I get all giddy and excited about shopping at Costco. I’m not sure why I love that store so. Perhaps it’s because I can stock up and purchase the amounts of food needed to nourish my large, growing family. Sure, buying at grocery stores with sales and coupons may be more cost effective…on occasion. However, my time and the cost of gas for multiple store trips is also an important factor. Sometimes simplifying my grocery shopping to mainly this “Warehouse Giant” is exactly what our family needs during this busy season of our lives.
So, flashing my Costco membership card and entering the wholesale club is truly a special treat. Knowing that prices can sometimes be a bit more than what I may find on a given week at a local grocery store, I try my best to be savvy when I shop at Costco. Here are some of my top staples that I purchase from Costco.
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I have found that their organic butter is a better price than purchasing it at Target, Trader Joes or Whole Foods. It is a great deal for two pounds of butter. We have also recently started using Kerrygold butter which is made from grass-fed cows. It is absolutely delicious. We still use the organic butter for baking and cooking and such, but use the grass-fed butter to flavor bread, rice, potatoes, etc. Costco has the best price on the Kerrygold that I have found.
2. Sour Cream
I get Organic Valley sour cream when it is on sale and I have coupons or sometimes I grab a 16 oz. tub of Trader Joes organic sour cream. However, grabbing a 3 lb tub of sour cream from Costco has been easiest for me lately and saves gas and time from chasing deals at multiple stores. While I do try to do my best with purchasing healthy, quality items for my family to enjoy, there are times when conveniently getting the quantity needed trumps store-chasing. (And yes, we use three lbs just about every week.) We typically have baked potatoes, taco salad and other dishes that require sour cream. For example, I just made my favorite biscuit recipe this morning which uses two cups of sour cream. Sour cream is a staple for our family, for sure.
Costco seems to have the best price around for milk. However, I must admit that we have stopped getting it from there that often. The jugs make pouring difficult, even my husband and I are lucky if we manage to not spill any on the counter. For me, paying a little bit more for a gallon that I can handle without waste is worth it to me. I would LOVE to find a local farmer to obtain fresh milk, but until then or until we own a cow (laughing over that one!), we merely look for the best price in our local stores.
I purchase our produce here, there and everywhere, but there are a number of items that I nearly always pick up at Costco. It has become my go-to place for frozen organic broccoli spears, organic whole carrots, cantaloupe, organic spinach or spring mix and bananas. The prices on these select pieces beat Trader Joes and Whole Foods just about every time. For instance, a one pound bag of organic whole carrots costs $0.87 at Trader Joes, but I can get a ten pound bag of organic carrots for $6.79 at Costco, bringing it to roughly $0.68 per lb. I know that to most people ten pounds of carrots sounds like a lot, but if you make your own stock, eat them raw, make soups/stews/pot pies or cook them as a side dish, or use them in desserts like this one, you go through them rather quickly. You could also prep and freeze them.
5. Coconut Oil
I recently read an article on the coconut oil that Costco carries. It was persuasive enough that I purchased a tub from there the next time I was in the store. The price was decent and the quality of the oil was equally as satisfying. I enjoyed being able to get a large amount and not having to wait for a sale and/or free shipping from an online company. The fact that I am purchasing the coconut oil in a store such as Costco allows me to be able to get that particular brand at an even cheaper rate than you would find on Amazon or even on the company’s website. I love bulk buying.
Here’s the link to the article that I read:
6. Baking Soda
While on our healthy living journey, we have found that we use quite a bit of baking soda. Like many, we obviously use it for baking and for numerous family favorite recipes. It is also used as a paste to help scour out our oven, remove film in our bathtubs and serves as a large component in my simple 3-ingredient homemade laundry detergent. Needless to say, we go through quite a bit of baking soda in our household. Buying it in bulk enables me to save nearly 50% per pound, even without a coupon or sale price. A 13.5 pound bag of Arm & Hammer baking soda is only $5.75. I’ll take it.
