Author Topic: Costco coupons: even more Worth It  (Read 17467 times)

MoneyMage

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Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« on: April 29, 2013, 05:47:25 PM »
After reading "Is Costco Membership Worth the Cost?" (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/09/30/is-a-costco-membership-worth-the-cost/) I had an urge to go to Costco. Now, this isn't an unusual urge for me to have, Costco is like five minutes from my house and I am addicted to their pizza. However, this time I wanted to go with a different strategy.

My usual strategy is to only buy what I need now, to get in and out quickly and avoid spending hundreds on every trip to Costco. I just go with a general idea of "I need milk, juice, and something for dinner" and come out with only a couple of items in my cart. But I realize that with this mentality I will am missing out on amazing deals on things like toothpaste and as a result I will just end up spending more on at QFC, Target, or Safeway to get it fast when I realize I need it. Maybe that's a good idea for produce and fish, but it doesn't make sense when it comes to items that have a long shelf-life.

My new strategy? Stockpile!

It occurred to me that the best strategy for stockpiling items that I don't need right this moment would be to use the coupon book. So I went through the coupons and circled every item that was 1) a product I normally buy anyway and 2) something that will keep in the cupboard for a long time, or 3) I could use it in the next week or two. I ended up with a list of about 20 items that all had coupons or instant manufacturer's rebates, including things like:

- Post-Its
- Ragu
- Chicken & Cheese Ravioli (will go great with the Ragu)
- Vitaminwater
- Lysol toilet cleaner
- Diet Mt. Dew
- Welch's juice
- Dishwashing gel
- Kirkland Wipes
- Kleenex
- Bounty Paper Towels
- Toothbrushes

Besides the Post-Its, everything else was all located on one side of the store, making my trip very efficient and allowing me to avoid walking down aisles full of tempting "deals" that I didn't really need. In the end, I didn't buy the Diet Mountain Dew because I couldn't find any in the soda section, and I didn't buy the Bounty Towels because they weren't the small-sized ones and the Kirkland brand was actually cheaper even after the coupon. I also passed up on a couple of other things on my list that didn't seem like a big "steal".

I ended up spending about $166, with over $46 in coupon savings, so I saved more than 27% off of already-low Costco prices! And please note that $166 includes at least two items I bought that were not on a coupon. So I estimate the average Costco coupon gave me an extra 30% off. Score!

Any other Costco success stories?

savingtofreedom

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2013, 06:18:53 PM »
I would highly recommend purchasing the Takeya pitchers that are on sale at Costco right now for 15.99 for two - at least they are in Atlanta.  They are 30.00 bucks at Amazon.  Like you I am a fan of Vitamin Water (the zero kind) but I think the price is ridiculous.  One of the pitchers at Costco has a nice holder for fruit or lemon slices so you can make fancy water.  Add some stevia and lemon slices and you are probably pretty close to the lemonade flavor.   Now I make lemon water and ice tea for pretty much pennies!!!

Stockpiling is great if you use your stuff up.  I am by a Publix and they do a weekly BOGO which you can apply coupons to - both Publix and manufacturer.  You can save a lot of money but you have to be careful that you don't buy too much processed crap - like Brownie mix (my downfall).


Honest Abe

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 06:19:48 PM »
+1

Getting Costco coupon booklet is a high-point of my month. If it's something I absolutely use, I'll buy as much of it as I can on sale.

And it's true, the Kirkland paper towels are a better deal than name-brand even with the coupon, which is nice because you can just get them when you need them.

Roastonbone

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2013, 06:23:50 PM »
+1
Costco coupons ftw! Pretty much the only advertisements that I get in the mail that I actually read.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2013, 06:54:01 PM »
Stockpiling is how we do it. Every several cycles the Kirkland Sig eco laundry soap and dish soap will have a coupon, and then I'm a crazy lady with as much soap as is allowed. Same with the printer ink.

We have found less and less that we buy goes on coupon though. That's more about our spending habits changing over the last 5 years than anything Costco is doing.


N

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 10:34:25 PM »
 Post-Its
- Ragu
- Chicken & Cheese Ravioli (will go great with the Ragu)
- Vitaminwater
- Lysol toilet cleaner
- Diet Mt. Dew
- Welch's juice
- Dishwashing gel
- Kirkland Wipes
- Kleenex
- Bounty Paper Towels
- Toothbrushes

I agree stockpiling is a good strategy. but consider not buying items you have to throw away.
wipes? kleenex? paper towel? those are all disposable products that you could replace with cloth and reuse, just a thought.
also toilet cleaner? I use baking soda. cheaper by far.

