Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tools for Saving EVEN MORE at Costco

Recently I watch a show about Costco. One of the big questions that was asked was,"Do you really save money shopping at Costco over a regular grocery store?" Some independent consumers researched this and found that the mark-up at Costco was 15% and the mark-up at the grocery store is 30%.

Because Costco limits it's variety of each product and is selling in bulk, it is really able to offer lower prices. So, establishing that Costco is cheaper, there are still other things that you can do to save even more money while shopping there.

My frugal friend over at "Fun, Cheap or Free," offered additional advise about saving money at Costco. She suggested to get familiar with the coupon cycles. She said, "If Tide detergent has a coupon one month, it will most likely come up again in the coupons after next (every other time, or every 3 times). So if a coupon comes up but you still have a little left, buy it anyway! You will most likely run out before the next coupon comes, so better to buy it while on sale."

The "Fun, Cheap, or Free Queen" made a list of things that are significantly less to buy at Costco (especially with the coupons!)
Here are some of the items she included in her list:

  • Toilet paper and paper towels (the Kirkland brand...tends to be cheaper even if a different brand has a coupon)

  • Dog food (soooo much cheaper there!)

  • Bananas

  • Potatoes

  • Milk

  • Strawberries (...when in season. They are the biggest and best strawberries EVER.)

  • Diapers & wipes (whichever brand has the coupon for that month)

  • Formula (Kirkland formula is just as quality as the expensive stuff, but a fraction of the price!)

  • Laundry detergent / fabric softener/ dryer sheets

  • Bread/rolls/buns

  • Bagels

  • Frozen chicken (*update: I used to buy bags of frozen chicken from Costco. Now I price-match chicken when it's on sale for $1.70/lb or so. Then I put each fresh chicken breast in it's own zip lock sandwich bag and freeze it. Cheaper than Costco!)

  • Cheese & string cheese 

  • Romaine lettuce and bagged spinach (sometimes I can price-match the lettuce for cheaper, but the huge bags of spinach are nearly always cheapest at Costco!)

  • Chips - potato and tortilla (their 3lb bags of tortilla chips are super cheap and super amazing)

  • Fruit snacks / granola bars / some crackers / "snack items" (with coupon)

  • Tortillas

  • Frozen bags of fruit and veggies

  • Seasonings (HUGE containers, and way cheaper than in the stores!)

  • Eggs

  • Juice (with coupon)

  • Rice/quinoa

  • Baking items (flour, sugar, sometimes butter and margarine...)

  • Cleaning supplies (with coupons)

  • Prescriptions & vitamins (cheaper at Costco!! And you don't need a membership to buy them.

  •   Plants and outdoor equipment (when in season)

  • Socks

  • Garbage bags (with coupon)

  • Paper plates, utensils, cups (with coupon)

  • Vitamins (with coupon)

  • Hand soap, body soap (with coupon)

  • Rotisserie chicken

  • Frozen salmon

  • Hamburgers, hot dogs

  • Lunch meat

  • Olive oil/vegetable oil

  • Chocolate chips (with coupon)

  • Many of the bulk food items can be frozen to extend the shelf life. Costco can really make a dent in your food and household budget {this is not a paid advertisement :), I just really like Costco}. With a little bit of planning and preparation, a little bit of savings can turn into a lot of savings! A penny saved is truly a penny earned!


    marian bonney said...


    Can you use coupons at Sams Club also? I don't have a Costco membership.

    Linda said...

    The coupons I get for Costco are sent in the mail from Costco. I don't think they take regular coupons at Sam's Club or Costco.