Happy April friends!
Over the holidays I received a Costco membership as a gift and I seriously could not have nerded out more! I mean #adultinggoals am I right? And while I grew up going to warehouse clubs with my family, I've never attempted grocery shopping there for myself and my meal plans. So, I thought I'd share just a few DOs and DON'Ts I've learned over the last couple of months in hopes of saving you time, money, and hassle when shopping at Costco for food.
(1) DO BE PREPARED FOR HIGHER PRICE TAGS
I'm still getting used to this one too, but what we have to remember is that while we're paying more upfront, we're often saving per unit. Here's an example... at Costco, I found a 2 lb. bag of seasoned organic croutons for $6.99 (~$0.22/oz), vs. at my local grocer, a 4.5 oz bag for a similar product is $1.99 (~$0.44/oz). More up front, but more savings in the long run!
(2) DON'T BUY ITEMS YOU DON'T NEED.
OK it sounds silly that I'm even saying this, but let's be honest... going to Costco is an experience. There are samples, great deals, exclusive Costco-only items, friendly associates, and even a food court to refuel you if you get the hangries. All of this is the perfect storm to act on your impulses to "Buy! Buy! Buy!" in the moment. But cut through all that, at the end of day if you aren't going to use something then you really are NOT getting a good deal.
(3) DO SHOP THE "MEMBER-ONLY SAVINGS"
The "Member-Only Savings" at Costco seem like they sales last for about 1 month so you have some time to shop and plan for your favorite products vs. scrambling to the store to take advantage of the weekly sales typically found at your local grocery store.
Are the savings worth it? At Costco, I found a 30-count variety pack of 1.5 oz Sun Chips on sale for $8.39 (~$0.19/oz), originally $11.89 (~$0.26/oz). In comparison, at Walmart, a similar variety pack is $15.28 for a 40-count of 1 oz Sun Chips (~$0.38/oz). THAT is savings I'm here for!!
(4) DON'T FORGET YOUR SHOPPING LIST.
If you're saying to yourself, "What shopping list?" then listen up! It may also sound silly to mention, but it is possible that you find Costco doesn't have what you're looking for. (I know, "GASP!") You don't want to aimlessly stroll down the aisles picking up unnecessary items AND you don't want to waste time NOT getting what it is you need for your meal plans. Sometimes, if I'm unsure if Costco carries something, I'll simply search costco.com for the item(s) before I go.
(5) DO MAKE ROOM IN YOUR FRIDGE, FREEZER, & PANTRY
Remember, we're dealing with econo-sized servings here so make sure you clean out the fridge, pantry, and freezer to make room for your new buys. See my next tip for how to easily maximize your food spaces.
(6) DON'T KEEP PRODUCTS IN THEIR PACKAGING
There's a lot of unnecessary packaging materials involved with the jumbo sizes you find at warehouse clubs so to maximize the space I do have in my fridge, pantry, and freezer (and believe me, it's NOT a lot especially living in an apartment), I take products OUT of their originally packaging and then store them away. I'll keep the original packaging, especially if I need the cooking instructions or nutrition info, but this really helps me integrate my Costco finds into my food storage spaces.
Have a pro Costco tip I missed? Tell me in the comments below!