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Old 02-28-2015, 07:07 PM   #21
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Just ran a Quicken report - we spent $5,088 last year, just on the two of us. That does include two televisions that we picked up when we went in for dog food.

We buy much of our fruit and veggies there, TP, toothpaste, Parm Cheese, Jack's Salsa, meat, cookies, paper towels, bar soap, eggs, cheese, bacon... Our regular grocery bill is less, but I'm pretty sure it's not $5000 worth of savings. I do know we eat better because we have a Costco, and I'd rather eat well than buy medicine.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:14 PM   #22
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I can't tell if those are good prices or not since those blueberries could be a gallon or more. That price better not be for less than a half-gallon though.
The blueberries were $5.49 for 18 oz. You're telling me I can get 64-128 oz of blueberries in Houston for $5.49?


The other thing we get at Costco regularly is cheese. Feta, blue, Gouda, etc.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:27 PM   #23
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I don't have exact figures, but my estimate is DW and I spend around $400/mo at Costco for food and stuff, and another $200 in gasoline purchases. Costco is usually one of the lowest gas prices, if not using some grocery store discount points for reduced gas prices. Grocery store is typically $.05 higher/gal than Costco gas.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:49 PM   #24
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You are about on par with what we spend at CostCo for 2 adults. We don't drink and we decided to buy Steaks at the butcher since we don't eat them fast enough the bulk costco usually isn't fresh by the time we grille that last cut.

We go once usually `1-2x a month and only buy what I call core bulk items, Gas, Milk, eggs, chicken, salmon, pineapple, cantelope, mixed veggies, sometimes bananas if the grocer is more expensive, usually TP and PaperTs, and we will usually get a treat like cheez-its, peanuts, cookies or snickers, or something...sometimes not.

Sometimes we grab odd grocery things like tuna or canned pears which last quite a while. It seems like every third trip we pick-up toiletries. Soon we will be adding diapers and wipes

We have been making weekly to every week and a half trips to the grocer to stay fresh on things lately like onions, spinach, tomatoes, apples, grapes, roasted chicken, salmon and cereal. I have to have my cereal, I buy the knock-off stuff at the Grocer, but sometimes buy the bulk Cheerios or Frosted Flakes at the Co.

One thing is certain, I try to get IN AND OUT as quick as humanly possible from the minute I hit there parking lot. And I usually let out a massive sigh of relief after we finally pass through the receipt checker person.

I am happy if I can get out of costco for less than $180/trip. That does require restraint.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:54 PM   #25
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Sounds like our Costco spending is not out of line. Therefore, the problem is the other $7,000 we spent in 2014 at Walmart & Kroger & Target. Some of that is not groceries - gifts and crafts and stuff that are hard to split out by transaction - but still seems way too high for 2 people.
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:07 PM   #26
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Just my general experience:

I have had memberships at either BJ's or Costco over the past 25 years. I like BJs better but they are a quite a hike from where I live....I have found that especially Costco does not save us much money on the basics, but one-off items tend to be better deals. I also save alot in the over the counter medicines and vitamins, as long as we can use them prior to expiry. DH loves their cheese selection and he, by himself, will eat the huge portions that they sell..

So I never buy paper goods or detergents because I can do better at the local supermarket with sale, and the quantities are better for a small family. I have noticed that the sizes are increasingly larger and it is getting harder for a couple to use fresh foods that cannot be frozen, unless we want to eat them for 5 days straight.

When I look at what people are buying at Costco while I am in line for checkout, it's no surprise that the company is doing well. I think it takes a certain level of discipline to get through that store without overspending!!!

By the way, the one thing I love about Costco is their level of customer service. I do think that is one area they excel.
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:21 PM   #27
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The blueberries were $5.49 for 18 oz. You're telling me I can get 64-128 oz of blueberries in Houston for $5.49?
No, I said $2.50 a pound (1.33 pints) for fresh picked. Spouse says 2 pints for $5 recently at Kroger for Chilean blueberries.

A problem I have is that too much food rots before it is eaten. I would rather buy fresh food every other day (I can go by the grocery store on the daily dog walk with no trouble at all).

Blueberries keep well, but not raspberries, strawberries, nor blackberries.
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:57 PM   #28
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No, I said $2.50 a pound (1.33 pints) for fresh picked. Spouse says 2 pints for $5 recently at Kroger for Chilean blueberries.

A problem I have is that too much food rots before it is eaten. I would rather buy fresh food every other day (I can go by the grocery store on the daily dog walk with no trouble at all).

Blueberries keep well, but not raspberries, strawberries, nor blackberries.
I don't worry too much about wastage from Costco. It only happens with certain items, like salad mix and berries. But they are so much cheaper than in a regular grocery store that I figure we can lose about 1/4 of the item and still come out ahead cost-wise. I don't like to waste food, but sometimes it happens. I'd still rather save the money.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:46 PM   #29
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You're either spending too much overall or you're not. Costco really isn't the issue.
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:11 AM   #30
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I have a budget by category, not store. Shopping at Costco is usually a real money saver as long as I keep to the overall budget. I did buy too much fresh, organic produce there this past month with short storage times. I ended throwing out some of it before we could eat it all. I know not to do that again this month.
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:30 AM   #31
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Lately, I've been lining the salad-mix boxes with paper towels (takes about 30 seconds - don't even have to remove all the mix) and the mix stays fresh up to ~10 days (all bets are off during the hottest months, but that's true of everything in the fridge). The towels seem to absorb just enough moisture.

