Monday, May 7, 2012

What Are The Best Deals At Costco/Sams/BJ's?

Rachel, on her blog Holy Craft, does some price checking between Costco and grocery stores and reveals her findings. To me it seems that every thing is priced so it's at least $7, whatever the size. 

There are a few things I go to Costco or BJ's for specifically (spring salad lettuce mix, peppers, green beans, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, deli meats, roasted chicken) and the rest I purchase at Aldi's, WalMart or the grocery store.

From Rachel:  What I buy at Costco

Yesterday, I explained my love/hate relationship with Costco.

Costco charges a $50 membership fee per year.  It takes discipline (and a little price comparison) to help you recoup your membership fee and save money while shopping at Costco.

I can live without my Costco membership, but when I do find myself with membership card in hand, these are the things that I think are worth buying.

**as a side note, on the times when I have let my membership lapse, my membership card has still remained active at the pump.

The first place I stop at when I walk through the doors of Costco is to the produce section.

Not all of the produce is a good deal.  During the summer, most of my produce comes from a local fruit and vegetable stand or from our local farmers market (it's cheaper, organic, and local), but during the other times of the year, when produce prices soar at your local grocery store, you can find some deals worth picking up.

Hearts of Romaine
6 count for $2.99
(That's 50 cents per heart)

Sweet Mini Peppers
A 2 pound bag is $3.79
I use these peppers for everything from sandwiches, in our salads, as stir fry, or just as a snack.
During the winter a whole yellow/red/orange pepper can set you back $1.50 at the grocery store.

4 pounds are $6.49
that calculates to about $1.60 per pound

A 3 pound bag costs $1.39
about $.46 a pound
*these are almost always VERY green, so you have to plan ahead

D'Anjou Pears
6 pounds for $3.99
That's about $.67 a pound
*I will often buy this bag and share it with a friend.  The problem with 6 pounds of unripe pears is that they usually become ripe all at the same time.  It's not a good deal if you are wasting half of the bag.

**Produce item prices can change by several dollars in the same week.
I went back the same week that I took these pictures and found that the sweet peppers were now over $5 per bag and the pears were over $4 for 6 pounds.  

Be aware of the prices!

10 mg of loratadine (compare to Claritin)
The price on this allergy medicine continues to go up by several dollars each year. It comes as a year supply (365 tablets-1 per day), and with a coupon this year it cost me $9.99.  It's still a better deal than most other allergy medicines at the drug store, but it won't be for long.  I started buying it when it was only $4 per bottle...a much better deal!

4 pounds for $9.79
Around $2.45 per pound
Quinoa is a super food that our family eats as a substitute for rice.  In bulk at the grocery store I was paying around $4.50 a pound for it.  Thankfully, Costco carries it for almost half the price.  
*Not everyone loves Quinoa though.  It's best to try it before you buy it and get stuck with 4 pounds of something your family won't eat.

Baking Soda
13.5 pounds for $6.16
I know most people will tell you when they had babies, they bought diapers and wipes at Costco.
When I had babies, I bought baking soda at Costco.
I have no experience with the prices of diapers/wipes at Costco so I can't help you there, 
but as a cloth diapering mom, I used baking soda in our dirty diaper bucket to help neutralize the odor and used vinegar in the pre-wash cycle when I washed them.

**This was a purchase I only made as a cloth diapering mom. 
Think about how you use baking soda.  Usually by the teaspoon.  It would take you years to get through a bag this size and by that time, it would expire...and yes, baking soda expires!

Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
7.8 pounds for $6.86
This is one of the "extras" that I buy at Costco, that I could easily cut out of my buying if I had to.
I use a squirt of syrup in my protein shake.  The kids use it on top of bananas for a snack. 

Mocha Frappe Freeze
2.424 pounds for $8.35
I am addicted to this blended coffee.  Have been for years.
You can mix one scoop of mix with one scoop of protein powder when you make a protein shake (on days when I lift weights or am training for a race).
Or for a treat, I mix 2 scoops with 8 ounces of milk and ice and blend it together.
For me it tastes similar to a Starbucks Mocha Frappaccino but costs WAY less and has far fewer calories.

Kirkland Shredded Mozzarella
5 pounds for $9.99
Around $2 per pound
I only buy this cheese in bulk when I haven't found a sale at our local grocery store.  
Over the years it's gone up in price, but it still is a better deal than shredded cheese that isn't on sale.
I will bring this home and put it in separate smaller ziploc bags and freeze each bag.

Frozen peas/corn
5 pounds for $5.59/$5.89
I can find a better deal on frozen vegetables at our local grocery store, but the flavor of these outweighs the better price of the grocery off brand.  It's worth the extra 50 cents for our family, and each bag usually lasts several months.

Kirkland Hamburger Patties
24 count for $17.79
Around $.75 per burger 
I know I could probably make my own hamburger patties for less, but I don't buy many convenience or prepared foods, so for a quick meal that is always on hand, that my whole family will eat, it's worth it for me.

I also always buy the 10 pound bag of chicken breasts at Costco.
It ends up costing around $2 per pound.
I have tried several different brands of frozen chicken breasts and have always been less than impressed.

Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner
4 pack for $6.93-$3 off coupon=$3.93
That's less than $1 per LARGE bottle
*this was a case this month, when knowing how much you pay at other retailers comes in handy for knowing if you are getting a good deal at Costco, especially when shopping with their monthly coupons.

Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I hear this Olive Oil is the best kept secret in the store.
It's $9.99 for 1.5 liters
In recent studies at UC Davis, Kirkland Olive Oil was one of only five of the 19 brands that wasn't mixed with cheaper refined olive oil.  The other four were all high end brands that cost nearly five times what the Kirkland brand cost.  Make sure when you pick it up it's the organic brand.

So, that's what you will usually find in my cart.
I try to steer clear of the front and middle aisles for fear of getting sucked into what I think *might* be a good deal.  All of these items can be found on the far left side of my store.  

It's easy to impulse buy at Costco but when I know my numbers and know what is a better deal at Costco than at other grocery/drug stores, then I can feel confident in knowing that I am saving my family money.

Check out Rachel's blog - she also did an interesting series on what NOT to buy at the Dollar Store (here).

What do you buy at Costco/Sam's/BJ's?

1 comment:

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I always love feedback on what my readers (like you) are thinking.