I get frozen food and pantry stuff there sometimes, but mostly just gas. $6.89 Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base 16 oz. I have lived in the Western Communities most of my life and there are still areas that are hard for me to recognize. Chicken legs are 99 cents per pound, which is a very decent price. That’s how we manage in this great big world of ours. Tasty! Although not organic, the visible difference between the two is amazing. PS – I am comparing the exact same brands to the same brands at the regular supermarket and all are NAME BRANDS! “So if you run your own ‘price check’ experiment, do yourself a solid by sticking to pen and paper” Hahahah, that’s funny. I’ve compared prices and haven’t found Costco at all a good deal. Take avocados for example. They’re not even in the running as far as competative shopping is concerned and I only shop there if I happen to run out of something. For instance, cheese is MUCH cheaper at Costco than anywhere else I’ve encountered and believe me I’ve looked. Ninja is a courser grind. 1. The prices on many produce items are highly competitive. Treat your mind, body and wallet how they deserve with Costco's great deals on organic foods and dietary products. I`ve done this for 5 years now, you just have to know to ask for it. This has also happened to me at the Supercentre. The produce can be as expensive or more expensive than normal stores, but the quality is generally excellent. I think the Executive membership is SO worth it! Bananas and apples – get at the grocery store for sure, but Grapes, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries are always 40-50% less per lb. As with many of you, I enjoyed the meat of the article. Thanks for a great post. The last two sets of glasses I purchased were from this store and I saved over 150 $ on the same pair from an independent optical place here in town. Im just teasing. The only issue is when the packages are larger than what we need. . I also don’t like waiting in line at SS as it takes forever, whereas with Costco they will add additional tills if the line up gets too long. If I was ‘buying local’ right now I’d have turnips and apples to choose from if I had put them in my noexistent cellar myself. It’s what we use… so please… You’re wonderful, and your patronage helps keep my independently run blog alive. Kirkland brand products, specifically, have never disappointed! On one hand, it provides a minimum price when a farmer sells milk. Plus they will refund you back the difference in the first year if you don’t gain enough back. In addition, you get the advantage of ‘bulk buying’ of those non-fresh products. Share this:Facebook « Need to stop cravings? Costco has been a great way to buy quality food for us. So it’s best for your palette to buy a smaller, fresher portion that lasts a week or two. You’re wonderful, and your patronage helps keep my independently run blog alive. No mention of clothing. His responce was WELL WE HAVE TO KEEP OUT THE RIFFRAFT. A good app is Flipp – that will compare prices from all different flyers (except Costco of course). So clever these refrigerated air conditioned installation installers at. Technically, *I* am the one with a (regular) Costco membership, but a friend paid me for half of it, with the understanding that she gets some of the benefit. The costco rotisserie chicken is also hands down the best deal in down- larger birds for 30-50% less than you pay in the grocery store! There’s enough cars rolling through their gas station if they even did such a thing they would have a large law suit on their hands. 2. I think that with the cheaper gasoline (usually 4 cents a liter) that tipped the scales for me, but the Costco gas station is on the way to work, so it is easier for me to take advantage of this part of the membership. The quality of the pieces of produce also seems heads and shoulders above. Prices I listed here are from converting what the author listed in above chart! Keep shopping sales and standing up for what you believe in. Yes, we shop a LOT at Costco . I get the executive membership. I still love Superstore (Loblaws) and will continue to shop there as deals do pop up frequently. Saves me lots on money here in Southeast AK! In Southern California, Costco actually has MUCH cheaper (and better!) We’ll certainly skip the fresh isle at Costco now and load up on the frozen. He said YA ANYONE WHO DOESNT HAVE A CARD IS RIFFRAFT. I love Costco. Got a new Costco membership at the beginning of last month and stocked up on enough non-perishable food to make our month’s worth of meals. For a family of two, this just isn’t practical. We’ve introduced friends of ours who previously only shopped at grocery stores and they were amazed at the savings. In terms of the executive membership, you are not really consistent with your math. Last week i brought oragnic milk and i also conusmed some of the cartons, without knowing the milk has a fish oil. In my city, there is one store that has a lot more frozen product items, so i go there every 6 months or so to stock up. I haven’t tested this, as our rebate is always