GoStumpy

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 10:38:47 PM »
or Comet :)

grantmeaname

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 06:03:03 AM »
Our consumption habits changed and we no longer ate much of the (processed, pre-packaged) food they sold in bulk.
We don't buy almost any of the processed food they sell. We get some produce, all our meat and cheese, frozen vegetables, dairy, eggs, and dry staples like nuts and coffee.

arebelspy

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 07:30:16 AM »
Our consumption habits changed and we no longer ate much of the (processed, pre-packaged) food they sold in bulk.
We don't buy almost any of the processed food they sell. We get some produce, all our meat and cheese, frozen vegetables, dairy, eggs, and dry staples like nuts and coffee.

And it's really that much cheaper?  Because most of that you can't buy in bulk that efficiently (unless you have a chest freezer).

If you had a place where produce was always cheaper, so you never bought any at Costco, would you still do the Costco membership?
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tuyop

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 07:36:17 AM »
Our consumption habits changed and we no longer ate much of the (processed, pre-packaged) food they sold in bulk.
We don't buy almost any of the processed food they sell. We get some produce, all our meat and cheese, frozen vegetables, dairy, eggs, and dry staples like nuts and coffee.

And it's really that much cheaper?  Because most of that you can't buy in bulk that efficiently (unless you have a chest freezer).

If you had a place where produce was always cheaper, so you never bought any at Costco, would you still do the Costco membership?

Yeah. I only buy vegetables, dairy, nuts, and bulk staples (rice, oatmeal, olive oil) from Costco and the savings are very significant. We never have trouble with the food going bad either and we don't have a chest freezer.

As for a place where produce is cheaper... I've never seen broccoli florets for $6/kg, large gala apples for $2/lb, or carrots 10lb for $4, but I'm sure it's possible! In that case I'd probably look at how valuable the bulk staples are and see from there.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 07:39:31 AM »
We don't buy almost any of the processed food they sell. We get some produce, all our meat and cheese, frozen vegetables, dairy, eggs, and dry staples like nuts and coffee.

And it's really that much cheaper?  Because most of that you can't buy in bulk that efficiently (unless you have a chest freezer).

If you had a place where produce was always cheaper, so you never bought any at Costco, would you still do the Costco membership?

Produce is almost never cheaper here, but between cat litter and meat, Costco saves us loads still.

grantmeaname

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2013, 07:55:12 AM »
As far as fresh produce goes, we only get spinach ($1.70 a pound, IIRC), mushrooms, and some impulse buys like asparagus at Costco; we stick with the grocery store for salad greens, tomatoes, peppers, root vegetables, and the little bit of fresh fruit we buy. It's the other stuff that we really save money on:
Dairy and freezer:
-Shredded cheese is like $2.35 a pound compared to about twice that at the grocery store.
-Gorgonzola and feta are like $4/lb compared to twice that or more at the grocery store.
-Sliced aged (really good) cheddar cheese for sandwiches is $3.50 instead of $7-8/lb at the grocery store.
-Unsalted butter is like $9 for four pounds, compared to $4 a pound at the grocery store.
-Eggs are $2.89 for 36, just under a dollar a dozen, instead of $1.49 a dozen at the grocery store. We eat enough eggs that we get 36 every time we go.
-Yogurt is $3.99 for 2 quarts instead of $5.50 for the same quantity at the grocery store.
-Hummus is $5 for a quart instead of $5 for 6 ounces.
-Frozen berries are unbelievably cheap -- mixed (blue,black, rasp)berries are like $3/lb, and strawberries are a little less than that. It's the only way we eat berries for nine months of the year, and it's probably like a third the reason I'm such a Costco disciple.
-Frozen broccoli and corn are a little better (20% cheaper, maybe) than grocery store-brand alternatives.

