Is shopping with coupons a better deal than bulk shopping at your favorite warehouse store (Costco, Sams, etc.)? It depends.
The biggest challenge is knowing what you’re paying per ounce or pound. It’s hard to compare costs between the grocery store and Costco when the packaging and quantity is so different. So we scoured our local Costco and recorded nearly 300 prices of common products and put them into a comprehensive Costco Price List broken down per ounce or pound. Use the database to compare apples to apples (literally!) – and you can easily figure out what is the better deal. Prices are updated as of February 27, 2012!
Here are some things to consider:
- Costco does not take manufacturer coupons. They do release store coupons on a regular basis that come in the mail. You may not need the actual coupon to get the discount, it depends on your local store. Also, most manufacturer rebates do not count when you buy the product at a warehouse. We haven’t factored those coupons into the listed price because they change so often.
- Factor in membership cost. You do need to figure in the annual membership cost of $50. If you have a business or you shop at Costco often, this generally pays for itself pretty quickly
- Can you use it all? Bulk prices mean bulk quantities. If you are having to throw away expired or moldy food because you can’t eat it in time, than you aren’t saving money.
- 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.
I’ll add that I LOVE Costco and I’ve had a membership there for years and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. I love the company, it has great products and you honestly cannot beat it’s customer service. I shop at Costco fairly often, especially for certain things.
I’d love to hear what you think about my Costco price list and warehouse shopping in general. Please, leave a comment!