A few weeks ago, multiple readers emailed me asking for a list of items that I buy at Costco. One of them was contemplating whether or not the membership cost was worth it, and asked if I would share how we save money there. It's taken me a bit to write it all up, so dear readers, forgive the delay.
Cost of membership: Costco offers different levels of membership that range from $55-$110 per year. With the memberships, you get two cards. I know many families that each split a membership and have one card per household. It definitely reduces the yearly cost, while still allowing you access to the store.
We have the Executive membership which is $110 per year. It is similar to the $55 membership, but we get a 2% rebate back each year that actually pays the difference in the cost of the membership. If you were to plan on big purchases like appliances, etc., you'll receive a sizable rebate.
Here are some of the items we purchase at Costco. Many of the prices are ranges because I'm not 100% sure on the exact amount. Keep in mind, many of these prices may not be the same around the country:
I know they also have organic frozen veggies like corn and peas, but it isn't something we purchase. Friends who have used disposable diapers and formula, report that the deals at Costco are great. They also carry organic brown rice and quinoa, and really delicious rice crackers. Naked Juice and Odwalla are also sold there, but it's not something we purchase. We used to buy their organic carrot juice to give to Jack, because he is so anti-vegetable, but I didn't like him drinking so much juice all the time. Now I just put spinach or kale in his smoothies.
- Organic apples. Price varies depending on type of apple, but it's typically about $7 for what I think are about 5 pounds
- Organic whole carrots (I can't stand baby carrots) - 10 pounds for $6.50
- Organic baby spinach, 1 pound (it's a huge tub) for $3.99
- Brussels Sprouts, 2 pounds for $4
- Kiwi, 4 pounds for $6ish
- Pineapple, non-organic for $2.79
- Avocado, 5 pack from $3-5 depending on the time of year
- Tillamook Cheddar, 5 pounds for $14.99. Tillamook was named the "World's Best Medium Cheddar" in 2010, and it is a Pacific Northwest producer.
- Smoked paprika, $3-4
- Organic evaporated cane juice (it's the sugar we use), 10 lbs for $11.49
- Organic Better Than Bouillon, 16 oz for $7ish. I make my own stock, but these are great to have on hand if you just need a tiny bit for a recipe.
- Rosemary crackers. We're obsessed with these, and they're from a local company no less! 1 big box for $7.29.
- Environmentally friendly dish soap. I have no idea the cost of this, but it's a big jug for a very reasonable price.
- Cascade dish tabs. I tried and tried and tried environmentally friendly stuff in our dishwasher, but it just isn't working. It worked well in our last rental, but not in our new place. 90 tabs for $13
- Toilet paper - Charmin, a giant package for $20, and every 2 months they have a $2 off coupon in their coupon books
- Mozzarella, 2 pound loaf for $5-6 ish
- Dried dates, 2 pounds for $8ish. I use dates in homemade Lara Bars
- Adams Natural Peanut butter, 5 pounds for...$9 ish??? I still occasionally make my own peanut and almond butter, but Troy dropped a bomb on me that he doesn't like almond butter. When I'm behind in life, and short on time, I just buy some Adams. The only two ingredients are peanuts and salt. You do have to stir it to distribute the oil when you first open it, which is annoying, but a small price to pay.
- Organic frozen berries - the availability and price vary throughout the year, but we found a berry blend there once that had blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. 10 pounds for $10.
- Frozen blueberries, non organic - 10 pounds for $13. They're not organic, but they are from a Pacific Northwest farm. Jack loves to eat frozen blueberries ("cold blues") for dessert. I give them to him in the tub. It makes for a speedy clean up
- Organic eggs. I prefer to purchase them from our local farm, but the chickens have been on strike or something lately because they never have eggs. I've had to purchase them from Costco for the last few weeks, and man oh man, they're just not the same. 2 dozen for $6.
- Organic butter. I haven't purchased it from there in awhile, as I've been buying from Azure Standard lately, but I believe Costco's organic butter is $7.29 for two pounds.
- Snap Ware Glass Lock containers, which to date are the only glass containers I've found that don't leak if liquids are placed in them. I can throw these in my work bag, and they go from the fridge to the microwave. Costco sells a whole big kit of them in various sizes for $30. Every so often, they have $6 off coupons in their monthly coupon packets.
- Light bulbs. Last month, they had LED lights for $4.99 ($14.99, with a $10 off instant rebate), but they have a wide array of LED and CFL bulbs.
- Stretch Island Fruit Leathers. I've made these before, but sometimes it's nice to have a ready to go snack. The only ingredients are fruit purees and fruit juices. And they're a Washington State company!
- Stamps. I'm not sure how they can do this, but you can buy stamps for less than the cost of getting them at the post office. It's not a huge price difference, and you do have to buy them in a 100 pack.
- Photos. Their processing prices and times are reasonable. They also print holiday cards and invites for something crazy like $14 for 50 cards and envelopes.
- Nuts. The prices of these definitely vary throughout the season, but they have great prices on pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and peanuts.
- Organic meat. I know they carry it, but I don't know the prices. We purchase our meat at a local butcher, but we used to get the organic ground beef from Costco and I think it was about $3 per pound.
- Organic chicken broth. I no longer purchase it, so I don't know the price, but it was quite reasonable when we used to buy it by the box.
- Frozen wild caught fish. I don't know the prices, but they are affordable compared to other stores. We buy their frozen salmon and cod.
- 32 oz, Grade B pure Maple Syrup for $11-13
Last time I was at Costco, I saw they also carry coconut oil (finally)! I think it was a half gallon of Nutiva, for around $22.
How about you, what do you buy at Costco?