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Blissful and Domestic is now on Youtube!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How Does She Do Costco

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Alright Lovelies. It is Tuesday and I have a new budget friendly post for you. I wanted to get this one up for you, since I am still working on my new month of meal plans and my staples list. I honestly didn't think it would take so long to compile, but summer fun is kicking my butt. In a good way though. Swimming with those littles has taken top priority lately, which is why their was no blog hop this weekend or the Fabulous shops party. I honestly just didn't have time to get them up. Because of this I am going to take a break from the hop and the shop party. I will continue doing the Feature Friday Linky Party, since it is one of my favs! The other ones will be on hold until the summer is over. I am hoping to get them going again then. Just a little FYI for ya.

Now onto today's post. I received quite a few questions on how I do Costco and such. You know any of those warehouse stores. I was asked if I shop there, do I actually save money, and how do I save money. Well I have a post all ready for you, to help you still shop at those warehouse stores and save money too!

So lets get down to the nitty gritty. First off this is just how I save. These are suggestions and by no means am I telling anyone what to do. I am just letting you in on the way we save money or make ends meet. It really depends on what boat you are in. So lets see how I do it.

First off I do not do Costco the same day I do my once a month shopping. That would just be insane. Way too exhausting. I only actually shop at Costco maybe very two or three months. I have to really budget for this, since it spends a huge chunk of my monthly budget. I do it though because some things are just way to hard to pass up. Not because they are super awesome, which they are, but because they are vital to making my food system work. I use Costco to buy all of my baking needs. Their prices on sugar, flour, and yeast are beyond thrilling. I haven't meet a store yet that could compete with their prices, when it comes to baking stuff. Costco just rocks!

I plan my Costco trips ahead of time. I write up my list like so.
This particular month I was getting seasonings, some fruit, eggs (which I have now finally found at Winco for a good price), and some canned stuff.

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Notice the question mark by milk? Well that is me wanting to compare the price. I know milk is always $2.48 at Winco. I just have that price memorized. I wanted to check to see if milk was cheaper at Costco. It wasn't, so I didn't buy it.

I also was looking for a bathing suit for my little girl. I always check thrift stores first, but when I couldn't find one I had to go new. I ended up finding one for a good price at Costco. That usually never happens. I rarely, if ever, purchase anything from the middle section at Costco.

Before I get into how I shop at Costco, I am sure you are wondering what my staple list for Costco is.
Well I have it for you. Here we go....

I've included a price and link for some
I also tried to estimate how long each will last me.
All are approx.


50 lb. bag of Flour - will last us about 3-4 months
Cost- $13.99

25 lb. bag of Sugar - will last seriously like 6 months at least
Cost- $15.04

 Chocolate Chips Semi-Sweet for Baking- will last about 2 months

Yeast - approx. $3.25
I am still using the same bag I bought in December.
I still have another month of baking to get out of it.
Love this! So much cheaper!

Lawry's Seasoning Salt- $6.04
Still on the same bottle I bought 3 months ago.
It is only a quarter of a way used.

Garlic Salt- $7.07
Still on the same bottle I bought 3 months ago.
It is only a quarter of a way used.

Brown Gravy Mix- $4.22
Awesome to have this in the cupboard.
No more buying canned gravy or gravy packets.
I use this more in the winter, so I still have almost a full bottle.
I bought it in December

Oil-Will last at least 6 months
$9.36

Raisins- Will last 2 months
$9.02

Craisins- Will last 2 months
$8.43

Pancake Mix- will last at least 2-3 months
$6.46

Salt- will last months. comes in a 4 pack
$2.46

Mayo- will last 2 months
$9.49

Jasmine Rice- will last about 6 months
$31.57

40 ct bag of Tortillas- will last about 1-2 months
$4.45

2 pack of Peanut Butter - will last 2 months
$13.50

Ranch Dressing - will last 2 months at least
$11.42

Go Gurt- will last a month
$9.17

Vinegar- will last 6 months at least
$3.37

2 pack Nuetella- will last 2 months
$9.98

Lemon Juice 2 pack- will last 2-3 months
$6.16


Also on the list:

Canned peaches, pears, mandarin oranges, and apple sauce
Canned green beans, peas, and carrots
Canned re-fried beans
some fresh fruit 
sometimes canned soups in winter