Meat:
-Good-quality roast beef is $5.50/lb instead of $9/lb.
-Ground turkey is $2.69 a pound instead of $4.79 at the grocery store. You have to buy six pounds at a time, but it comes in self-sealed 1.5lb containers that freeze well. It's actually cheaper than ground beef, so we use it almost exclusively for all our ground-to-a-paste-meat needs.
-Boneless skinless chicken breasts are $2.29 a pound, which is less than however much they cost at the grocery store (I couldn't tell you). The 10lb bag takes up a lot of our freezer when it's new, though.
-Bone-in chicken pieces in small (8oz) packets are either $.99/lb (wings and drums) or $1.99/lb (thighs).
-Frozen boneless, skinless, self-sealed salmon and trout filets are $5.69/lb for three pounds, compared to $8 or more at the grocery store for a lower quality product.
-Whole primal cuts of steak are usually about 2/3s the individual price. We often buy a whole one, slice it into steaks, and freeze it to eat over a few months.
-Pork tenderloins, pork chops, and pork or beef ribs are a good deal cheaper than at the grocery store. In the summer, we often get the ribs, because they're like $2.29 a lb most of the time.

For the dry goods, the only exceptional prices are the olive oil, nuts, rice, apple juice, and coffee. Some things have decent or pretty good prices (chips, granola bars), and some things are more expensive than their grocery store private brand counterparts (pasta sauce, pasta), so you can't blindly shop the dry goods section or get all your dry goods at Costco and expect to save much money.

The bulk you have to buy in isn't as significant for some of the products (2-3lbs of the cheeses and seafood, for example, is only about twice the amount you'd get at the grocery store anyway), but for some (chicken breasts especially) it can be a challenge.

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2013, 07:59:54 AM »
I can't get over just how cheap your dairy and poultry is, in the US. If I can get milk for $4.50 a gallon, that's a really good price! Eggs at Walmart are still over $2/dozen.

And we do buy some cheese an frozen berries at costco as well as lazy, sliced and washed mushrooms too. And bagged romain lettuce is cheaper.

Canned tomatoes and such are always a decent price, but sometimes superstore has them cheaper.

Kirkland Greek yoghurt in the 500 ml container 3 pack is also a steal at under $9 compared to $5 each at the grocery store.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 08:03:55 AM by Self-employed-swami »

grantmeaname

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2013, 08:38:17 AM »
I was gonna blame agricultural subsidies, actually. I don't know what Canada's subsidies look like, but I know that milk costs about half what the market dictates it should in the US.

arebelspy

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2013, 08:42:38 AM »
As for a place where produce is cheaper... I've never seen broccoli florets for $6/kg, large gala apples for $2/lb, or carrots 10lb for $4, but I'm sure it's possible! In that case I'd probably look at how valuable the bulk staples are and see from there.

We have small Mexican grocery stores here in Vegas with very cheap produce.

Recent sales include stuff like 16 lbs. of oranges for $1, 20 avocados for $1, a 10 lb. bag of potatoes for $0.50, etc.

Stuff isn't always that cheap, but generally quite cheap even when not on sale, and there's always ridiculous sales going on.
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grantmeaname

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2013, 08:47:50 AM »
Our mexican grocery store has moderate-to-bad prices on all its produce. Even the sale stuff is awful, and there's never anything like five cents for an avocado.

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2013, 08:53:07 AM »
We have Sprouts here and generally the sale prices and quality beat Costco by a mile.  For the week starting tomorrow:

Boneless skinless chicken breasts - sale price $1.99 a pound.  Generally the sale alternates with chicken tenders at the same price or boneless skinless thighs at $1.49 a pound.  Large, meaty pieces with good flavor. 

Leaf and romaine lettuce is $0.88 per bunch.

Small avocados, 3/$1.00

Broccoli crowns or caulflower $0.88 a pound.

Amy's burritos 2/$3.00 - great emergency lunches.

Sprouts 18 oz bread (better than Orowheat and lower in sodium)  2/$5.00

White cheddar cheese  $3.99 a pound.

Sprouts carries many of the same items as Whole Foods and is cheaper than Costco.  They are primarily in Arizona and California.

I buy Kirkland cat food at Costco.  Paper towels and toilet paper when they are cheaper than WalMart.  In my opinion, the Costco beef is poor quality.  If you read the labels, it comes from Mexico or the US, at least here in the SF Bay Area.  Sorry, Costco, I don't want food from countries that can't or won't enforce food safety standards.  You have to watch the produce at Sprouts, as they import from Mexico as well.  The farmed salmon is better at Safeway than at Costco, although you have to pick a Safeway with a high turnover of fish.

The Just 4 You promotions at Safeway can be very good, and Target sometimes has pasta or other staples on sale cheaper than other places.

My pricebook is in my head, but keep one so you can spot deals when they come up.


tuyop

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2013, 08:54:40 AM »
"Country specific pricing" may be coming into play here. We get royally on price screwed up here in Canada to buy exactly the same goods - both consumable and durable. CostCo Canada may not be as attractive as CostCo USA.

