Author Topic: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?  (Read 16235 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Some interesting points, many I already knew, but good to have assumptions validated:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2016/11/30/does-shopping-at-costco-sams-or-bjs-actually-save-money.html

Key points:

Quote
Buying an item you don't need because it was marked down from $125 to $50 is not saving $75. It's spending $50.

Quote
"Also, it's important to remember that buying in bulk is generally not a great idea for perishable goods," Glaser added.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 01:21:52 PM »
I still remember maybe 20 years ago, back when Oprah was on TV.  They were discussing big box stores, and they laughed at the idea of buying toilet paper in such huge bulk quantities.


My question was "Yeah, but how likely is it that you will stop using toilet paper at some point, and that everyone who visits your house will too?"


We usually get milk (two gallons at a time), cream (half gallon), eggs (60 count) and butter (4 boxes of 4 sticks).  Anything else is definitely a planned and researched purchase.  It's way too easy to suddenly "need" something that you didn't need yesterday.

Offline CPT Morgan

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 01:50:29 PM »
Speaking of Costco, we like a lot of their Kirkland brand products and find that buying in bulk saves us money even on perishables.  That said, we often repackage to freeze, dry, or can.

Offline r_w

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 02:04:46 PM »
Appropriate package sizes for a family of 2 are not the same as a family of 12.

Context matters.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2016, 02:16:38 PM »
I fully agree.  A lot of the economics reinforce the idea "you've gotta have money to make money".

e.g. if your favorite toilet paper is discounted 90% off with no quantity limit, why wouldn't you buy as much as you could afford/store? 

You do have to take care for some unusual things without a known baseline for comparison.  Many supermarkets might carry a product in quantities of 4 or 8, but Costco has a 30 pack.  The average shopper won't be bothered to do the 3rd grade math to realize they are only saving $0.02/ea, and will buy the giant portion assuming it's a much better deal.

Offline David in MN

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2016, 02:38:28 PM »
We easily make back our membership fee on fruit, meat, cheese, olive oil, coconut oil, and liquor sales (though that's likely due to my state's puritanical blue laws). I'm holding a hunk of real Parmesan which cost $13.11 for 1.45 lbs. You ain't getting that deal anywhere else.

That said, I have had the experience to attend a discussion with some Costco buyers as to what they look for in products during my previous career. Make no mistake. These are not fools. And they damn sure planned to have you walk past the big screen TVs on your way to buy dishsoap. Your Costco trip is meticulously planned to get you to "go treasure hunting" (their words, not mine). And if you're a putz like me you wander every isle using the "Costco code" to find bargains on crap you likely don't need.

So it works if you can self-control. I've had some fights with the Mrs. A gallon of pickles? 50 lbs of flour? Half a mile of clingfilm? (The clingfilm lasted a decade.) But for the most part it's smooth sailing. And it has really saved us money and enriched our lives.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2016, 03:04:03 PM »
Half a mile of clingfilm? (The clingfilm lasted a decade.)

You are the first non-UK person I've heard use the term "cling film".
It's "plastic wrap"  every where else in America. 

Though I can empathize with your use of "pop" as it's common where I live too:
http://www.popvssoda.com/

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2016, 03:07:41 PM »
Kirkland AllerClear - 10 mg loratadine tablets - $12.49 for 365 tablets - 3.4 cents each


Claritin at Walgreen's - 10 mg loratadine tablets - $39.99 for 70 tablets - 57 cents each


And that, ironically enough, is for the Walgreen's "value size" bottle.


Since me and my son both take it every day, guess where we're going!

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2016, 03:11:06 PM »
Kirkland AllerClear - 10 mg loratadine tablets - $12.49 for 365 tablets - 3.4 cents each


Claritin at Walgreen's - 10 mg loratadine tablets - $39.99 for 70 tablets - 57 cents each


And that, ironically enough, is for the Walgreen's "value size" bottle.


Since me and my son both take it every day, guess where we're going!

But you aren't suppose to only get the stuff you need.  Every few trips you're suppose to grab a high def TV or laptop - if everyone was smart like you, Costco would go bankrupt.
Think of the share holders!

Offline David in MN

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2016, 03:15:02 PM »
You are the first non-UK person I've heard use the term "cling film".
It's "plastic wrap"  every where else in America. 

