Costco: what we buy

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As I think I've mentioned here before, some of my favorite blog posts are the ones where you get to peek in on the minutia of other people's lives. Show me the inside of your purse, your medicine cabinet, your fridge...I'll eat that up. And I know I'm not the only one who enjoys that, so I try to give as well as I get and put those types of posts up here at WINOW now and again. My favorite, obviously, are posts that show what I shop for. What I can't figure out is how it has taken me this long to do one about Costco.

Costco seems to me to be a controversial subject among a lot of the people I know. Some people (Mark's parents come to mind) LOVE Costco. Others think it's a scam of some sort, or that you just end up spending more money than you would otherwise. I think it's probably some of both. It's a place you need to shop at carefully to maximize savings (just like anywhere else). I can't say that I actually do that. There are definitely some staple items we buy at Costco that are cheaper there than they would be elsewhere, but there are also things we buy there out of convenience. That said, I think our membership ends up being worthwhile, and I generally am very impressed with the quality of the products we get.

The trip I am showing you here is fairly typical, in that it's a mix of things we always get and things that caught my eye (I am a terrible impulse shopper, a habit of which I have been trying to break myself for years). I'll indicate what is what when I run down the prices.

Here's the haul:

costco.jpg

What are you seeing here?

-Sweet Potato Terra Chips, $3.59
These are a sometimes buy--I love them, but my store doesn't always have them. At $3.59 for the big sized bag, they're definitely cheaper than they'd be elsewhere. I think the small bag costs about that at Target, and more than that at our natural grocery store.

-Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips, 2 bags, $5.99 each with a $2 each instant rebate
These are absolutely one of our Costco staples, and if they ever stop carrying them, I'll cry. They're my favorite. The cost of $3.99 for a big bag is great, too, as a small bag is that much or close to it regularly, and that's if I can find thes--my Target doesn't carry them.

-Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth, six pack, $11.59
Another staple--Mark likes to make his own chicken stock, but it gets used fast when he does, so we always have these on hand. At $11.59 for six cartons, the price works out to about $1.93/carton. That's about the same as the Wegman's price ($1.99 each), but I don't always get to Wegman's, Target doesn't carry this kind, and it definitely costs more than that at the natural grocery store.

-Kirkland Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese, 40 oz, $7.49
This is something I haven't bought before, but I've been going through 8 oz bags of Mexican blend shredded cheese like a mad woman, as I have to feed my nacho addiction. $7.49 for 40 oz works out to about $.19/oz, which would make an 8 oz bag $1.52. I can't remember the last time I saw one for that little, they're usually 2/$5 on sale. That makes this a good buy. It's a lot of shredded cheese, but it's freezable, so that's all good.

-Nutella 2-pack 26.5 oz jars, $9.89
I have probably waxed nostalgic here before about my absolute love of Nutella. At Big Lots, the 13 oz jars are $3.25--$.25/oz. These jars are 26.5 oz each, or about $.19/oz. Plus, I don't run out as fast.

-Jif Creamy Peanut Butter, 2-pack 48 oz jars, $11.79
Another staple, though this one is all Mark. I honestly have no idea if this is a good price or not, because we've been getting PB at Costco forever. It works out to about $.12/oz, though, which seems like a pretty reasonable price.

-Brita Filters, 10 pack, $41.99 with $8 instant rebate
I haven't bought these at Costco before either, so I don't know how good a price this is. However, I suspect $3.39/filter is pretty good.

-Sabra Pine Nut Hummus, 32 oz, $5.99
We buy this a lot, either at Costco or elsewhere. I know some people think it's crap, and some have political issues with it, but for mass produced hummus, I really like it. From what I've seen, $5.99 for 32 oz is a great price. The little 10 oz size is $3.69 at Wegman's.

-Proscuitto, 12 oz, $12.89
So obviously a bit more than $1/oz is a great price for proscuitto. This stuff isn't great proscuitto, but it's certainly edible. We buy this pretty often. Mark prefers getting fancier stuff, but I think this is a good compromise between quality and price.

-Kirkland Marcona Almonds, 17.63 oz, $7.99
We haven't tried these before, but at $.45/oz for Marcona Almonds, I figured they were worth a shot. I suspect, like the prosciutto, they'll be a more affordable compromise on the really fancy (and really expensive) kind.

-Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix, six count, $9.99
These are another long-time Costco staple for us. I'm a pretty good baker, and my homemade brownies are not as good as the ones these mixes make. Six mixes for $9.99 puts them at $1.67 each, and I am quite sure I can't get them singly for that. In fact, I don't ever recall seeing them under $2 each, even on sale.

