My Food Storage Deals: Ways to save $$ at Costco

Ways to save $$ at Costco

>> Monday, October 27, 2008

If you are a 'warehouse' store shopper, you know like many of us do, that it is hard to leave those stores without spending your MONTHS grocery budget. Yes, bulk can save you money on certain items, but you have to be careful when shopping at this type of a store! These stores do so well because people assume that because it is a warehouse store and they sell items in bulk, they are ALWAYS good prices. This is FAR from the truth!

Many people ask me if I have certain items I buy at Costco. Yes, I do! MOST items will go on sale for 'red' prices that will be LESS than Costco, and when that happens, I stock up. However, there are a few staple pantry/food storage items that I try to always have on hand and that if I am out of, I buy ONCE a month at Costco. I have noticed the months I go to Costco more than once (or less) a month, I spend MUCH less than other months. The reason...there are SO many fun things to buy at Costco, whether it is clothes, decorations, nonfood items, premade/quick & easy meals (that are MUCH less to make myself), etc. is better and will save you money if you only go to 'warehouse' stores ONLY when necessary.

Here is a quick list however, to help you know which items are 'generally' LESS at Costco and that are great to stock up on, add to your food storage and keep in your freezer:

cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, feta, blue cheese)
string cheese
lunch meat
baking soda, powder, yeast
SOME spices
(ANY spices you can buy at Walmart for .50 is BETTER than Costco's prices. The name brand spices however are MUCH less at Costco--McCormick Lemon Pepper, Montreal Steak Seasoning, etc.)
McCormick Chicken & Beef Base (One of my favorite ingredients, found by the spices! It's just like bouillon cubes but MUCH more convenient.)
soy sauce
white vinegar
olive oil & balsamic vinegar
nuts--pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.
Keep in your freezer and they will last MUCH longer.
lemon juice
garbage bags/kitchen liners
Ziploc bags
laundry detergent/softener
dishwasher detergent

Something also to consider: Some items at Costco are better quality than items you can find at Walmart or other grocery stores. Once you find those items that meet your quality and price expectations, then sometimes it is worth spending the extra money. However, if you watch the sales, you can many times find the EXACT items for LESS at other stores. Whether you buy food at Costco or somewhere else, the important things is that you are stocking up and becoming prepared ;)


Pam October 28, 2008 at 7:44 AM  

I would also like to add, and correct me if wrong..bathroom, etc. cleaners, especially when coupons are out and dishwasher soap which according to Consumer's Report the Kirkland brand is rated #1 or #2 for efficiency and price next to Cascade.

Sara R October 28, 2008 at 8:34 AM  

That's really similar to my Costco list! Vitamins are also usually a good deal there (like you just said in your earlier post!). There are also some fresh items I like to get there, like carrots, frozen strawberries, spinach, and sometimes milk. Eggs used to be a good deal there, but now I usually find them cheaper at the grocery store if I wait for a sale.

I used to buy brown rice at Costco, but it wasn't there last time I went. I bought it at Honeyville instead.

I also buy the big tub of chopped garlic there. It's so convenient to use when cooking.

ronda October 28, 2008 at 8:52 AM  

Is your program only designed for people living in utah(stores in utah) or can it be adapted to anywhere?

Rachel October 28, 2008 at 12:58 PM  

I LOVE your site! However, I notice one main feature that you lack to ever mention when talking about COSTCO. It's that the QUALITY usually is MUCH better than grocery stores sale items. Such as you will compare fruit from costco to fruit at the case lot sales. That is like comparing apples to oranges. The fruit at Costco is packed in lite syrup, compared to others "heavy". A HUGE health benefit for your family. Not to mention Costco's other products usually have less fat, better cuts, etc. That is a big benefit to our family's diets. Costco also carries MANY organic products at a price that is still witin being competetive. Personally, i believe being thrifty does not always mean you chose the cheapest products for your family. Only a couple more cents here and there, you are paying for a much higher quality standard than that found at Wal-Mart. Thrift means finding the best quality products at the lowest prices. You have to include the "real" label factors when comparing. In a sence many times it is as if you are comparing apples to oranges.

As far as spending more at costco, we could all easily do the same thing at Wal-Mart. It's all about knowing what you are there for & getting out.

I have shared your lovely site with MANY people, who love it. A few of my neighbors had mentioned that they would RATHER pay 10 cents more per can for something at Costco, to get organic, lite, or low-fat (not to mention top-of-the-line quality)


Thank You,
Rachel Maser

Cathy October 28, 2008 at 4:07 PM  

Excellent Post! Thank you! I'm linking to you!

cee1431 October 28, 2008 at 8:31 PM  

The warehouse stores are great, I am a member of a Costco competiter. The only problem I have is that the closest location is more of an inconveinence so I am going to try to go once a month and see how that works.

Heidi October 29, 2008 at 9:51 PM  

I can only find organic raisins at Costco which I always assume are MORE expensive. Is that not the case? or are they hiding the normal red bag of raisins somewhere?

Holman Family October 29, 2008 at 9:53 PM  

Thanks for all your work and information. I've gotten some great ideas from your blog on how to make food storage collection so much more manageable. Thanks for sharing!

desertdiva October 30, 2008 at 10:08 AM  

Love your blog! Check out mine at

Sheryl and Dave October 30, 2008 at 10:15 PM  

Thank you for all your hard work and commentary. Im a member of my food storage deals and I've really appreciated the resourse you've provided for people like me. I had been living out of the country and upon moving back had to restart my food storage from scratch. Thanks to you, I've been able to get a 6month+ supply together rather quickly and AFFORDABLY! Thank you! Thank yoU!

fall-girl November 3, 2008 at 1:53 PM  

Thank you SO much for this post. I recently subscribed and I've had a hard time getting out of my Costco groove and into other grocery stores for good deals. This will be extremely helpful!

Hernandez November 9, 2008 at 5:46 PM  

White vinegar is cheaper
at Sam's Club than at Costco.
I have membership in both.
I use a price book and always
comparison shop. Like you say
everything is not cheaper there. Compare
prices by ounces/lbs.
Thanks for your great blog.
I stock up at any grocery store
when the price is right.

Anonymous September 25, 2009 at 6:51 PM  

About fruit at costco. It is much cheaper to buy it at an orchard, if you have access to one. At orchards in our area I can get peaches for $8 for a 22lb. box. Also, apples range from $8-14 a box. So while they are in season the orchard is the way to go. Also, I saw someone mention brown rice. I've generally gotten it at Winco for cheaper and then put it in my freezer so it will last longer.

Anonymous February 15, 2010 at 2:46 PM  

Some electronics are a better deal at Costco, not because of price but because of the waranty. I think Sam's Club has a similar waranty. Computers, TV, and a few other items are not included.

Our computer monitor broke after about a year, we brought it back with the receipt. Costco refunded our money and we were able to buy a better monitor for less than we paid for the first one.

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