Though I can empathize with your use of "pop" as it's common where I live too:
http://www.popvssoda.com/

Haha. Most of the chefs I worked under when younger weren't American by birth and I picked up some international lingo. Wot wot? And I was born and raised outside of Milwaukee so it's soda to me.  ;)

Offline xxdabroxx

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2016, 03:32:44 PM »
I have some of the giant rolls of stretch tight my grandma bought there before she passed.  One unopened, and one lightly used.  It'll likely last me many years.  I find foil much more useful as it can go in the oven. 

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2016, 04:31:58 PM »
Yup, I save money on some stuff, and up spending more on other things. Some things are hard to find anywhere else, so I like that aspect. In the end, I think it's a wash for me.


I have some of the giant rolls of stretch tight my grandma bought there before she passed.  One unopened, and one lightly used.  It'll likely last me many years.  I find foil much more useful as it can go in the oven.

It gets really exciting in the microwave!

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2016, 04:45:12 PM »
But you aren't suppose to only get the stuff you need.  Every few trips you're suppose to grab a high def TV or laptop - if everyone was smart like you, Costco would go bankrupt.
Think of the share holders!


I guarantee there are a whole lot more that make up for me.

Offline xxdabroxx

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2016, 04:46:00 PM »
It does that for sure, but I don't have a microwave at home.  In the process of remodeling my little house and there just isn't room.  And think of all the cancer I'm not getting from the microwaves...   ::)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2016, 04:51:21 PM »
And think of all the cancer I'm not getting from the microwaves...   ::)

I'm sure you stay away from wifi, bluetooth and mobile phones as well...  :P

The microwaves in the appliance are shielded at least.

Offline Carl

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2016, 04:56:11 PM »
SURE,I got 20 pounds of peanut butter,50 pounds of rice,50 pounds of beans,and a 12 gallon jar of pickles and bought a box of HO HO's for the dawg and still had change from $20 bux.

Offline xxdabroxx

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2016, 05:07:47 PM »
I'm sure you stay away from wifi, bluetooth and mobile phones as well...  :P

The microwaves in the appliance are shielded at least.

Oh but of course.  I wear my tinfoil hat most everywhere I go.  LOL

Offline CPT Morgan

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2016, 05:16:53 PM »
Besides the common cost savings my family finds at Costco, they have an awesome return policy.  You can virtually return anything, for any reason, for a full refund and often extends past the manufacturers standard warranty (i.e the Traeger pellet grill i purchased).

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2016, 06:21:03 PM »
Interesting as I was just having a conversation about this subject with my mom.

I used to have a BJ's membership. I checked Bj's, Sams Club and Costco at the time. Made a spread sheet and wrote down prices of the stuff I would buy from each store as well as my local grocery store. Then I figured out what would be best to buy at one of the big 3 and how much I would save and how many times per year I would buy said item. Each store ended up with a potential savings amount minus the cost of the membership. I ended up with a BJs membership and saved quite a bit of money. When I opened my business I saved a ton of money at Bj's just on the water I bought for my training studio/clients.

Here I have a Sams Club membership. No Bj's near me. I don't save as much but I still save enough to make it worth it.

Offline shadowalker_returns

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2016, 09:36:30 PM »
Sam's Club Business and Plus Member.

It works for us. The cash rewards program is great. Just used it on a new set of tires. Received over $300.00 off the tires. We use Sam's Club for some things and HEB/Natural Food stores for other things. Like anything else it all comes down to how you manage your purchases.For us its worth the hundred dollars a year. We have received no less than $400.00 off our annual purchases for every year we've used the Plus program, so its working for us. we have a 7-9 person family we always purchase for and that number triples during the holidays.

Regards,
Shadowalker

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2016, 10:49:09 PM »
We definitely save money shopping at Costco on a regular basis, both in the cheaper price for buying in bulk, plus the cash back rewards from using their credit card (pay off each month). 

There are food staples that are generally cheaper, gasoline is always the lowest price in my area, and if you keep your eye open there are deals to be had on clothing and home furnishings.  I think that their produce is very difficult to beat in terms of quality, let alone the price, for the most part, and the cheese I like is significantly cheaper.  There's probably ways to get stuff cheaper by religiously comparing prices and cutting coupons for everything, but I have no patience for that. 

I avoid the electronics section, as a general rule, unless there is something specific I need, because there's too much temptation to buy crap I don't need and could become obsolete before I get around to using it.  And since it's been about a decade since they carried decent tools on a consistent basis, I don't blow much money on that aisle anymore, either.

My biggest complaint with Costco is the crowds and seemingly deliberate method of positioning demos and food samples in order to slow navigation through the store.  I heard a podcast awhile ago that talked about all the analysis that goes into figuring out all the things that makes people put more crap into their carts before they hit the checkout lane.  So you do need to be mindful that, to a certain extent, we're all being played when we step inside.