Hey I'm talking about prices in my localish Barrie, ON Costco.

CNM

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2013, 09:47:13 AM »
The best deal at my local Costco is the powdered Enfamil baby formula and the organic chicken breasts.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2013, 11:25:47 AM »
Our mexican grocery store has moderate-to-bad prices on all its produce. Even the sale stuff is awful, and there's never anything like five cents for an avocado.

The Mexican/Indian/Pakistani produce grocer in my area has what I swear are the strawberries that Costco declared not good enough. It's the same packaging and size and everything. Except half the berries are 6 hours from molding.

I find the value at Costco (not always price, but value) to be nearly unbeatable.

tuyop

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2013, 11:26:44 AM »
The best deal at my local Costco is the powdered Enfamil baby formula and the organic chicken breasts.

This is p much all that a human being needs to live FWIW.

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2013, 02:58:05 PM »
I was gonna blame agricultural subsidies, actually. I don't know what Canada's subsidies look like, but I know that milk costs about half what the market dictates it should in the US.

Lack of subsidies is part of it, but for dairy the real issue is controlled capacity. If you want to sell milk in Canada, you have to buy a quota from an existing farmer. Supply/demand drives up the prices.... there's talk about getting rid of the system, but for most smaller farmers, the quota is the most valuable thing they own, and is probably guaranteeing their bank loans. So, bottom line, both countries have hopelessly distorted markets that benefit producers, but in different ways.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2013, 06:09:07 PM »
I was gonna blame agricultural subsidies, actually. I don't know what Canada's subsidies look like, but I know that milk costs about half what the market dictates it should in the US.

Oh yes, it is the subsidies at play (My farming family members are very frustrated by them).

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2013, 06:11:37 PM »

Lack of subsidies is part of it, but for dairy the real issue is controlled capacity. If you want to sell milk in Canada, you have to buy a quota from an existing farmer. Supply/demand drives up the prices.... there's talk about getting rid of the system, but for most smaller farmers, the quota is the most valuable thing they own, and is probably guaranteeing their bank loans. So, bottom line, both countries have hopelessly distorted markets that benefit producers, but in different ways.

The farm down the road from my cousin's beef farm, just sold their dairy quota for $4,000,000.  The quotas are part of the issue, but not all of it.

sheepstache

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2013, 07:46:53 PM »
Am I the only one annoyed by the idea of having coupons at Costco?  You often have to go out of your way to shop there because there are fewer of them than regular grocery stores, you have to pay a fee to shop there, and often you have to buy in larger sizes.  I feel like the whole point of these types of stores, the reason you would make the extra effort, is because they're giving you the lowest price possible.

I know the coupons might be loss leaders but it still leaves me with the feeling that they're not charging the lowest price possible on a regular basis, said virtuous feeling being the primary benefit of going there for me.

Heather

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2013, 10:17:09 AM »
I really like that all Canadian milk is made without growth hormones.  I'm happy to subsidize that.  I'll be sad when the barrier is taken down, but I suspect it will be some day.
 
I've got a Costco membership,  and I use it occasionally, while muttering complaints.   I can't use my spiffy 4% cashback Visa card there.  The other disappointment is that I shop fairly simply, and buy fewer highly processed, sweetened foods and designer foods than most people, so I can't really buy all that many items there.  They don't sell Shredded wheat or large flake rolled oats, for instance, so that's it for breakfasts.  I haven't found Tofu yet either, but it might just be hiding.  I try to buy soft fruits and vegetables grown in Canada first, then USA,  and avoid elsewhere because of pesticide levels.  http://www.cspinet.org/nah/pdfs/going-organic-canada.pdf    I don't find as many Canadian veggies and fruit at Costco.

It also annoys me when they check your ID on the way in and your receipt on the way out. 
 
I do always stock up on almonds, milk (freeze half), eggs (freezing expt failed), large bags of whole wheat flour for bread,  and Macintosh apples.   Propane for the barbecue is cheap +++!   So, it's still worth a monthly visit.


tuyop

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2013, 11:29:37 AM »
I can't use my spiffy 4% cashback Visa card there.

Oh, which VISA card is this?

Heather

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2013, 01:01:07 PM »
Scotiabank momentum visa infinite.  Pays 4% on groceries and gas.  Lower percentages on other things.
Wish I got a referral bonus :-) 
Has an annual fee.  Easy to earn it back.
Look around for an online offer and you can get most of the first year's fee back as a coupon.

