How to Shop at Costco on a Budget
Want to shop at Costco on a budget? Check out these simple tips and tricks to keep you on budget while fully stocked with all your favorite, everyday ingredients!
Feeding a family on a budget is no doubt a challenge, but if done at the right place and in the right way you can easily stock and store on all your family’s favorite foods and pantry staples. Needless to say, the tips on this post apply to SamsClub and other Membership Clubs.
Okay whether its the actual items offered at Costco or the free samples, no doubt this is one of the best places to shop when you have to feed a large family.
Many people know Costco as a wholesale warehouse that offers everything from electronics and appliances to everyday household items, and of course, groceries! But for this post, we’ll only be focusing on groceries.
Costco offers a variety of fresh, quality produce, dairy, frozen, baked, canned, and dry goods, in bulk size.
What are the perks of buying in bulk? For the most part, buying certain items on wholesale is much cheaper than a regular grocery store -when you need to feed four or more people weekly.
For example, instead of buying a single 12-ounce jar of salsa at your regular grocery store for $3, at Costco, you would buy 2-24 ounce or, 1 48-ounce container for $7. Meaning, you’d spend $12 at a regular supermarket for the $7 you just spent at Costco.
This method of grocery shopping is ideal for families since many of these items are used day-to-day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Plus, in my household, with our devoted love for tacos, we can never have enough salsa! Note: if you only need salsa for a single recipe, don’t spend the $7, but if you are a salsa fan and can use it multiple times, buy it.
That being said, bulk shopping is not for everyone! If you only have 2 to 3 people in your family, buying in bulk might not be the best idea for fresh items like fruit, veggies, most refrigerated, and freezer items. In this case, you would lose both money and food!
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
YOU NEED TO BE A MEMBER:
If you aren’t already a member of Costco (or another wholesale club), do what I did, and go with a friend! Yes, it’s that popular that at least one person in your everyday world is a member of Costco! Information on membership to Costco can be found on their website, and many wholesale clubs let you shop one time for free to try it out.
GET YOUR SHOPPING LISTS READY:
Take time before you go shopping to do a thorough pantry and kitchen check. See what household staples are low. If you are a MOMables Meal Plan Member and receive our weekly plans and shopping lists, then you are ready.
With our family meal plans, we include recipes that use everyday ingredients to create meals the whole family will enjoy. Most of these ingredients are used in large quantities by families anyway, so it’s a good idea to go ahead and bulk-purchase the items on the shopping lists like eggs, frozen veggies, strawberries, bananas, tortillas, peanut butter, milk, and of course salsa!
STICK TO THE PLAN:
Stick to what you need! If you see a 5-pound jar of pickles but only use pickles on sandwiches, don’t buy it! So with these tips in hand, let’s check out the best products to purchase from Costco or your wholesale club:
- Bakery goods
- Most fruit including apples, bananas, oranges, avocados, berries, organic fruits, sliced apples
- Salads, pre-chopped, organic greens, organic spinach, family-size salad mixes
- Most veggies including, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (in season only), celery, mushrooms, baby carrots, asparagus.
- Organic produce: it’s significantly cheaper per pound compared to a traditional grocery even though it might cost more than the conventional.
- Eggs, both organic and conventional
- Butter, buy in bulk, freeze extras
- Milk, both organic and conventional all varieties -including cream and half and half.
- Cheese, blocks of cheese and shredded
- Deli meats, pre-sliced
- Ground meat, especially the organic variety you’ll often save about $1 per pound
- Chicken, frozen chicken is your lowest cost per pound compared to the regular grocery
- Meat products, conventional meats like beef and pork, sausages, are all cheaper in bulk.
- Rotisserie chicken– easiest way to make two meals with one purchase! Use them to make my Southern Chicken Salad and Chipotle Burrito Bowls!
- Frozen fruit, especially blueberries, pineapple, mango
- Frozen chicken
- Frozen fish, including white fish and salmon
- Frozen vegetables, including broccoli, green beans
- Tomato products: sauce, paste, diced, etc.
- Beans, canned and dry in bulk
- Condiments: Mayonnaise, mustard, Ketchup (organic)
- Olives, black olives canned, green mazanilla, jarred Kalamata
- Nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter, nut-free butter (at some stores)
- Flours, including wheat flour, gluten-free flour mixes, coconut flour, almond meal/flour
- Baking goods: baking powder, baking soda, salt
- Rice, especially basmatti rice
- Spices, only those you use most since spices do lose their strength
- Oils, especially olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and also spray
With thousands of products offered at my wholesale club, it’s impossible for me to go one by one, but you get the idea. When you want to eat real food on a budget and have a club membership, I stick to basic food items.
I avoid prepared foods, frozen meals, snacks, treats, and most processed items since they tend to raise my grocery bill tremendously and they tend to bring me over budget.
Overall, it’s safe to say, a trip to Costco or your wholesale club is worth the membership when cooking for a family. Whether it’s saving on all those everyday ingredients or the endless amount of free samples, there is something for everyone at Costco.