|checking out Costco|
I am usually one to shy away from warehouse-type stores. They overwhelm me. I never frequent IKEA for that reason. But Costco, surprisingly, fascinates me. I view this first year of membership as an experiment. I expect I'll make up the $55 membership fee on product savings, but we'll see. Some items are very good deals. But I've found that many items are not. I can certainly see how Costco makes its money. They lure you in with some awesome bargains and then I would suspect most people end up buying overpriced bulk packs without calculating whether it's actually a good deal or not.
After two months, here are my initial observations:
1. The items listed in the monthly sales flyer (with coupons) seem to be competitively priced. But remember that these are Costco's sale prices. These sales--and ample storage space at home--also encourage me to hoard. For example, I recently bought a four-pack of Scrubbing Bubbles, my preferred cleaner for the bathtub, because Costco had a great coupon for it. Granted, it may take me a year to use all four bottles, but it's still cheaper than buying one bottle at a time at Target.
2. If you are particular about a certain brand and Costco carries that brand, then it's likely that Costco is cheaper than paying regular price at Target or a grocery store. But if you're not particular about a brand, then Costco's offerings are probably more expensive. Here's an example. The Target brand of dishwasher detergent is much cheaper than buying Cascade at Costco.
3. I've only found one grocery item thus far that's cheaper at Costco than Aldi. (It's craisins, in case you're interested.) Granted, Aldi is a small store and doesn't carry a ton of items. But for basics, it's almost always cheaper.
4. Costco's meat prices seem reasonably competitive. But sometimes you can score a better deal by hitting the right supermarket sale. For example, I can find fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale at the supermarket for $1.99/lb or even $1.69/lb. The cheapest I saw them at Costco was $2.99/lb.
5. The beer prices seem reasonable.
6. I love the quality of Costco's diapers, but they're not the cheapest! Through Amazon's subscribe and save feature, Mason's Luvs, which work well for him, cost $31-$32 for a box of 204. Costco's Kirkland diapers are $38.99 for a box of 210.
7. I have no need for a shopping cart that can seat two small children, but I love, love, love this option for larger families!
8. You can't beat plentiful, free samples. Mason eats his way through the store.
What items at Costco are you convinced are the best deals? Upon crossing Costco's threshold, do you have to fight the temptation to hoard, like I do?