So that is a basic staples list for Costco. I do buy canned goods there as well. Canned fruits, veggies, and beans. If you don't like canned goods, I understand, but don't be a hater. They are an essential part of our food storage and I use them for our meals. Also when we have had months where there was little to no money for grocery shopping (yes, we have had that happen before) our canned goods got us through that hard time. I am a big supporter of having a good supply of canned goods in food storage. They may not be the best, compared to fresh, but they are beneficial. Now Jasmine rice is the biggest ticket item there on my staple list. It is a lot, but not only do we LOVE Jasmine rice, but it last us forever. We have it at least 2-3 times a week and it will last us about 6 months, so the $30 investment is well worth it.

I store all of my flour, sugar, and rice in 5 gallons tubs I purchased from Home Depot. I also have canisters on my counters.

Notice something about my list? There aren't any frozen items on there. Nope there isn't. Why? Well because I don't buy them there. I steer clear of the freezer and fridge section. I only buy something from the section if I have a stellar Costco coupon. I don't walk by those isles because I don't need the temptation. Stores like Costco have awesome delishsious freezer meals and such. The only thing is they are way expensive and can have your grocery budget getting out of hand real quick. Just steer clear and you won't mess up your budget.

Also only buy what is on your list. My staples list is what I like to have in my cupboards. I don't buy everything on that list each time I go. It ends up that I spend anywhere from $80-$100. I go about once every 2-3 months. That $80-$100 comes out of my $400 dollar grocery budget. I really watch myself. Messing up here can mean I have less money to play around with at that regular grocery store. You have to be careful and have self control. Try the samples, but don't buy them:)

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Now when I do my once a month shopping I go at it alone. It is just easier for me and my hubby gets time with the kids. Too much thinking in this brain of mine, when I do once a month shopping. I need that alone time to think. Now going to Costco is different. Usually I have my littles with me. I trained my littles from the time they were toddlers not to ask for things in the store and no fits. If they did this they wouldn't get to come the next time. Now I won't say they never ask for anything, but no fits. EVER.  They are very good helpers and understand when I say no. Also Costco is the one place we go, where they get a treat on our way out. I have a soft spot for their churros and berry smoothies. I try to save a bit of our budget, so the littles and I can get our snack. It is a great motivator for them not to fight and be helpful in the store. Oh and plus this Mama loves the sugary goodness of that reward just as much as they do.

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Once we have everything we need, we head for the checkout.

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Once we get home everyone helps put everything away. Then of course the littles have to try something new out. This is probably the most exciting thing for them:)

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Now I know there is a big debate whether it is worth the $50 membership. Well for us it is. If you have a Smart n' Final near you, then go there. They don't have membership fees, but for us Costco is the closes and gives us the best discounts on the things we need. Spacing out my trips and only buying certain things helps me be able to do warehouse stores on a budget.

I hope you found this post useful and will use it on your next trip to Costco.

Want to find out more ways to save money?
Check out some of my other posts:


Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
Freezing Your Milk
Living on $14,000 a year
How Does She Q and A
Breakfast and Lunch: Meal Planning and Saving Tips 
Fresh Produce All Month Long 
Save Money at Costco
Menu Planning: Pantry Staples List
Weekly Menu Plans + Printable Shopping Lists
Dressing on a Shoestring Budget
I also love these books for great money saving inspiration



Thank you so much Lovelies!

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122 comments:

  1. Danielle, I love this post! You are so frugal. I so need to be more like this. I know where a Sams is, but not a Costco, so I'm searching one out. Plus, I like your "no fussing" tactics!
    JoAnn

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    1. We have all of that at our Sams, so it would probably work too!

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    2. SweetPepperRose - you can do the same at Sam's: Just buy what you need; Know how much things cost; Don't splurge. They have similar things at Sam's - that's what I have in my town - as Costco, which is what my Dear Sister has in HER town. There are a few differences... when she has AWESOMENESS at Costco that I cant get, I have her pick it up for me when she's coming to town for a visit. I do the same for her!!

