Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The damage

I shopped at Costco for the first time today (well, first time with my own membership card, when I wasn't just someone's guest).

I think I did pretty well, actually. I tried to abide by your advice. The hardest part was not buying any DVDs. There were some really good ones for less than $9 a pop (The Princess Bride, for example, which we own on video but not DVD). I also was theeees close to buying Angry Boy a book/magnet/toy, but I refrained. Kind of. Here's what I bought (keep in mind that the only thing I needed to get at Costco were dog biscuits):

  1. Dog biscuts. Unfortunately, not the size we normally buy, but we can easily break them in half for Small Dog. $7.99.

  2. Ziploc Sandwich Bags. I intend to take my lunch a lot when I go back to work--it's healthier and cheaper. Got an assload of bags, which will probably last us through Angry Boy's first year in elementary school. $7.49.

  3. Whole wheat pasta. Easy decision to buy this (6 regular-sized boxes packaged together). We only eat whole wheat pasta now, and we usually have it once a week. $5.65.

  4. 36 cans of V8. This is kind of a splurge. I usually buy the bigger bottles of the stuff at our regular grocery store, but I honestly think that being able to grab a cold can of it out of the fridge will make me drink it more often. I apologize for the excess waste I'm creating. $12.49.

  5. 4 Cars-themed sippy cups. Okay, this was somewhat unnecessary. But then, I thought, we're still using the same sippy cups that we got for AB when he was 1. It's okay if we get some new ones. $4.97.

  6. Sleeper PJs for ALB. It's getting butt-cold this week, so it doesn't hurt to have another fuzzy-warm sleeper. $7.29.

  7. PJs for AB. Ditto. Plus, he's outgrown the hand-me-downs he got from Muffin Man (we still let him wear them when it's not too cold, 'cause he likes the designs, but the pants now look like capris). $8.79.

  8. A book of Disney stories. You got me. Totally unnecessary. In fact, AB just got two new books when he went shopping with his grandma earlier this week. But I had so much fun reading to him last night--I think we read 8 books--that I wanted to get another one. Plus, it's got some stories he hasn't heard before (Peter Pan, for example). I consider it my one needless splurge. $9.99.

  9. Lightbulbs. Can't have too many. I got a dozen. $4.89.

  10. Eclipse gum. Don't even know how many packs I got, but it's NSAH's favorite gum. And it's so much cheaper than buying it at the checkout of our regular grocery store. $6.89.

  11. 5 packs of Glide floss. We floss a lot. $10.99.

  12. New York strip steaks. These look really good. I'm going to wrap them individually and freeze them. $23.63 for 3 1/3 pounds.

  13. Dried fruit mix. Angry Boy is always asking for "nut mix," which is my homemade trail mix. I usually toss some dried fruit into whatever nuts we have around, and he loves it. This is a pretty big bag, bigger than I can get at our grocery store. $7.39.

  14. Edamame. I may be the only one in my family who likes this. AB's had it on occasion, but he's not that into it. It was so cheap, though, that even if I only eat half of it, it'll be worth it. I think I can eat it all, though. Such a yummy snack, and easy to make. Plus, I get a kick shelling the edamame. Maybe not as relaxing as popping bubble wrap, but still fun. $3.99.

  15. 10 boxes of Kleenex. It's winter, and we have a preschooler. 'Nuff said. $12.59.

  16. Thank-you cards. Something I'd been meaning to buy for a while but kept forgetting. These are really cute, too. $9.39.

  17. 48 AA batteries. This might last us through next Christmas. Or maybe just the boys' birthdays. We shall see... $9.59.


The damage? With tax, about $160.

As I was browsing the aisles, I was trying to decide if I'll keep the membership for more than a year. Basically, I asked myself, "Will we save more than the $50 membership cost?" I think I'll really make out like a bandit around Christmastime (all those DVDs, and cheap books and CDs, too). And maybe if I start buying the store-brand diapers, rather than what we buy now. Honestly, I think it might be too close to call this year.

That being said, I can definitely see membership being worth every penny when both boys are older and (1) I need to pack their school lunches (snack bags galore, some of it even healthy!) and (2) they start eating us out of house & home. Angry Boy has already made it his mission to annoy us by chanting "I'm hungry" at least 10 times a day, or until NSAH starts calling him a "hungry, hungry hippo," at which point AB forgets his hunger long enough to assert that he is, in fact, not a hippo.

23 Comments:

Blogger honeykbee said...

He might be if you had discovered the Costco tiramisu.

4:57 PM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger Gina said...

We always challenge ourselves to try and get out of there for under a hundred bucks, and have succeeded maybe twice.

