Costco Part One: Produce Prices

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I really thought that I could share all my Costco thoughts in one big ole' post, but goodness I just have too many thoughts to go around! 😉 (Now that my kids are back in school and I finally have time to actually think, I feel like I have way too many words to say when it comes to penny pinching ~ so get ready.) Last night the Sunday School class that we've been visiting (who have been so. sweet.) went to a Columbus Clippers game, and a few of us got to talking groceries. (Y'all know this is one of those areas I get waaayyyy too excited about!) I've been curious about how prices at Costco compared to Sam's Club, because the Sam's in our area is quite a drive.

 

After talking about it last night I decided it was worth checking out, and made a quick trip this morning. There really are some good deals to be had at on very specific items at Costco, but goodness it's just so easy to spend too much if you're not careful! Here are a few quick things I learned:

  • Costco has coupons available every month. These are offered to every Costco shopper, and you don't actually need the coupon to even get the savings! I think there were some fantastic deals included in the coupon book, and if you don't get it mailed out to you, swing by your customer service desk to pick one up.
  • Produce and even some meat prices are decent at Costco, but I wouldn't call them rock bottom prices by any means. On the flip side though, they offer great prices on organic produce, which probably would be tough to beat elsewhere.
  • I LOVE (love, love, LOVE!) that Costco's tagged prices include prices per unit on every item. It's so easy at Costco to do the math and know if you're getting a good price, as long as you have a basic stock up price list in mind! I think there are many deals that would be just as easily found at your local grocery store by waiting to shop the sales ads, but there are some decent prices to be had if you're careful to go in with a budget, and stick to it.
  • Costco shopping to me requires much more “bulk” shopping than what I've seen at Sam's Club. There are some great prices, but on certain items (like frozen boneless, skinless, chicken breast, eggs, potatoes, onions, etc), you'll need to buy a bunch to get a great price. If you have enough folks in your family to eat a bunch (and enough room to store it!), there may be some great deals, but you'll want to take that into consideration before purchasing!

 

Here's what I thought about the produce pricing . . . and I'll share more updates on other items in the store shortly . . .

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Seedless Watermelons $3.99 – I thought that was an incredible price and picked one up!

Pineapples $2.99 each – pretty reasonable considering they're huge

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Broccoli $4.49 or $1.49/lb. – I paid $1.99/lb. last night for it at Kroger, however we could never eat that much before it would go bad! If your family eats a bunch of broccoli, it might be worth it. 😉

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Onions $8.49/10lbs., or $.84/lb – not a bad price at all, but that's a lot of onions!

Small Red Potatoes $7.99/10 lb

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Organic Salad Blend $4.49 1 lb. – I thought this was a great price – typically I purchase the smaller bags that aren't organic at Kroger for around $2-$2.50 per bag (which I'm guessing would be about 1/3 the size of this container), so I think this was a decent deal

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Garden Salad $2.99/3 lb. bag – great price!20140825-130615-47175169.jpg

Grapes $1.74-$1.87/lb. – I bought grapes last night at Kroger for $.99/lb., so I think this is an okay price? If I couldn't find a good sale this is a decent deal, and Costco's produce really is great quality

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Organic Strawberries $6.99 – I'm not sure how to compare these – I *think* the same size of non-organic grapes at Sam's is $4.99

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Granny Smith Apples $6.99/5.5 lbs or $1.27/lb. – I think this is a good price, but these apples are huge, so I'd have a hard time sending my kids with a whole apple in their lunch box because I think a lot of it would go to waste! If I was slicing apples at home those for them, this is a decent price.

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Organic pre-sliced gala apples $9.99 for 8 6 oz. bags – goodness, these are not worth it at all (in my humble opinion?) That's a whopping $1.07 per bag – yikes! Sam's Club has these in one big container that I separate out for my kids, and I was so much happier with that price!

Watch later today for meat pricing – I'd love to hear your thoughts too!

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. I would agree, you really have to know the prices of other sales. I might add that I live in Wilmington NC and as some of the prices are the same, I'm noticing that prices in your neck of the woods seem to be a lot cheaper even in the growing season. our renewal is almost up at Costco and I have been comparing Sams to Costco in comparison to having to purchase a membership to even shop at these stores. Sam's seems comparable in price on produce per unit price. they have added a lot more of selection in smaller sizes and unit price is competitive.in addition their membership fee is $10 less. but where Costco offers its discounts to everyone with the monthly sales, sams does not. I still think Sams has improve a lot in order to keep up with the competition. they have started adding an organic line as well.

  2. We were long time Sam’s Club shoppers until we moved here. The closest Sam’s is over 150 miles away. We don’t have very many stores to pick from here… mainly Safeway which isn’t very cheap. We do almost all of our shopping at Costco. We are a family of 6 so the larger sizes generally do work well for us. I wanted to comment on a few items in your post.

    The broccoli lasts a long time in our refrigerator… at least 3 weeks. I find it well worth the money.

    The size of apples varies. Sometimes it will be 12 large apples in a pack, sometimes 16 smaller ones. You never know which one they will have in at a given time.

    Conventionally grown strawberries are usually $4.99 a pound at our store. Organic fluctuates from $5.99-6.99

    • I wondered how long the broccoli would last Sunny – thank you for letting me know because my kids love to snack on it, but I didn’t want to buy more than we needed! And we’ll have to watch for different sizes on those apples – I still really hope they get the pre-sliced apples in stock that aren’t in pre-packaged sizes. (Those really are such a convenience for me, but there’s no way I could pay more than $1 per pack.) Thanks for sharing!

      • What I do with the broccoli I buy in the large bag is keep it in the fridge for people to enjoy raw, but after 10 days or so, if they aren’t eating it as much raw, I blanch it and freeze it in quart size ziploc bags to use in any meal that calls for frozen broccoli! That way none is wasted!

  3. I’ve had a Costco membership, shared with my mom, for over fifteen years. My mom has the membership where you have an AmEx card, and you’re guaranteed to get your membership for free with that, and she often gets a check at the end of the year to spend there from rebates on her purchases. Because of the rebate thing, we often make big electronics purchases there, if the price is reasonable. Costco’s excellent return policy is added insurance with the bigger ticket items. Costco around here is also consistently one of the cheapest places to fill up on gas. I like to buy my Jamba Juice cards there, since there is a discount, and then I stack that with coupons when I actually go. One of my favorite splurges at Costco is their dark chocolate chips. Huge bag, but very tasty, and it lasts us months in the fridge.

    The big factor for me shopping there, because I have the luxury to consider it, is that Costco’s treatment of their employees is very fair. Living wage, decent working hours, promotion from within, good benefits. The difference between how they treat their people and how Walmart/Sam’s Club treats its people is stark. Since I have the luxury of choice, I choose to spend my dollars at Costco. They may not have the best price on everything, but it’s a place I can feel comfortable shopping at.

  4. Anna, which membership is free with the Amex card?

    • My mom has an executive membership, that’s the one with the AmEx card I believe. It’s a Costco AmEx card specifically, though you can use it anywhere, of course.

  5. Anonymous says

    1. We shop at WinCo Foods for groceries, and when we want broccoli, we usually find it on sale between $0.99-$1.49/lb. Prices on produce can change VERY often.

    2. We usually avoid the grapes at Costco especially because of the size of the container, but as I’ve been comparing prices for the last year or two, I have found that grapes are often cheaper at our grocery store than Costco, especially when they’re in season. We often find those between $0.99-$1.49/lb there during their season, and I usually never see them that cheap at Costco.

    If a good portion of a produce item at Costco ends up in the trash AND is more expensive than the grocery store, it’s definitely a waste of money.

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