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Old 03-02-2015, 08:20 PM   #101
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Costco is 10-12 miles away when we're in FL. But up in MD our nearest warehouse store (BJs) is about 20 miles away. We drive up there every couple of weeks to load up on stuff. It helps that it's over the line in DE, so we save more by not paying sales tax than we use in gas. We'd do it anyway, though, because there's a lot of stuff there we can't get anywhere else easily.
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:26 PM   #102
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My Costco is 4 miles away and I pass a local grocery store and Whole foods to get to it. I buy mostly organic food, so get what I can at Costco, and then the other two places to fill in. I actually joined a co-op called Azure standard last year and have gotten a few orders from them. Good prices, they only deliver once a month...lots of organics and other stuff. I like to shop in bulk so I don't have to do it that often, so I order from Amazon and Azure standard. Works for me.
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:28 PM   #103
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We've only been to Costco once. The day we moved into our Az condo 12 years ago. About 2 miles away. I think we spent around 1k that day and we've never been back. Always go to Walmart.


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Old 03-02-2015, 08:42 PM   #104
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How far do most people drive to get to a Costco? The one nearest us is ~25 minutes and that's farther than either of us wants to drive for grocery stuff on a regular basis. Or maybe I'm just spoiled and lazy - we drive ~10 minutes and complain if it takes longer.
Costco is about 4.5 miles away... all back roads, no freeway. (That's important given traffic patterns in San Diego). The Costco I shop at is the original, very first, Price Club. It still is a test market site for some of their higher end food. Which means the samples are there ALWAYS, and they often have foods you can't find at other Costcos.

Walmart is about 4 miles in a different direction. I don't shop there because it's in a very congested area... not worth the hassle.

Sprouts is about 1.5 miles away. It's on my way to Costco so I combo with a costco run... or I ride my bike.

TJ's is about 3 miles in yet another direction... again in a very congested area and in strip mall with super small parking spaces that even priuses are too big to fit. I only go there if I'm going to a movie in the same strip mall.

We don't have Aldi's here... although there are rumors they're coming to San Diego.
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:46 PM   #105
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I'm a Costco shopper and probably visit every week or so. Not sure how much I spent there last year since I don't track it from the dollars I spend outside Costco on the Am Ex card. Last year my AmEx purchases were about 13k and my rebate was $163.

Just heard on the news that VISA through Citibank will be the new parnter with Costco for the credit card. I am curious to find out if there will be any cash back like the current deal.
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:46 PM   #106
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I forgot to mention - we also shop at Ranch 99 and Zion Market... They're near the walmart. I don't go to either store on weekends or in the evenings - way too crowded. But great places to pick up super inexpensive produce and fish.
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:59 PM   #107
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I posted links from this site before, before but if you have not seen it yet, here is a comparison shopping basket chart from checkbook.org:

Supermarkets - How We Rated the Stores

Warehouse store comparisons -
http://www.checkbook.org/interactive...bay/saving.cfm

We also live near a mecca of value grocery stores including most of the ones on this link plus smaller chains like 99 Ranch and Grocery Outlet. It has been a real money saver for ER. Our grocery bill plummeted once we started tracking prices and shopping at warehouse stores, ethnic markets and Grocery Outlet.
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Spending too much at Costco
Old 03-02-2015, 10:09 PM   #108
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Spending too much at Costco

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Old 03-03-2015, 02:17 AM   #109
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Based on my Executive club rebate, I spent $5,700 for a single person. I'm pretty sure I've average 5-6K at Costco since moving to Hawaii. I only shop at grocery story 4-5 times a year, and seldom go to other stores. My motto is if I can't buy it on Amazon or in Costco I don't need it.

But last month, I bought a bed at Costco and will very likely buy either an iPad or a Tablet next month to replace my dead ancient netbook, this month.
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Old 03-03-2015, 06:58 AM   #110
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The 5 Key Ways I Afford Healthy Food

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5. Know your grocery stores

  • Costco – As a single college student who doesn’t need to buy 50 roles of toilet paper at a time, I personally don’t frequent Costco. But I know it is a lifesaver for many families. Did you know you can find excellent prices on tons of real food ingredients here? This is a helpful list of Real Food Finds at Costco.
  • Whole Foods – In the health food world, it seems like Whole Foods is in the controversial territory of politics and religion. The prices for many items are jacked up, but you can find some good deals if you know what to purchase. Here is a list of budget-friendlier items at Whole Foods.
  • Trader Joe’s – My warning with Trader Joe’s is that many of the foods are disguised as health foods, but they aren’t. Always read the ingredient lists! You may be surprised how many store-brand products are chock-full of highly processed sweeteners, inflammatory vegetable oils and stabilizers. There are some affordable, healthy finds at the store, but always read ingredients.
  • Local Food Co-ops – I feel lucky to live in Northwest Washington, where there is an abundance of locally-owned natural food co-ops. These stores nearly always beat Whole Foods with their prices, have more locally-grown produce, and I’m happy to support the businesses.
Real Food Shopping Guide for Costco

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... you obviously can’t buy everything from your local farmer. There are many pricey specialty items that can really add up when shopping at your average grocery store. That’s where having a Costco membership really comes in handy. There are plenty of real food options available at Costco – IF you know what to look for. I’ve put together a Real Food Shopping Guide for Costco so that you can see a list of the things that I buy (or would consider buying) to help you out while you shop.
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Old 03-03-2015, 07:57 AM   #111
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Your yearly Costco spending is rather reasonable so long as you're actually consuming the food before it goes bad.

