Time for my last post on Costco shopping (although you'll definitely want to watch tomorrow when Shannon and I have both been working on a fun Sam's vs. Costco post . . . it was so surprising to see the results!) I think there are a lot of deals to be had at Costco (or Sam's Club for that matter), but I cannot stay it enough . . . you have got to go in with a budget in mind and choose to stick to it when you shop.
I've always felt like the meat, dairy and produce prices at club stores are very reasonable, but the prices for processed food items, cleaning supplies, and toiletries is just high compared to what I can do with coupons at a regular grocery store. If you can manage to walk into a club store and stick to the items on your list that are good deals than you are doing GREAT, but beware the temptation to over spend while you're there!
The problem is, if you overspend on an extra box of granola bars at your regular grocery store, you'll be out $2-$3 each week. But if you decided to splurge on an extra box of those same granola bars at Costco or Sam's, you'll easily be out as much as $10. And, if you decide to splurge on three or four items (or five . . . or six ~ yikes!), you can overspend by as much as $50 because each item is just bigger than what's at home.
(And I don't know about your kiddos, but if my kids see a gargantuan box of granola bars in the pantry they are way more likely to gobble them down quickly because they don't think I'll notice on a super sized box. Definitely something to consider!)
While I undoubtedly think there are decent prices at Sam's and Costco, I think it's just. so. easy. to. overspend. there. (Did you near me?) Our family's weekly grocery budget is around $85 per week ~ if I went each week to Costco and spent $45 (like I did a few days ago), that would easily add an extra $180 each month onto my grocery bill, just for food. I don't know about you, but I'd rather really pinch my groceries, so I can save for the things I just love ~ like traveling, cute clothes for my kids, and fluffing up my home! That's just my opinion (and we all have different views on this one for sure!), but do consider that before spending too much on something that's so perishable. I'd rather have things that I can hold onto than pay an extra penny for cereal that my kids are going to eat through tomororw.
Goodness gracious, I didn't expect to just rant and rave on this subject, but clearly it's one of those things that bothers me. Hopping down from my pedestal now to share what I found with you. 😉
So, where are the deals? Let's get started . . .
String Cheese $10.99 or $.22 each – great price and I think worth stocking up on if you're at Costco
Most grocery stores sell 12-pack string cheese for around $3.50 ($.29 each), so this is a good price.
Eggs $3.99/32 eggs or $1.33 per dozen
Eggs used to regularly drop at my local Aldi to $.69 per dozen, but I haven't seen that in ages! I've seen them priced anywhere from $1.69-$2.29 here locally, so if you can use them all before they expire (remember, you'll need room for quite a few eggs in your fridge!), these are a good price.
This is a GREAT price in our area – Aldi also sometimes sells milk at a similar price, but I haven't seen that recently and from what I can tell Costco consistently has the lowest prices on milk!
Turkey Bacon $5.49 for 4 (12 oz) packages after monthly coupon
Ouch. Turkey bacon is one of those things that you can almost always get for next to nothing – in fact it's been free in the last month at Walgreens. The same amount would cost you less than $5 this week at Kroger, or if you happen to have a Shoprite nearby you could get it for as low as $.16. Don't pay full price for turkey bacon (if you eat it at all!) 😉
(And I could kick myself for not getting the price on regular bacon – will have to check that the next time I shop . . . )
Hunt's Snack Packs $5.99 for 36 cups after monthly coupon
I think these are a decent price after the monthly coupon, however they regularly go on sale at most grocery stores for $.25 per cup, and if you have a coupon you can drop that price even more. Dollar General and Shop Rite have them on sale this week, and the price at Shop Rite after coupon is just $.14 per cup. (Goodness, wish we had a Shoprite nearby!)
Rice Krispies Treats $7.99 for 54 bars after monthly coupon
These are a great price again after the monthly coupon. These are one of those items we rarely see go on sale, so $.14 per bar seems like a decent price to me!
Nature Valley Bars $12.68 for 48 ct box
This makes them $.26 per bar, which isn't a bad price but there are coupons on these all the time and you can normally find a good sale. We've bought the store brand ones at Kroger (they taste the same!) for $2 ($.25 per bar), with no coupon at all, but this week you could get them for as low as $.20 per bar at Walmart, $.06 per bar at Meijer, $.11 per bar at Publix or $.18 per bar at Walgreens and CVS. It's nice to easily stock up on them, but you may very well be paying too much!
Kirkland Mandarin Orange Cups $7.69 for 20 cups or $.38 per cup
These are a pretty good price, as good sales on fruit cups don't come around all that often! I *think* though that Aldi sells fruit cups for around $1.50 which makes them $.37 per cup – so if you don't have the option of shopping Costco or Sam's that's an easy option.
Quaker Instant Oatmeal $8.55 or $.16 per pouch
This isn't a bad price at all, but I think you may be able to find a similar price if you wait for a good sale and a great coupon on these. This week they're on sale at Giant Eagle for $2.50, or at Meijer for $2, and if you've got the coupon for $1/1 Quaker Protein Instant Oatmeal the price drops to as low as $.80 per 12, making them $.08 each. Just be sure to watch for sales on those if you regularly purchase them, because you should be able to score a good price at your grocery store as well!
Nutri Grain Bars $12.99/48 ct.
The prices on these comes out to $.27 per bar, which isn't bad if your kiddos love them! HOWEVER, this week you could get them at Giant Eagle for $.12 per bar – if your kids love them watch for a good sale at your favorite grocery store to get a good price.
Jif Peanut Butter $9.99 for 2/48 oz jars.
The price on this comes out to $.10 per ounce. This week at Walgreens and Publix you can get peanut butter for less than $.10 per ounce, and I think if you wait for a good sale you'll see better prices than this even without coupons at your local grocery store. It is nice to stock up on a bunch so easily, but if there was a GOOD sale with a coupon, you could definitely find peanut butter cheaper!
The moral of the story? 😉 There are some decent prices to be found at wholesale stores, but like always, you've got to know your prices and shop with a budget in place before heading out. If you're considering getting a membership at Sam's or Costco, watch for a special offer from Groupon or Zulily (they come around a few times a year), and definitely take advantage of their monthly specials. (Costco has a flier you can pick up at their customer service desk, and the coupons automatically come off at checkout. Sam's Club occasionally mails sales fliers with coupons out to members as well.)
And remember that we're all in a different place when it comes to how we shop. Right now, I'll take advantage of the meat, dairy and produce deals at Costco or Sam's, and shop my local grocery store for just about everything else. But, there was a time when I only shopped Aldi for some of those items because they were a little cheaper there, and that worked for me.
Most importantly though, don't feel like you need a membership at these stores to get a good deal – just about everything goes on sale at your local grocery store, so stock up on the items your family uses when they drop down to a good price! DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET, make a menu plan, and find the best way to save that works for your family.
Happy penny pinching! 😉
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