Saturday, September 4, 2010

Adventures at Costco

I went to bed late last night.
My husband went to bed later - actually, as I was heading to bed, he was heading BACK in to work to finish some unfinished business.
True to form (as he does seemingly every time we go to bed late) our little munchkin was up with the dawn at 6am. Crying. What does that mean? All together now: he's still tired!

You got it. And he was. but he wasn't going back to sleep, so in my half-awake state I roll over and say the four words every husband wants to hear first thing in the morning: "wanna go to costco?"

And he gave me the most loving response: "can we go to IHOP first". Of course we can! And thinking, what's better to do with a still sleepy toddler than to strap him into a restraining device and head down the highway? Absolutely nothing of course!

My plan was that he'd fall asleep in the car and snooze for 30 minutes or so, leaving me with a contented, rested, and yet not over- rested (read: still willing to take an afternoon nap) toddler. Needless to say, my plan failed - and my son wailed.

But IHOP was such fun. As a rule I generally dislike IHOP food, but I'll do practically anything for a husband whose willing to leave the house at 7:30am on a Saturday. After breakfast we were on our way to what I could only hope would be a highly successful price grabbing trip to my favorite big-box store. I AM from Seattle you know. I could practically live at Costco if such a thing were allowed.

The reason for my trip today was twofold. One: to buy the food I needed for next Thursday's church luncheon (they'll reimburse me later), and two, to check out prices on a list of items I've been making for a while now; to determine if I can get a better price here in town, or up at Costco. No, I'm not taking gas money into account. That's getting too detailed.

While I shopped and compared, my loving husband and adorable son ran up and down isles, burning up energy and giggling at one another. It was quite the sight. By the end both of them were pooped (and one of them had done so in his pants) and ready for a drink and a ride home.

The results of my comparisons, in no particular order (and this isn't all of them)

Baby wipes: cheaper in the economy Target brand pack (.018/wipe vs. .021/wipe)
Milk: cheaper at Costco (2.40/gal vs 2.99) but it goes on sale here in Lincoln all the time
Individual yogurts: Super-Saver's Best choice brand (usually around .05/oz vs. .08/oz)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Costco (6.99/liter vs. 4.99/liter)
Turkey Lunch Meat: Costco (.21/oz for Costco brand vs. 37/oz for Oscar Meyer at Super Saver
Chicken nuggets: Costco (.15/oz for white meat nuggets vs. .20/oz for tyson nuggets)
Ground turkey: Russ's Market (.99/one pound tube when on sale vs. 2.37/lb)
pasta sauce: Costco, barely (.0625/oz for best choice brand at super saver vs. .0620/oz for Prego)
Cheerios: Super Saver (.13/oz when on sale at Super Saver vs. .15/oz)
Rice milk: Costco (1.30/qt vs. 1.39/qt at Hy-Vee

My take home message(s):
  • ALWAYS price compare before you buy at Costco. Just because it's in bulk doesn't mean it's necessarily cheaper.
  • When you price compare, ALWAYS break things down by unit.
  • REMEMBER that Costco doesn't have "sales". Your local grocer does. It is HIGHLY possible that your local grocer will have a sale that will blow Costco's price out of the water, and WHEN that happens, buy IN BULK like you would at costco. Buy a whole case, or flat, or pallet if you'll use it before it goes bad.
  • Bring a list! Costco is a dangerous place to be without a list. Before you know it you will have tasty things in your cart like basil pesto, sun dried tomato bruschetta, pre-portioned salmon fillets, and apple sauce squeeze pouches. (Me? did I purchase these things? no, not me. I always stick to my list!)
I'll have more to add to this post after I visit Target, Super saver, and Hyvee over the next week. I wrote down more of Costco's prices (trash bags, for example, which are .06 each, and dish tabs which run .15 each) but I haven't had the time to match them yet.

I'll be heading back up to Costco in October, so if you want me to pick something up for you (and you don't mind throwing a couple dollars into the pot for gas) let me know*. And man, if you use disposable diapers, I've been told THIS is the place to go (200 size 4's for $40)

*no, smart-alec friends in Seattle, the offer doesn't extend to you, or anyone outside a 15 mile radius of my Nebraska home. I'm talking mostly to you, Dave.


Chelsie Hardy said...

Ah, yes, a list. Tasty little things like potstickers and cougar gold cheese and cute baby clothes do end up in my cart which were not on my list. *sigh* I try to plan for them, though. They're my guilty pleasure. I don't go to the mall....ever. That's my excuse. :)

Heather Christianson said...

I love that you are such a good price shopper! I too try to get the best deals and love Costco(like any good woman from the NW:) But you are correct to price everything- and remember that Costco does have coupons every month and if you use those you can make some even better deals:)

Anonymous said...

MK- that monthly mailer of Costco coupons is sent to the account owner. I doubt the sub-accounts get one. It does allow for some great savings but I wonder how many of the items are anything you would normally want.

Anonymous said...

Super Saver brand disposable diapers are *cheaper than the deal you found at Costco - by almost four cents per diaper!

*when they're on sale

-The B's