Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

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AgentOrange
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by AgentOrange »

Standard markup at Costco is 14%, except for Kirkland products, which are 15%.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by RickBoglehead »

bendix wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 8:36 pm
RickBoglehead wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 6:40 am
rob wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 10:50 pm I don't think Costco will save money on a pure numeric value. You get better value, quality and certainly quantity for a lot of stuff but it's not cheaper in most cases.

If you have a Costco fuel stop that would help but on the general warehouse I doubt it.
Costco in fact does save money on many of the items they sell as compared to regular grocery prices. But yes, the quality of many items is also better.

Much of the savings is because of package size and is on branded items. As long as you can use the item before it goes stale or spoils, then you are saving money. On some items, even if you throw some away you still save money.

If you shop grocery store sales, and places like Aldi, many things are not cheaper. Strawberries for $1.50 at Aldi aren't close to that at Costco.

But I can buy a box of Honey Maid Graham Crackers which has 4 boxes inside, and when it is on sale at Costco it is like 1/2 the cost of the grocery store.
Aldi´s produce are awful. But on the rest I find they arent any better or worse than Costco.
Aldi is our primary produce source, so unsure why yours is not good.
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rob
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by rob »

02nz wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:09 pm
rob wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 10:50 pm I don't think Costco will save money on a pure numeric value. You get better value, quality and certainly quantity for a lot of stuff but it's not cheaper in most cases.
Isn't the quantity relevant to what something actually costs? If Costco sells 2x the detergent as a regular store for the same cost, you're actually saving 50%.
I'm obviously talking to the unit cost... I'm fairly aware that 2x quantity will not be the same price as 1x :D Costco tends to have the higher priced brands and their home-brand. Depends on your preferences as to what you can save. The quantity can also include false value due to spoilage of larger quantities. A lot of the electronics are not that special whereas jewelry is pretty good but again, not the budget saving items.
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HIinvestor
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by HIinvestor »

Costco has some great deals on luggage. One thing we really like is no hassle returns (as long as you don’t abuse it). It’s a great way to try things you THINK you may want but aren’t quite sure about. I bought my kids 4 suitcases from Costco and select the one she wanted to keep and then I returned the rest. Also bought her sports shoes and returned the size and color that she didn’t like. Makes shopping for loved ones just a bit easier.
DukeLecker
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by DukeLecker »

Large bags of flour, sugar, and yeast are better deals at Costco and Sam than at traditional supermarkets.
SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by SlowMovingInvestor »

tibbitts wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:40 pm
02nz wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 9:09 pm
rob wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 10:50 pm I don't think Costco will save money on a pure numeric value. You get better value, quality and certainly quantity for a lot of stuff but it's not cheaper in most cases.
Isn't the quantity relevant to what something actually costs? If Costco sells 2x the detergent as a regular store for the same cost, you're actually saving 50%.
Yes, but with regard to the OP's grocery question, you have to account for potentially throwing away a higher percentage of a larger quantity. Besides the price-per-unit actually often isn't that different; it just depends on the product and how much effort you put into shopping for the same item elsewhere.
Supermarket chains in our area (probably in many areas) have sale items every week, often of items such as detergent, TP, Tide etc. at prices that are below Costco. And even when one has to buy multiple items to get a discount, it's still less than Costco's bulk.

I personally dislike Costco's hugely crowded lots and check out aisles enough that I rarely went there even when I had a membership. I used to love their samples, but wasn't willing to brave the lots! And in my area gas prices weren't cheap enough to justify the drive there.

I much prefer Aldi-- smaller stores, much faster check out, smaller unit sizes. Also use Walmart grocery and supermarket specials. Very occasional visits to Trader Joes or ethnic stores (which are typically cheaper than Costco for spices).
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

I’ve found savings on:

Electronics
Garden tools
Nuts
Salad - when it’s fresh, it’s really fresh and cheaper than my local supermarket sales prices
Berries are generally high quality
Lawn fertilizer
Tires
Car batteries - if you have a problem with it within 3 year window they rebate you most of cost of battery back
Toiletries when on sale
Same for cleaning products

Their return policy is a no-hassle pleasure within the window compared to other stores.

Key is to go in with a list and stick too it unless you really know outside product costs to comparison shop.
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bad1bill
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by bad1bill »

THis is a good exercise because I just "comparisoned" my recent Costco run (every 2 weeks) to our local Safeway.

Safeway had cheaper organic whole milk!

Having a freezer is essential (for us) to taking advantage of Costco.

Also, Costco's selection of organic frozen items is noticeably cheaper than our local groceries (and many times unavailable at the locals)..

