Making the Most of Your Costco Membership!
May 10, 2013 § Leave a comment
I am a Costco addict. There. I admitted it. I rarely shop at a regular grocery store anymore, and when I can’t find the time or energy to make it to Costco, I go a little bit nuts. Since our family lost a third of our income over a year ago, I had to really maximize our income in a lot of ways. One of the ways I’ve managed to save our family approximately $300/month is by shopping carefully at Costco. Here’s how.
Avoid the frozen, pre-made food aisles. This is how people walk out of Costco, having spent $300 and their cart is 1/3 of the way full. They purchase the pre-made foods. I admit, sometimes my husband and I splurge and buy ourselves a treat from those aisles – but only if there is an in-store special, and there is money left in the budget after picking up the necessities.
Know your prices. I can tell you, off the top of my head, how much nearly everything I buy costs at Costco. My family members will regularly come to me and ask me how much I spend on a certain item that they need, and had seen it at the regular grocery store, and they want to know if they can get it cheaper at Costco. Usually I can tell them. I know what’s a good deal, and what is not, just from experience. If you don’t have the experience yet, make a list!
Cook from scratch. This one will bug a lot of you, I know. And I understand that some of you work more than full time jobs in addition to coming home and taking care of a home and family. So I understand that all the things I do from scratch may not be possible for those of you who are not stay at home moms. But if you ARE a stay at home mom, and you and your husband have been trying to figure out how to save some money, this is a big one. Bread, at Costco, costs about $5/2 loaves for the cheapest bread. If you’ve got a couple of kids and a husband who take sandwhiches in their lunch and make toast for breakfast, you’re probably going through 4-5 loaves in a week. That’s $12.50/week just in bread. That’s approximately $55/month just on bread. I invested in a bread machine at first, and used that every day, and eventually moved towards making my bread in my KitchenAid mixer from scratch, making three loaves at a time. Each loaf costs me about $.30, buying my ingredients at Costco. So it costs me $6.50/month to bake my bread, and I save $48.50/month. And that’s just by baking bread, let alone the hundred other things I make instead of buying.
Take the time to split up your purchases. I buy ground beef and ground pork at Costco, the beef costing me about $3/lb, which here in Canada, is a pretty smoking deal. The pork is a bit less. And when I get home, I actually mix them together. Out of a package of beef and a package of pork, I get 12 meals, and it costs about $30. That’s $2.50/meal for a family of four.
Take advantage of deals and coupons. I’ve been on the lookout for a spring/fall coat for about 2 years. I didn’t want to pay $150, but I was willing to pay quite a bit for a coat I loved. We live in a very rainy climate, so something moderately water resistant was preferable. A few weeks ago, my husband and I were walking through Costco, and lo and behold, they had their spring coats on sale. A Calvin Klein, hip length, GORGEOUS red water resistant spring coat was regular priced at $50, which is a pretty good deal by itself. But it was on sale beyond that! I only paid $28 for that beautiful coat. Don’t let the deals pass you by, either. They won’t be there the next time you go. Even beware of some of the regular priced “deals”. Some of them won’t be there next time you go, either! I’m currently waiting patiently on a pasta attachment set for my KitchenAid mixer. It’s about a $300 value for everything included, and it’s at Costco for $100.
My husband and I also purchased our latest cell phones from Costco. When we got them, each phone had a promotion where you got a $100 gift card with the purchase of the phone. On a contract, the phones were only $50, so the store basically paid us to buy our phones. We used the extra $50 to buy the warranties on the phones.
There are my tips of the day. Obviously there are a lot of other guidelines I use at Costco, but those are my basics! My kids love going there for the hot dogs and free samples, and my husband even enjoys coming if I bribe him with a hot dog! The membership cost ($55) is saved by my family in one month. So it’s certainly worth it for us!