H.

ketchup

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2013, 01:07:16 PM »
Scotiabank momentum visa infinite.  Pays 4% on groceries and gas.  Lower percentages on other things.
Wish I got a referral bonus :-) 
Has an annual fee.  Easy to earn it back.
Look around for an online offer and you can get most of the first year's fee back as a coupon.

H.
Not to one-up you and be a that guy, but my Sallie Mae Mastercard gets me 5% back on groceries and gas (and bookstores, including Amazon.com) without an annual fee.  Just throwing it out there. :)

And at Costco I use my Fidelity Amex that gives 2% back.

tuyop

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2013, 01:44:00 PM »
Scotiabank momentum visa infinite.  Pays 4% on groceries and gas.  Lower percentages on other things.
Wish I got a referral bonus :-) 
Has an annual fee.  Easy to earn it back.
Look around for an online offer and you can get most of the first year's fee back as a coupon.

H.

Hm, I'm rocking the MBNA Smartcash card, and I already have a scotiabank visa, it may be worth it to move over once the MBNA promotional rate is over.

noob515

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2013, 01:56:51 PM »
And it's true, the Kirkland paper towels are a better deal than name-brand even with the coupon, which is nice because you can just get them when you need them.

I calculate the price per unit on most of what I'm buying, and the couponed item is typically higher than whatever alternate brand they have that isn't on sale. 


Heather

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2013, 02:02:09 PM »
Ketchup: Up here north of the white line we have to use more primitive tools.

ketchup

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #32 on: May 02, 2013, 02:18:18 PM »
Ketchup: Up here north of the white line we have to use more primitive tools.
Ah, Canada. Missed that. Carry on then.

grantmeaname

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #33 on: May 02, 2013, 04:18:35 PM »
Am I the only one annoyed by the idea of having coupons at Costco?  You often have to go out of your way to shop there because there are fewer of them than regular grocery stores, you have to pay a fee to shop there, and often you have to buy in larger sizes.  I feel like the whole point of these types of stores, the reason you would make the extra effort, is because they're giving you the lowest price possible.
They're not actually coupons. It's a weekly circular that you get in the mail that tells you what's on sale. It has a bar code that can be scanned at the register, but the bar code takes the discount off of everything in your cart that's in the flyer, and usually the cashiers keep a bar code and scan it for me and anyone else who I bought anything on sale. You also can't use multiple coupons for the same item, and you can buy up to the limit of any given item. Finally, the deals for the coupons are very seldom good.

So they're not really coupons in any real sense of the word.

Ardes

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2013, 05:40:54 PM »
I stockpile for six months the week before my membership runs out, then don't renew till I run low.  This saves the $50 membership fee every other year.

LivingOnLess

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2013, 05:16:05 AM »
As for a place where produce is cheaper... I've never seen broccoli florets for $6/kg, large gala apples for $2/lb, or carrots 10lb for $4, but I'm sure it's possible! In that case I'd probably look at how valuable the bulk staples are and see from there.

We have small Mexican grocery stores here in Vegas with very cheap produce.

Recent sales include stuff like 16 lbs. of oranges for $1, 20 avocados for $1, a 10 lb. bag of potatoes for $0.50, etc.

Stuff isn't always that cheap, but generally quite cheap even when not on sale, and there's always ridiculous sales going on.


We have similar Mexican grocery stores here in Los Angeles, where I can buy fresh produce,
fish, and chicken at really great prices.

I've been wanting a Costco membership, while I'd like to buy stuff in bulk we don't have an
additional freezer nor the storage area for bulk products.  I'm not a fan of processed packaged
foods, but I'd sure like to find Quinoa at reasonable prices.  Ralph's carries it for $10.00 for a
2 lb bag...which I find prohibitive.


einzweidrei

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2013, 02:53:02 PM »
We live in a small one bedroom apartment so if we did go to Costco, I have no idea where we would store anything. Thus, I don't think a membership would benefit us at this time.

They built one not too far from me and since it's the only one in the area, it gets PACKED. The crowds alone (very tight parking lot) give me enough anxiety.

tuyop

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2013, 05:55:01 AM »
We live in a small one bedroom apartment so if we did go to Costco, I have no idea where we would store anything. Thus, I don't think a membership would benefit us at this time.

They built one not too far from me and since it's the only one in the area, it gets PACKED. The crowds alone (very tight parking lot) give me enough anxiety.

Don't be silly. Food doesn't take up tons and tons of space.

