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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 10:29 AM   #21
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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Originally Posted by wildcat
I have heard both sides of the warehouse debate. I am not sure which to believe since I have never had a membership other than a Sam's and I didn't care for it. It was really tailored to the businesses and everything was brand name. I tend to buy generic products for the most part.
It seems to save $$ for those who may have more expensive taste. But for a single poor smooze like myself, I am not sure if it would benefit me. I like to eat good, healthy food but I am not playing in C-T's league yet (read - I occasionally enjoy a salmon out of the case vs. lobster tail/beef filets) and I don't know if I would buy enough food to make it worth it.
Anyone else with similar shopping habits really pay attention to the savings? I will soon have the option of joining a Costco so I am still potentially interested.
CostCo makes a big difference in the land of milk selling at $4-$7/gallon. There's at least a half-dozen CostCos in the islands now and they're looking for more places to build before Target moves in. About the only thing the grocery stores can compete on is bulk rice, especially when CostCo sells milk & fruit as loss leaders. Smart shopping & bulk buying can eliminate the Paradise Tax.

I think that our local CostCo sells more gas than any other chain on the islands. There are almost always six cars lined up at each of a dozen pumps and the company recently ripped out parking places to install more pumps. They sell at a nickel/gallon under the lowest local chain (probably a loss leader) but every one of those buyers has to purchase a CostCo membership.

We keep a running list of things that we need to buy or wouldn't mind upgrading. If CostCo is selling a nicer sofa or computer desk or some other furniture or recreation item, we'll buy it before it sells out. We'll sell our old one on Craigslist so the upgrade cost is usually worth the work and sometimes it's free. I've read that CostCo has a flat markup of 14% on whatever they bring in, and they may not repeat their deals unless they can achieve a profit-- or at least generate traffic while avoiding a loss.

We've also been buying the same order of Friday pizza for almost four years... for the same price.

Sam's Club seems to get smaller & stingier each year. I think Wal-Mart is duplicating the Sam's concept with their Super Wal-Marts and will eventually shut down Sam's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Actually there are two years worth of memberships in my calculation. About $90. - What got me started was TH REc on their Computer policy - which is the best I've ever seen. Buy a computer from Costco - In store or on-line - Return it within 6 months and you get all your money back - No questions asked - I did this!
Also after I learned about Costco's employee friendly work environment and their CEO is totally different than the CEO clone in the U.S.A. - They have got my loyalty.
Yep, and CostCo pays their employees a higher wage than Wal-Mart yet actually has lower employee costs due to lower turnover (and no lawsuits!).

Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, sits on CostCo's board. Funny business and fuzzy thinking are not tolerated. Not a bad retail stock with these numbers, a 1% dividend, and up 10% off its 2006 low.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 10:30 AM   #22
 
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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Originally Posted by DanTien
Was a long time Costco member. Doesn't work for me anymore. Was always buying stuff I didn't need or the quantities were too large. Now I'm happy going to Trader Joes and Target. To each his own and whatever works for you. I was always amazed at the people with fancy cars trying to save a few bucks on groceries, etc.

There's book on this urge to splurge and then scrimp phenomena - Treasure Hunt http://tinyurl.com/yzgkoy
Actually, I enjoy the trip to Costco. And it has eliminated most of the trips to the regular Grocery Store. It's not just about saving a few bucks. It's about convience, quality etc.

People talk about having to throw stuff out. I may have thrown a few things out also that I bought too much of - But these are still in my numbers. Run your own numbers, you might be surprised.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 10:39 AM   #23
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

We belong to Sam's, it's only one mile away, and we did an extensive tour of a Costco after we went there for flu shots. Based on 30 mins of walking around, I liked Costco merchandise and prices better than Sam's, but not enough better to justify giving up the one mile drive to Sam's. The Costco is about ten miles and a half hour away. :P

Neither place appeals to me as a place to shop for fresh food or booze. For food, a lot of things seemed fine but not fine enough to justify buying in quantity. We live in an area where grocery and liquor stores are very numerous and competitive. With even a small amount of attention to what's on sale, I can usually meet or beat Sam's prices without dragging home a large quantity. I like that for fresh foods. There are some commodity-like items that are easy to store and have long shelf lives that we do get at Sam's. For booze, Sam's just doesn't compete with the discount liquor store I go to in either selection or price. Based on about ten minutes of snooping around the Costco liquor department, they didn't cut the mustard either.

We're empty nesters now and our grocery/booze bill is seldom over $100 a week, even if we throw in some nice treats. With these low quantities, it's hard to feel good about walking out of Sam's with a big bag of oranges knowing that's what we'll be eating all week. I'd rather shop at the market where I pick a couple of oranges, a couple of pears, a few bananas, etc., and enjoy a variety at a minimal, if any, cost difference.

