Is shopping at Costco and other bulk retailers cheaper than clipping coupons and shopping sales? I get this question a lot and there isn’t really one right answer – but I think in general it’s a better deal to clip coupons and shop sales. You’d be surprised after figuring out the per unit price how much you’re actually paying vs. if you had bought it at the store on sale with a coupon.
This post explains my thinking on Costco vs. coupons and includes a price list for common items at Costco and I’ve figured out the per unit price for you! This way you can easily compare prices when you’re out shopping. Wahoo! I’m super excited about this price list.
$50 membership fee – First, I have to say that we DO have a Costco Membership. Owning business(es) it makes sense for us to have a Costco Membership for things like electronics and office supplies – which Costco definitely has competitive prices on and a return policy that you just can’t be beat. But with a $50 annual membership fee, you have to decide if you’re really going to use it enough to justify the price.
A good deal, but is it too much? If you are a family of two or three, buying items in bulk might save you money up front, but if you find yourself throwing out spoiled items because you couldn’t go through it in time, you probably would have been better off buying it at the grocery store with a coupon.
In general, good stock-up store sales will beat Costco prices – If you watch for a really good sale on something at a grocery store (that’s why you follow Queen Bee right?) – chances are it’s a better deal than Costco.
On the other hand, time is money – If you don’t have time to clip coupons one week, or you don’t even have time to look at the sale ads, maybe Costco is the way to go. You can count on a decent price and you don’t have to think about it. I think this is when we use Costco the most (and why most people do) – when I haven’t planned well enough for a party or I need a bunch of something and can’t wait for a good stock-up sale – then we head to Costco.
No coupons, no rebates – Costco doesn’t take manufacturer coupons on their products. You can use Costco coupons that they generally mail out every month or so. Also, a lot of times Costco purchases don’t qualify for rebates – such as on beer, meat, and toiletries. By buying it in the grocery store you can take advantage of both coupons and rebates.
Figure out the per unit price – The package looks huge, the price looks decent – much be a good deal right? Not necessarily. It can be so confusing looking at the per ounce, per pound, per unit prices – it’s hard to figure out how much it would be if you were to buy it in a regular package at the grocery store. This is where I hope to help you!
I went to my local Costco (Hawks Prairie, Lacey, Washington store) and wrote down the prices for common items that you’d buy at Costco that often have coupons and stock-up sales at local grocery stores. You can print out the list and keep it with you and the next time you think you see a good deal on diapers, you can compare it to the Costco price. Please note – the prices I have for items could be VERY different at your Costco and/or if they change the prices locally. I don’t know how the prices compare regionally, if you know a price is different for your area – please leave a comment.
Check out my online Costco price list database! I hope you’re as excited about it as I am. I no longer have to wonder when I’m pricing out toilet paper at Safeway or Target if it would be cheaper to run to Costco! I printed out a copy and put it in my purse.
- This prices are based on the Costco Warehouse in Lacey, Washington as of June 3, 2010.
- Products and prices vary regionally – so please keep this in mind when making comparisons
- If you find a price that should be updated – please let me know
- If you find my math is off – please let me know
- To search use CTRL+F and search by keyword
- I’ll add more prices as I have time. This is all I could write down in an hour with a toddler in the cart. 🙂
- I plan to also add another column of my stock-up prices, or the price that something needs to be for me to stock up.
- If you want to include this on your blog or share this with your friends – that’s great! Just please give credit to www.QueenBeeCoupons.com, linking to the site when applicable.
Let me know if this is helpful for you!