Author Topic: Bulk Shopping  (Read 3701 times)

aarmfield

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Bulk Shopping
« on: July 30, 2013, 04:35:05 PM »
There is a local Costco in my area, along with various Wal-Marts, WinCo, Albertson's and Fred Mayer.  We used to have a Sam's Club, but they didn't get enough business, so they are gone.

I usually shop at WinCo as it is much closer to my home, and has best prices/can buy in bulk for wheat pasta, etc.  However, I do shop at Wal-mart, though it is usually only for the 5 dozen eggs as those are bigger eggs than the 5 dozen at Winco.

What I am having an issue with is Costco.  My in-laws took us there a few weekends back to prove to us that the prices are much, much better.  However, as I look at all of the things we buy, not only do I pay for a large amount of the items, breaking the items down by ounce/box/etc. the prices are much higher.

Here is an example:
Winco Foods Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - 1.98/lb
Wal-mart Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - 1.99/lb
Costco Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - 2.99/lb

How is this better?  I would love to buy more as I know I am going to consume it, but when it costs me $1 more/pound, I just don't see it being a good deal.  This happened pretty much all around the store.  We walked the place for over 2 hours looking at prices and the only things we came away with was toilet paper and peanut butter.

What do you do for the bulk buying blues?  Do you buy from a farmer? (Is that even possible?).

worms

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Re: Bulk Shopping
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2013, 11:15:17 PM »
I'm with you on this! Our limited experience of Costco meant we bought in bulk nice stuff that we would never normally have bought at all! 

Tami1982

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Re: Bulk Shopping
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 01:03:52 AM »
If you are a regular organic shopper Costco's prices are significantly better than many places, and often times even the nonorganic items are of better quality than the other stores.  I cannot say much for chicken, since I do not often buy it, but their organic basmati rice, organic milk, frozen veggie blends and many other things are highly competitively priced and high quality.  In addition, based on my personal beliefs, I prefer not to shop at Walmart if possible and in my area Winco is pretty controversial too for their antiunion stance.   My uncle is a former employee of Costco and he has retired with a good pension and had a very good wage and great benefits when he was working. 

Edited to add: Their price on vinegar and baking soda is really great as well and I use this as the basis for all my cleaning products.  Spices are a great deal as well.  Less than $3 for a huge jar of cinnamon/granulated garlic/other stuff.  People often say, "Who can use that much?"  Well, I can't, alone, but I split it with my family and friend and the cost per person is ridiculously low. What also helps cut the cost of the membership is that my parents, myself, and my best friend all shop with one membership and for the privilege we split the cost.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 01:11:05 AM by Tami1982 »

Hunny156

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Re: Bulk Shopping
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 11:32:58 AM »
Like anything else, you do need to do your research and know your pricing.  I shop at Costco weekly, but it's not the only stop I make.  Most of their produce is inexpensive and of good quality, but some of it is just outrageous, and knowing the difference is key.  For example, I will never buy cucumbers, tomatoes, apples or peppers at Costco, as their prices are often 3x higher than what it costs at Sprouts, which is just next door!

Our annual membership is easily made worthwhile just from the dry cat food we buy from there - the ingredients used for the price they charge is a huge value.  Hubby eats massive quantities of berries, and won't eat frozen.  The majority of the time, there is no comparison - the berries are far cheaper at Costco than they are anywhere else.

Shopping at Costco does require a high degree of control - we skip most of the store in favor of their perishables and some very basic dry staples.  Everything else, we turn a blind eye to - most of the time. ;)

backyardfeast

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Re: Bulk Shopping
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2013, 12:44:16 PM »
Agreed.  Shop around, and be careful to only compare things that you would actually buy elsewhere.  Costco is on our commuting route, and there are several very specific things that are WAY cheaper than elsewhere: cheese, some produce, granola bars, pasta.  But lots of other things are cheaper elsewhere.

And yes, buy from farmers if quality is important to you.  We buy a half pig each year, for instance, and think it is excellent value (although it would be expensive compared to Walmart, probably!).

ketchup

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Re: Bulk Shopping
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2013, 12:58:51 PM »
I've noticed that Costco isn't always the cheapest, but almost always is the best value.  One example: Costco bacon and Aldi bacon are almost exactly the same price per unit, but Costco bacon is way way better.  They care about quality in addition to price, which is what I feel sets them apart from other similar stores in a lot of ways.

For plenty of things though, they are amazingly cheaper.  It's just a matter of knowing what a good price really means.