Costco shopping! It’s a love/hate relationship. You love the store, but can’t seem to walk out of there under at least $100-200! And you keep going back.
I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but I always love seeing what people get at grocery stores, especially Costco. I want to know what people choose to get there vs. at a grocery store (is it a savings or do they just need bulk).
Last Sunday we went to Costco (we often do this on Sundays after church…along with the rest of mankind). Goodness gracious, that place is so busy. Our last visit was the most expensive bill we’ve had there, so I thought I’d do a haul and show you what we buy, as well as just a brief overview of “how we do Costco.” By the looks of other people’s carts, we definitely are low spenders there, so I’m baffled how people can afford to shop there even just once a month.
Here is an overview of what we bought (ignore the missing hardware…we’re replacing). Our total bill was $164.70!
All of the things above, with exception to a couple of things, we buy often at Costco. We have a very simple method of buying at Costco, which applies to much of how we buy things…we buy mostly what is in the monthly coupon book that is mailed to your house. About 85% of our trip is items that are on sale that month. Costco discounts items regularly, so we wait to buy them when on sale. I’m not sure what the rotation of items is, but we seem to be able to buy them every other month (or 2 months in between at the most).
The coupon book looks like this…
And when you open it up, it has several different items with the discounted amount for each one. I really wish they would tell you the price of the item regularly because we have to wait to get there to see the price and then evaluate if it’s a good deal with the sale price (which is good marketing…get customer in store).
There are some things we get at Costco, whether on sale or not, because they are cheaper. We like to get vanilla extract, toilet paper, tortilla chips, dryer sheets, and dish sponges to name a few. Here is the breakdown of some of the items.
–Muscle Milk Whey Protein (6 lbs) – $39.99 – 8.00 = $31.99
*My husband uses this and it lasts us forever (about half a year, depending on how often he works out)
–Fiber One Bars – 13.99-4.00 = $9.99
*These are great for Ryan at school when he’s on the go or after school when he rushes out to ref a game. The boys love them too.
–Applesauce – 10.99-2.50 = $8.49
*For the boys lunches. The Costco brand is a great deal too, but these had a variety of flavors so we did this. At Walmart, they are .50/each, so this is a great deal on sale.
–Baby wipes (no sale) – $19.99
*We actually bought these out of emergency. M had a dirty diaper and I had zero wipes, so we bought these (we were running low at home anyway). We buy wipes here usually, but it’s usually Huggies brand when on sale. I like how they are in packs too (easy to throw in diaper bag).
–Bisquick – 5.39-1.50 = $3.89
*I can’t remember the amount on the box (we threw away), but it’s about twice the size of the grocery store size. This is a great deal. I use this a lot for pancakes, waffles, and biscuits sometimes.
–Chicken Nuggets – 12.49-3.50 = $8.99
*This is such a killer deal. This bag is about 4 times the size at Walmart where they’re sold for close to $6.00, so we only get them here.
–Capri Sun Juice – 9.99-2.50 = $7.49
*This is also a better deal when on sale. I’m kind of picky about juice and usually get the Honest brand because it’s a lot of water, but went ahead and got this for the boys’ lunches. They only get juice at lunch sometimes.
–Tortilla Chips (no sale) – $3.99
*These are also a better deal than in store and Ryan loves chips with salsa and eats them often. These are great for when we host people for dinner.
–Clorox Wipes – 13.49-2.80 = $10.69
*I love wipes, especially for the toilets. In the past year I’ve scaled down on using them and use the Method cleaners instead, but these are great for wiping down bathroom toilets, doors, light switches, door frames, and even counters when in a hurry. These come out to $2.13 a container which is great because they’re usually almost $4.00 at Walmart.
–Fruit Snacks (no sale) – $10.99
*We actually wanted the ones they had on sale (I think Welch’s brand), but they were out (we got a raincheck), so we got these as they were the best deal there. My boys like them, but I don’t think they are near as good as the other fruit snacks. Again, I used to be picky about fruit snacks and only buy those leather strips (real fruit, organic), but they’re just too expensive. Maybe I’ll just only allow fruit snacks for school lunch and continue to buy the expensive ones, but we’ll see.
–Danimals Smoothie yogurts – 9.99-3.00 = $6.99
*This is a great deal for 36 yogurts, but I was worried about using them in time. If the kids eat one a day, that’s 18 days from when we bought them and they wouldn’t expire. The boys LOVE these things. They’ll also be a staple in their lunches. I’m curious if I can freeze these and use them as the ice pack in their lunches, but have them thaw by lunch time.
–Ziploc baggies – 13.59-2.70 = $10.89
*Great deal for all of these baggies when on sale. I prefer the Ziploc brand to Great Value, but I usually only buy them at Costco.
–Jet Dry – BOGO (buy one get one free) $9.99
*These basically came out to $5 each which is an awesome deal. I won’t have to buy Jet Dry for probably a year.
–Multi-vitamins for kids – 9.99-2.50 = $7.49
*For 2 large bottles, this is a good deal. Beckham has 2 daily vitamins and Maddox has 1.
–Chocolate Chips (no sale) – $8.99
*These are just a plain good deal. A small bag at Walmart is around $2.50+ and these are about 5 times the amount, if not more. These have gone on sale, but I can only remember once.
How we buy at Costco:
-Buy primarily on sale items from the monthly coupon book. If you’re not familiar with the coupon book, it’s simply a monthly ad. All of the sales are in store (you don’t have to cut coupons or anything).
-Do your research – If there are things you eat often or need in bulk, just check the grocery store you shop at (we compare Walmart since it’s primarily the cheapest in comparison) and compare per unit. I still need to do this on more items to see what is cheapest, but that would require me going without my kids. Ryan and I go together and it’s still difficult.
-Have a budget – It’s easy to spend tons of money there, but sometimes we just can’t afford to buy all the items we want to buy. If there are items that are similar in price at other stores, sometimes we buy them at the store more often so our monthly budget isn’t blown all in one trip. We try to stick to $100 at Costco, but this month had a lot of great deals that we buy often. We go to Costco almost every month, but only really buy big like this every other month (maybe it’s the cycle of items, but that’s just how it works out).
*These are not mind blowing tips, but I feel like they keep us in check with our monthly grocery budget. I want to be the receipt checker so I can see people’s bills. Is that bad? I can only imagine some of those carts tally up to $500+!!!!!
Do you have any tips for Costco or know what is a good deal there? I’d love to hear.