After our last post about Costco I thought it was ironic that I had to do my monthly shopping trip to Costco the next day. As I was there, and was observing all of their prices, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite items at Costco. I really try to not go to Costco more than every couple of months. Reason being, I spend WAY too much money! This store drains my food budget quicker than any other. Yesterday I went to Costco and spent $150 for the above pile. When you compare that to a pile I get at Walmart for the same price, that is not too impressive. However, there are a few items that I like to always keep on hand (from Costco) that make my life easier and help me save money in the long run. Here is a brief overview of some of the items I buy each month at Costco. All other items I need for my meal planner I purchase from our weekly deals and plan my shopping trip around those items that are on sale for LESS than Walmart & Costco (the red deals on our website 😉

 There are a couple items I am pretty fanatical about and that is lunchmeat. I can’t stand a cheap, pressed, slimy piece of lunchmeat. I know lunchmeat in itself is not high on the healthy list, however with 4 kid’s school lunches to make a day, we do go through a good supply of lunchmeat (and bread). Since I want to eat lunch too, I treat us all to the ‘good’ stuff from Costco. I love their Kirkland Ham as well as their triple pack. These items are not necessarily the least expensive brand of lunchmeat but if you want quality, this is something I’m actually okay to pay a little more for.  We also enjoy the Kirkland All Beef Franks. My husband loves hot dogs and if I have to eat one I am going to eat one that is made with ‘real’ meat and has good flavor. Again, not the least expensive hot dog, but worth the price for the quality (for me ;).

Costco generally has the lowest prices on bulk spices. However, if you have a Winco grocery store near you their bulk section will beat Costco in price on certain spices they carry. What would my life be without Montreal Steak Seasoning? Thank you Costco for introducing this all-around-best-seasoning to my kitchen. I love it! Other items like soy sauce, vinegar, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce, yeast, lemon juice and a few other condiments are also great prices at Costco.  However items like ketchup, mustard, mayo and bbq sauce are generally NOT the best deals at Costco. Watch the sales and you can get these items much cheaper per ounce plus have the convenience of a smaller container.

Let’s talk about produce. Produce at Costco is hands down one of the areas people spend a lot of money. Although the quality at Costco is generally a little better than my neighborhood Walmart, the price you pay is NOT worth the difference in quality. If I watch the weekly sales on produce I can save up to 50-70% off certain produce items compared to Costco’s price. There are however a handful of produce items that are ‘generally’ the best deal anywhere you can find:
*Romaine lettuce--these packages last several weeks and taste great for the super low price
*Spinach–I love the big bag of spinach from Costco. You can freeze some for smoothies or just make lots of yummy salads.
*Colored Bell Peppers–Costco generally has the best price on peppers. However, if you watch the ads you will see red and color bell peppers go as low as .50 each if you are patient. I use lots of peppers so when they go on sale I stock up.
*White Mushrooms–generally mushrooms don’t get lower than Costco’s price. The only down size is you have a large amount of mushrooms for this low price. Just make some stuffed mushrooms with your extras and you’ll be just fine 😉
*Strawberries–Costco has the best over-all price on strawberries. However, if you watch the Mexican Markets in the summer you will see strawberries go as low as .99 a pound. That’s the time to stock up and make jam 😉
*Snap peas–much less at Costco per ounce.

Other than these above produce items everything else you can find for less if you watch the ads closely and are patient (potatoes, onions, bananas, oranges, apples, berries, etc.).
Other items I buy monthly or bimonthly at Costco because they are a good deal:

*Corn tortillas–flour tortillas go on sale ALL the time for less than Costco but corn tortillas are harder to find on sale so I buy them at Costco and freeze them for later.
*Heavy whipping cream–I love whipping cream and it gets so expensive buying it in the small containers at the grocery store. Costco has the lowest overall price and so I usually keep a container in my fridge for all of my favorite cream based recipes and desserts 😉
*Milk–is generally cheapest at Costco unless there is a great sale that week.
*Buns and bread--hamburger, hot dog or hoagie buns are much less at Costco than a regular store. Sandwich bread is also a great ‘everyday’ low price at Costco (unless you can get loaves on sale in the ads for under $1.50).
*Butter–unless it is holiday season and butter goes on sale for super cheap, Costco is the best overall price.
*Crackers, chips and snacks--items like graham crackers, cookies, fruit leather and pretzels are all great deals at Costco. However, snacks like fruit snacks and microwave popcorn you can find on sale for much less than Costco if you are patient and then stock up when items are on sale.
*Specialty cheeses–cheese like feta, gorgonzola, laughing cow, parmesan, etc. are all the lowest price at Costco. Separate these cheeses into smaller containers or bags and freeze for later use to save money.
*Cleaning supplies, Tinfoil, Saran Wrap and Ziploc bags are all a great deal at Costco.

Items I NEVER buy at Costco: toilet paper, paper towels, pork, bacon, chicken, sour cream cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, frozen potatoes, cream cheese, yogurt, concentrate juice, cereal and MUCH more. All of these items will go on sale throughout the year for MUCH less if you are patient and watch the ads. When items go on sale for less, then stock up and buy a 3-6 month supply to save you money in the long run.

Happy shopping! I would love to hear some of the items you can’t live without from Costco or Sam’s Club.