You did pretty good!

6:21 PM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger kenju said...

I still have a sam's membership, but I've been to Costco 3-4 times and I think they're great - IF - you can curb your desire to buy stuff you really don't need. You know who buys a biiiiiiig bottle of ketchup and it goes bad before she can use it all. I don't do that...LOL. Their gasoline is cheaper too, so check it out if your Costco has gas.

6:45 PM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger CM said...

Sounds like you showed admirable restraint.

Store-brand stuff (Kirkland brand) at Costco is usually very good quality -- I don't know about the diapers (yet), but I've been happy with everything else I've tried, from food to toiletries. My favorite mattress ever was from Costco, and at half the price it would have been at a regular store. And we bought several baby items (crib, changing table, stroller) at significant discounts. I've seen the same stroller online for $50 more than I got it -- that alone paid for our membership fee.

If I sound enamored, you should see my mom -- she's a total Costco junkie. It's really expanded her food horizons. Every once in a while she comes home with a giant tub of something and says, "See this? This is called 'pesto!'"

(P.S. - we have two giant bottles of ketchup in the pantry.)

6:52 PM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger Not so little sister said...

Sounds like you did a good job! I feel like we always spend way more and with no kids. We bought the ziploc bags in bulk awhile ago. Maybe two years now and we still have a lot left. We also like to buy meat there...you can get a pretty good deal on chicken and we repackage it for two so we can just take it out of the freezer in the morning. One time, on accident, we bought a giant bottle of dishwashing detergant two trips in a row. We left a whole bottle in our condo when we moved out!

I love Costco and I can't wait to start shopping there more when we are out of this apartment and into our new house!!

6:57 PM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger SuzanH said...

Only $160? That's amazing!

We get most of our meat there - the steaks are surprisingly good. Also, so I'm told, the baked goods are delicious.

I'm finally, after two years, on my second roll of plastic wrap. Those supplies will last 4-ever!

The DVDs are deadly - so cheap! So many!

They have a great deal on lettuce, which is nice, because I have a salad for lunch every single day.

I'd say you're easily going to make back the membership money.

8:33 PM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

We don't have Costco, so our membership is at BJ's. I love loading up about 4 times a year. I have enough coffee filters to last until 2008, instead of running out some desperate morning. We get by far the best deal on Milkbones and Pig Ears, the latter being my husband's reason for joining in the first place.
If we can get by the electronics display, we're usually golden.
Since we have three older children, I love being able to get big double boxes of the favorite cereals (Cheerios and their Honey Nut cousins) and toaster waffles. I know I'm getting a good deal on those.
Some items are harder to parse...

8:17 AM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger liz said...

Keep buying meat, tp, and diapers from them and you'll make it back.

8:30 AM, January 18, 2007  
Anonymous nutso-ranter said...

I show admirable restraint at these places... by not ever going in. I have seen what it does to my husband. He came home the other day with a 2-pack of the BIGGEST bottles of French's Mustard I had ever seen. I hate French's. And how are we going to use a 2-liter bottle of French's mustard in a house where no one eats it??? Grrrr... Plus, of course, its a 2-PACK!

Don't ever start me on the mega sized box of pukey snack crackers he bought 3 years ago, that we are STILL eating. (Or, my husband and son are, anyway... I refuse to take part). It was a brand he had never tried. "But they were such a good DEAL!" he argued, after being accosted at the door as he brought them in.

Honey, they're only a good deal if you like them and want to eat them for the next 2 years straight.

12:26 PM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger Alex said...

I agree that $160 is impressive. Before kids we could get out of there for about $100-120, with kids it is more like $200.

11:44 PM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

One of the few times I'd consider ditching my Canadian citizenship is reading what you guys can get and the prices you pay.

I just happened to pick up a case of 24 (not 36) V8 for $15.99Cnd, or $13.65US - and thought it was a stellar deal.

Also, my boys' heads would explode over Cars sippy cups. I'm off to see if I can find them online for any decent sort of price before conversion, delivery fees, duty, etc...

12:57 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

One of the few times I'd consider ditching my Canadian citizenship is reading what you guys can get and the prices you pay.

I just happened to pick up a case of 24 (not 36) V8 for $15.99Cnd, or $13.65US - and thought it was a stellar deal.

Also, my boys' heads would explode over Cars sippy cups. I'm off to see if I can find them online for any decent sort of price before conversion, delivery fees, duty, etc...

12:58 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

One of the few times I'd consider ditching my Canadian citizenship is reading what you guys can get and the prices you pay.

I just happened to pick up a case of 24 (not 36) V8 for $15.99Cnd, or $13.65US - and thought it was a stellar deal.

