Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Warehouse club grocery savings or not?
Old 10-07-2017, 11:11 AM   #1
Moderator
sengsational's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5,581
Warehouse club grocery savings or not?

I got a promotion from a warehouse club that said they did a real comparison, having shoppers buy the same basket of groceries at 4 grocery stores and the result was a 25% savings compared to the warehouse club. If you want details, you can google "25percentterms".

I'm trying to talk myself out of the pain associated with switching. At the moment, I've shot this down because, for us, it probably wouldn't be a 25% savings for the following reasons:

  • They only compare to traditional grocery stores, and we use a "supercenter" (yeah, that one)
  • They only consider national brands, but a good bit of the time we use the store brand
  • They use pricing from 4 large grocery store chains in our area (specifics undisclosed) in their comparison. I suspect their mix is weighted toward those high-dollar stores we rarely use.
  • They take advantage of large package size savings, so the grocery store equivalent for the warehouse package might be two or more standard size packages.
  • If we DO use a standard grocery store on occasion (instead of the supercenter), the Amex card gives us 6% back. That rebate rate doesn't work in supercenters or warehouse stores.
  • We do have a Sam's Club membership, but only go there for paper towels and stuff...not weekly grocery shopping.
I wouldn't even have thought through this if the promotion didn't say "25%". That's a lot. But I've concluded that I'd not get nearly that much savings.


Anyone out there that thinks they're "killing it" by going to the warehouse club for groceries?
__________________

sengsational is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-07-2017, 11:28 AM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 6,507
We go about once a month and stock up on some things like organic meat and coffee. Our local Costco is cheaper than the retail stores on most items but more expensive on most grocery items than stockpiling loss leaders and shopping at ethnic / outlet / 99 cent stores. We do use Costco for non-grocery purchases like gas, eye glasses, tires and prescriptions.
__________________

__________________
Even clouds seem bright and breezy, 'Cause the livin' is free and easy, See the rat race in a new way, Like you're wakin' up to a new day (Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether lyrics, Alan Parsons Project, based on an EA Poe story)
daylatedollarshort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 11:30 AM   #3
Full time employment: Posting here.
RetiredGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 974
I found at our warehouse club BJs, it was worth the membership for a few reasons.

-We had 5% back on the store card. Plus sometimes there was 5% back on either Discover or Chase Freedom.
-We had 5-10 cents off every gallon of gas
-They had a great selection of healthier food items and a greater variety of items in some areas that the supercenter didn't.
-Everything was under one roof, so I didn't need to make two trips between the grocery store and Wal-Mart and the office store and department store.
-They actually had some really nice items as far as clothing, household goods, outdoor stuff, etc.
-The things we bought in bulk were of better quality and much cheaper than the grocery store (coffee, meat, almond milk, beans, frozen fruit and veggies, etc).
-There were monthly coupons that arrived in a book every month, and then in-store and manufacturing coupons in addition. I once had $90 in coupons.

I found it worthwhile, with quality overall better than Wal-Mart, and prices much cheaper for the same items than the grocery store. The gas savings was a nice bonus too.

There isn't a warehouse club near here (except Sam's Club, and I'm not at all impressed by what they offer), so I'm back to shopping between two and three grocery stores for everything we want. I miss BJs.
__________________
I'm free and I like it!
RetiredGypsy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 11:57 AM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Flyover country
Posts: 13,385
Quote:
Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
I got a promotion from a warehouse club that said they did a real comparison, having shoppers buy the same basket of groceries at 4 grocery stores and the result was a 25% savings compared to the warehouse club.
That's nothing but strategic backtesting, just like every getrichquick investment scheme does. It says nothing about the items you or I would buy.
__________________
I thought growing old would take longer.
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 12:08 PM   #5
Moderator
Aerides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 3,728
There's a big thread on Costco from a while back and a lot of folks do like their grocery. But to me those "side by side" lists are pretty meaningless. They don't represent the actual items I buy, as most of my grocery items are fresh produce and meats, fish, etc.