For instance, my last place had me, my partner, and our roommate living in it and it was 312ft2. We bought most of our food from Costco and didn't have a chest freezer. Food space or spoilage was not a problem.

Our current place is 520ft2 and it's just me and my partner and we have absolutely no problem with food storage.

Now, if you live in a place that is smaller than 300ft2 and has no cupboards or refrigeration, then sure, you won't benefit from a Costco membership. But at that point I think you're pretty much living in a storage locker so you have bigger problems.

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #38 on: May 09, 2013, 06:17:13 AM »
Wow, GrantMeAName, your prices strike me as very high for grocery stores. Many of my grocery stores are less than your Costco prices by a good bit. I think that not only are there differences between countries, but between regions in the US. (I'm deep South.)

-Shredded cheese is like $2.35 a pound compared to about twice that at the grocery store.
-Gorgonzola and feta are like $4/lb compared to twice that or more at the grocery store.
-Sliced aged (really good) cheddar cheese for sandwiches is $3.50 instead of $7-8/lb at the grocery store.
-Unsalted butter is like $9 for four pounds, compared to $4 a pound at the grocery store.
-Eggs are $2.89 for 36, just under a dollar a dozen, instead of $1.49 a dozen at the grocery store. We eat enough eggs that we get 36 every time we go.

-I buy shredded cheese at the grocery or Walmart when it goes on sale for $1.99 a pound (not unusual).
-Don't do the specialty cheeses you mention, so I can't compare there.
-Butter here is just over $2 a pound (I haven't bought it in a while because I'm not out, but I know I saw $2.29 about a month ago -- butter keeps well in the freezer, by the way).
-Eggs, though, you've got me there. It's usually $1.68 for a dozen large here.

-Yogurt is $3.99 for 2 quarts instead of $5.50 for the same quantity at the grocery store.
-Hummus is $5 for a quart instead of $5 for 6 ounces.
-Frozen berries are unbelievably cheap -- mixed (blue,black, rasp)berries are like $3/lb, and strawberries are a little less than that. It's the only way we eat berries for nine months of the year, and it's probably like a third the reason I'm such a Costco disciple.

-Yogurt is $1.68-$1.98 for 32oz (= 2 quarts)
-Hummus? Well, chickpeas are approaching $2 a pound, which is sickening, but a pound of dry chickpeas makes over a pound of hummus, and mine is better than the store version. Add the cost of a few tablespoons of olive oil and whatever flavoring, usually garlic. If I did buy it, though, the 6 ounce tubs are $2.99 here.
-Frozen berries are free here, since I pick them and freeze enough for the year, so I can't comment on the comparison.

Meat:
-Good-quality roast beef is $5.50/lb instead of $9/lb.
-Ground turkey is $2.69 a pound instead of $4.79 at the grocery store. You have to buy six pounds at a time, but it comes in self-sealed 1.5lb containers that freeze well. It's actually cheaper than ground beef, so we use it almost exclusively for all our ground-to-a-paste-meat needs.
-Boneless skinless chicken breasts are $2.29 a pound, which is less than however much they cost at the grocery store (I couldn't tell you). The 10lb bag takes up a lot of our freezer when it's new, though.
-Bone-in chicken pieces in small (8oz) packets are either $.99/lb (wings and drums) or $1.99/lb (thighs).
-Frozen boneless, skinless, self-sealed salmon and trout filets are $5.69/lb for three pounds, compared to $8 or more at the grocery store for a lower quality product.
-Whole primal cuts of steak are usually about 2/3s the individual price. We often buy a whole one, slice it into steaks, and freeze it to eat over a few months.
-Pork tenderloins, pork chops, and pork or beef ribs are a good deal cheaper than at the grocery store. In the summer, we often get the ribs, because they're like $2.29 a lb most of the time.

-I sucked it up and paid $5 a pound for a roast the other week, but I generally don't do that because of the cost; we just don't eat it much. Venison is healthier, anyway, right?
-I switched to TVP years ago, so I don't buy ground beef or turkey and don't know current prices.
- I buy 5-10lb bags of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, too, for $1.99-$2.29 at the grocery.
- for the bone-in wings, drums, and thighs, I buy 10 lb bags of chicken leg quarters when they go on sale for 68 cents a pound (my new "buy" price, up from 48 cents two years ago.
- We don't do the salmon or big cuts usually, so I don't know prices.
- Pork chops and roasts run between $1.68 - 2.29 a pound here.