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  2. thanks so much for the info again! and yes those frozen food section - OY! - they do get me, we are cheese people and they have the best deal on sliced cheese. and sam's likes to move things all the time so i found myself this time standing in the canned good aisles trying to find the cheese aisle (wish i'd had some binoculars) so i didn't put all those frozen meals in my basket again.do u have any bread recipes you would be willing to share? i'm not much of a baker really (other than cakes and cookies and those are usually reserved for little's bday) but i was thinking of trying to give it a go if it wasnt too terribly hard. thanks!!

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  3. Awesome post! :) Thanks for sharing your ideas and insights! I love your perspective, with the understanding that people have different ways of doing things...but it's great to have something like this for a foundation for people who are just starting out utilizing warehouse stores! :)

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  4. Hi Danielle, I recently found your blog through pinterest. Thank you for always saying that while this works for YOUR family, we may need to adjust for ours. I work part time and am not able to do everything you do, but you made me realize I can do SOME THINGS. Other frugal blogs sometimes overwhelm me and make me feel discouraged because I don't always have the time to cook from scratch, etc. But since having a $1,000 a month decrease in pay recently, I can see how incorporating SOME of your way-of-life will help us save a ton. THANK YOU!!

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    1. I am so glad! That is what I want everyone to know. I know not all my tips will work for everyone and it can be overwhelming at first, but just picking one thing and working on it will make a huge difference. It took me 4 years to get to where I am today on all my budgeting and saving. It takes time to learn a new behavior and that really is what you are doing. Making yourself rethink how you do stuff:>

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  5. Hi Danielle, I recently found your blog through Pinterest and I am completely addicted! We recently became a one-income family and I am so appreciative of all your great ideas...they really speak to my uber-organized-maybe-OCD personality. :) I do have one question (I tried using the email link but nothing came up!): Do you have an Aldi's in your area? I have shopped there for years because of the great prices, but I haven't heard you mention it on your blog. Just curious to know your thoughts. Thanks!

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    1. I don't I wish I did. I have heard great things about from my lovely readers. We only just got Winco.

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  6. Hi Danielle, I am in OK and we have Sams, not Cosco. I shop there in a very similar way to you.
    One thing my Sams sells much cheaper than other grocers in my area is cheese. My family are all cheese lovers and I do stock up on it when go.
    I don't know about Cosco but Sams has a great website, just select the store you want to shop at and you can find the prices of just about everything, even groceries and fresh produce!

    love your honest real life writings- how is husband doing after his hospital stay?

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  7. Excellent post! I just recently bought a bread maker second hand from someone, but they didn't have the manual or recipe book. Do you use one of these to make your bread?

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    1. I have gotten recipes from books at the library or online. Mine didn't come with a manual either.

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    2. call the 800 number on your bread maker.. they sent me a manuel for free

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  8. I recently found your blog and I'm just loving all the great money saving ideas!! That middle section at Costco can get you in trouble real quick. I usually go to Costco on Friday because they have all those great samples. You can almost make a meal out of all of them.....don't have to pack a lunch or buy lunch. BONUS!!!!!

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  9. Great post thank you for sharing, I like to buy the seaoning salt and did not realize they had it at costco. Going on my list for next time. I have always bought the garlic and onion powder there and it can save you a lot of money.

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    1. http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/Lawrys-Seasoned-Salt-Recipe.html
      I have used this recipe for "orange salt" for years. Multiply by 8 and it fills a large mason jar (or an empty pickle bottle). My kids make it and brilliant little brains that they are, printed the recipe and taped it right to the jar. Have never itemized the cost but its probably half of store bought. The reason we started making it was because years ago, we couldn't buy it where we live. Now it's become a habit to make our own.

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    2. http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/Lawrys-Seasoned-Salt-Recipe.html
      Have used this recipe for "orange salt" (as my kids call it) for years. We moved to a small town and seasoned salt was not sold here so I found this recipe and we started making our own. It was the kid's "job" to keep the orange salt jar full. If you multiply by 8 the recipe fills a large mason jar (or empty pickle bottle). Print and tape the recipe on the jar and you always know where it is.

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  10. Found you on Pinterest- great post and great blog! I'm surprised to see that you don't buy your meats at Costco. I thought they had the lowest prices. How do you buy your meats and where?
    Kbaker003@gmail.com

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    1. I am hopping in on this thread because I have the exact same question. We usually buy our chicken and ground beef from Costco and freeze them until we use them. Is there a better place to be buying these?