So we buy:

Fresh organic berries and other fruit in season

Organic frozen ->berry mix, cherries, blueberries and mangos (for smoothies and yoghurt granola breakfast)
Organic almonds and walnuts (keep in freezer and use as needed)
Organic ground turkey (freeze and use as needed)
Organic chicken breasts (freeze and use as needed)
Organic 2.5 bag coffee (I know you coffee snobs are turning up your noses to this one...)
Olives for martinis
Dishwasher pods (once a year-hah)
Quality European cheeses (Manchego, Dubliner, Jarlsberg, etc.)

Great deals on KIrkland Irish whiskey, Canadian whiskey and French vodka (1/3 the cost of Grey Goose)
Wines if shopped accordingly (I like European wines like Barolo and CHianti and Rioja and especially older vintages...stock up though because they go and are gone). I like SOME but not all Kirkland selection of these wines (recent 2019 Rioja was good)

KIrkland water (sparkling and still)...

got the Costco card for (only) Costco purchases and gas (never get gas there because the lines are huge) so it pays for membership

WE have big lines at our Costco checkout but I'm constantly amazed how quickly they move
carolinaman
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by carolinaman »

Longtime Costco customer. I buy lots of OTC drugs and health related items: mouthwash, toothpaste, etc. Great prices and savings. Occasional purchase of electronics: TVs, PCs, etc. Hearing aids are fantastic savings. Gas prices are lower and using Costco CC saves 4% more.

We donot buy many food items because it is just me and wife. Rotisserie chickens are great, some bakery items like muffins and croissants, mac and cheese, and a few others.

We do most of our grocery shopping at Publix and Harris Teeter on senior day, with 5% discount and added 6% for using Amex CC. That plus weekly specials makes it hard for even Costco to compete with prices (and smaller quantities).
AlwaysLearningMore
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by AlwaysLearningMore »

Laundry soap
Dishwashing pods
Paper towels
Paper napkins
Flour
Eggs
Frozen vegetables (e.g., broccoli) (we use in homemade dog food)
Baking chocolate chips
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CloseEnough
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by CloseEnough »

HIinvestor wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 12:21 am Costco has some great deals on luggage.
Luggage is tough to eat unless you grill it, or dice it into very small bites.

My Costco grocery list:

Kirkland Greek Yogurt
Berries - raspberry, strawberry, blueberry
Coffee - it is a main reason for Costco membership
Cereal - Red berry
Nuts - pistachios, cashews, mixed
Milk - whole milk in three half gallon is much less expensive than at grocery
Rao's sauce - but container is too big
Tequila (Kirkland)

Just bought an outdoor leisure line rocking chair discounted $40 - oops, it is tough to eat too :happy
Chardo
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by Chardo »

Everything in the bakery section is excellent and well priced. If you happen to want 20 croissants or a dozen softball size muffins, look no further. Chocolate chip cookies are great, and the package isn't too big. Birthday cakes are a bargain, even if bigger than you need.
Lalamimi
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by Lalamimi »

We're retired, but we like their prices on avocadoes, butter, cream cheese, used to get the 3 pack of peperoni pizzas. OJ, bread (2 loaves), the fresh chicken breasts in the red crylopack is usually $2.99 lb and always good. TP and paper towels, not cheaper I guess, but easier to buy. Cases of water. NY strip steaks. We have never just shopped Costco for all foods. My daughter get lots of snacks there, like the veggie straws chips, nuts, cheeses.
PersonalFinanceJam
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by PersonalFinanceJam »

We used to be Costco members but switched to Sam's just because it was easier to get to and overall for the things we buy was similar enough. I'd agree with other posters if you have a discount grocer like Aldi in your area or another suitably good grocery you can probably due better there on an absolute scale. You can't just go into it thinking you will save money on everything. We buy a lot of organic whole milk for our baby. Aldi is by far the cheapest, followed by a local grocery chain and then Sam's/Costco, then everyone else. Same thing for Rao's marinara sauce.

Other things may be better when given the quality/quantity. Aldi blueberries are cheaper, but Sam's/Costco blueberries are way better.

I'd also agree with others, like any other shopping trip you should go in getting the things you need/know are a good value and get out. They are banking on you getting a bunch of stuff you don't need/won't use all of.

I saw a funny meme on social media the other day. It went something like "I saved 400 dollars by not going to Costco to buy blueberries".
Last edited by PersonalFinanceJam on Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nicolas
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by Nicolas »

Their pure maple syrup jugs are a great value
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JPM
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by JPM »

Costco in walking distance of our home, so it's convenient.

