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Old 03-01-2015, 01:34 PM   #41
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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):

So true.
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:40 PM   #42
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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).
Your numbers are like mine. ~$2K last year for food/toiletries/household items.
No costco nearby so WalMart gets a major chunk.
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:46 PM   #43
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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?
You post shocked me. 15k WOW We live on 17k LOL
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:52 PM   #44
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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?
Not yet but I do sometimes find myself more willing than usual to dawdle and look at stuff not on the list. But if DW comes with me the time we spend (and the bill) is much higher. This is happening more frequently since now we tend to hit the grocery store right after going to the gym since it is sort of on the way home. I am much better than DW at sticking to what is on the list. Not claiming perfection mind you, just better at it.
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:00 PM   #45
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I can go into Costco and come out having spent $5.99 (or whatever). Not once have DW and I gone in together and spent less than $100. Not one time.
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:42 PM   #46
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I can go into Costco and come out having spent $5.99 (or whatever). Not once have DW and I gone in together and spent less than $100. Not one time.
Wow, you need to lock her in the trunk before you go in!
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:52 PM   #47
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Our annual grocery bill dropped significantly once a Costco opened down here. I started a thread on that over a year ago, I think.

So we didn't experience "Costo creep", rather "Costco shrink".
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:15 PM   #48
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I have to smile when I read this thread.

Wife and I hit Costco about 2x a week. It's near by so doesn't cost much for gas. Between filling up of family cars and milk and fresh fruits, twice a week is about average. I know it's shameful to omit but we go around lunch time to enjoy the samples and the very reasonable food service.

I have a ballpark of what we spend at Costco but it really doesn't matter. As long as you buy wisely, Costco will save you money in terms of price and quality. Just milk along saves us a fortune. Just have to be careful about impulse buying and buying too much and spoilage (I have to split the huge bag of spinach with coworker - just too much to eat for one family before spoiling).

Oops - we're low in milk. Have to hit Costco Monday for lunch, err I mean food shopping.

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Old 03-01-2015, 04:19 PM   #49
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I was downloading our credit card charges onto a spreadsheet so I could classify them and ran into one from Costco ($277) that was way higher than the others and couldn't remember what it was. I was considering asking someone at the store to look it up and then remembered- I'm on one prescription and that's it. When I last filled it at our local grocery store pharmacy 6 months ago it was 10% less, but that could just be the usual Big Pharma grab for more money. I suspect the price is a function of what my insurer negotiated and Costco doesn't get a better price. So, sadly, it's a legitimate expense.
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:15 PM   #50
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I know it's shameful to omit but we go around lunch time to enjoy the samples and the very reasonable food service.
Ah yes. The AARP Buffet. I try to avoid Costco at lunch time.

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Wow, you need to lock her in the trunk before you go in!
That would solve a number of financial issues, but perhaps impact a more important physical one.
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:46 PM   #51
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I definitely notice that here when the snowbirds come to town. All of a sudden there are a bunch of white haired folks at the Friday samples.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:01 PM   #52
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Made me look...

For last year:

Costco Gas: 2,471
Costco Optical: 1,047 (Glasses for everybody!)
Costco.com: 172 (A piece of furniture. Cheap, and it turned out to be very nice.)
Costco Groceries: 4,719
Costco Auto: 102 (motor oil, etc)
Costco Household: 199
Costco Clothing 255
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:05 PM   #53
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I definitely notice that here when the snowbirds come to town. All of a sudden there are a bunch of white haired folks at the Friday samples.
We get that on Wednesdays. That's when the checks come in.

Starting around 11 AM, the shuttle buses from the local retirement homes start arriving. Yes, there's the AARP buffet, but looking at the checkout lines is a little depressing. I remember one old guy (not me!) in line with just a half-gallon of gin and a huge bag of beef jerky.

I try to go there on Tuesdays.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:13 PM   #54
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I can go into Costco and come out having spent $5.99 (or whatever). Not once have DW and I gone in together and spent less than $100. Not one time.
Ugg, that's me at the Dollar Store.

"Honey, I'm going to run in and grab a box or two of cereal for the kids. We're all out."

20 minutes and $20 later, I just spent $10 per box for 2 boxes of cereal...

At least it's the dollar store and not $100 for a box of cereal at costco.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:21 PM   #55
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I checked out our costco once when it was new. Prices were very unremarkable and I didn't see a single thing I couldn't get cheaper elsewhere (and I'd have to pay a fee for the privilege of shopping there only very occasionally).