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    2. YES!! This is the question I was going to ask...what kind of meats do you buy and where?

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    3. Same question - where do you buy your meats?

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    4. Same question too, where do you buy your meats???

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    5. I typically buy my chicken from winco and my ground turkey from WalMart. I am going to have to compare with Costco since I have heard such great things on their meat from all you lovelies.

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    6. Sam's Club meat is always higher than Piggly Wiggly. The exception is the whole chickens. I buy ONLY the meats that are on sale. Yes, SC may be less than PW, if a meat isn't on sale at PW, AND SC has it as a "manager's special." That is a lot of "ifs" so I don't buy meat at SC.

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  11. I was wondering...on your least you had Yeast at under $4 and it lasting you awhile. What type is it? I've never seen any so cheap Id love to know if Ive been looking at the wrong thing! :) surridgefam@hotmail.com

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    1. It might be where I live but I get a huge thing of yeast for under 5 bucks. look in the post I even have a link to the yeast I buy and where to find ti at Costco:>

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    2. i am late on this but i really would like to know how you store your yeast to keep it from losing its potency???????????????????

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    3. In the freezer for unopened and refrigerator for opened. I am married to a man whose parents still grow and can all of their own food.

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    4. Storing in the freezer works great for me---in a recycled glass jar.

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    5. Refrigerate it. wrap it tightly in the bag it comes in, then secure with a rubber band. Or you can divide it into smaller packages like canning jars with lids and keep in the fridge. I've never froze it, but maybe I will try.

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  12. Great blog, you've really inspired me! I was just wondering if you buy from the church cannery? Thanks!

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    1. I do sometimes, but haven't in a long time. We don't live near a cannery and would have to drive over 40 minutes to get to one.

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  13. I've really gotten into meal planning on a weekly basis. I noticed that you've talked about doing it for longer periods of time. Any tips on that?!

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    1. I am actually am working on a 120 day meal plan and my staple list. I typed it up this week and am hoping to have it go live in the next week or so:>

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  14. I am loving this series. I love your site! I am a new fan and follower. I am giving you the One Lovely Blog and Very Inspiring Blogger Award! You can check it out here http://domesticrandomness.blogspot.com/2012/07/one-lovely-blog-and-very-inspiring.html

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  15. I love costco I go about once a month sometimes i can stretch it out to two months. Have you tried their cheese sticks? I dont know if ya'll eat them, but I only buy from costco theres a 60pk for $8.48..

    I love your site, my husband just lost his job and we are slowly trying to learn off a lower income and your site is very helpful for us. It inspires me so much

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    1. I am going to try them out. This is why i love blogging I get so many great tips from you lovelies. I try another readers comment about going lowfat and it was a bust. My family hates them and refuses to eat them. Now I have a huge bag of cheese sticks that no one will eat. I am going to think of something to get those dang things eaten:>

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    2. Stephanie BatterJuly 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      I have seen on Pinterest an idea for taking cheese sticks, dipping in egg and coating with bread crumbs to bake for 'mozzarella sticks'. Just an idea, they may not mind the low fat when breaded and baked! :)

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    3. maybe cut then up or shred them on your pizza.

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  16. When you buy a 50 or 25 lb bag of flour, how do you freeze it. I freeze my flour before I store it in 5 gal buckets to avoid bugs. Right now, I separate it into gallon bags and freeze them individually. I only have a small freezer attached to my fridge, so not enough room for a full size bag. Do you freeze your flour? If so, how do you freeze it?

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    1. I was going to ask the same question! How DO you store that much flour??

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    2. That's exactly what I was going to ask. How DO you store that much flour? (And why do you buy pancake mix instead of making it?)

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    3. I store my flour in 5 gallon tubs I got from Home Depot. I think I paid $3 each for the tubs. Also I have pancake mix because it is part of my food storage and honestly sometimes I like an easy breakfast. I am a busy Mom and sometimes I like the luxury of having something quick and easy for my littles and myself.

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    4. So do you freeze it then?

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    5. How do you store the sugar?

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    6. You should store it all in air tight containers and you don't need to worry about bugs!