What I do enjoy about Sam's (I'm sure Costco would be equal or better) is just wandering around to see unique items in stock. The cabinets above my garage workbench came from Sam's. They were just there on the shelf one day, are very sturdy and functional and didn't cost much. But they only seemed to have the ones on hand at the time and I haven't seen them there since.........
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 10:40 AM   #24
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

We have BJ's ( 20 min drive), Sam's (10 min) and Costco (about 30 but the traffic in that area is horrid). DH has a Sam's card and it's 2 minutes away from where his daughter works and he works for a couple months a year. It saves us money on several things we buy in bulk and since we make our own dog food, buying stew beef that's on MGRs specials is a very good deal. There is also no sales tax at Sam's because it's in NH so that makes the trip worth it too. He stops there once every two weeks, I go a couple times a year and stock on things he doesn't think about. I wish there was a Costco nearer, I'm not a fan of the Walmart mentality.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 10:41 AM   #25
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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Originally Posted by Nords
I think that our local CostCo sells more gas than any other chain on the islands. There are almost always six cars lined up at each of a dozen pumps and the company recently ripped out parking places to install more pumps. They sell at a nickel/gallon under the lowest local chain (probably a loss leader) but every one of those buyers has to purchase a CostCo membership.
This kind of economy always amazes me, for most people that buy 10-15 gallons of gas they will save maybe a dollar or less. Yet they'll wait in line for 6 cars to pump gas to save that amount. What is your free time worth ?

Where I live the cheap gas can usually be had at the ARCO stations. They take cash or debit cards only (with a fee) and don't take credit cards. Their gas is maybe 5 cents less than the other stations. And as Nords described there are long lines and lots of inconvienience.

What I did was to get a rewards credit card that gives me 5 percent cash back on gasoline (and some other) purchases. I fill up across the street at the "expensive" station that's clean and spacious and doesn't have nearly as much traffic. I always get a kick out of it cause my gas is actually costing me less than those suckers waiting in the lines for the "cheap" gas.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 10:51 AM   #26
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

We love to shop at Costco. The quality of the food is excellent.

Their private label brand, Kirkland, is less expensive and of superior quality. For example, the Kirkland tuna is truly white albacore tuna, not the lower quality that the other brands try to pass off as albacore tuna. I find that everything with the Kirkland label is excellent.

We have discovered great cheeses at Costco, like Dubliner (my absolute favorite!) In addition, the meats are tender and I never worry about serving them to company. They are that good! They have a lot of restaurant quality items as well.

We were Sam's members for a long time and there is no comparison. The lines at Sam's were long, the management didn't seem to care, and the quality was not like Costco. I believe when people are well-paid and treated with respect and a company has high standards, like Costco, it really shows.

One way to get a nice rebate if you buy electronics and other items, as well as food, at Costco is to get the Executive Membership. Once a year, that rebate check, in our case, covers the membership cost as well as enough extra to stock up on some good wines.

By the way, I believe Costco is the largest wine distributor (?) in the US and their prices and selection are excellent.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 11:09 AM   #27
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

Costco is my favorite place to spend money. The quality is high and the prices are good. If you just want bare bones prices, it may not always be worth it. But, if you want high quality at a very good price, it can't be beat.

People always talk about everything being in bulk, but I don't find that to usually be a problem for me (married, no children). Most of the items are in individual containers so if I buy 24 cans of Tuna, they don't go bad. It's great for electronics, meat, tires, furniture as well as food. My only complaint is that I don't like most of the clothing. I love the mattress I got there. Very high quality, at a good price and if you buy from Costco.com they will deliver and set it up for you.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 11:11 AM   #28
 
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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Originally Posted by BarbaraAnne
We love to shop at Costco. The quality of the food is excellent.

Their private label brand, Kirkland, is less expensive and of superior quality. For example, the Kirkland tuna is truly white albacore tuna, not the lower quality that the other brands try to pass off as albacore tuna. I find that everything with the Kirkland label is excellent.

We have discovered great cheeses at Costco, like Dubliner (my absolute favorite!) In addition, the meats are tender and I never worry about serving them to company.
Totally agree on the Dubliner Cheese. - The best mild cheese for me also. I also bought bought Stilton Cheese for $6 a pound at Costco - Cost me $20 a pound before.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 11:35 AM   #29
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Totally agree on the Dubliner Cheese. - The best mild cheese for me also. I also bought bought Stilton Cheese for $6 a pound at Costco - Cost me $20 a pound before.
Hey if you like cheese, try this. If there is one thing my old Ag school can do, it's make some cheese.

http://msucheese.com/
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 11:46 AM   #30
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

I have both a Costco and a Sam's within about 5 miles of our house. The Sam's was there about 2 years before Costco so we became members at that time. When Costco came along we were offered a free one year membership, which was a perfect price, so we enrolled for a year.

