming week!