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    7. You can store anything that is NOT oil based in the freezer. They stay fresh and do not get the worms. Even your air tight containers will still get the worms in them.

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    8. I regularly buy 50 pounds of flour and repackage into those gallon zip lock bags.
      Takes about 8 or 9 zip locks to fit 50 pounds of flour. They do a pretty good job
      of keeping the flour fresh and bugs out as long as they don't chew through the bag.
      I use the flour up in about 4 months and reuse the bag as long as they don't have
      a hole. I just find a cool dry storage spot to stack the bags up.

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  17. Where do you buy fruit? I buy fruit at Sams and I am spending about $40-60 every 2 weeks.

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  18. Where do you buy fruit? I buy it at Sams and spend $40-60 every 2 weeks

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  19. Where do you buy fruit? I buy fruit at Sams and I am spending about $40-60 every 2 weeks.

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  20. That's too bad your Costco milk is so expensive! At our Costco it's $1.99/gallon which I think the savings in milk alone more than pays for our yearly membership. I love me some Costco!

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    1. I shop in Costco in a similar way but, here in Hawaii, milk is more than $5 a gallon. The canned products in Costco are always cheaper than in the local supermarkets.

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  21. If you don't want to buy plastic containers at HD to put your flour in, I go to Albertsons bakery and ask if they have any 5 lb plastic buckets that the frosting comes in and they give them to me for FREE... usually they are rinsed out but not washed out so I bring them home, wash them good, and then use them for storage. The most recent ones I got have a seal on the lid also.

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    1. Wal-Mart bakery does this too! At least the one we lived by in Kansas. We drilled holes in the bottom and used them to make a container garden for tomatoes and peppers :)

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    2. So do we Shannon. We ask the local fast food places too.

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  22. Where do u buy ur toiletries and such and it included in your budget? Great ideas!

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    1. That is a separate budget and I will post about it soon

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  24. I just wanted to thank you for your guidance on thinking ahead and making one bulk shopping trip. It had helped me so much cut down on extra spending when I stop in a store for "just one" item!

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  25. Hi there, love your blog!
    Wondering how you keep produce fresh for the whole month-I shop two weeks at a time and by about 1.5 weeks in, the produce is moldy :( Also, the tortillas you buy months in advance at costco-do they keep? Any tips would be great; I was trying to find a way to make my twice-monthly shopping become once-monthly, and this is so exciting!!

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    1. I have a post all about that. find it below:>
      http://www.blissfulanddomestic.com/2012/07/fresh-produce-on-budget.html

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  26. I didn't get a chance to read through all of the comments but one thing that we do is one person get's a Sam's membership (my Mother in this case) and then several of us chip in on the fee. She will either pick things up for those of us who don't have the card or we can go shopping with her. It helps save on the membership cost making it far cheaper to be a member.

    I just found your site through Pinterest. Thanks for all of the wonderful advice.

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    1. Sam's also lets you give two people in your family a card for one membership. I get the membership, and my daughter and d-i-l each get a card.

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  27. Hey Danielle! I have been reading your blog for about a month now and I love, love it! I cannot even understand how you manage to post so much with those littles always around (so cute the way you say that), so I'm just guessing you must be über passionate about doing it! Good for you! I am a working mom with a crazy hectic family, and I'm frustrated with our way of life, never making enough Or having enough or saving enough, so I am appreciating your wisdom, frugality, and creativity! We are an ex-Army family too btw so I get where you're coming from. I've tried this much to minimize my shopping/spending and ralize I'm going to have to go back to the drawing board as we eat so much more than I planned for (and we're not overweight) and I totally did not invest all the time in taking an inventory of what we had. It is frustrating, but I would LOVE to get to where we have what we need at home and nix those last minute trips to the store which drive us all crazy and cost too much.