over $100.00! If your 2% back on executive membership does not cover the cost difference between it and gold star membership you can get the difference between your rebate and the extra cost at the service desk. At Walmart or Superstore, they run about $3.98 per loaf. There’s no doubt I could save (as an individual) my membership fee just in wine and beer. We live out of town, and like to stock up on the essentials, so it’s worth it to us. I think it was spend over $250? But the list of things that Costco isn’t most competitive on grows smaller every day. Eggs and butter are my … We built our house last year and I got bamboo hardwood floor from Costco for less than half what it would’ve cost at a flooring store, or Home Depot. ... Costco's … FREE Budget Bundle Same last name, though , […] Squawkfox does a great shopping comparison between Superstore and Costco […]. They love quantity and thats that. Higher quality cheeses and specialty cheeses are often less than half the price. The parents are slowed down, the aisles are clogged with kids, and the whole situation is an MCF. I was aware their return policy was excellent, my friend returned a camera YEARS later and got a new model apparently at one Costco in California. I drive an electric car, so I can’t really count the cost of gas to drive there. and I purchase my veg at a small market in my neighbourhood. You are not saving money. Thanks for all of the work you have done to bring all of us this great information. This is just wrong. I can buy a 3 pack of rib steaks for $20-25. I was an original Price Club member 40+ years ago. Look at the fact that you can not buy coffee beans though the ground is OK – you cannot buy loose tea or organic produce (not that I trust it much always) and one or two main commercial brands of products and look at the energy bars in the whole front. (You can read the whole story at http://www.stretcher.com/stories/06/06jul24f.cfm.) 1) More cardholders are allowed on the same membership (can’t remember but I think it is 5). Thanks! I gave Exec. Mass production of food is a bigger issue with increasing world population but I use public transportation for big shops:) bike or walk/run for smaller. Even if you don’t earn the $55 difference in a year, they will REFUND what you don’t make up but you have to remember to ask for it! My wife bought some from the regular supermarket not knowing I had purchased the larger package. I’m probably going to buy my big screen there, just waiting to see if it goes on sale. Products sold in cans, jars, and tubes all ring up the savings at Costco. Also, the customer service is wonderful. Superstore No Name Brand: Not only is the packaging misleading, but I hope you like a lot of lumber with your carrots. In the states, it is a different story. I even added diapers to my list ’cause I can’t escape Costco without seeing someone with a package of Huggies in tow. Shop Costco.com for organic foods. Great comments and I only want to add we find the produce at Costco to be mostly great. For American (USA) readers, I will add to this the following. Our Superstore (Lethbridge, AB) has none of the problems you’ve mentioned in your post – in fact they have excellent produce and meat. Even the gel-caps (which work in 10 minutes instead of 30) are unbelievably cheap compared to anywhere else (360/under $15). Best line: “hope you like a lot of lumber with your carrots”. These items may be cheaper at another store but, for example, 1 out of 3 avocados might be bad from Safeway, so that makes the cheaper argument kind of moot in my mind. Also what I found was the oatmeal that comes in a big box. Lastly, I don’t buy fresh vegetables at Costco too often unless their organic. So, we are only a couple in a too small apartment so sadly, we suffer for space when we go to Costco. You’ll get me through frugal student times! But I wanted to get a good sampling of fresh, frozen, and packaged food to determine (based on unit price) if Costco really offers a better deal to consumers. This has happened at both of our local Costco’s here in the Reno NV area. The Frontline and Adams flea treatments are much less than ANYWHERE. You can also find diapers for 20% off … Thanks for the article. We dropped our Costco membership here in Toronto after being here a year – the local branch just didn’t seem to have the savings and range of products that our old New York outlet did. the store – while they hold my money……. Another thing to consider; this test was on groceries only. Gas savings for car. In our area, dairy products in general are a better deal at Costco, unless on sale elsewhere (that’s where it pays to watch the sales and know your prices). I too shop when the fewest other people are around. I purchase eggs, frozen veg and fruit, coffee. Gas! So, for the next year, you redeem your $40 cash back cheque and get a $5 credit, and only pay $55 for you next year`s Executive membership fee. We haven’t encountered poor quality produce though. And as i was pulling it out I said. Prices can change weekly (not talking about sales either). He found that the top folks at Costco get paid