A Costco recently opened up near our house (after much anticipation in the staff rooms, teachers really love the place). We were given a membership for an early Christmas gift. On our first visit (and so far only) the main objective, besides eat free samples, was to research prices. We checked our staples and made a list of what was a good deal, what was an okay deal, and what was to be avoided. I actually wish we had written down the price of each item. Because we shop almost solely sale items at the grocery store, it’s hard to keep track of what is a good buy. Regardless, it seems to break down pretty simply. Whole foods were a better price. This includes milk, eggs, cream, butter, milk, nuts, quinoa, hemp seeds, maple syrup and broth (which I guess isn’t really a whole food). The big exception to this is produce. This seemed expensive to me. Anything processed is to be avoided like the plague. I think this is where they get people. They have a very tempting baking and frozen foods section. I noticed a lot of cheese cake. These things were all very expensive.
It takes a transition to start shopping at a wholesale type store. You definitely need a list. It also helps to be familiar with what you normally pay for an item per unit (ie. grams or ounces) because the chances of seeing it in the same size as normally are slim. Impulse buys at stores like these can easily end up costing you hundreds, since the items are huge. I also think it’s key to avoid the middle section where the ‘stuff’ is. If you didn’t come to the grocery store to buy an office chair, you probably shouldn’t be leaving with one.
I think the ideal situation would be sharing a membership amongst 2 families. That way you don’t have to store preposterously large things in the kitchen (our box of 68 nature valley bars barely fit, but at 17 cents a bar we couldn’t resist). You also don’t run the risk of things spoiling or expiring before you get through them. I’m sure Costco has ways to prevent you from doing this, but finding a way would be worth it.