Sunday, January 22, 2012

Costco Shopping

So, here is part two of my shopping strategy. Shopping at warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s club can save you money—if you are a wise shopper.
Some of the things I buy are:
Wheat bread, gourmet LeBrea bread (slice it and freeze in meal size amounts--perfect to have a couple of slices to eat with spaghetti, lasagna or to make a Pannini.
Fruit and vegetables—you must buy large amounts, split a case with a friend if you can’t use it all. Wasted produce is not a bargain. I like to challenge myself to use all six heads of romaine! Watch for out of season produce that looks yummy but costs a fortune. Last week Costco had beautiful looking cherries. They were $9.00 a pound! In January it's probably more cost efficient to stick with citrus fruit and apples. We live in an age where we can get almost anything any time of the year. Eat produce in season, it will taste better and cost less.
Paper products—toilet paper, paper towels, tissue, foil, plastic wrap, storage bags, garbage bags, feminine products etc. Just make sure the sometimes larger size boxes will fit in the space you have for them. Have you noticed that when you get things home from Costco such as mirrors, paintings, furniture etc they often seem bigger than they did at the store. It's a good idea to carry a tape measure in your purse when you shop (thanks Kaytie for this idea, I've used it several times.)
Cleaning supplies such as dish soap, laundry soap, dryer sheets, Windex,. etc I avoid liquid laundry soap. I huge bottle of Tide somehow danced its way off my dryer. It ruined the carpet, I stick to dry Tide. If I really want to save money I buy the Kirkland brand of laundry detergent. It works fine. Avoid detergents with added bleach, it tends to dull your colors and fade your jeans.
Frozen fish, I like the individual wrapped salmon portions. They are delicious, they don't have a great shelf life so use up within a month or two. Boneless skinless chicken tenders are my favorite piece of chicken. This chicken is individually flash frozen so it is easy to use. I can take out just a piece or two as needed. I also purchase boneless, skinless chicken thighs. These are great on the barbecue
Milk, butter, cream, cheese, and yogurt. I always buy bricks of cheese and shred as needed. Wrap unused portion of cheese in foil, it will keep longer.
Real vanilla, pecans, soy sauce, Worcester sauce.
Tuna, pickles, artichoke hearts, olives, canned chicken broth, some canned fruits and veggies.
 Pain relievers, over the counter medications. Shaving cream, razors, Dove soap, Soft Soap.

Things I usually avoid at Costco:
Bakery items such as cakes, pies, cheesecakes, brownies, cookies, muffins etc.
Gourmet prepared dinners, dips, fancy spreads, most frozen prepared foods such as Dino fish sticks, tacquitos, lasagna etc.
Most samples—one bite is usually tasty but a whole meal is nasty!
Big boxes of Oreos, animal crackers, jelly belly's, peanut m&m’s, snack foods. I do realize that their 4 pound bag of Peanut M&M's is a great per ounce price. But--do we really need 4 pounds of Peanut M&M's in the house? Probably not. I do buy some individually packed foods for lunches such as fruit snacks, Gogurt, granola bars but I have to keep them well hidden!
Large bags of brown and powdered sugar, large jars of peanut butter, jelly and jam. They may be a better deal, I personally don't like dealing with such large quantities. I have a huge 64 oz. jar of Mayo I bought at Costco. The price was right but with our smaller family size it is just not worth the inconvenience. It takes up so much room in my fridge.
I price compare on many items such as canned goods, Costco’s everyday prices are often as cheap as grocery stores sale prices. So I can get a good price any day at Costco.
Watch for Costco coupons, use them on items you usually purchase. Watch out for the 3 dollar off a 3 pound jar of Jelly Belly's! I shop just once a month at Costco, otherwise I spend too much—it’s not a good deal if you are out of money!
What are your Costco shopping strategy? What can't you live without and what do you avoid?
Tomorrow I will share my favorite recipe for cooking chicken tenders.


Gloria - The Ginger Snap Girl said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Costco. Seems like we end up there every in fact. I like to buy gourmet cheeses when I need them but always keep Parmigiano-Reggiano as a staple item in the frige. We also love their frozen shrimp and mahi mahi. Can't live without the bonesless skinless chicken breasts. We buy a lot of produce there even though we have 2 person household. I just washed up four of the six heads of romaine today! LOL. I avoid the pre-packaged meals that Costco puts together and most of the samples. Though it seems like Hubby and I have had an entire lunch of Costco samples as we are shopping through the store. Oh, and I love buying books at Costco. Especially cookbooks. Thanks for the fun post!

Delectably Green said...

Great post - I've had some highs and low at Costco - I can relate to the challange of 6 heads of romaine!
mary x

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...

We don't have a Costco around here, I think the nearest is over an hour away. I've thought about purchasing a membership, but we seem pretty content with just the Sam's Club. My Sam's Club shopping is pretty much the same as yours, we do go for the big peanut butter and jams though, but some stuff, like the mayo is just way too big. We also like to buy batteries and office supplies at Sam's. Their fresh produce is great sometimes I feel like I'm buying one of everything, and we love the frozen fruits, mainly mangoes and blueberries.

My favorite part about Sam's Club is the click and pull option, where you do you shopping online the day before, and then it is all ready to pick up when you get there the next day, helps a lot with the kids since they aren't too keen on long shopping trips just yet. We can do a quick run through of the store, buy whatever else we forgot or see that we need, pick up all of our basics on the click and pull, and we are out of there.

Love your shopping helpful hints, I'm trying to get into using coupons and such and it's nice to read your tips.