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Cut Costco Craziness

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Costco Shopping Experience

Costco

Welcome to the club! As everyone knows you can save loads of money shopping at big warehouse stores. Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club are popping up all over the country — and in this economy there’s a good reason. As a matter of corporate policy, Costco doesn’t mark up any product by more than 15% above its cost (average is 10-11%). If you know what to shop for, you can save up to 62% lower than the average price of other places.

Kirkland

One manufacturing insider tells momlogic they produce the exact same product for one of the major organic supermarkets as they do for Costco, however the one packaged with the “Kirkland” label is only charge a nominal markup, as opposed to the much higher rate at the supermarket.

Costco Holidays

Costco is fab during the holidays. They’ve got a large array of kid’s gifts and gift cards for teachers, babysitters and other household helpers.For example, a five-pack of $20 Starbucks gift cards go for $79.99 (if you are a regular Starbucks patron , this can save you a chunk of change too!). Other gift cards — like a four-pack of $15 iTunes cards for $50 (also great for graduation gifts) — are less than face value.

Products

Costco stocks about 4,000 products with 10% of them being what a typical supermarket might stock.Savings are impressive for books, computer software and groceries and believe it or not first-class stamps for less than the post-office - you only save a few cents but at least you don't have to deal with the post-office.

Bakery

Costco is known for their wonderful pies - check out the yummy apple pie which is great in a pinch if you don't feel like cooking dessert and they are baked daily.The croissants are a good deal – repackage them and put them in the freezer in order to keep them as fresh as the day you bought them - I also pre-cut mine and stick them straight in the toaster from the freezer for a great morning snack for the kids.The fresh baguettes and loaves of bread are also sometimes warm and I often find myself breaking off bits of it as I walk around the store - delicious!!The birthday sheet cakes are an excellent buy and are really tasty, moist cake and the filling is light and not too sweet - generally the flavors are Carrot Cake, White Cake and Chocolate Cake, priced at $16.99 for ½ sheet that feeds up to 48 people, this includes the filling and the design on the cake - they can personalize them with some notice.You can also add your own decorations and figurines to personalize them.

Pharmacy

Recently a highly respected consumer magazine compared the prices of five generic drugs at 132 pharmacies and the savings winner by more than 27% was Costco.Sixty-five percent of all drugs sold at Costco are generic but are identical to comparable name brands for active ingredients and are FDA approved.The average price for a branded drug at Costco is now $119.05; the average price for a generic is $18.59.Costco works with more prescription insurance carriers and to save money, know the details of your health insurance regarding the benefits, co-payments and annual caps.

Vitamins

Kirkland Signature Daily Multivitamins offer a savings of 57 percent over Multivitamins by Centrum®.

Optical

The latest trend in fashion is high-end eyewear that matches designer handbags and shoes and thanks to Costco's low prices this is now possible – they carry a large array of stylish frames from some of my favorite designers such as Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Tom Ford and Yves Saint Laurent at major savings of up to 150% compared to Lenscrafters.

Cleaning Products

You HAVE to try Kirkland Signature Cleaning products which claim 'Cruelty Free, No Animal Testing' and 'Safe for Sceptic Systems' - the packaging is made of at least 25 percent recycled materials and are biodegradable and contain bio-renewable cleaning agents.The cleaning results are excellent and the washing detergent works out at approximately 14c per wash compared to 20 to 44c per wash regularly.The liquid dish soap is tough on grease and concentrated and is kind to your hands at 5.9c per ounce compared to 13c to 36c per ounce - you get the point.If you end up not liking the products you can always bring it back to Costco on your next trip and take advantage of the 'no questions asked return policy' but I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Photo Center

Costco has a good developing department that can have your prints ready in as little as 1 hour.They are now offering a new lower price of4"x6" prints at 0.13c and free shipping delivered to your home or your local store.The price of the 5"x7" is 0.39c and the 8"x10" is $1.49 (compare for example – Kodak Gallery's regular prices are 5"x7" - 0.99c and 8"x10" – $3.99).The website offers an easy to follow ordering process.In addition, they offer calendars, cards and other gifts and right now you can even get 20% off MyPublisher photobooks.

7 Tips To Shopping Savvy

1) Take advantage of the Business Member Hours:

Depending on the individual Costco Business Members can either shop an hour earlier and an hour later than the store is open for regular members.If you don't have a Business Membership then try and get there as soon as the store opens for regular customers.

7 Tips To Shopping Savvy

2) Do your shopping Tuesday thru Thursday:

The weekends are the busiest at Costco and Monday and Fridays come second.During the week the lines tend to be shorter.

7 Tips To Shopping Savvy

3) Limit your visits:

Although my intentions are good I almost always walk out of the store with much more than I went in for so I try and plan to go only once every 4 to 6 weeks.

7 Tips To Shopping Savvy

4) Make a list and stick to it:

Have you noticed that you HAVE to walk through the electronics, jewelry, books, DVD's and clothing to get to the groceries which are always located at the very back of the store?This is done intentionally to deter you from your shopping list (I bet none of the items mentioned above are on it) - do not get distracted from your list and head straight for the section you need without looking back!

7 Tips To Shopping Savvy

5) Do not buy bulk unless you are going to use it:

Buying in bulk works for some items but not others - sure, the bulk cereal package bought at your local Costco is a lot cheaper than at your local supermarket but will you use it within a reasonable amount of time?Do not buy perishable items or medications unless you know you can use them before they expire otherwise you will end up throwing them away.Non-perishable bulk items to buy might be paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning products, shampoos and canned items.

7 Tips To Shopping Savvy

6) Gas:

If you happen to need gas while there then by all means fill up as the prices are consistently 5 cents less per gallon however don't go there for specifically for gas unless you live close by otherwise it generally involves a small commute with you spending more money on gas than you save.

7 Tips To Shopping Savvy

7) Coupons:

You will regularly get coupon booklets in the mail - pick out only the items you regularly purchase and keep the coupons with your Costco list so you won't forget to take them.If you forget the list I believe they will do a price adjustment if you take them in a later date - I also heard that you can go to the Customer Service and ask for the latest coupon book.


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14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Danielle Hoston April 6, 2009, 12:27 PM

Great tips! I LOVE Costco!!

shelley April 7, 2009, 11:40 PM

Before I was married I used to fantasize about having a large family so I would be able to go to Costco and fill up one of their large flats with all of the yummy stuff they have there. Look out, sometimes you do get what you wish for :)

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