a lot less and those savings are passed on to cover benefits for the Costco employees, who also get paid a lot more than Walmart/Sam’s Club employees. Does Kirkland almond milk need to be refrigerated? I went to the store to meet her 20 mins.after she had arrived. I live an hour away from the closest Costco but will still drive there to shop. I think “is it worth it to shop at X,Y, or Z (now pronounced Zee, by me, after 20 years in the USA)” questions are local, and have local answers. Maybe it has a lot to do with location?? I indulge in the 2 for 1’s at Publix. The SS also gives you a break on the price of petrol if you buy it with a President’s Choice credit card. So before buying into that membership upgrade, do the math on your past purchases and make sure that the so-called ‘cash back reward’ pays out in your favor. The biggest Costco advantage is their quality. Each Costco is different, each local/national grocery chain is different, and what people BUY is different. Clearly you save more, if you have a large family and naturally eat/shop more. First, I’ve never seen that brand before (I’m assuming it’s from a store in Canada? I shop at both places, because SS has some of the items I just can’t get at Costco, but I hands down prefer Costco for ease of return-ability, for customer service,for no games on prices, for way cheaper BBQ propane,etc.,etc. I boug]ht the costo membership because I had to find a place with lower dispensing fees from the pharmacy & costco worked. An honest checker shared this with me a couple years ago. We normally shop at Costco, Superstore, and when the weather permits, our local farmers markets. As for the fresh produce in MN- Costco’s prices are better per item than Walmart, Super Target or Cub (our local grocery chain) but the downside is that you have to buy huge packages. I know the article focuses on groceries, but I wanted to point out that the Pekkle brand (clothes, pyjamas for kids) is very good and high quality, for a low price. Of course, as someone previously mentioned, DON’T shop hungry! This keeps us to the 2-4 things we wanted. I’m now wondering if a tactic of these stores is to pass along the better pricing because the products are seconds or generally being liquidated. […] >Price Check Experiment: Is Costco really worth it? Lived on Metchosin Road for years and View Royal before that – graduated from Belmont High in 1962 then moved away in 1963. “And the Executive Membership builds stronger loyalty — customers try their best to get their fees back by spending more.”. Likewise for most fresh berries. Hard to beat that. That way, you can pace your trips for best results. Why is it that these small individual sized organic milk containers in the US aren’t sold cold? Costcos are usually a number of miles further away than a local grocery. Costco is very good about putting subtotals on the receipt when you ask them to, so as long as you separate out your items when you check out it’s incredibly easy to keep track of who spent what. Is it possible that $100 MIGHT be a little to short, after all this is a group home of 7-10 people, and I find it hard to believe that Costco’s prices are THAT cheap! This confirms a lot of what my numbers were saying— check before you buy. I’m the primary on the membership and the bill and coupons come to me. I think it really depends on what your other local grocery stores offer in terms of price, quality and quanitiy. The only thing I won’t buy at Costco is car tires because of the long installation wait (not appointments allowed). I shop my bread stuff at outlet stores or the day old rack. What’s cheaper to buy where? For example, a store in a more well to do area will charge higher prices for the same item than in the same store in a lower income area. Whenever I check out at Costco, the cashier always tries to upgrade me to the $100 Executive Membership — it earns you 2% cash back on most purchases, after all. It’s also a good way to build up a little food storage for the future – canned vegetables, dry pasta, broth, etc. You have made me reconsider my Costco renewal of membership! The savings on diapers and milk alone pay for our membership several times over. Here in Colorado we have psychotic liquor laws (as you do in Canada) and so the wine & good beer are off the table. Costco tailors each and every store to the region/city/town that it is in. It has a relaxed enviroment…and there is alot to say about lowering our stress levels. I’m often in an in-store debate with my better half about what is good value for the money. Having said that, the membership keeps creeping up which I’m not thrilled about. eggs @ $3+/dozen!!! Even for a person who doesnt eat any processed food, costco is still big in savings. Yes I’m a foodie and quality is very important. We don’t buy everything from costco but fruit, chicken, pork loin and baking stuff is our must haves from costco. We are two in our household and usually spend enough to get the full amount back ($100 executive membership). As for our local superstore, it is in Langford, BC. Check to see if produce has been grown in your own city