Author Topic: What to buy at Costco???  (Read 4768 times)

RunningintoFI

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #50 on: January 27, 2023, 07:01:45 PM »
I love Costco and overload on really basic things there.

Late July organic chips
Pineapples (they are consistently twice the size of my local grocery stores and usually the same price or cheaper)
Tires
Clothes - all my work shirts and pants are from Costco at this point
Frozen pizzas
Frozen burritos
Fruits such as berries and apples
Banana bundles for smoothies are a steal
Pies during the holiday seasons
Cookie combo packs for work events
Butter
Some of the best gluten free bread is also far more affordable at Costco
Kirkland organic tortilla chips - amazing for parties

I could go on way too long.

rosarugosa

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #51 on: January 28, 2023, 05:16:11 AM »
Our Costco always seems pretty busy. The weekends are certainly worse in general, but the one exception we found was late Sunday afternoon, around 4:30 PM. 

Dicey

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #52 on: January 28, 2023, 06:21:21 AM »
It's up to the individual manager, but most warehouses open 10-15 minutes before their stated opening time. It's a good way to get a jump on the crazy. Monday morning gets the least amount or restocking, so avoid that. Tuesday or Wednesday first thing are better bets.

Never shop on the first day of a new circular, it's a madhouse. Frequently there is a lull right before a circular begins, if nothing on your list is about to go on sale, it's a good time to shop.

There are frequently unadvertised sales, and they're on a different cycle than the circular. Check the signs for sale effective dates. Sometimes I can stock up on something perishable twice during the sale period.

Speaking of unadvertised sales, sometimes their already discounted gift cards go on flash sales. I always scan that section, and look for yell8w ink. IIRC, if a vendor goes belly-up, Costco will refund your money. In fact, most gift cards are returnable.

Costco price adjusts if anything goes on sale within 30 days. You have to take your receipt to Member Service and ask for it, but they'll make the adjustment with no hassle.

Most warehouses have self check-out lanes now. I avoid them, because the staff is much faster than I am, but the self serve option means the regular lines are markedly shorter these days.

Like @englishteacheralex, my "home" warehouse is a Top 10 location. It's never not busy. You definitely just have to gear up mentally for it. In my working travel days, I often shopped at other warehouses. The gas station at Gilroy (CA), never has a line, but I haven't there once a month for over a decade. Recently, we were passing through the area, returning home from a road trip. I told DH there wouldn't be a line and he was shocked when that still proved to be true. Speaking of road trips: while not conveniently close to the pumps, Costco's bathrooms are always clean and stocked.

One more oddity: Salt Lake City has a combined warehouse/business center location that is gigantic. It has things I never see elsewhere. We try to hit that one whenever we're passing through.

Cranky

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2023, 01:17:35 PM »
I avoid weekends, but honestly - it's a vast warehouse and the lines move pretty fast.

Another Reader

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2023, 03:29:16 PM »
There are FOUR Costcos in San Jose, one in Gilroy, one in Santa Clara, one in Sunnyvale and one in Fremont. All are busy all the time.  The closest store to me does the 8:45 AM soft open.  Tuesday at 8:45 is the time to go.  Gas is cheapest at Costco, unless you accumulate a lot of points at Safeway and a store with gas is nearby.

The chicken parts are treated with chemicals so don't work for me. Sprouts is much better quality and their sale prices are lower.  Eggs are cheap, but I can't use the quantity.  Kirkland dry cat food is cheaper than Purina.  Canned is cheaper elsewhere.  A lot of the food they sell is packaged prepared food with high sodium and additives.

I can't recall if Sanders caramels were on sale this year.  The stores here did not carry a large stock.  They are seasonal. 

Clothes are hit and miss.  I did get three pairs of jeans for $10 each that were a lot higher at Penney's on sale.  The 32 degrees vests and jackets are suitable for mild climates and were cheap on sale.

Tires are cheapest at Costco.  The sale alternates between Bridgestone and Michelin. Only buy tires on sale, as the sale prices are better than other tire stores.

The gas and the food justify the membership cost for me.

