I love Costco. I hate Costco. I love Costco. I hate…ok, where was I?
It is hard to shop at Costco and be frugal. You really have to use all of your “money-managing-super-powers” to stay within your budget and get in and out of the store in a short period of time. For me, more time spent inside Costco generally equates to more money being spent on items that aren’t necessary.
The second you walk into Costco, you are greeted with bright, shiny new electronic gadgets. I look at those cameras and tvs and think oh, yes, we need that 52″ tv and yet we hardly even watch tv! Any Costco I’ve ever been to puts those electronics right there at the door trying to entice you to stray from your list and splurge. Be strong, be strong!
Costco also makes me nuts by charging for the privilege to shop there. This really bothers me and yet there I am elbowing a poor old lady out of the way, trying to get the last pot-sticker from one of the sample people.
At Costco, everything is big. The parking lot, the cars in the parking lot, the carts, the packaging, the bags of potato chips, the hot dogs. Everything. If you want just one of something, you’re out of luck.
So, what do I buy at Costco? The things our family needs. Contact lenses, toilet paper, tissues, coffee, vitamins, sugar, peanut butter, vanilla ice cream (yes, ice cream qualifies as a “need”) brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Our Costco is carrying more and more organic items and I love that!
You need a strategy for shopping at Costco if you want to get in and out quickly and not break the bank. My strategy? I stay out of the middle section. The middle is where you find things you “want” like clothing, videos, and books. This section is my time and money waster. Admittedly, I do sometimes venture into the middle section but I’ll call it by saying out loud, “I’m going into the middle” and tell my husband to just say “no” to whatever I have in my hands when I emerge. He refuses to even go into the middle section. He really has money-managing-super-powers!
How to shop frugally at Costco:
- Put your head down and ignore all electronics as you enter the store. Don’t even stop.
- Stay out of the middle section – think of hugging the perimeter
- Buy only items you need and what you will use
- Use Costco’s coupons they mail and clip after reviewing #3 above
- Use a list and stick to it – here is mine and I’m sharing Costco Shopping List
- Time it right – leave the kids at home, arrive when the store opens and eat prior to shopping
And so, my struggle continues, love it, hate it. If I accidentally run into you during my next visit to Costco, I apologize. You’ll recognize me as the crazed women running with her head down, list in hand and shopping cart at break-neck speed.
What is your shopping strategy at Costco or other warehouse stores? Do you use a list and stick to it? Do you venture into the middle section?
Go Gingham related links:
Grocery shopping from the bulk bins and food storage containers
Reusing glass jars and how to get them ready for re-use
Frugal grocery shopping – without coupons!
Pantry basics for the home cook – what’s in my pantry
Refrigerator basics for the home cook – what’s in my refrigerator
New to cooking at home? Fear not!
How we keep food waste to a minimum
Confessions of a leftover food lover – that would be me!