8 Ways to Save Money by Shopping at Costco

Moms love Costco. It’s evident every time we post a question on our Facebook page about what our readers love to buy there. It’s evident in the conversations our Contributor Team has about what we love to buy there. {Read: Our Top 10 Favorite Things to Buy at Costco} And it was evident at our Costco Mom Hour event in November when Costco opened an hour early for Iowa City Moms Blog and almost 200 moms showed up!! We had a fun morning of shopping, delicious samples, a terrific swag bag, and we loved getting to see so many of our awesome readers in person!

Before and after the event we had several people ask us how to make the most of a Costco membership. We like Costco because they offer high quality items at discount prices. The price per item is lower than competitors. However, because most items are sold in bulk it often means a bit of an adjustment to how you budget. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips on how you can save money by shopping at Costco!

8 ways to save money shopping at costco

Buy in season.

Costco is known for their produce. If your family loves fruit and vegetables, you can definitely save by buying in bulk at Costco! To get the most bang for your buck, be sure to buy fruit that is season…those items will have the best prices!!

Use your freezer.

If you’re a smaller family you may not use all that delicious organic meat or produce all at once. Costco sells chicken in freezer-ready sets of 2 breasts or 6 thighs.  Or you can split it up yourself into what you will use in one meal. Divide that hamburger up into 1 pound servings and freeze individually. Or go ahead and make up burgers and freeze with a piece of parchment paper in between so they’re ready to defrost and throw on the grill! Freezing fruit is another good option!

Plan your meals around what you buy.

Know you’re going to buy a large amount of meat or produce? Plan your meals accordingly to use it up. Same for dry items. Also, be sure to pick up some items that are quick and easy to make when you get home.  We’ve all been to the store and then run through the drive-thru on the way home because we’re too tired to cook! Pick up a take and bake pizza or rotisserie chicken to make a quick meal once you get home.

Make a list. And stick to it.

We’ve all made the mistake of going to the grocery store hungry. And come out with a bunch of extra stuff we don’t need. Because everything is sold in bulk, if you do this at Costco you could come out with a LOT of extra stuff you didn’t intend to buy. Go through your pantry/fridge/freezer and make a list of things you HAVE to have. Then add a few things you would LIKE to have if you have room in your cart and in your budget. A great idea from one of our writers is to keep a running total on the calculator on your phone as you put items in your cart so that you’re not surprised by the number at the register when you go to check out. Hit your budget? Call it a day.

Divide your budget into monthly/weekly.

As you’re making your budget, distinguish between what you need to buy monthly and what you need to buy weekly.  Produce, meat, dairy products, bakery items…anything that is fresh goes into the weekly category. (Or bi-weekly if you don’t need to shop as often).  Paper products, pantry staples (flour, sugar, salt, oils, etc.), diapers, wipes, and frozen foods can all go into the monthly category. (Or bi-monthly if you don’t need to shop as often.)  Let your budget reflect this. If you budget xxx amount per week for groceries, take a bit from that weekly amount and roll it into a monthly amount to cover the items you don’t need to buy as often.

Try out the samples.

Did you happen to head to the store hungry? Try out the samples as you’re heading around the store! Not only will it help fill you up, it gives you the added bonus of trying things to make sure you like them before you buy! Some of us may or may not be known to go to Costco for “lunch” (aka samples).  If you’re still hungry, grab a slice of pizza, a smoothie, or the $1.50 hotdog/pop combo to get you through!!

Use coupons.

Costco has coupon books that you can pick up in the store, or you may receive them in the mail. Use the coupons on things you’re already planning to buy to save a little extra money! Or use this opportunity to try something new when it’s at a lower cost!

Divide and conquer.

Maybe you’re a small family or don’t have much storage space. While it’s awesome to see the cost savings of buying toilet paper, diapers, baby wipes, paper towels, etc. in bulk, you may wonder if you have the room! Share with a friend! Do you have a friend or family member who already has a Costco membership as well? Or would want to get one with you? Shop once a month for those big items and divide the cost and the items down the middle! It’ll save you both some money and some room in your closet!

If you follow these tips you’ll be sure to stretch your budget and save some money!! You may even have enough left over to snag those cute boots, favorite tv series on dvd, or new coat you’ve had your eye on!!

One last tip: be sure to check Costco’s prices on other things you’d like to save money on…glasses or contacts, prescriptions, photo processing, auto services…even insurance, movie tickets, and vacations! You might just save even more just by switching to Costco for these items too!!  Happy shopping!!


*This is a sponsored post. We received something of value to write it. However, the thoughts and opinions are all our own!

Kaitlyn Swaim
Kaitlyn is the owner of Cedar Rapids Moms Blog and is an Iowa girl who has been married to her husband, Joshua, since 2007! She’s a busy work-at-home mama to their 5 children: 3 girls and 2 boys! A true Hawkeye, she graduated from the University of Iowa with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, something that comes in handy on a daily basis while trying to raise 5 kids! Her favorite things to do include spending time with her family, cheering on the Hawkeyes, reading a good book, shopping (of course!), and checking out all the activities the Corridor has to offer!


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