Dicey

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #55 on: January 29, 2023, 11:36:41 AM »
There are FOUR Costcos in San Jose, one in Gilroy, one in Santa Clara, one in Sunnyvale and one in Fremont. All are busy all the time.  The closest store to me does the 8:45 AM soft open.  Tuesday at 8:45 is the time to go.  Gas is cheapest at Costco, unless you accumulate a lot of points at Safeway and a store with gas is nearby.

The chicken parts are treated with chemicals so don't work for me. Sprouts is much better quality and their sale prices are lower.  Eggs are cheap, but I can't use the quantity.  Kirkland dry cat food is cheaper than Purina.  Canned is cheaper elsewhere.  A lot of the food they sell is packaged prepared food with high sodium and additives.

I can't recall if Sanders caramels were on sale this year.  The stores here did not carry a large stock.  They are seasonal. 

Clothes are hit and miss.  I did get three pairs of jeans for $10 each that were a lot higher at Penney's on sale.  The 32 degrees vests and jackets are suitable for mild climates and were cheap on sale.

Tires are cheapest at Costco.  The sale alternates between Bridgestone and Michelin. Only buy tires on sale, as the sale prices are better than other tire stores.

The gas and the food justify the membership cost for me.
Lol, I have been to all of these locations. The one in Sunnyvale has a terrible parking lot! Fun fact the GM from that store now runs the one closest to me.

Can we talk a bit more about the "chicken parts"? Do you mean the fresh "air chilled" Kirkland or the frozen Foster Farms? What do they do to them?

P.S Nice to see you 'round these parts again, AR!

sonofsven

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #56 on: January 29, 2023, 12:20:09 PM »
There are FOUR Costcos in San Jose, one in Gilroy, one in Santa Clara, one in Sunnyvale and one in Fremont. All are busy all the time.  The closest store to me does the 8:45 AM soft open.  Tuesday at 8:45 is the time to go.  Gas is cheapest at Costco, unless you accumulate a lot of points at Safeway and a store with gas is nearby.

The chicken parts are treated with chemicals so don't work for me. Sprouts is much better quality and their sale prices are lower.  Eggs are cheap, but I can't use the quantity.  Kirkland dry cat food is cheaper than Purina.  Canned is cheaper elsewhere.  A lot of the food they sell is packaged prepared food with high sodium and additives.

I can't recall if Sanders caramels were on sale this year.  The stores here did not carry a large stock.  They are seasonal. 

Clothes are hit and miss.  I did get three pairs of jeans for $10 each that were a lot higher at Penney's on sale.  The 32 degrees vests and jackets are suitable for mild climates and were cheap on sale.

Tires are cheapest at Costco.  The sale alternates between Bridgestone and Michelin. Only buy tires on sale, as the sale prices are better than other tire stores.

The gas and the food justify the membership cost for me.
Lol, I have been to all of these locations. The one in Sunnyvale has a terrible parking lot! Fun fact the GM from that store now runs the one closest to me.

Can we talk a bit more about the "chicken parts"? Do you mean the fresh "air chilled" Kirkland or the frozen Foster Farms? What do they do to them?

P.S Nice to see you 'round these parts again, AR!
I buy the Kirkland air chilled six packs,  which are cooled with cold air. If they are cooled by dunking in ice water you are paying for water and also the possibility of chlorine in the ice bath. I'd be interested to learn more as well as the air chilled bone in thighs are a staple in my kitchen.

Another thing I buy is the Kirkland synthetic motor oil; It goes on sale regularly @ 2.5 gallons/$30.

I try to buy only ingredients, not meals or snacks, this helps the budget.

I wish Costco sold 5# bins of Wyld gummies.

Another Reader

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #57 on: January 29, 2023, 01:39:30 PM »
There are FOUR Costcos in San Jose, one in Gilroy, one in Santa Clara, one in Sunnyvale and one in Fremont. All are busy all the time.  The closest store to me does the 8:45 AM soft open.  Tuesday at 8:45 is the time to go.  Gas is cheapest at Costco, unless you accumulate a lot of points at Safeway and a store with gas is nearby.

The chicken parts are treated with chemicals so don't work for me. Sprouts is much better quality and their sale prices are lower.  Eggs are cheap, but I can't use the quantity.  Kirkland dry cat food is cheaper than Purina.  Canned is cheaper elsewhere.  A lot of the food they sell is packaged prepared food with high sodium and additives.