And shopping by price only for steak is stupid. I know which store carries the best quality and freshest stuff, so that's where I shop mostly.
Aerides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 01:36 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 22,788
I really care about the quality of what I buy. I'm not as price sensitive, but I will quickly notice who has the better deal on a quality item if more than one place carries it.
__________________
Retired since summer 1999.
audreyh1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 02:39 PM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Annapolis
Posts: 70
We have a Sam's that's very close and a Costco that's a bit further away. I have a specific list of things I get regularly. I prefer Costco, because they have more organic options in fruits and vegetables. I will go out of the way to get their organic frozen fruits, but otherwise get most things at Sam's. DW goes to Safeway for whatever the clubs don't carry.
The clubs offer other perks, like auto purchasing, cash back on annual spending, gas, credit card offers, etc.
Many years ago, I worked at Price Club, the precursor to Costco. I learned that, at least back then, they made money on the "float," (ie, they invest the revenues from product that was sold before it needed to be paid for under "net 30" terms with suppliers) so it behooves them to turn product as fast as possible, and therefore they keep prices/ margins very low.
ExitLeft is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 02:51 PM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: philly
Posts: 1,118
We do, do very well at BJ's but you definitely have to weigh the pros and cons.

1) I always get my membership through an american express promotion so it's only 35 bucks I think a year.

2) I definitely save over walmart in certain areas. I'm the opposite of you op, while I do use store brands for some things, there are certain things I admit to being name brand loyal. Toilet paper, laundry detergent, tooth paste, mouthwash, pasta sauce and ketchup are a few things that I simply think the name brand is better. I see a huge difference when I use my tide and when I use store stuff. HUGE.

3) I still have 2 out of the 3 of my young men at home and I swear I really don't believe my oldest moved out. I can't understand it, the boy moved out, so why is he always stopping by right at meal time Anyhoo, my kids eat like every night is the last supper and they are about to be crucified so I still save on gallons of milk, eggs and bread.

4) I admit to being price conscious along with quality. I try to plan my meals out for the week. If I'm making pasta sauce with ground beef, do I need 85/15 organic ground beef? nope. it's going into a sauce. If I'm making fresh burgers than yes I'll go up in quality. If I'm getting a rib roast for holiday dinner I'm getting a better quality. If I'm having pot roast that is being cooked in a crock pot, hey give me the non organic less expensive cuts.
__________________
My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being "normal" is not necessarily a virtue? it sometimes rather denotes a lack of courage~Aunt Francis
bclover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 03:20 PM   #9
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: The Deep South Bay
Posts: 744
I had a Costco membership for 15 or 20 years and finally gave it up a couple years ago. Stuff isn't really that much cheaper, I used to go for cheese, tortillas, coffee, butter and staple type stuff but for the $50 membership I can buy a lot of cheese
97guns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 03:29 PM   #10
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 20,003
Quote:
Originally Posted by bclover View Post
I can't understand it, the boy moved out, so why is he always stopping by right at meal time
You taught him well, and he listened.

LBYM.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 04:00 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
flintnational's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Atlanta Suburb
Posts: 1,350
I doubt we get a 25% savings at Costco compared to local stores. From the Costco items we routinely buy, meat, cheese, nuts, milk, avocados, coffee, supplements, bell peppers, organic eggs, wine, paper goods and olive oil are much cheaper at Costco and I think are higher quality in some cases. Some of the veggie and fruit prices seem higher than sale prices at local stores. The gas prices are the cheapest around and pay for our membership. There is always the large quantity issue at Costco. So we do not buy things that we will not use frequently. I would shop Costco simply for the quality of the steaks. If you have a Costco close by and like steaks, wine and need gas, its hard to go wrong with a membership.

FN
__________________
"Oh, twice as much ain't twice as good
And can't sustain like one half could
It's wanting more that's gonna send me to my knees" - John Mayer
flintnational is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 04:22 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4,289
I'm doing more and more of my regular grocery shopping at Costco and grocery spending is going down. It's hard to quantify- DH's appetite diminished over his last year so he ate less, and he died a year ago. I'm also buying less meat because I make myself more meals centered on veggies and whole grains. So- a few changes that had definite effects on the grocery bill but I'm convinced I get better quality for less money.
athena53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 04:29 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NC
Posts: 14,063
It does depend on your shopping habits and your local alternatives. We’ve been Costco members for 3 years now. I was leery when we joined so I kept close track of everything we bought and what it would have cost per unit where we would have bought otherwise. We more than saved the cost of Exec membership even without the AmEx (now Citi) and Costco rebates, that way more than doubled our savings. So it’s been a no brainer for us.

If you’re planning a big ticket purchase that’s available at Costco, you could justify the membership cost with one purchase. And they will refund your membership cost if you’re not satisfied, though I assume there are some terms.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 45% equity funds / 30% bond funds / 25% cash - radically changed Nov 2018
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 04:30 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
euro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 1,253
I find that it is a case by case thing. Some items ARE 25% cheaper than anywhere else, others are cheaper (but not by 25%), others about the same, and a not too insignificant number of items are actually more expensive for me a Costco than elsewhere. I get only the cheaper/significantly cheaper items at Costco. Interestingly, for me, gas is NOT one of the better deals. Costco is usually in the lower third of the local prices, and sometimes toward the lowest, but rarely is it the best deal in town.
euro is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 04:34 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 22,788
If you like really good wine, it's hard to beat the prices at Costco.

