Quick Tips to help take control of your personal life.

REAL Home Economics from a frugal, practical, fiscally savvy working mom.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Do you really save money at Costco?

It's a trick question... Do you save money at Costco? vs. Can you save money at Costco?

Yes, you absolutely can save money at Costco and I actually do, but it takes focus.  Below is an example and a few tips that might help.  (Although I'm using Costco in my example you can insert Target or any other store that has great merchandising.)

Example - Basic groceries at Costco:
I spend at least $20 less saving 50% by buying my family's basic weekly groceries (milk, bread, eggs, cream, lettuce, bananas & a roast chicken) at Costco vs. the regular market. However, I only save the $20 IF I can get out of Costco without buying something else.  If it's less than $20 than at least I'm still ahead of the game!

6 Tips for Spending Less at Costco

Tip #1  - Know your goal.  There is a big difference between "Saving $" and "Spending Less $".  These days between unemployment and rising healthcare costs, people are trying to spend less.  

If you are trying to spend less $ and can't resist impulse buys or "deals" on things you really don't need, then stay out of the stores that tempt you.  In the end you'll spend less $ shopping at a store where you don't see items you don't need (even if you are paying full price on the items you do need).

Tip #2  - Blinders On & Work the List
I'm both a list maker and unenthusiastic shopper so, I realize this tip is easier for me than most people.

Tip #3 - Always put one thing back at the register
When you fail at tip #2 (which I often do) this tip works great.  I almost always have at least one thing that I'll never miss.  It's better not to buy it rather than believing you'll return it later (which makes you go in the store again).

Tip #5 - Will you use it all? 
Yes, you get more for your money by buying in bulk, however only if you going use the entire package.  Items like laundry detergent and toilet paper are a no-brainer.  Unfortunately, I find that if its edible there is an inverse relationship.  The more we have, the less likely it will be what my family wants to eat it! It just proved out yet again with a giant box of great chocolate chip cookies my in-laws brought us!

Tip #6 - It's only a bargain it you need it.
Oh, I love a bargain but I've had a lot of bargains hanging in my closet that I never wore.  So, apply what I learned from my mother...  It's only a bargain if you need it.

Happy shopping,
Practical Jenn

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