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  28. Anyway, you're brilliant, and I just had one more thing to add about Costco and money-saving. Cheese is a great deal there. I buy their two pound blocks of sharp cheddar and that can last several weeks, depending on use of course, but they're only about $5-$6. I also buy butter there, which usually works out to $2 or less a pound, and that is actually cheaper and more healthy than margarine (trans-fatty acids and such). Another thing some of your readers might want to know is that there is no better place to buy coffee -- generally about $10 for two pounds of quality, freshly roasted beans, yum!yum! (I know Mormons don't indulge but for the rest of us who live on it...). Quality wheat breads are also available at the lowest prices for those who don't bake, and when you are in the market for some clothing, they have great deals on for all ages and genders. I generally do NOT BUY MEAT at Costco unless you are able to reason quality vs. cost. It is very good meat but I get better deals at my local Kroger, Albertsons, or Aldi. Seafood may be the exception, and you won't find sausage like they have anywhere. Also, if you're shpping for an immediate need, their rotisserie chickens are cheaper than anyone's and they're bigger and taste better. Two more things I would definitely buy at Costco vs. any oher store -- feta cheese and black olives. The cheese will last a month, the olives longer.

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  29. Thank you so much for sharing all your great money saving ideas. You are such an inspiration!

    I would love it if you would share this at the Smart Solutions linky party. You can link up here:

    http://theprudentpantryblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/prudent-projects-smart-solutions-week-7.html

    Have a great day!

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  30. Found this post while blog-hopping. We love Costco, but for only certain things, as well. Several things I buy there are because of year-round quality (tomatoes and lettuce) and the rest because it's the best deal I can get for what I choose to feed my family. What we have found is that the bricks of medium cheddar are the best price around, so we buy several and shred it ourselves (KitchenAid attachment) and freeze it for the month. We buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the frozen section because I can't find it cheaper anywhere else ($2.24 lb) when you take into account the packaging cost in order to freeze it when you buy it fresh in bulk. Usually they have the best price on awesome bacon, and always the best deal on heavy whipping cream (we get a gallon and a half per month). Other things we find there are olive oil, bath tissue, bulk ziplocs, tuna fish, and honey. Those are some of our staples that ounce for ounce are less expensive there. We also love the yeast at a great deal there! Really, as I think you've expressed, it's finding the best price for what your own family needs, within a budget, which equals research! We need to be good managers of our homes and that means doing our homework! Thanks for sharing - more information is great!

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  31. Found this post while blog-hopping. We love Costco, but for only certain things, as well. Several things I buy there are because of year-round quality (tomatoes and lettuce) and the rest because it's the best deal I can get for what I choose to feed my family. What we have found is that the bricks of medium cheddar are the best price around, so we buy several and shred it ourselves (KitchenAid attachment) and freeze it for the month. We buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the frozen section because I can't find it cheaper anywhere else ($2.24 lb) when you take into account the packaging cost in order to freeze it when you buy it fresh in bulk. Usually they have the best price on awesome bacon, and always the best deal on heavy whipping cream (we get a gallon and a half per month). Other things we find there are olive oil, bath tissue, bulk ziplocs, tuna fish, and honey. Those are some of our staples that ounce for ounce are less expensive there. We also love the yeast at a great deal there! Really, as I think you've expressed, it's finding the best price for what your own family needs, within a budget, which equals research! We need to be good managers of our homes and that means doing our homework! Thanks for sharing - more information is great!

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  32. I shop Costco too and yes...the freezer section is a trap! I usually only buy milk, bread, fruit and sometimes meat there. I am impressed with your list and am definitely going to check out some of the things on your list the next time I go. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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  33. Awesome ideas we just got our costco cards. JASMINE RICE! is excellent here is a tip we picked up. We have a huge Asian / World Market that sells rice in bulk bags. We get a 10lb bag of Jasmine rice for around 10 dollars. So keep an eye out for a Asian Market in your area.

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  34. Our local Asian Market sells rice by the bulk. We get a 10 lb bag of Jasmine rice for a little less than 10 dollars.

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  35. Whst do u store ur flour and sugar in abd where

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  36. Just so you know, if there is an ALDI near you, they definitely beat Costco prices on flour and sugar. At my ALDI flour is currently $1.39 for a 5 lb. bag and sugar is $2.08 for a 4lb. bag. Definitely agree that Costco/SAMs club has the best price on yeast than anywhere else!

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  37. I live near a WinCo and usually shop in the bulk section for my baking needs (like flour, sugar, dried fruit, oats and even dog food!!). Have you compared Costco's versus WinCo's bulk prices? I love that you can get the bulk price and only buy what you have room to store!!