Unless you prefer wine that costs $5 or less per bottle.
__________________
Retired since summer 1999.
audreyh1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 04:36 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,744
I'm working on a grocery store cost comparison article for my blog. I selected 16 staple items ahead of time before pricing out at each store. Costco didn't have 3 of the 16 items (organic apples, avocados, and canned pinto beans) so I'm presenting a comparison of the 13 that all stores had.

The results weren't too surprising other than I thought Aldi would be cheaper than Walmart by a small margin. I shopped the Aldi a couple miles from the Walmart instead of the one right next to it, so I think the 5% higher prices at Aldi are mostly explained by that discrepancy (since WM and Aldi match prices on several things like milk and eggs it seems).

Costco was 33% more than Walmart and 40% more than Aldi (ignoring the $50-60 or whatever it costs to become a member each year). Kind of what I figured - Costco would be a raw deal for me since Aldi is my regular store and I shop at Walmart often enough (before adding in the extra 1-3% cost of spreading out the $50-60/yr membership fee).

And ye gods Costco is depressing inside - makes Walmart feel like a comfortable shopping experience. Long lines to get a parking space, long lines at check out, long lines at the gas pumps (insert the famous Yogi Berra quote here about it being so busy no one shops there any more). Zero employees wandering the aisles to help you out.

Results for a basket of 13 goods (from lowest cost to highest):
Walmart Supercenter - $16.17
Aldi - $17.00
Costco - $22.62
Trader Joes - $28.68

Items compared (w/ x next to the ones not available at Costco):
apples per pound
x organic apples /lb
x avocados each
bananas per pound
mac n cheese
milk, whole per gallon
loaf bread, 20 oz
chicken breast
pork loin
ground beef /lb
eggs, large dozen
cheerios, 14 oz
peanut butter, 16 oz
x canned pinto beans, 15.5 oz
spaghetti sauce, 24 oz jar
spaghetti noodles

edit: Though not included in my cost comparison, I took a look at the cheeses at Costco. Cheese did appear to be inexpensive, and even cheaper than regular prices at other stores for the high end stuff (gouda, blue cheese, parmesan, etc). But I just wouldn't know what to do with a 2 lb block of blue cheese or parmesan. So I'll keep buying those at Trader Joe's where they are moderately priced and available in ~8 oz packages.
__________________
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (6, 12, and 13).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 04:51 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
euro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 1,253
Quote:
Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
I'm working on a grocery store cost comparison article for my blog. I selected 16 staple items ahead of time before pricing out at each store. Costco didn't have 3 of the 16 items (organic apples, avocados, and canned pinto beans) so I'm presenting a comparison of the 13 that all stores had.

The results weren't too surprising other than I thought Aldi would be cheaper than Walmart by a small margin. I shopped the Aldi a couple miles from the Walmart instead of the one right next to it, so I think the 5% higher prices at Aldi are mostly explained by that discrepancy (since WM and Aldi match prices on several things like milk and eggs it seems).

Costco was 33% more than Walmart and 40% more than Aldi (ignoring the $50-60 or whatever it costs to become a member each year). Kind of what I figured - Costco would be a raw deal for me since Aldi is my regular store and I shop at Walmart often enough (before adding in the extra 1-3% cost of spreading out the $50-60/yr membership fee).

And ye gods Costco is depressing inside - makes Walmart feel like a comfortable shopping experience. Long lines to get a parking space, long lines at check out, long lines at the gas pumps (insert the famous Yogi Berra quote here about it being so busy no one shops there any more). Zero employees wandering the aisles to help you out.