I can't recall if Sanders caramels were on sale this year.  The stores here did not carry a large stock.  They are seasonal. 

Clothes are hit and miss.  I did get three pairs of jeans for $10 each that were a lot higher at Penney's on sale.  The 32 degrees vests and jackets are suitable for mild climates and were cheap on sale.

Tires are cheapest at Costco.  The sale alternates between Bridgestone and Michelin. Only buy tires on sale, as the sale prices are better than other tire stores.

The gas and the food justify the membership cost for me.
Lol, I have been to all of these locations. The one in Sunnyvale has a terrible parking lot! Fun fact the GM from that store now runs the one closest to me.

Can we talk a bit more about the "chicken parts"? Do you mean the fresh "air chilled" Kirkland or the frozen Foster Farms? What do they do to them?

P.S Nice to see you 'round these parts again, AR!

I DM'd you. LMK if you didn't get it.

The Costco south of Dicey on the way to San Jose is an unusual store.  The parking lot is smaller than most.  Always packed.  However, it was the store that at Christmas a few years ago had the $50k diamond necklaces and the luxury brand watches on display.  Lots of money in that neighborhood...

oneday

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #58 on: January 29, 2023, 05:21:03 PM »
The Costco we go to the most is the busiest one in the nation (Costco at Iwilei). It's hard to overstate the popularity of Costco in Hawaii, so there almost isn't a time when it isn't packed with people.

HOWEVER, the checkout lines move really fast. Once you have a sense of where things are (yes, they move things a lot, but typically I can find everything pretty quickly), you can still shop efficiently and get out faster than you'd think. Parking can be a challenge, but I usually just suck it up and park quite far away and hike in.

If you're aiming for a time with fewer people, yes, mid mornings and afternoons on weekdays are the ticket. I write this post mainly to encourage you to not worry too much about the busy-ness factor if you can only get there on Saturdays.

I'm a working stiff and usually only go to Costco on weekends. The lines are vastly improved these days. One thing that helps get through the staffed checkout faster, if you don't have a loaded cart, is to leave everything in the cart, just turn the barcodes up. The checker will scan it all with the gun and nobody has to unload/reload the whole cart.

I've also found if the self-checkouts are not too busy and you have something that's too heavy for the scale (hello 42# cat litter), the attendant will scan that in with their gun, but also typically scan everything else too. Lightning fast.

If the gas line is long, I will shop, get a slice of pizza, and eat it in the car while waiting in the gas line.

Sandi_k

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #59 on: January 29, 2023, 06:13:44 PM »

I'm a working stiff and usually only go to Costco on weekends. The lines are vastly improved these days.


My favorite secret time is Thursday evening, after work. I can get in and out in under 25 minutes, at the Livermore Costco.

My theory is that by Thursday at 6 pm, most folks have the kids home for homework and dinner, and postpone the Costco run until the weekend as a "family activity."

MgoSam

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #60 on: February 02, 2023, 11:50:33 AM »
Our Costco always seems pretty busy. The weekends are certainly worse in general, but the one exception we found was late Sunday afternoon, around 4:30 PM.

During sporting events are usually nice.

Dicey

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #61 on: February 02, 2023, 09:52:25 PM »
We were running errands tonight and at almost 7pm we decided to grab a pizza at Costco. We got crazy good parking, walked in, ordered and paid at the kiosk, walked to the window, just in time for the pizza guy to pull the pie out of the oven. We noticed there were very short checkout lines and way more spaces than usual in the parking lot. Unbelievable!

My best guess is there is a circular about to drop. Or sunspots, perhaps.

dcheesi

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #62 on: February 03, 2023, 05:35:08 AM »
For a while there, Friday evenings seemed to be better; we figured maybe everyone else was out partying or whatever? But eventually that stopped "working".

Nowadays I try to go at odd times during the normal workday, but it's hit or miss. Except when I go to the one near my office; that one is insane 24/7 AFAICT

xfactor9600

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #63 on: February 03, 2023, 10:16:02 AM »
Here's a handy link that tells you what all the pricing means. It seems to be accurate at my costco. YMMV.

https://www.popsugar.com/family/Costco-Price-Tag-Meanings-46334250

GilesMM

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #64 on: February 03, 2023, 10:35:46 AM »

WRT to grocery prices, there's little point in trying to see the prices online. If you want to get a sense for what prices are, you can check out instacart or other delivery options for a ballpark, or ask someone with a Costco membership to look at a particular price (I'm sure many Costco members in this thread would do so if asked!).