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I don't worry too much about wastage from Costco. It only happens with certain items, like salad mix and berries. .
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Old 03-01-2015, 09:04 AM   #32
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Sounds like our Costco spending is not out of line. Therefore, the problem is the other $7,000 we spent in 2014 at Walmart & Kroger & Target. Some of that is not groceries - gifts and crafts and stuff that are hard to split out by transaction - but still seems way too high for 2 people.
$10,500 for Costco, Kroger, Walmart, and Target combined does put you over the average. Of course, your income could be well over average, too.

If you're interested, I posted something on averages here:
Consumer Expenditures Survey
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:27 AM   #33
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soupcxan, that doesn't look out of line to me. I spent $164 at the grocery store today and there are only the two of us.
Yeah I'm not seeing how spending $300 a month at Costco is a big deal as long as you're getting stuff you'd normally buy anyway.
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:28 AM   #34
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Sounds like our Costco spending is not out of line. Therefore, the problem is the other $7,000 we spent in 2014 at Walmart & Kroger & Target. Some of that is not groceries - gifts and crafts and stuff that are hard to split out by transaction - but still seems way too high for 2 people.
Now that IS way out of line for two people combined with the Costco spending (at least for us it would be), but if you have the money and it makes you happy does it matter?
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:42 AM   #35
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Blueberries keep well, but not raspberries, strawberries, nor blackberries.
My parents have a Costco membership, but I don't (they're out of town a majority of the time, so I'll ask them to pick up some stuff for me every now and then). I do about 95% of my shopping at the Aldi's right by my house, and for fruit, I find that blackberries and blueberries freeze exceptionally well. Whenever Aldi's has them on sale, I'll buy several plastic cartons and simply throw them in the freezer, and take one out every now and then to enjoy over a course of a week. Haven't tried freezing strawberries or raspberries (not a big fan of raspberries).

The challenge with Costco is that they do have excellent values - but often they're items one might go without. For example, you could buy 'regular' cheese for maybe $4-$5/lb at your local grocery store, but Costco has upgraded cheeses for maybe $7-$9/lb. It's still a good value - but not necessarily something you would consciously buy at your local grocer. So multiply that out by a larger size portion (more $ per lb and a larger package), and over many many products, and it's easy to have "Costco Creep" on your grocery budget. Not that it's a bad thing - as long as you are aware of it.
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:50 AM   #36
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$10,500 for Costco, Kroger, Walmart, and Target combined does put you over the average. Of course, your income could be well over average, too.
No matter what their income, it sounds exhausting to shop that much.


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I am happy if I can get out of costco for less than $180/trip. That does require restraint.

Yikes. Maybe it's just as well that I haven't yet got around to exploring our new-ish Costco.
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:04 PM   #37
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There was a whole Seinfeld episode on Kramer buying too much stuff at a warehouse store called Price Club (which later merged with Costco):

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Spending too much at Costco
Old 03-01-2015, 01:15 PM   #38
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Spending too much at Costco

The trick is to avoid the 'treasure hunt' items and stick to things your experience says are a better buy at Costco because of superior pricing or quality or both.

It's so easy to see something special that you didn't know you wanted or needed until you saw It at Costco. Then, you walk out the door with it.

http://www.boston.com/business/artic..._impulse_buys/

"Costco has long used the term “treasure hunt’’ to explain why up to a fifth of its stock is limited-quantity items kept in stores for as little as a week. Sometimes it’s seasonal items, such as margarita machines in summer. Often it’s surprisingly trendy, such as bargain-priced Hunter rain boots."
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:21 PM   #39
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I don't doubt the numbers being thrown about are considered normal, but wow are they so much higher than my bills. I spend (for just myself) maybe $1500/year at Aldi's, and certainly less than $500 for my remaining needs of food, vitamins, cleaning supplies, personal toiletries, etc... everywhere else (Walmart, CVS, BJ's, etc...). I guess no alcohol and very little red meat helps me, but still, wow. Today's Aldi's trip came to $20 for the week + plus $4 at CVS to stock up on sale items (4 12-packs of diet coke, 2 bottles dish detergent, 1 bottle shampoo & an Easter egg).

That said, I did have a BJ membership through my GF last year. Mostly used it to get 3 things I couldn't get cheaper elsewhere (protein powder for my workouts, vitamins, and specialty teriyaki sauce). Only reason I would bother going is it a mile from my office, so I could stop on the way home without a special trip.
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:34 PM   #40
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Made me look at my end of year summary: $15K. We upsized our residence last year; this includes 3 TVs, new computer/printer, new tires on two vehicles, some furniture pieces. Fuel came out to $900. I also had a BJ's membership but used it for groceries, mainly. Since moving, I gave up the BJ's membership; we also go to Aldi's, Walmart, Publix, Harris Tetters and Trader Joes, too. But Costco's is our main squeeze

I'm finding we're spending far too much time in retirement in grocery stores. There's just two of us. It's not just the frequency of the visits, but we're really getting slow in shopping. Anyone else experiencing this?
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