How Shopping at Costco saves our family money and stocks our pantry for a great monthly meal plan.
Yes, I bit the bullet and spent an afternoon shopping with my daughter on Saturday while the boys were out on the shooting range. It’s amazing how fast and how much you can accomplish with fewer family members tagging along. My daughter and I were able to go clothes shopping and do a huge Costco run in less than four hours. And that includes driving time.
Costco Saves My Family Money
Years ago, we had made the decision to purchase a Costco membership. I think back in the day it was known as Price Club. We’ve been loyal members ever since. While some don’t think it’s beneficial to spend $35-$100 a year, we find a lot of value to our family’s money savings ideas. Keep in mind, we only visit Costco every 4-6 months to stock up.
Here are some reasons why I shop Costco to Stock My Pantry:
Stocking My Pantry
Great prices on those everyday staples
Compared to grocery store prices nowadays, it’s rare I find buying in bulk items like milk, cheese, butter, flour, lettuce, tortillas, beans, canned tomatoes, vanilla and spices any cheaper than Costco prices.
Meat and Seafood at affordable prices
If I want to stock my freezer with those ready-to-go make ahead meals, then Costco is a must. I’m pretty much guaranteed I will get a lower price per pound on items like chicken, ground turkey, pork chops and whole chickens by shopping at Costco. On occasion, we’ll pick up a salmon for a special family dinner or birthday.
Monthly Meal Plan For Dinner
This trip to Costco I purchased these items from the meat and seafood department and created my monthly dinner meal plan (not counting Thanksgiving Day):
- 10 lbs ground beef (hamburgers, meatballs, tacos/sloppy joes, taco casserole)
- 4 pkgs ground turkey (saucy meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, tamale cheese pie)
- 2 whole chicken fryers (Chicken Fricassee, chicken pie, leftovers can be shredded for sandwiches or soup.)
- 1 pkg chicken breasts (That’s 16, I was able to disburse 4 chicken breasts into 4 different zip-loc freezer bags. That’s 4 meals, maybe 6 if I include leftovers. Chicken Noodle Skillet Dinner, Creamed Chicken with Popovers, Chicken and Dumplings)
- 1 pkg pork chops (8 total, that’s 2 meals! Pork Chops and Stuffing with an Apple Cider Reduction, Baked Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes (yes, I’m sneaking these in there.)
Cheapest gas in town for miles!
When we lived in the Bay Area, Costco had the cheapest gas in town for miles. That’s a One Stop Shop for groceries, food court, gift items and gas. Since moving to the sierra foothills, Costco is about an hour and 15 minutes from us and this particular one doesn’t have their own gas station. So we always need to make sure our trip is worth the gas we spend to get there and back.
Just remember, now that gas prices at jumping around high, everybody likes a good deal on gas so be prepared to wait 10-15 minutes before reaching the pump. Costco gas prices have been between 15 and 35 cents cheaper than the lowest gas station price. To me, the wait is always definitely worth waiting for the pump since I know that little bit of extra savings can go straight into our family’s vacation fund.
Great deals on paper products
I love the fact that we still have a good supply on our toilet paper and paper towel stock that we purchased 3-4 months ago. I find that shopping for cloth napkins at the thrift store has cost us less in paper towel and napkin purchases. Simply use the cloth napkins and toss in the wash when done.
Great deals on “other items” like books, household, gifts and more
Costco has always sold a wide range of electronics, clothing, tools, gadgets, books, games, toys, and other items. You can find some great deals; some fair; some not so good for a family budget. You just gotta keep your eyes open for those deals. Remember to always check the coupon book that comes in the mail.
Gotta loves those FREE Samples!
Depending on the time of day you visit, there may be a number of free sample stations set up around the food aisles of Costco. Some days, if you’re lucky enough and it’s not too crowded, you could make the rounds at each Sample Station and end up with a meal. The kids love this idea. By giving these samples a try, they have provided opportunities for our kids to try things that they might not touch at home. And we’ve found some favorite treats by tasting the samples. This past weekend we sampled Apple Hill’s Cider and Barsoti’s Apple Raspberry Juice. We picked up a couple of gallons and will serve at Thanksgiving dinner.
A little tip for shopping at Costco
I won’t go into the downside of shopping at Costco because that’s not what this post is about. What I will say is if you do plan on bringing your whole family on a Costco trip, test the waters to find the best time of day that works for you. I’d be misleading you if I told you not to expect it to be crowded. Everybody is on a mission when they go to Costco and this holiday season I suggest creating a list to make it easier to get in and out quickly.