How to shop at Costco – a behind-the-scenes look!

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Today on Studio 5 I did a fun segment all about…Duh, duh, duuuuuuhn…how to shop at COSTCO.
We all know it, we all love it (well, most of us, anyway). BUT…Is it REALLY saving you money? It sure can be…if you know how to shop Costco right!

Click HERE to watch the TV segment video that shows you exactly how to save the most money at Costco:

Costco Shopping Tips:

I got a private, behind-the-scenes, I’ll-tell-you-but-then-I’ll-have-to-kill-you tour of Costco from one of the GM’s here in Utah recently. It was fascinating, let me tell you! For the segment today I compiled some of the tips I learned from the tour with my own frugality tips and tricks for how to avoid losing money by shopping there (Gasp! What? Costco isn’t perfect?).

Here’s what the segment covered:

3 THINGS TO DEFINITELY BUY AT COSTCO:

  1. Olive oil. Hands down one of the best deals…like, ever.
  2. Dog food. Now, if you have a tiny dog I’m not sure what to tell you. My dog is huge, like 100lbs huge. He eats 50lbs of dog food per month. At $23/bag of 50 lbs of food, that’s unmatched anywhere…by almost half! For little dogs, not sure what to tell you. But my Pedigree Adult Crunchy Bites for my dog are the best deal around!
  3. Diapers & wipes. Sure, you could save up coupon codes, join some mommy club, quote the ABC’s backwards while rubbing your tummy and patting your head and jumping through hoops of fire to get a deal on diapers. Frankly, the $0.01 or $0.03 per diaper it saves me is NOT worth the hassle. As long as you use a Costco coupon (they come around every 2 months or so) the diapers really end up being a good deal…and no burn risk involved. Just stock up. If the coupon says limit 2, buy 2 so it will last you until the next diaper coupon rotates in.
  4. (yes, I’m cheating by adding a 4th one…) GAS! The gasoline is not only $0.10+ cheaper than anywhere else, but you get 3% cash back if you use your Costco Amex. Booya.

3 THINGS TO AVOID BUYING AT COSTCO: (sorry Costco people, don’t hate me for this one…)

  1. Soda. Costco soda may be tempting because of the HUGE boxes, but when you price it out per can, you can almost always find a better deal at your local grocery store when it goes on sale. Plus, pop stays good forever so stock up when it’s on sale and hold onto it, rather than buying at Costco.
  2. Cereal. Sorry folks, not that good of a deal, even with the Costco coupons. Once again, watch the sales at your local store and you’ll get a much better deal.
  3. Small canned goods. Am I sounding like a broken record yet? Their small cans (15oz-ish) are a normal price, but not a GOOD price. Watch your local grocers. Case Lot sales, for example, will get cans of veggies down to $0.50/can or less, a much better deal than Costco most times. Don’t waste your time or money buying it from Costco. However…the large cans? Great deals! If you don’t mind freezing the excess or getting creative and using it for meals all week long, buy the big cans and you’ll get more bang for your buck.

The real key here is… KNOW. YOUR. PRICES!

I always try to keep a price notebook on-hand (where I jot down good deals when I see them). You might be familiar with how much canned veggies cost per can, but do you know what they should cost PER OUNCE? Costco pricing is different than a normal grocery store because their quantities are…well…ridiculously huge at times.

Another great Costco tip?…

Take advantage of the pharmacy.

You don’t actually have to have a membership to use their pharmacy! It’s true! But members get additional discounts. Costco pharmacy prices pretty much slaughter the competition, even Walmart (and especially Walgreens. They are NOT that good of a deal, people!)

One great perk about Costco?…

 The cheap hot dog/drink combo.

$1.50? For a hotdog and drink? Now that’s what I’m talking about, people!
And for those Costco hotdog virgins out there, we’re not talking a dinky boiled hotdog. It’s a true-blue, footlong dog of goodness and wonder.
When Costco first opened in the 70’s it was $1.50 for a hotdog and drink. The price has never changed, and will never changed – guaranteed. In fact, Costco was losing so much money on their hotdog combo that they actually built their own hotdog factory and now manufacture their own Kirkland hot dogs to keep the price down! Now that’s true love if I’ve ever seen it…

And, of course…

USE THE COSTCO COUPON BOOK!

For my tips and tricks about that click HERE.

For my thorough rundown on
1. What I normally buy from Costco,
2. What I avoid buying,
3. And other mind-blowing Costco tips and tricks…
CLICK HERE.
Oh, and click HERE for how to get the most out of your membership.

For how I manage my monthly grocery budget the easy way, click HERE.

So there you have it! Thanks for watching, and have a great day :)

Jordan-signature1

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