Also, my boys' heads would explode over Cars sippy cups. I'm off to see if I can find them online for any decent sort of price before conversion, delivery fees, duty, etc...

12:58 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

One of the few times I'd consider ditching my Canadian citizenship is reading what you guys can get and the prices you pay.

I just happened to pick up a case of 24 (not 36) V8 for $15.99Cnd, or $13.65US - and thought it was a stellar deal.

Also, my boys' heads would explode over Cars sippy cups. I'm off to see if I can find them online for any decent sort of price before conversion, delivery fees, duty, etc...

1:00 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

Yikes! I have no idea why it did that multiple comment thing - please feel free to delete them all! Was just coming back to say I can score some Cars sippy cups on eBay for $30US including shipping. Um, no thanks!

1:25 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger ccw said...

I am very impressed. You showed major restraint. The place is great for packing lunches and cereal is an excellent buy.

We easily save our $100 for our membership since I buy all of our wipes, diapers, and most toiletries there. However, we also buy an excessive amount of things we don't need - PS3, $17 pop-up books, big iPod, new light fixtures, etc.

It's great for Christmas but be warned: they start in October and if you don't buy it when you first see it you'll probably be out of luck. So buy early, they'll let you return anything at anytime.

If you can't tell Costco=crack for me.

2:52 PM, January 19, 2007  
Anonymous Dawn said...

If you want to really make your money back on your membership, check out costco.com. We bought our dell computer and kodak 8mp digital camera there for big savings.
In-store there are a few things we ALWAYS buy there: shredded cheese (repackage into your new quart-sized ziploc bags and freeze), gorgeous huge fresh pre-formed hamburgers (repackage 2 to a ziploc), soup, cottage cheese, sour cream, toiletries of all kinds. Enjoy!!!
BTW, I agree with the previous poster about only buying what makes sense. We're only 2 people, so if it can't be repackaged & frozen OR have an exceptionally long shelf life, we don't buy it there.
Love, love, love CostCo!!!

4:45 PM, January 19, 2007  
Anonymous Di Kotimy said...

Another fan.... The NY Strip steaks, I live for. The cheeses also make me very, very happy. Too much to actually consume before little blue mold colonies start to form -- but that just allows you to justify the FoodSaver vacuum packaging gadget you know you want. Before committing to membership, I compared the prices for coffee and cheese and determined based on those two items alone I'd make my money back. Plus, since we go on weekends generally, we save the cost of lunch by grazing our way through the samples... =) Also, haven't paid more than $20 for running shoes since I joined. Plus they have a good selection of organics and a reputation for treating employees very well. (Yep, been drinking the kool-aid. Love Costco.)

7:52 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

You are a much stronger person than I am! I always spend far too much money there.

I love, love, love edamame too, btw. No one else in my family will eat it either. And you're definitely on the mark with the cans of V8. I can never get through the whole big bottle before it goes bad. Cans are just smart!

8:41 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger susan said...

I bought the Princess Bride the last time I went to Costco--definitely unnecessary, but it helped cajole Politica out of a crappy mood.

2:55 PM, January 20, 2007  
Blogger AAYOR said...

They have GREAT frozen fish filets--the kind that are individually packaged. I buy tuna and mahi there and cook the filets 84,000 different ways. I can't even find frozen fish like that in our supermarket.

Also, I don't know if diapers are really that much cheaper at Costco, but you can't buy the ginormous box anywhere else around here, so I think it just saves time to buy diapers there--fewer trips!

10:41 PM, January 20, 2007  
Anonymous Lawyer mom of 2 under 2 said...

I love, love, love Cosco.

I prefer the Kirkland diapers (if you like Huggies, you'll like Kirkland). Formula is soooo much cheaper (we use Enfammil) and we have CASES of baby wipes. Baby Tylenol, Motrin, etc. is so much cheaper. We buy the meats & use our foodsaver. They even have some organic stuff (but you have to be careful, will you really eat 48 yogurts before they expire in 2 weeks?).

I do ALL of my Christmas shopping in one (long) day.

We actually paid for the super-duper premium membership that comes with an American Express card. We get enough cash back to more than pay for our membership fee.

The only thing that we don't buy are the giant containers of ketchup, etc. If I can't lift it or repackage it, then I don't need it.

5:22 PM, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Mother in Chief said...

There were definitely a few *extra* purchases in there, but not bad for a first-timer... You didn't come out with a new grill or a sofa set. And I think that I save more than my membership fee in cottage cheese alone. You get those huge containers for $4. I like cottage cheese.

6:04 PM, February 04, 2007  

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