About three years ago Costco opened a store about 30 minutes from my house. When the store first opened we drove up to check it out. After taking a casual stroll through the store, at first blush it didn't seem all that appealing to buy such large quantities for a household of two.
Then, about 3 months ago, after hearing co-workers rave about the prices we went back on a weeknight and spent more time going aisle by aisle and taking note of prices of things we regularly buy.
We were shocked at how much less expensive their everyday prices were and, that while the quantities were larger than we were used to, many products were packages of items bundled together. We joined that day with the standard membership and about a month later upgrade to the executive. Since early October we've spent over $2,500.
One thing I want to point out up front, is that Costco seems to be a "good" company. In general, the employees seem to enjoy being at work and are always cheerful. A little research shows they have a policy of promoting from within, and they pay their people a decent wage. I did a Google search, and found a NYT article from 2007 that said an average full-time Costco cashier with 4 years on the job was making around $40,000 annually with benefits. Compare this to the stories we've all heard on Walmart, and i"m happy to support a company that pays a living wage and doesn't rely on the state to provide healthcare to its employees.
Anyway, here are the few of my favorite regular items:
-1 lb organic salad mix - $3.99 (local grocery sells 8oz for $5.99)
-Milk - $2.15/gallon (no growth hormones, local store sells milk for about the same price, but since the label doesn't specify, I have to assume the cows were fed hormones)
-8 14.5z cars of organic diced tomatoes - $7.99 (same brand sells for about $1.50/can a the local grocery store)
-300 ct. generic allergy medicine - $12.99 (I was previously buying the target brand at 30 ct. for $4 - over a year this purchase alone save quite a bit of $$)
-35 bottles of water for $3.59 (and this is spring water, not just tap water like Dasini or Aquifina)
-3pk Digornio (sp?) frozen pizzas for $13
-3 - 1lb packages of organic ground beef - $12.99
-4lbs unsalted butter for about $6 or $7 - great deal with all the recent holiday baking
These are just the usual items. The bakery items are always delicious and everything we've tried with the Kirkland label has been wonderful. We also always fill up with gas when I'm there since its about 5-10 cents/gallon cheaper than everywhere else.
We also have found value in many of the nonfood items they carry. Without going into all the details, a recent "find" was a 18 piece set of glass food storage containers for $29.99. When I came home I found the same set on Amazon for $45.
Needless to say, we now buy everything we can at Costco and often check Costco before making a purchase.
I'm sure we could find better deals by spending an afternoon clipping coupons and driving from store to store to take advantage of the various weekly specials at the local grocery stores, and even the CVS's and Walgreens, but I'm but I'm happy knowing that we are getting a good price supporting a good company with minimal effort.