-San Pelligrino, 12 750ml bottles, $12.89
These are a one-time buy, because my not-FIL drinks this stuff like...well, water...and they're visiting soon. I have no idea how much it generally costs, but a bit over a buck a bottle seems reasonable.

-Old Dominion Root Beer, 24 12-oz bottles, $13.99
Another of our staples. Bottled root beer is the only soda Mark likes, and this is the best local stuff we've found. I'm not even sure I can get it by the case anywhere else, but I'm sure it costs more than $3.50/six pack, which is what this works out to.

-Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, 5 pack, $7.89
Crescent rolls are another thing I am going through at an alarming rate recently. I discovered that (duh!) I could stuff them with things (like Nutella!) before baking them, and now I can't stay away from them. The Costco pack works out to $1.58 for each tube, which is less than the $1.99/each sale price I've been paying at Target.

-Carter's Baby Halloween Costume, $12.99
Obviously a first time buy! The same costume is on sale right now on Carters' website for $10.99, so I guess I overpaid slightly for this impulse buy.

-Kerrygold Irish Butter, 3 8-oz bars, $6.85
I haven't bought this at Costco before, but saw it today and thought of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and grabbed it. It worked out to $.29/oz, which seems like an OK price.

-St. Louis Pork Ribs, $2.79/lb
We always get these lately. The quality is really good, and though the package is huge, it can easily be split up and frozen. They're conventional, but I have a hell of a time finding sustainably farmed pork anywhere anyway, and sometimes you gotta compromise.

-The Original 2-Bite Cinnamon Rolls, 31.5 oz, $6.99
No excuse for this--total impulse buy. This is what happens when you shop when you're hungry. But it's not like they won't get eaten.

-Superior Cake Products Brownie Bites, 48 oz, $6.89
See above. I always talk myself out of buying these. Today I gave in.

-Applewood Smoked Bacon, 4 lbs, $14.89
Bacon is a staple food at my house, and it's getting expensive. We prefer the applewood smoked kind. I have no idea if this Costco version will be any good. However, it's $3.72/lb. The Trader Joes' version is $3.99/12 oz, or $5.32/lb. Wegman's is $5.99/12 oz, or $8/lb. So this seems worth trying.

-Organic Chicken Thighs, $3.49/lb
These are another staple. Chicken thighs are better than breasts, in my opinion, and these feature heavily in my occasional cooking. They're mass market organic, but they are organic, so I guess that's something?

-Mini Tri-Colored Bell Peppers, 2 lbs, $4.49
These are another thing we've been getting at Costco for years. They're conventional, but they're really good, and you can't beat $2.25/lb for colored bell peppers.

-Artisan Lettuce, 3 heads, $3.59
This is a fairly new addition to our Costco shopping list, but I've been really happy with the quality and how well the lettuce lasts when it's packaged this way. $1.20/head seems like a good price, too.

And that brings me to the end of my receipt.

So hit me with your comments! What should I be shopping for a better deal on? What great Costco things am I missing out on? Do you shop at Costco? What are your staples?


5 Comments

I do shop at Costco!!

I buy bread there the Orowheat whole wheat ( perfect for the kids lunches and morning toast)

Amy's Bean and Cheese burritos ( zarah loves these they are fast easy and I think organic)

Nutella nuff said the kids love it on toast and as a substitute for peanut butter on their sandwiches

Seaweed in the packages? goes in lunches and eaten for snacks

Kirkland ( Foster Farms) browned turkey breast ( sandwiches)

Finlandia reduced fat cheese slices ( sandwiches again)

Coke Zero

Jimmy Dean reduced fat sausage breakfast sandwiches ( when they have them they seem to run out a lot) quick and easy breakfast on the go I can get Chloe to eat them and that's huge( she normally doesn't eat breakfast)

Yoplait? yogurt tubes the kids love them in lunch for breakfast ect.

Organic eggs

McCormick Taco seasoning in the big container

Snap pea crunchy pea treats look like a pea but it's crunchy like veggie chips?

That's mostly it with various things for their lunches like fruit snacks, crackers, ect. I usually spend about 100-120 every 2 weeks

I love Costco! I bought a costume too - the lion.

I often buy cheese, frozen berries, coffee, fruit, veggies, their artisan bread. All good deals and tasty.

Gouda! Brie! 7 grain giant loaves of bread! Bananas. Organic eggs. Coffee.

You are so lucky to have Jif at your Costco! Ours only has Skippy. Gross. Otherwise, we buy apples there, which last forever and are really good almost year round - fuji ftw - and the tortilla encrusted tilapia which is great for quick fish tacos.

Our Costco recently got the Natural Jif, which was awesome.

I'm jealous that Melissa's Costco still carries the Amy's burritos. Mine got rid of them :(

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