When I lived alone, my strategy for shopping at Costco was to skip the cart, except for the yearly acquisition of toilet paper and other bulky but non-perishable items. Really made me think about what I was picking up and if I'd actually consume it all. Nowadays, our household uses Costco to buy sardines, canned tuna/salmon, frozen salmon, nuts, frozen fruits, coconut oil, avocado oil, and Kerrygold butter. On those items Costco prices and quality can't be beat--as the Real Food Shopping Guide of Costco suggests. Most of our regular grocery shopping is done at an international grocery (best prices on immensely varied produce, spices, and fresh fish), while the chicken, beef, and dairy we get delivered weekly from a farm. Breads come from a bakery within walking distance, but that's like three loaves a month (two of which are for a monthly meeting we host). When the farmer's market nearby is seasonally open, my DW likes to spend lots there on tomatoes, peaches, apples, and okra. I'd complain with how much she can spend, except for the fact that she's home all day without a car and she enjoys the regular Wednesday walk up there with our son, plus the produce tastes amazing as long as you can eat it before it spoils. Spend your money on groceries to help avoid spending it on restaurants. As we've become better cooks we have less and less of an interest in eating at restaurants, and have been much more capable of using the food we have on hand.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:19 AM   #112
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When I lived alone, my strategy for shopping at Costco was to skip the cart, except for the yearly acquisition of toilet paper and other bulky but non-perishable items. Really made me think about what I was picking up and if I'd actually consume it all.
Good tactic. One psychological trick stores use to get you to buy more is to provide large shopping carts. Even in regular grocery stores, they're much bigger than they were 20 years ago. People tend to want to fill the void, or are more likely to make impulse purchases because there's room in the cart.

In good weather I run errands for smaller purchases on my bicycle. I buy a lot less when I know I'm going to have to bring it home on my back!
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:25 AM   #113
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Good tactic. One psychological trick stores use to get you to buy more is to provide large shopping carts. Even in regular grocery stores, they're much bigger than they were 20 years ago. People tend to want to fill the void, or are more likely to make impulse purchases because there's room in the cart.
Is this really true? Is there a study to back this up? I'm not making fun or anything, just curious. I can't imagine buying something I don't want just because there's room in the cart. Even DW doesn't work that way. That would imply that you would stop buying things if there wasn't room in the cart. But I'm pretty sure she would just send me to get another cart.

Seriously, though, I'd be curious to know if this is something someone did a study on, or just one of those assumptions about human behavior.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:31 AM   #114
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Same here. I never got the "large cart" trick, nor any "treasure hunt" deal. All our stores have large carts. We feel no compulsion to fill them.

Maybe such tactics "work" on the "average consumer", just like advertising does, apparently. People on this forum don't seem to routinely fall victim to impulse buying or other "helpless consumer" behavior. But we know most Americans spend much and save little, so maybe it does work on the larger populace.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:34 AM   #115
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Here is the thread I started in late 2012 when I realized out grocery expenses had dropped after we joined the new local Costco.

My personal Costco Effect
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:36 AM   #116
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Is this really true? Is there a study to back this up? I'm not making fun or anything, just curious. I can't imagine buying something I don't want just because there's room in the cart. Even DW doesn't work that way. That would imply that you would stop buying things if there wasn't room in the cart. But I'm pretty sure she would just send me to get another cart.

Seriously, though, I'd be curious to know if this is something someone did a study on, or just one of those assumptions about human behavior.
Agreed, maybe some people are affected by this, but I really doubt that the rational, LBYM, delayed gratification types would benefit from not taking a cart.

It's the same with what some people claim about credit cards, that you'll spend more because you can just 'put it on the card'. I know it's money either way, and I know what I need to buy, regardless of the cart size or the method of payment.

I go with a shopping list. If I see something that looks like a good value that wasn't on my list, or is something we can use that I hadn't planned on, I buy it (or write it down so I can go home and research it).

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Old 03-03-2015, 08:53 AM   #117
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Yep - that's right. We have a ton of credit card users here who only take advantage of the float and the rewards and never pay interest or fees.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:55 AM   #118
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Good tactic. One psychological trick stores use to get you to buy more is to provide large shopping carts. Even in regular grocery stores, they're much bigger than they were 20 years ago. People tend to want to fill the void, or are more likely to make impulse purchases because there's room in the cart.
Our local Kroger has two sizes of carts. The "regular" fairly large size and a smaller cart. I almost always grab the smaller cart. I guess it feels odd to me to get the big cart and only full it up a little.

Of course Costco don't offer a small size cart (or pretty much a small size anything).
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:25 AM   #119
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I often see something at Costco that I believe is a very good buy but had not planned on purchasing. My trick is to buy it and have it put on a separate receipt. I then take the object and store it in the garage while I research it. About 60% of the time, one of two things happen: Either my research shows I should not have bought it, or the urge to have it goes away after I take a nap. Then I return it on my next trip, unopened, and ready for the next treasure hunter.

If I do keep the item, it usually proves to be a worthwhile purchase.
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:28 AM   #120
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I often see something at Costco that I believe is a very good buy but had not planned on purchasing. My trick is to buy it and have it put on a separate receipt. I then take the object and store it in the garage while I research it. About 60% of the time, one of two things happen: Either my research shows I should not have bought it, or the urge to have it goes away after I take a nap. Then I return it on my next trip, unopened, and ready for the next treasure hunter.

If I do keep the item, it usually proves to be a worthwhile purchase.
Excellent idea! (One of those... "Why didn't I think of that?")
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