Offline jerseyboy

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2016, 05:19:25 AM »
It does that for sure, but I don't have a microwave at home.  In the process of remodeling my little house and there just isn't room.  And think of all the cancer I'm not getting from the microwaves...   ::)

I literally had an argument with my wife's cousin about whether or not microwaves produced ionizing radiation.

Crazy...
Jerseyboy

Offline Carl

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2016, 05:22:55 AM »
I literally had an argument with my wife's cousin about whether or not microwaves produced ionizing radiation.

Crazy...
Jerseyboy

Did you talk to her on her CELL PHONE? :deadhorse:

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2016, 05:47:52 AM »
My biggest complaint with Costco is the crowds and seemingly deliberate method of positioning demos and food samples in order to slow navigation through the store.  I heard a podcast awhile ago that talked about all the analysis that goes into figuring out all the things that makes people put more crap into their carts before they hit the checkout lane.  So you do need to be mindful that, to a certain extent, we're all being played when we step inside.

same goes for any grocery store.
Kind of a funny story: I had bought a VitaMix blender at Costco 12 years ago.  Probably one of those impulse buys, but not totally, as I was looking for a stronger blender than I had at the time.  2 years ago it starts dying.  I knew it was time for a new blender, but VM again or Blendtec?  We hit Costco so rarely (about an hour away so when we go, we REALLY stock up) that I finally just decided that whichever blender was there next time I would buy.
We arrived, and it was Blendtec.  We stopped for the demo, then I engaged the salesman in conversation.  At the end of the conversation, I put one in the basket.  My then 13-yo son about had a heartattack.  He had never seen me "be influenced by a salesman before!"  He was most surprised that I would "impulse" buy an expensive machine like that.  We had to explain to him that I was already planning to buy a new blender, and this time just happened to be that one.

speaking of their road shows, those are often a very good deal also.  I have been wanting Cutco steak knives for years, but unable to stomach the price tag.  At Costco they were almost half off.  Again, my son was surprised, not realizing that it was something I had been looking at for years.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2016, 08:15:03 AM »
My biggest complaint with Costco is the crowds and seemingly deliberate method of positioning demos and food samples in order to slow navigation through the store.


Yes, and more than the standard grocery store.  I can tell because I get anxious in crowds if I have to navigate through them, and it's about double the amount of anxiety at Costco versus the grocery store.

Offline AvenueQ

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2016, 10:10:40 AM »
We're those weird people at Costco that only have a half-full cart at checkout. We buy really specific things there, mostly non-perishables, and since it's just the two of us it's usually not much. Once in a while we'll see a special that just can't be beat, but mostly we stick to the standard stuff.

If we get there on Saturday or Sunday morning exactly when they open, the crowd usually isn't too bad. We're in and out quick enough that it's just starting to fill up by the time we leave.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2016, 10:45:03 AM »
We're those weird people at Costco that only have a half-full cart at checkout. We buy really specific things there, mostly non-perishables, and since it's just the two of us it's usually not much. Once in a while we'll see a special that just can't be beat, but mostly we stick to the standard stuff.

If we get there on Saturday or Sunday morning exactly when they open, the crowd usually isn't too bad. We're in and out quick enough that it's just starting to fill up by the time we leave.

My last two visits I didn't use a cart.  I carried all my items by hand.  People were staring at me as if I was carrying a live pony.

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2016, 12:08:21 PM »
My last two visits I didn't use a cart.  I carried all my items by hand.  People were staring at me as if I was carrying a live pony.

Last weekend on our way to the extended family meal I ran into Costco for a couple pies. With no cart slowing me down, I threaded thru the crowds and sample stations with ease. Wham, bam, out in 5 minutes.

Offline Carl

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2016, 01:25:25 PM »
Last weekend on our way to the extended family meal I ran into Costco for a couple pies. With no cart slowing me down, I threaded thru the crowds and sample stations with ease. Wham, bam, out in 5 minutes.


Such willpower and determination deserves KARMA.

Offline David in MN

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Re: [article] Does Shopping at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's Actually Save You Money?
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2016, 01:56:42 PM »
I did a Costco run a few months back and bought 10 gallons of apple juice and 6 lbs of brown sugar. The sales clerk commented that my daughter (I brought the baby) must really like apple juice. I didn't have the heart to tell her I was going to ferment it.

If you're a brewer, soap maker, etc. that membership comes in handy.