What do I get there?
Eggs-good price et quality
Thick-sliced Kirkland bacon-good price et quality
Sliced Ham and cheese for sandwiches price and quality comparable to other grocers
Ice cream- high butterfat content so it tastes good, and good for the young grandkids but...
Rotisserie chicken and tub of prepared mashed potatoes when we don't feel like cooking. Much cheaper than fast food takeout
Ten dollar pizzas if we don't feel like cooking
Hot dog et a soda for $1.50 each after an event if we don't feel like cooking
Bakery goods fresh and good quality and I can walk over to get them.
Tomatoes, seldom get other produce there
Olives- big jars of Spanish Queens
Cookies
Lox-good quantity and quality, avg price. Bagels are always fresh too.
Oats
Heat-and-eat foods, Indian or Italian for convenience
Gasoline-Costco price keeps a lid on prices at local competitors. Lines move fast here and most people are courteous.

We don't travel much anymore. We don't buy alcohol-we need all the brain cells we have left.
tibbitts
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by tibbitts »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 8:07 am Car batteries - if you have a problem with it within 3 year window they rebate you most of cost of battery back
Didn't this change in the last year or so?
Freefun
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by Freefun »

I think I save money on a bunch of things. Besides saving money, I like shopping at Costco because of their extremely liberal return policy.

Avocados
Organic nuts
Olive oil
Salmon
Sauerkraut (I love it, and Costco has the largest jars)
Bottled water
Hummus
Organic broccoli
Spices
Fruit
Appliances when they’re on sale
Paper products
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?
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Jazztonight
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by Jazztonight »

I do most of my grocery shopping at Costco. We have a Costco CC, and are Executive members, so there is some money coming back each year. Also I buy gas there 90% of the time, and that's a big savings AND a 4% rebate.

DW insists on organic produce, and more and more items at Costco are organic. Certainly items like paper towels, cleaning supplies, Tp, Kleenex, etc. are cheaper when purchased in bulk, and we do.

DELIVERY-- Even before the pandemic, I was beginning to have Costco deliver, and now I pretty much have them deliver (through Instacart) all the time, although I dropped my Instacart membership.

Things that I can't get at Costco I'll order from Amazon Fresh.
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boomergeneration
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by boomergeneration »

I have used instacart several times and if you put in your Costco membership number, they do not mark up the prices. Also, Costco has been offering 100 dollar instacart gift cards for 79.95 lately, so even with delivery and tip, it comes out about the same as if I went in person. Oh, and if you order in the morning but pick a late afternoon delivery time, they take off $2.00.

My favorite things to buy at Costco are the organic, frozen broccoli, and the frozen organic blueberries. The blueberries are a great deal, less than $9.00 for 3 pounds and I find that most times of the year they are better than fresh. Also the organic quinoa is a good deal.
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Lynn2024
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by Lynn2024 »

Thank you for all the great tips!! My favorite was the olives for the martinis. That’s a lot of martini’s 😂.
MDfan
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by MDfan »

Not sure that Costco itself is such a great deal, but we use the Costco credit card for all gas, restaurant and travel purchases. Got a rebate check for almost $1700 this year.
gerntz
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by gerntz »

personal care like shaving & toothpaste & over the counter medicines, vitamins
wine/booze (also personal care)
buy my prescription lenses there, DW got her hearing aid there.
Got a discount on a new phone at the T Mobile kiosk
Lots of appliances
rogue_economist
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by rogue_economist »

Not Costco but Sam's Club. I calculated that just buying ground beef would pay for the membership if I bought 1 lb every 3 weeks or so, which even a single person can reasonably do.

Trash bags were another. The cheapest at sams were less than the knock off brand at Walmart and significantly better quality as well.

Toilet Paper is also a buy.

Main thing is to price check on your phone as you go, make sure its a deal, and be very careful with anything perishable in bulk.
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mrmass
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Re: Costco - best items to buy to reduce grocery bill

Post by mrmass »

rogue_economist wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 1:08 pm Not Costco but Sam's Club. I calculated that just buying ground beef would pay for the membership if I bought 1 lb every 3 weeks or so, which even a single person can reasonably do.

Trash bags were another. The cheapest at sams were less than the knock off brand at Walmart and significantly better quality as well.

Toilet Paper is also a buy.

Main thing is to price check on your phone as you go, make sure its a deal, and be very careful with anything perishable in bulk.
Just buying the "Bachelors Handbag" weekly at Costco will save you the membership cost.

https://slang.net/meaning/bachelor%27s_handbag
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