Results for a basket of 13 goods (from lowest cost to highest):
Walmart Supercenter - $16.17
Aldi - $17.00
Costco - $22.62
Trader Joes - $28.68

Items compared (w/ x next to the ones not available at Costco):
apples per pound
x organic apples /lb
x avocados each
bananas per pound
mac n cheese
milk, whole per gallon
loaf bread, 20 oz
chicken breast
pork loin
ground beef /lb
eggs, large dozen
cheerios, 14 oz
peanut butter, 16 oz
x canned pinto beans, 15.5 oz
spaghetti sauce, 24 oz jar
spaghetti noodles

edit: Though not included in my cost comparison, I took a look at the cheeses at Costco. Cheese did appear to be inexpensive, and even cheaper than regular prices at other stores for the high end stuff (gouda, blue cheese, parmesan, etc). But I just wouldn't know what to do with a 2 lb block of blue cheese or parmesan. So I'll keep buying those at Trader Joe's where they are moderately priced and available in ~8 oz packages.
Thanks fopr that, FUEGO - have you run the same list through Harris Teeter or Food Lion? Just curious. Also, how did you account for package sizes (I don't suppose you can get a 14oz box of Cheerios at Costco)? Finally, for Costco, availability of some items are store dependent. For example, the Apex store carries Avocados and those are, in my opinion, a great deal both on price AND quality.
euro is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 05:19 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by euro View Post
Thanks fopr that, FUEGO - have you run the same list through Harris Teeter or Food Lion? Just curious. Also, how did you account for package sizes (I don't suppose you can get a 14oz box of Cheerios at Costco)? Finally, for Costco, availability of some items are store dependent. For example, the Apex store carries Avocados and those are, in my opinion, a great deal both on price AND quality.
No, I didn't run prices at HT or Food Lion though that's a good idea (and probably would be closer to the "grocery stores" OP referenced in his 25% savings comparison statement). My feel is that Food Lion is still cheaper than Costco if you completely ignore sales at Food Lion. Harris teeter is probably the same or maybe more than Costco though I haven't been in one for many years (and my mom is always telling me about sales at HT that are the same or more than the regular price at Walmart/Aldi/Food Lion so I get the sense that HT is just a lot pricier in general ).

I hear you on stock varying by store. I did the Costco/TJ's shopping right after hurricane Irma and I talked to a friend that works at the TJs and she confirmed they had a lot of supply disruptions due to their FL distribution center being shut down (I inquired about loaf bread and she thinks they sometimes have cheaper loaf bread available but only from the FL distro center).

Have you shopped at Aldi? Curious on your take of their prices vs Costco (for something like avocados). And how many do you have to buy at one time at Costco. The package sizes at Costco threw me for a loop since I have a small-ish kitchen, pantry, fridge, and freezer and only feed 5 in the household

You are right about the cheerios - 40.7 ounces was the only size they had which is about 3 "regular" size boxes. I believe costco cheerios were packaged as 2 big boxes sold as 1 unit. I broke the prices down to unit weight or typical size (14 oz box of cheerios, 24 oz jar of spaghetti sauce, 16 oz peanut butter, etc).

edit: this cost comparison is an interesting exercise but not as useful for me as it looks. I tend to shop the grocery store sales for a lot of these staples (especially meat and produce) so I often pay 25-50% less than the prices I noted at even the cheapest of the four stores.
__________________
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (6, 12, and 13).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 06:09 PM   #19
Moderator
sengsational's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5,581
Yeah, thanks for posting your research results Fuego!

Since I didn't want the OP to look like an advertisement, I left out the fact that it was a BJ's that had the 25% promo. We simply do not have a Costco nearby, but the BJ's is exactly the same distance from our house as DW's regular WalMart super center.

So DW's usual is the Walmart, and we get a few things at Trader Joe's. We have had a Sam's membership on and off, but only go there for the paper goods and on occasion get large quantity items like pork ribs. We have an Aldi, but the first time DW went there, they didn't have something very basic...I think it was soy sauce or something like that. Not wanting to "run around to 15 different grocery stores", she's decided to avoid Aldi. They just expanded the Aldi, though, and it's really close to our house, so maybe I'll see if I can convince her to try it again. But based on the evidence you presented, maybe sticking with Walmart isn't so bad.
sengsational is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 06:20 PM   #20
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: The Deep South Bay
Posts: 744
I could have comparison shopped them but I knew by feeling that Costco was higher, plus they force you to buy bulk.one thing I found about Costco was that their return policy was excellent, it's almost worth the $50 for it.

My brother took a beat up rusted out BBQ back that had a lifetime warranty and the burner stopped working, they exchanged it for s new one. He did the same thing with an office chair that his cat clawed up really bad but the pneumatic pump died.
__________________

97guns is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Own the storage warehouse? Rex Other topics 6 05-28-2013 09:28 AM
Grocery Store vs Trader Joe's vs Super Target vs Wholesale Club bank5 FIRE and Money 152 04-13-2009 11:26 AM
The Grocery Game bongo2 FIRE and Money 3 11-28-2003 06:37 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:38 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×