Shopping at CostCo is a good way to save a lot of money on your grocery bill. There are great deals on food at CostCo, and great deals on household items of all kinds. But be careful! It's super easy to go overboard and spend way too much. In this article I'll suggest some ways to shop at Costco without saying to yourself, "I think I just went broke saving money!"
Don't Shop at CostCo
Until You Read This!
Don't Buy Produce at Costco
(Unless You're Having a Party)
First of all, the prices on produce at CostCo are only okay. Especially if you live in a city, there will be markets with cheaper and "greener" produce. You will also only find large packages at CostCo, so unless you're ready to power down three green peppers a day for the next two weeks, some of it is bound to go bad before you eat it. That's waste, and waste is expensive!
That said, if you're hosting a bunch of people and need to make a mammoth fruit salad, then go for it. But you'll still probably save money at the local mercado.
That's a Lot of Cabbage!
Don't Buy Meats Unless You Have Freezer Space
Like much of this article, I learned this the hard way. The prices for meat at CostCo are amazing, and you can buy enough for several weeks for less than you'd spend for one week elsewhere. The downside comes when you get home with all of your CostCo groceries and realize you have nowhere to put them. You can't fit half a cow in your side-by-side! Make sure you're prepared to stock up.
Not coincidentally, CostCo also sells stand-alone freezers...
We Have Come To Eat All of Your Food!
Don't Buy Huge Amounts of Food Your Family Will Get Tired Of and Stop Eating
Ah. This is a killer. If you have kids like I do, especially big hungry teens, then you know how fickle their food obsessions can be. "Dad, I love those chicken hot pocket things. Get a lot." So I get a lot (at CostCo, that's pretty much all you can get), and after a few days it's "Dad, I'm totally sick of those chicken hot pocket things." So I currently have three dozen chicken hot pocket things that no one will eat clogging up my freezer. There's really no sure-fire way to completely avoid overbuying food at CostCo, but here's one approach: "Sorry son, you made me buy 'em. Choke 'em down."
End of discussion.
Don't Buy Clothes When You're Shopping for Food
First of all, do you really want to walk around in clothes you bought at CostCo? No, you don't. Second of all, they look like -- well, they look like clothes you bought at CostCo. I say you're actually better off going down to the local thrift store and trying on some fly suit coats and button-downs. At least you know that someone, somewhere, at one time, actually wanted to wear them.
Don't Buy Small Packages at CostCo
Assuming you can find them, that is. Almost everything at CostCo is giant-sized, but once in a while you'll come across something that's normal-human-sized -- bags of chips, for example. These are almost always NOT a deal, although it's easy to say "what the heck" and buy them anyway, since you don't have time to go to ten different places just to go shopping. If that's the case, then consider doing without! Don't let CostCo rake you over the coals for a lousy bag of Doritos.
Don't Buy Huge Amounts of Candy
This is really hard, since the prices on candy at CostCo are insane. You can avoid this if you don't go to CostCo hungry, but once in a while... Just make sure that when you stock up on candy at CostCo you get a kind that your wife likes also. But not your kids.
Too Much Sugar!
What's Good about CostCo?
Lots of things! If you have space, buy things that keep, and force everyone to eat what you got until it's gone, you can cut your grocery bill at CostCo in ways you never dreamed. Go forth, go shopping, but keep your wits about you!