So, region matters, I think. My go-to grocery stores are Sav-a-Lot and Walmart; I don't know prices at the full-price chains. I wonder if Costco in this area is cheaper than in your area, too? I won't be making the comparison any time soon, though; it's 90 miles to the nearest Costco.

tuyop

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2013, 06:35:17 AM »
Goddamn, shred and slice your own cheese.

I mean, it's got wood in it! Don't eat wood!

Rural

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2013, 06:38:55 AM »
Goddamn, shred and slice your own cheese.

I mean, it's got wood in it! Don't eat wood!

Costs more here to buy the blocks, believe it or not.

Wood is just cellulose. There are much worse things to worry about in the food supply.

tuyop

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2013, 06:46:35 AM »
Goddamn, shred and slice your own cheese.

I mean, it's got wood in it! Don't eat wood!

Costs more here to buy the blocks, believe it or not.

Wood is just cellulose. There are much worse things to worry about in the food supply.

Of course it does. Lettuce also costs more than feces, it doesn't mean you should buy shit instead of lettuce!

Rural

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2013, 06:57:59 AM »
Goddamn, shred and slice your own cheese.

I mean, it's got wood in it! Don't eat wood!

Costs more here to buy the blocks, believe it or not.

Wood is just cellulose. There are much worse things to worry about in the food supply.

Of course it does. Lettuce also costs more than feces, it doesn't mean you should buy shit instead of lettuce!

Sure, but again, wood is about the best option out there as far as food adulteration goes.

Don't get me wrong, I grow organic, so we're not eating the tomatoes with the pesticides (at least most of the time; we're about to run out of last year's crop). But I don't see the point in people who are eating conventional produce, or for that matter, store-bought "organic" produce, worrying about wood pulp. By the way, even though it's chemically processed, granular cellulose is allowed in "organic" labeled products. Furthermore, it's often on the outside of those cheese blocks; that's why they don't stick to the package.

I don't have the time to produce all my food myself, or at least not yet, and nothing less will ever be anything but a compromise. I do have the time, and spend my time, to cut out the worst offenders. Shredded cheese is not one of those offenders.

arebelspy

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2013, 07:25:22 AM »
Goddamn, shred and slice your own cheese.

I mean, it's got wood in it! Don't eat wood!

I don't buy shredded cheese because it's more expensive and we can grate our own, but that article is just dumb.

I mean informative, sure, I enjoyed it for that part, but the author's conclusion was ridiculous.

Quote
Hereís my question. Who cares if itís safe? Itís disturbingly unnatural to have wood pulp in your cheese or cotton in your salad dressing.

Um... I care if it's safe.  Beyond that, why would I care?  What makes it "disturbingly unnatural?"  As the experts in the article are quoted saying, what difference is there if your cellulose comes from celery or wooed pulp?  To me, none.  What makes anything "disturbingly unnatural"?  It's what gives plants their structure.  Why would that be unnatural to eat?

I'd buy shredded cheese without a hint of hesitation, knowing it's safe, were it more cost effective.

Thanks for the link though, interesting to know.
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tuyop

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2013, 09:11:26 AM »
Um... I care if it's safe.  Beyond that, why would I care?  What makes it "disturbingly unnatural?"  As the experts in the article are quoted saying, what difference is there if your cellulose comes from celery or wooed pulp?  To me, none.  What makes anything "disturbingly unnatural"?  It's what gives plants their structure.  Why would that be unnatural to eat?

I think that many people care about the holistic nature of food above and beyond the "safety" of food. We tend to lose the forest for the trees when it comes to food science and end up with things like polyglycerol esters of fatty acids in our peanut butter and being like, "yeah so what? sure polygycerol esters of fatty acids are dangerous in large quantities (note: may not be actually dangerous, I don't know wtf polyglycerol esters of fatty acids are (is?)), but so is water, am I right?".

The fact is that many of these additives are really bizarre and we have no business eating them because they're not found in an edible context in nature (lighter fluid in your McNuggets, anyone?) despite how innocuous they may be in lab rats. Mostly, we do not eat these ingredients in isolation and the effects that they may have when combined with all of the other stuff that we eat is almost completely unknown or untestable.