When I had a membership, I don't think it was an option to look up the prices online for grocery items. Maybe someone who has a current membership can confirm. I know the website does show some prices, but they are significantly higher than actual in store prices.

My strategy when i had a membership was to find the item number and call to ask the price. However, one time I did that and was given an incorrect price and it kind of ruined my day. haha. I made arrangements to pick up the items for myself and two others based on the price, and bundled my errands around the Costco location, only to find out the price was the same as it was at BJs, which was much closer to me.


They purposely withhold the in-store prices and inventory because they want you to come to the store in person. They trigger the "hunter-gatherer" exploration gene we all have that says "Go to CostCo and see if any exciting new things are for sale today!".  It's a treasure hunt scheme.  And, of course, to get to the low-margin boring stuff we need every week like salad and milk you have to go all the way to the back of the store, through a maze of Electronics, Jewelry, Clothes, Furniture, Appliances and other high-dollar, high-margin crap you likely don't need every day.  We try to limit our visits to a couple times per month, mostly to get a roast chicken for the dog (we are afraid of the chemicals in those grotesquely fat birds but she loves them!).

Telecaster

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #65 on: February 03, 2023, 01:43:54 PM »
So much great information, everyone.  If our weekend doesn't get too crazy, we plan to go this weekend to activate our membership.

Is there a time that is better than others to visit?  I'm guessing mid-day (but not lunch time, so maybe 11a or 2p?), mid-week?   Any tips here would be much appreciated, as the long lines and crazy parking lot are one of the main detractors to Costco, in my mind.

That's the thing about Costco.  It can be shitshow, especially on the weekends.  So go on a week day if at all possible.  Vastly fewer people during the week.   One thing I've observed is that a lot of people like to get there right as it opens in hopes of avoiding the shitshow.   So that can actually be a bad time.   About an hour after that the initial surge clears out and it be manageable.   Weekend afternoons are always packed.   There is some sort of weird mind-control device that makes some Costco shoppers completely unable to detect other Costco shoppers.  So you get a lot of thing like people very slowly turning their carts at the intersection of two aisles while looking the opposite direction.  It is almost a relief to get in line sometimes.

In addition to things other people mentioned:

--Men's dress shirts.  Kirkland brand is high quality.  And they have name brand shirts for not much more money
--Men's Hawaiian shirts (not always available).  Again, high quality (pocket pattern matches the shirt, etc.), manufactured by a brand name. 
--Groceries are a bit hit or miss especially for staples, unless you need a lot of something.  Then it can be much, much cheaper.   Coffee is much cheaper.
--Outdoor stuff like pop-up tents and beach chairs.
--Smoker pellets
--Kitchen things like appliances, plates, cookware, etc.
--Tools

A word about the latter, and Costco in general.  The thing about Costco business model is they mix up their inventory.   This encourages people to shop the whole store to see if there are any deals.  But that also means that that cool stand mixer you saw there last month might not be there next time you go.   

grantmeaname

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Re: What to buy at Costco???
« Reply #66 on: February 03, 2023, 02:24:14 PM »
They purposely withhold the in-store prices and inventory because they want you to come to the store in person. They trigger the "hunter-gatherer" exploration gene we all have that says "Go to CostCo and see if any exciting new things are for sale today!".  It's a treasure hunt scheme.  And, of course, to get to the low-margin boring stuff we need every week like salad and milk you have to go all the way to the back of the store, through a maze of Electronics, Jewelry, Clothes, Furniture, Appliances and other high-dollar, high-margin crap you likely don't need every day.  We try to limit our visits to a couple times per month, mostly to get a roast chicken for the dog (we are afraid of the chemicals in those grotesquely fat birds but she loves them!).
While I generally agree with you that that is how most retailers work,  Costco prices differently and makes basically no money on your in store purchases after you've paid your membership for the year (exceptions being things like the Costco Auto program and trips, not normal things on shelves). They mark up everything in the store by a consistent margin of around 13% which covers the minimal costs of running the store itself. Costco would be just as happy if you paid them your $55 and disappeared...