Over the years, I had heard about people buying their yeast in bulk and pretty much ignored the sage advice until I sat down and crunched the numbers. Yeast packets typically run over a dollar (sometimes $1.99) for 0.75 ounces. You can imagine my elation to be able to nab a two pound bag of yeast for $4.49. Wow. I could not believe how much money I had been spending on the individually pre-measured packets. Granted, I was often buying them on sale and with a coupon, but now that we no longer get a newspaper with coupons, I was just buying them at the price available. No more. Ten cents per 3/4 of an ounce tops two dollars any day.
I had been buying our organic sugars from Whole Foods bulk section, however I found that Costco boasted better prices on organic cane juice sugar and turbinado cane sugar. Since I was already buying in bulk and had storage containers, switching to Costco was no biggie. I am buying a bit more at a time this way, but it has been great for prepping ahead and stocking our freezer with homemade goodies. Having plenty of dry goods on hand also inspires me to make as many things as I can from scratch…which is just the nudge I need. The raw sugar (turbinado) is $7.99 for six pounds ($1.33 per lb) and the cane juice sugar is $8.59 for ten pounds ($0.86 per lb). We try to limit our sugar intake, but when we do use a sweetener, it feels good to use a more natural and unrefined option.
Just like the baking soda, our family goes through vinegar at a fairly rapid rate. We use it in our homemade glass cleaner, during the monthly cleaning of our coffee maker (I haven’t missed a month since I posted this technique!!), as a natural rinsing agent in our dishwasher, in our homemade all-purpose cleaner (will share soon) and in various food recipes. I can’t live life without it. It is $3.29 for a large five liter bottle.
10. Raw Honey
This is one that I’m still wanting to try. It is a new product that they just brought in, but I didn’t have room in our budget this week. I will get it next week. It is a large bottle of raw, unfiltered honey that is produced in the USA. I can’t remember the size of the bottle, but the price was $14.99. I do know that it was a much better deal than the raw honey that I picked up from Whole Foods. I love using honey in my homemade bbq sauce, topping a generous spoon on my favorite biscuit recipe, and using it to sweeten my evening cup of Mother-to-be herbal tea.
11. Brown Rice
I shared last week on my facebook page that our family has started a new menu tradition. It’s called “Beans and Rice Wednesday” and we all love it. It helps relieve some of the typical Wednesday afternoon and evening chaos and takes the question mark out of dinner prep. I finally bit the bullet, put on my big girl pants and learned how to successfully cook brown rice so that we all enjoy it. I don’t even miss our old organic white rice. While strolling through the aisles and just browsing the shelves to see new products that they’ve added, I realized that buying my brown rice from Costco instead of Trader Joes would save my family several dollars. I was so excited to have another easy staple to add to my Costco list, an item that typically never goes on sale or has coupons at other stores. It is $12.39 for an eight pound bag which equals to roughly $1.50 per pound. Other store prices that I found for organic brown basmati rice was $2.50 per pound. We eat rice at least twice a week, so saving money on this staple makes me happy.
When you are in a pinch and need something quick for parties and special events, Costco has the best prices around on their sheet cakes. Most stores charge over $20 for 1/4 of a sheet cake, however, Costco sells their 1/2 half sheet cakes for only $18. Their cakes are delicious as well, excellent flavor and very moist. So when you need a helping hand as a hostess, Costco is your friend.
I am truly trying to really reign in our grocery budget (again) and Costco is a huge help with reaching this goal for 2015. While I have gotten back into couponing (on a very limited basis), there are certain staples that are not effected by this decision. Shopping at Costco for the things listed above helps me not feel like I should be hunting for them at other stores. Costco has the best price for these twelve items—all the time—end of story.
So what do you do to help save money on staples? Do you have a certain store that helps with non-coupon items such as these? Anything that you would add to this Costco list? Have a warehouse club membership to Costco or perhaps a similar store? Share. I’d love to hear your input.