Friday, July 8, 2011

The Warehouse Issue

For the first time in months (and I mean that literally, at least 4 maybe 5 to 6) I went to Costco today. Now, I will admit the biggest reason I haven't been in months is that the closest one to me has been closed and going to the next closest (about 20 minutes away) hasn't been convenient for me.

Since today was the first day it opened, I spent a lot of time watching people as we rushed around getting our items. As I looked, some things I knew right away I could get for cheaper with coupons while other things I knew that the best price was right here.

A lot couponers will automatically dismiss the Warehouse Stores as being too expensive. This is especially true of those who do the more "extreme" type of couponing. Me, I've found it all depends. No, it's not cheaper to buy Tide at Costco, BJ's or Sam's without a coupon than it would be to buy 2 or 3 smaller ones at Target when you combine sales and coupons. But for a lot of stuff that simply doesn't go on sale often, doesn't have coupons or both, it's quite often cheaper to buy it at the big store!

The picture above is my trip for today. I bought:

Frozen Blueberries
Frozen Strawberries
Cheddar Cheese
Baby Carrot Snack Packs
Coppertone Sunscreen

Except for the cheese, I haven't found a better price for the above items.

I'm sure you are thinking "Well, you probably could have found a better deal on sunscreen!" And the answer is MAYBE. I've been pricing sunscreen recently since we're going on a trip soon. So far, the deals I've seen are comparable to what I paid at Costco when you break it down per bottle (I paid $4 a bottle at Costco).

So why did I buy the cheese if it was more expensive than if I had bought Kraft with coupons (which is true, it is more expensive by about $0.50 per 8 oz when bought at rock bottom prices.) Because Dave likes the Costco cheese better. It seems a little crazy but it's true. He likes the taste of Costco cheese. So yeah, I paid about $2 more than I would have if I bought the same amount of Kraft, but for me $2 is worth it because I know it goes over better at my house.

So is shopping at the Warehouse stores worth it? My answer is, it really depends. The best way to know is to know your prices. Some stuff it will never be cheaper to buy at the Warehouse store. Some stuff it will never be cheaper to buy it at the regular grocery store. Know your prices, know the amount you can store and realize that the Warehouse club isn't evil and can easily be worth the price of the membership if you use it right.


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