OP, if cost minimization is a priority, I'd check out other sources for groceries (Aldi, superwalmart, local grocery stores for sale items and loss leaders, ethnic stores if that's your bag or for cheap produce).

I noticed you spent $5 for half and half at costco. It's $1.49 or maybe $1.59 for a quart at Aldi. Mine is about to turn by the time I finish a quart, but maybe you use more. Maybe you got a gallon and you use it all, and the pricing is superior. Otherwise, it's a potential area for some cost savings, and it would probably extend to most other areas of your shopping cart.

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries etc are very frequently on sale at Aldi for $1.09 or $1.49 or something like that for the containers (6 oz or a pint or something like that). Strawberries very often $1.19 or $1.49 for 1 lb. We get those when on sale or grab apples/oranges/bananas when nothing good is on sale (less perishable and way cheaper per unit).

Your grocery list (lots of salmon and fruits) looks incredibly healthy, so maybe paying more is the only way to continue eating healthy and costco is the best choice if you don't feel like comparison shopping.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:33 PM   #56
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Fuego.... I also checked out Costco and came to the same decision.... their prices are not any better than elsewhere... even Sam's has better prices on the 15 or so items that I checked... my job use to buy my Sam's for me, but when I left it was on me.... so I checked some normal items that we buy and I think 14 of them were more expensive at Costco than Sam's....

Now I am starting to check the prices of Sam's to my local grocer... bought chicken drumsticks at Sam's for $1.28/lb.... checked grocer and they sale at $1.00/lb... hamburger (10% fat) is cheaper at Sam's except when grocer puts it on sale... I will have to start looking at other items now that I have more time to look.... might save some money...

OH, BTW, soft drinks are much cheaper at the grocery since there is always something on sale.... and if you buy enough of what you like then you can wait for your brand to go on sale again.... I have also found that Sam's does NOT rotate soft drinks and if you do not look you can be buying outdated soda....
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:44 PM   #57
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Yep on soft drinks: i recently bought ten 2-liter bottles of my favorites for $2.50 at Kroger.
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Old 03-01-2015, 07:23 PM   #58
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On sales and soft drinks those of you with smart phones might want to use the Wal-mart savings catcher app,it matches all sale prices at stores within a certain radius of your zip code. If you see your favorite brand on sale some where that you never shop, buy it at Wal-mart, scan the receipt and in a few days you will get a Walmart store credit for the sale prices. Works for all brand name items that Walmart sells.
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:34 PM   #59
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I checked out our costco once when it was new. Prices were very unremarkable and I didn't see a single thing I couldn't get cheaper elsewhere (and I'd have to pay a fee for the privilege of shopping there only very occasionally).
Well, you might be correct in your assessment about most grocery products, though there are many bulk grocery items that one might only find at Costco and cheaper than other places. For example, I haven't found a place that carries bulk frozen Edamame, Carr's Lemon Crème Cookies, or oversized bags of Starbucks or Seattle's Best Coffee cheaper than Costco's. And Costco's beats most places for TVs, tires, office equipment, luggage, and travel car rentals and cruises. The return policy on goods is incredible, even if it started limiting the period to return TVs and electronics. I have returned a coffee machine 4 years later, a TV 3 years later (before it changed the policy), and a case of wine.

One thing I have also noticed is that Costco's occasionally offers exceptional items you don't easily find other places: Briggs & Riley luggage (a few times), Little Giant Ladders, and Vitamix processors bundled with other items.

Just one thing about the membership fee: there are several ways this is easily absorbed by having a Costco-American Express Card (where American Express essentially pays for the membership fee through rebates) and if you're an Executive Member you also get generous rebates from Costco.
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:48 PM   #60
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I checked out our costco once when it was new. Prices were very unremarkable and I didn't see a single thing I couldn't get cheaper elsewhere (and I'd have to pay a fee for the privilege of shopping there only very occasionally).
I'm in general agreement with you except that I eat a paleo diet and Costco has great prices on three of the main things we eat - frozen fruit, nuts and meat. We don't tend to by produce there unless we plan on freezing some of it because the sizes are just too large. We also don't by paper goods and household items (cleaning supplies) there because we can find it cheaper on sale elsewhere. It's hard to beat some of our local stores when there is a sale. And don't forget Target - they run some great sales. Also, don't forget to stock up when there is a sale on those things that aren't perishable.
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