We’re Costco shoppers. Since our second born could speak he knew how to recognize and say the name whenever we saw the Costco sign. We’ve gone for lunch, supper, coffee dates and ice cream treats. And, of course, since we live less than 10 minutes from two locations, it’s a regular stop in our bi-monthly shopping trip (if not once a week, just because :D).
People often ask us if things are a good deal at Costco or not. My answer is yes, but it depends on what you buy. Some things are really well priced if you’re using a lot of it, others are on the pricier side if you’re not used to buying a certain quality or brand name.
I thought it would be fun to share our favourite things to buy at Costco, so here goes! Please add your faves to my list in the comments so I can be sure to check it out!
(*NOTE* These items and prices are from Ontario/Canada so selection/prices/availability may vary)
- Milk – Normally we buy 1% and 2% milk, just normal, not organic (regulations in Canada are different than in the US so we don’t have too much to worry about in our regular milk). , for 4.99 / 4 liters (in bags – that’s just over a gallon). But at Costco, we can get Natrel fine-filter milk (which has a WAY better taste and also less “impurities” for the same price. Granted, regular milk is $3.77 for 4 liters, so either way you’re scoring a deal.
- Cream – half and half or other varieties are generally $2.69 – that’s a savings of close to $1 over the grocery store
- Butter – it’s not a great price, probably comparable to the grocery store regular price, but if you’re there you may as well stock up anyway :D
- Cheese – again, if grocery store cheese is on sale, the regular bricks at Costco are not a good deal. But if you’re lacking for time and there are no deals on, the Cracker Barrel medium cheddar is 907 grams for about $8
We LOOOOOOOVE good coffee. Since we bought a roaster and started making our own coffee we’ve become coffee snobs – I’m probably worse than my hubby! But we busted the coffee roaster from overuse and didn’t want to spring for another, so we’ve had to find some good coffee to replace it. The Organic Rainforest blend is an Arabica and our favourite
*UPDATE! Our new favourite is the fair trade coffee from Level Ground Trading.*
Check the bottom of the bag for the expiry date and find the one that’s furthest away! They’re generally really fresh and have a high turn-over in stock, so you can’t go wrong.
If you’re more of a Starbucks fan, you can buy the French Roast for…. Another great alternative is the medium roast from Kirkland (Costco’s own brand). PSSSSST – it’s roasted by Starbucks!! :D
30 eggs in a flat for under $4 . You can’t go wrong!
We are slightly obsessed with pickles in our family. A friend of ours used to work for Bicks and he’d bring us coupons and even asked the kids to help him pick their favourite commercial. Well, you better believe they’re branded now, Keekers (4) always asks if the pickles are Bicks before she bites into them :D You can get a great deal on these at Costco! A 2 liter jar is $3.99!
If you like a different kind of pickle, there’s another type my husband LOVES called Moishes. They are in brine and are HUGE! They have a more galircky flavour (I think) and less of a crunch – think your Montreal steakhouse pickle. These are also in a 2 liter jar for $4.99.
Kids’ clothes, adults’, shoes, socks, underwear – all a great price. Mens’ jeans are often $10 (not a fashion statement or anything, but good basic jeans). Kids pants are $12, Pjs $7.99 – $12.99 (for a 2 piece set), lots of great outfits for little ones, dresses, etc. Packages of socks are usually under $10 and there are also great deals on “undergarments”.
6. School supplies
A 6 pack of Elmer’s glue sticks lasts our family about a year and a half – they’re good quality glue and we keep them all over the house! $6.79 for a package.
Construction paper is also a great deal – the packages are 1 1/2 times the size of the ones at Walmart, and it also lasts us a year and a half. Unfortunately they don’t carry either the paper or the glue year round, so if you see it, stock up on it!
Organization carts – these ones are $80 at Michaels ($50 on Amazon). Nearly the same thing at Costco for $30!
7. Frozen meat
We buy most of our meat from a local farmer and butcher, but we still purchase some chicken and pork chops from the grocery store. We’ve been buying the frozen chicken breasts for about 4 years and LOVE them! They’re in a 3 kg box for $28.99. It’s not cheaper than grocery store on sale, but the size and quality of the meat outweighs the savings in my books.
Another great deal is the club pack of pork chops. These things are HUMONGOUS, thick and very juicy! 2 chops EASILY feeds our family.
8. Baking Items
Vanilla beans – This one is one of my favourites, but also not a year-round item, so make sure you buy it when you see it if you’re into baking! You can get vanilla beans online for cheaper, but they won’t be as fresh and then you have transport and shipping to worry about (if you’re in Canada). The other alternatives are far more expensive, so that makes these a great deal for us Canadians! 10 beans for $12.
Nuts are also a good buy. Almonds are 1.36 kg for 14.99. (Hint – we like to throw them on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes to crisp them up a bit more!)
- Sunmaid Raisins are $7.99 for 4 lbs (Sunmaid are good because they don’t contain any extra oils or additives)
- Dried mango
- Flour and sugar
- Chocolate chips
We’re going to be back into the cloth-diapering world in a few weeks with Miss E, but diapers are another item at Costco that are a great deal. You can’t use coupons from the manufacturer though, but they do regularly go on sale. A box of size 2 containing 228 diapers is $41.99.
PSSSSST again – the Kirkland brand diapers are just as good, often cheaper, AND made on the same manufacturing line as the Huggies diapers :D
If you’re a pampers fan you’re out of luck though – Costco doesn’t carry them – at least not at any Canadian locations I’ve seen.
Not ALL produce is as good deal, but there are some things we’ve been buying more regularly that help to stretch our every other week shopping trip out a little longer.
- Romaine – organic romaine hearts in a package of 6 for the same price as the grocery store? Yes please! $4.69
- Organic spring mix $4.79 for a 3 lb bag
- Baby carrots – a 5 lb bag for $6 lasts us at least 2 weeks
- Cucumbers – 3 english cucumbers in a pack
- Gala apples – prices for apples are really bad in the grocery stores right now (due to an early thaw last spring which led to the apple trees budding early, then a deep freeze that killed a lot of them) so buying a 6 lb bag of apples for $7.49 is a steal!
- Celery – we LOVE celery :D I know not everyone does, but it’s a fave veggie in our house! 3 large bunches with the greens removed, not bitter but sweet AND organic for $3.99
- Strawberries – in the summer is the best time / price. A 2 lb flat usually runs for $3
- Bananas – a large bunch of bananas for $1.79
- Frozen veggies – we usually buy the california mix (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower) and a carrot, green and yellow bean mix.
And since there’s no way I can keep this list to just 10, here’s a few bonus items!
Shreddies (only available in Canada, sorry!) are $3.99 for 3 1/2 pounds of yummy, diamond goodness :D (if you’re Canadian you’ll get that joke).
Iron Kids omega 3 gummies vitamins – these often go on sale too!
What family doesn’t love books? I have to steer clear of this aisle most of the time of I would probably always find something to buy!
14. The Membership
Go for it, it’s worth it! And if you find you don’t use it often enough to justify the cost, you can always return it. (Yes, for real, you can return ANYTHING at Costco, including the membership! But you didn’t hear it from me ;0)
Oh, you thought we were finished? Next week The Man is going to share his Man’s Guide to Costco’s Top 10.