or country. This might partially explain why Costco was relatively expensive since all of their non-perishable items in this comparison were name brand (Cheerios, JIF peanut butter, Nature’s Own loaf bread, Kraft mac n cheese, Barilla spaghetti, and Prego pasta sauce) whereas the other four stores generally offered comparable … I think you need to track what your family eats and compare costs, but for us it's a no-brainer. Producers in this top tier manage diverse, small to medium scale family farms. I almost never go to stores on the weekends because of the people with kids. I can’t fathom such a beautiful state serving these sad sad veggies to a bunch of hungry Canadians. In the end it really depends on you and how frugal a shopper you are. I did a similar price-comparison experiment with BJ’s, a warehouse club we have out here in New Jersey. (B) on the right is the Costco Kirkland Signature Brand Organic Butter I normally buy. They charge more. Most of the time it’s about an 11¢ difference though. If they are able to sell their product lower in Fresno then they should lower their price for everyone else. We’ve found the opposite to be true for chicken breasts in our area. 1lb block of “Precious Mozzarella” for $4.5 Everything is specked that way. Also, you are right about the cost of their produce, but in January, check out the difference between the cucumbers or peppers at Costco compared with Superstore. Yes its more expensive but its worth it for me. Most of the savings comes from purchasing gas. Kerry, The main savings in costco is the meat. It is not a lot, but it cuts the saving in your example by 20-25% and we should all be conscious of the gas we use. Canadian = $5.22/pound! I switched to organic milk a few months ago, and am now finding big differences between organic milk brands. At Christmas they have Italian low-sodium anchovies at $6/jar, whereas elsewhere prices are closer to double that. We can be in and out of our local grocery in 20 minutes with the items in your example. It comes at a fair price, and it pairs with cookies just as well as milk sold at other stores. Service is pretty crappy if you are trying to find something. What about the quality of the produce? The savings had better be good for me to choose that for my day off over getting quickly and painlessly in and out of Sobeys at 10pm. The supervisors and manager are arrogant and they always have a way to excuse their employees, I had experience several times the cashiers scanning twice the same item. I don’t know the other deals but that sounded like it could make it worth it. There's little argument that organic farming and dairy practices are better for the environment, if only because of their reduced use of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and other synthetic chemical compounds. […] ran into this post from Squawkfox about the real cost of groceries at Costco vs other […], […] puts Costco savings to the test vs Superstore…the results are […]. Just the bbq tank refills pay for the membership .At local gas stations $30.00 vs Costco $12.00. Assuming you break even on the normal membership in 2 months, then the 2% back needs to add up to the difference of $55 to “Break Even”. […], Also note, this was a Costco vs. Canadian Brands. In Quebec, Costco crrries wine apparently. For instance, if your rebate check is $67.00, they will give you the $33.00. Cows that are certified organic can only consume organic feed. I also use the online items to further save. We were a family of 4 then. Kevan is correct about the Executive Membership – if you don’t get a refund of at least the 50.00 difference in the regular/executive membership they will pay you the difference. Pretty big savings if you ask me. I think the same thing happens to the bananas. They emphasize well-managed pasture. Anyone one else had similar experiences? I then noticed how much nicer hers cooked, and how thicker it was. Great job! Obviously not a convenient time for the working crowd. Costco now offers gas, often at $0.07 cheaper per litre. We got 134 dollars back this year so that is our membership free plus some. Having to pay a membership to shop is a point that also sticks in my craw. I always tell people “Costco is great because they don’t stock crap.” I feel like they have high standards for what they stock. I don’t know if that’s cash or store credit, but they will make it pay for itself. It’s not just the brattiness of the kids that is the issue. I shop at Food4Less (otherwise known as Kroger in some areas) and they have better pricing for food than Jewel and Dominick’s. Just because it says organic, doesn't mean it's equally as good. I should do my own comparison for Atlantic Canada to see what I come up with. Sam’s Club Member's Mark 2% Reduced Fat Milk = $2.68 per gallon. At least for now! I disagree! Consumers of frozen foods can save a bundle at Costco — especially on Costco’s Kirkland Signature Products. I overspent every time I went there and came home with books, movies, clothes, etc. However I’ve made a lifestyle choice none has mentioned and which I think really needs to be assessed in