So, my point, on top of being facetitious about the silliness of preshredded cheese, is that cheese itself is already very rare in nature but can be made from straight-up milk and bacteria, cool. But it usually doesn't have wood in it until we add it in there so that we can shred it and chuck it in a plastic bag and ship it 7500 kilometers to save the consumer 45 seconds of his day to shred her own damn cheese and wash the grater. It really has nothing to do with the viability of cellulose as a food additive, or the viability of tertiary butylhydroquinone or whatever.

arebelspy

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #45 on: May 09, 2013, 09:22:46 AM »
/shrug

Alright.

To me, if it's completely safe (not just thought to be and might turn out later to be an issue, but actually was), I don't care. 

That's why, while I'm skeptical, I wish this guy well:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/soylent/

If wood pulp is fine for me, and the same cellulose stuff that celery is made of and other plants, why the hell would I care if it came from plants or wood pulp?  I'm assuming no one has a problem with eating plants, so if it's the same, what makes it "disturbingly unnatural"?  YMMV, obviously.
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cats

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2013, 08:49:39 PM »
We have access to an amazing cheap produce market AND live in a tiny studio apartment.  A costco membership is STILL worth it.  Also, we are only two people.

We basically make the price of the membership through the purchase of olive oil and canned tomatoes (we batch cook once a month and I will buy one of the enormous cans of diced tomatoes and use it in several dishes).  Anything after that is gravy.  We buy almost no processed foods.  We were actually discussing this last night and the only purchased item in our place that has more than 2 ingredients are the smoked almonds we buy from Costco as our snack fix when we're craving something salty.

Aside from the olive oil and tomatoes, we also buy things like:

-Cheese (best price on extra sharp cheddar around)
-toilet paper (this is probably the only item that requires some creative storage approaches)
-nuts (all at least $1/lb cheaper than any other local option)
-oatmeal (about 20 cents cheaper per pound than anywhere else)
-black beans (about half the price of the next cheapest option).

Note that most of these things do not require a fridge or freezer, nor do they take up a lot of space, even in costco level bulk.

Although most of our produce comes from the produce market, I do find that costco has the best price on garlic, sweet potatoes, and onions, so we get those things there.  Sometimes I will also indulge in a bag of fresh spinach.  But otherwise I find it's just better to shop the produce market or the loss leaders at Safeway.

socks, underwear, and undershirts/camisoles are also often available at a good price at costco, depending on how picky you are about brands/styles.  Then there are other things that we buy very infrequently, but when we do, costco is a MUCH better deal (e.g., liquor).

Honestly I think if I did not know we were guaranteed the $55 savings through a couple of things that we will buy regularly, I might ditch it.  For a "family" of 1-2 people it is definitely a little borderline and probably dependent on what else you have available locally and what your purchasing habits are.

einzweidrei

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #47 on: May 13, 2013, 01:59:37 AM »
We live in a small one bedroom apartment so if we did go to Costco, I have no idea where we would store anything. Thus, I don't think a membership would benefit us at this time.

They built one not too far from me and since it's the only one in the area, it gets PACKED. The crowds alone (very tight parking lot) give me enough anxiety.

Don't be silly. Food doesn't take up tons and tons of space.

For instance, my last place had me, my partner, and our roommate living in it and it was 312ft2. We bought most of our food from Costco and didn't have a chest freezer. Food space or spoilage was not a problem.

Our current place is 520ft2 and it's just me and my partner and we have absolutely no problem with food storage.

Now, if you live in a place that is smaller than 300ft2 and has no cupboards or refrigeration, then sure, you won't benefit from a Costco membership. But at that point I think you're pretty much living in a storage locker so you have bigger problems.

That's nice that it works for you. Just because it works for you doesn't mean it works for us. Or should I put some type of snarky response like you did to another thread I responded to?


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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #48 on: May 13, 2013, 05:13:27 AM »
Costco saves our two-person household well over $1,000 every year. (Yes, I actually calculated per-unit cost of staples like canned tomatoes at Costco and our cheapest grocery store for months to prove it to myself.) My stats mirror grantmeaname's details.

Agree with many here: Costco's convenience foods and dry goods are not great deals. A few things that are the same price (like paper towels) we buy in bulk just for convenience.

My husband is so devoted to Costco that "no Costco" is a deal-breaker as we research where to move for retirement....

(Pro Tip: In addition to butter, harder cheeses freeze well. I take out the amount of shredded cheese I need for a dish a bit in advance to thaw - very convenient and we never lose cheese to mold.)

grantmeaname

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Re: Costco coupons: even more Worth It
« Reply #49 on: May 13, 2013, 05:38:56 AM »
If you've never tried it and someone in the same situation says it works out fine, why are you so sure it won't work for you?