After a year we dropped to Costco card as there was duplication with Sams and to be honest, I hate shopping anyway so having to fork over $50 just to get in the door irks me. I know, I know, Sams has a fee also, but I think it's less. Besides DW, who does the spending/shopping, seems to like Sams for some reason. I reevaluate Sam's each year and vote to drop it, but DW has two votes and we decide to keep it "another year."

We also have a military PX and a commisary (2 each) within about 15 miles and use them about once a month or so. No fee, my kind of place.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 11:48 AM   #31
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

We find that Costco saves us money, but not as much as it has saved you, CT. Are you sure that your decrease in amount paid for food is not due in part to any changes in your buying habits?

But guys, guys, guys, you are missing them most important part of CostCo:

The Hairnet Brigade

In other words, the free samples. Go there around 11:30 on a Saturday for a great prelunch snack (although there are plenty of calories for a true lunch).

Last week was one of the best. Highlights include:

1. Full Aussie Bite
2. Mixed Nuts
3. Drinkable yogurt
4. Hot link
5. Raisin toast
6. Salmon
7. Pear
8. Sushi

And the topper: 9. Pumpkin Cheesecake!

True, there's a certain way that your stomache feels after this (I call it Costco Stomache), but that's momentary.

I have to admit that we sometimes go there just for the samples on our Saturday trip to town.


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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 11:52 AM   #32
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

Al, My dad is the first one in the truck when my husband announces he's going to Sams. He figures he eats enough samples to cover the membership fee.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 11:58 AM   #33
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I have to admit that we sometimes go there just for the samples on our Saturday trip to town.
Oh - I forgot about the free samples - I really like free !

So that changes the economics. If you go once a week and you and the spouse each get $2 worth of free samples. Then the free sample lunches would be worth just over $200 every year. So in that case the free samples would pay for the membership cost - and then some.

Now if you were to go on each of Friday Afternoon, Saturday at noon and Sunday at noon or ask for double samples or get in each line twice or more, Well that's a whole nuther' ball game.

I have always wanted to fill up on "Full Aussie Bites"
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 11:59 AM   #34
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
But guys, guys, guys, you are missing them most important part of CostCo:
The Hairnet Brigade
In other words, the free samples. Go there around 11:30 on a Saturday for a great prelunch snack (although there are plenty of calories for a true lunch).
My parents-in-law live a couple miles away from our local CostCo, and my FIL eats dinner/dessert samples there just about every night on their walk. I'm sure the staff know him as the "Oh, no, here he comes again..." guy.

I'm not sure that the walking calories expended exceed the free sample calories ingested, but it works for him.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 12:16 PM   #35
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

One word: Diapers. That's all I have to buy at Costco to more than cover the fee. Everything else is gravy.
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Costco gift card--no membership required
Old 11-14-2006, 12:17 PM   #36
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Costco gift card--no membership required

If you are an occasional Costco shopper and don't want to spring for the annual membership fee, get a friend who is a member buy you a gift card (and reimburse them for it). Costco will allow you free entry to use the gift card.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 12:18 PM   #37
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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One word: Diapers.
LOL Pampers or Depends?
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Re: Costco gift card--no membership required
Old 11-14-2006, 12:23 PM   #38
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Re: Costco gift card--no membership required

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If you are an occasional Costco shopper and don't want to spring for the annual membership fee, get a friend who is a member buy you a gift card (and reimburse them for it). Costco will allow you free entry to use the gift card.
This trick works at sam's club too. You can buy a gift card at walmart, then use it to pay at sam's club. You just have to pay the extra 10% fee for being a non-member. Works to your benefit if you buy less than $300/yr. Plus, you can get 5% cash back on purchases at walmart with the right kind of credit card (Chase Rewards something-or-other - 5% cashback at grocery stores).

Why do Sam's/Costco charge the $30-50 annual membership fees? I know it is pure profit, but do they figure they make more money off of the membership fee than they do off of the increase in sales if it was open to the public?
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 12:24 PM   #39
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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LOL Pampers or Depends?
Kirkland.
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.
Old 11-14-2006, 12:30 PM   #40
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Re: Costco Seems to save me at least $500 a year - Last 4 years compared.

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Kirkland.
What do they cost? Just curious if I can save $$ over walmart's parent's choice brand at $10 per "super mega" pack (60 size 5's or 80 size 3's)?
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