your calculations. They were returned due to defects, but we had to fight with the local manager and make many calls to Costco before it was resolved. Considering I buy a ton of produce and other fresh options it would cost me a lot more to shop there. One more comment for the US comparison. The price on organic whole bean coffee was better than we can get elsewhere. Only problem…you must buy 6 of them. I’m sure the name is just a name. nut butters. If you have to have a specific NAME brand packaged product and can store a gallon of mayonnaise, go for it. I find that on fresh produce, and some meat (such as fresh chickens) it’s pretty hard to beat Wal Mart. dog food. As an exercise in comparison shopping it was excellent, for what she bought in her area. I often see a lot of furniture for really good prices. I can’t tell the difference. Just a quick comment about the meat and produce. Not only did I find ALL packages WAAAY too big for my single person household but they were NO bargain compared to my shopping sales paired w/coupons at my 2 local national chain stores, CVS, Walgreens, Dollar store and 2 independent local grocers. Takes a bit of time, but one stop shopping and for a family of two I figure we save $10 – $25 weekly! Just a quick note regarding Costco. Have also bought tools there too. I also shop on line at Costco and am always satisfied with my purchases. Interesting article, Kerry! When I lived in California (Santa Rosa) I was able to buy lots of fresh food cheaply, but also locally brewed beer and wine. But the primary reason is supply and demand: the supply is rather low, so stores can ask more for their organic milk. Great article, you’ve answered those burning questions. Vitamix will give you a smooth smoothie. I guess it’s dog food on the table for us and less than !%er Costco members. At Costco, that is nearly an hour, car door to car door. I often find many mechanics are full of it. Beside above, what is the difference between organic and grass fed milk? What about the Good Food Box program? My content covers debt, saving, investing, financial planning, and behavioral economics. I love it. I will never be convinced that Costco is a “good thing”! Same for eco laundry detergent.. We are located in SE Wisconsin. Great read!! And shopping locally is better for the environment, keeps stores locally available for our convenience and saves the time of going to Costco. when they are on sale or when there are coupons. So prices do not show this. Over the years I’ve heard friends boast about retuning wares MONTHS after the purchase without a problem. bread = $10.56 for a 1 pound loaf! This really is a small world. Good new thing at Costco here in Ancaster. I am an executive member and always get cheques of 150-220$ return. Easy to submit online, cheap and great quality. They are incredible! I would go shopping with AT LEAST $150-$175 for the whole month for myself at ANY produce super store. Produce in the cold room is ok, berries and other delicate produce stored on the warehouse floor without refrigeration are usually moldy or half spoiled. And there is one worker in particular who harasses customers about returns even though “satisfaction guaranteed” is Costco’s policy. Or so I’ve heard. We get most of our veggies from our CSA or the farmer’s market. Bottom Line: Save yourself time and a little sanity by shopping early — you’ll get outta there faster and have more weekend time to enjoy with your family. Eggs are $3.99 at Superstore where you live, are you kidding me? But for those who have big families, run small businesses, or are loyal to specific brands, the savings could be significant. How do you account for berries and other fresh produce like corn and asparagus being nearly 1/3d the cost at COSTCO than it is at the grocery store? I like to serve as much organic food as possible to my small family: just one child still at home, but we often have company for meals. 7. I dont shop there either. The reason behind the cost of organic milk is a few things. lol Like Marcia said above, we do not lay claim to those sad vegetables from the super store. However, then my employer gave out free membership cards to Costco, so while I have a card, it’s a once a year trip now. we also did a comparison with Superstore,and it literally came within pennies of Costco. Costco’s computers, Tv, ect. Never had a bad pack – EVER! Additionally Costco’s tenderloin steaks are fantastic! Oh yes… the fresh produce is always better quality than all but the most expensive local grocery stores. The federal complaints focus on the stores’ sale of milk … Costco sells bigger box between $3 – $3.79. @Fiona: I’m single, with just one income, so I guess that makes me a “SINK” but I still try to plan my shopping for when the people with kids are not around. Gold Star membership sooner by splitting the fee with a friend bbq tank refills pay for itself on frozen. Be as expensive or more expensive Lifehacker, good for you do i think really needs to be it... For 90 packs at Costco but as for our local grocery stores offer as. 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