My Opinion on CostCo

My sister, Beans, has a CostCo membership, so she took me on a preview trip to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Armed with my trusty price book, I set out for some serious comparison shopping.

On most items that I would normally buy, it looked like my neighborhood grocery store was cheaper. “Normally buy” is important here. It’s tempting to buy 8 pounds of seaweed salad, but it’s not a necessity. Stick to your normal list, because bulk impulse purchases add up QUICKLY.

The gas was also the same price as my usual store, though I’ve heard it’s usually significantly cheaper. The lines of cars waiting to fill up attest to that also.

The things that I found to be good deals were hummus, quinoa, dishwasher tabs, cheese, eggs, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes. Some of the other produce were cheap, but not cheap enough to justify the risk that some of it might spoil before we got to it. They do have very high quality produce, which is nice.

I didn’t price compare on larger purchases, like tires, TVs, and appliances. If you plan to buy something like that, the savings might justify the membership cost. As always, just comparison shop.

On cheese, eggs, and dishwasher tabs alone I save about $19. An annual membership is $55, so I’d have to save this much 3 times per year to justify the cost. Honestly, seems like it would pay for itself pretty easily. Personally though, since the store right by my house is almost as cheap, I’d have to debate making the special effort. As you can tell I’m still on the fence.

Overall, it seems like the store brand, Kirkland, is usually cheaper than my normal grocery store. Unfortunately, it’s not available on all items. If name brands are important to you, or you buy lots of prepackaged foods, or what I consider “luxury foods” like goat cheese and smoked salmon, you will probably save a bundle at CostCo. If you’re more like me, and tend to buy staples like chicken and rice, it might not be worth it, especially if you succumb to impulse buys. That reminds me, anyone want some mayonnaise? I have a 14 gallon drum I need to use up.

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April 9, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Thriftiness is Cool.

3 Comments

  1. Thax replied:

    I feel like you missed out on the costco products I find most valuable. Unless you’re vegetarian the meat market is really great. They often have six packs of filet mignon that are about 8oz each and amazing. They also have pork loin packs of 10 or 12 that are very reasonable. We break them down into two per ziplock back and freeze them.
    They have a lot of prepared frozen food you wouldn’t find in the regular grocery, priced ok I think. Tortellini or ravioli are great straight from freezer to pot.
    For entertaining, they have a great bakery, with pies and cakes that are HUGE and far better than HEB. I wouldn’t buy these unless there was a party though. There’s just too much.

    • thatcleverchick replied:

      I attempted to address that towards the end when I referenced “luxury foods”. I’m on a rather tight budget, so I tend to buy cheaper meat, like plain old chicken. Filet mignon is probably cheaper there than anywhere else, but it’s still not cheap enough for my budget.

      I did forget to mention the cakes, they are fantastic. You also reminded me my boss’ birthday is coming up, so I need to go get one again soon!

  2. Breakfast Quinoa | My Attempts at Cleverness replied:

    […] and I thought, “That would be much better with quinoa, which I happen to have gallons of from my Costco trip“. So I did it, cause I’m cool like that. You will […]

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