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  38. I love Costco, and while I didn't have time to read through all the comments I totally by the majority of my meat at Costco. But you have to know how to buy it. If you purchase the big pork loins (the ones that come vacuume packed in plastic not cut) this is the same cut of meat that they cut up to make thier pork chops but at 1/2 the price per pound. They also have a large vacuume packed pork roast and they cut it up to make thier boneless ribs. But it is also 1/2 the price if you cut it up yourself. Also thier chicken is cheaper than anywhere plus I have found the chicken breasts are so large that even with my teenagers I can split 1 chicken breast between 2 people. Soem of the other cuts watch and compare its usually a better deal

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  39. I just found your blog and am loving it! I find myself making lots of things with canned pumpkin this time of year. It sounds like the you get the best baking stuff at Costco, would that include canned pumpkin?

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    1. I haven't seen canned pumpkin at my Costco. I usually wait for it to go on sale around the holidays and stock up or I make my own:>

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  40. Do you find that canned pumpkin is a good thing to get at Costco as well?

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    1. I haven't seen it at my costco. I usually try to make my own in the fall

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    2. When you buy your pumpkins for jack-o-Lateran this year, pick up a few extra ones. Process them by cleaning out the seeds and cooking them until the skin is soft to the touch. After that cut out the pulp, process it in a food processor and than freeze it. I get 5 to 7 bags that we portion out into 2 cup servings. You will never go back to canned pumpkin once you have a pie made from fresh pumpkin.

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  41. It's so great you taught the kids to behave, not an easy thing to do. Those meltdowns are never pretty.

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  42. Love Costco! Your kids are still too young for this I guess, but once you're sure they will have no problem catching anything you throw at them, try this: While shopping at Costco, have your kid push the cart while you pick items off the shelf. Keeping a nice distance (8 or 10 feet) between you and the kid, toss the food to the kid, who will catch it and place it in the cart. Large packages such as those sold at Costco have a satisfying heft so they're fun to toss and catch. (Obviously you'll have to pick and choose which items you toss. A 50# bag of flour wouldn't work, and I wouldn't recommend throwing a rotisserie chicken.) I have good memories of doing lots of this with my son when he was a teenager. It helped take the drudgery out of grocery shopping!

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  43. I saw a mention of the LDS Dry Pack Cannery on one of your posts somewhere. Do you still buy your flour and sugar at Costco or do you get them at the Dry Pack? Also, when you get your jasmine rice at costco, do you "rent" the home canner and put your rice in #10 cans? My neighbor had a giant bag of rice that she waited too long to use and it got bugs in it, so we've been canning our rice, flour, and sugar at the dry pack.

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    1. Put them in the freezer.

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  44. I noticed you have pancake mix on your list of to-buy's from Costco. Let me recommend this amazing HOMEMADE mix that is super tasty and SUPER CHEAP to make. I keep it in a tupperware in my pantry and in the morning I mix a cup of this mix with an egg and a cup of buttermilk. (Or you can use 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup yogurt). TRY IT. You will love it and won't look back. (I love this girl's website for a bunch of other things too, so you may enjoy checking out her other recipes. But this one is a super favorite.)

    http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2009/09/oatmeal-pancake-mix.html

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    Replies
    1. You can make buttermilk on the fly but just adding a TBSP of vinegar to the milk. Father taught me.

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  45. We have a Sam's Club membership. We buy shredded cheese in the 5 lb. bags. It's much cheaper than the smaller bags elsewhere, and we use a TON of it! Also, Sam's milk is much cheaper than Wal-Mart. I also buy a large bag of frozen meatballs. The bag is like $14, but we get about 5 meals out of a bag! (We make meatball subs, bbq meatballs, and spaghetti and meatballs.)

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  46. Whenever I buy any type of dry goods, brown rice is the worst, I get those little worms that turn into moths that invade our entire pantry. I've only started buying dry goods when I know we are going to use them right away. How do you prevent those worms when you're storing such large items of rice and flour and sugar?

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    1. Store them in the freezer in zip lock bags after you open the items.

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    2. I buy the organic short grain brown rice from Costco. I store a small amount in a glass canister in the pantry and the rest is stored in the freezer. I have had those pesty moth bugs too. Hate them!! Keeping dry goods contained in glass canisters is definitely a must. Then put large amounts in the refrigerator or freezer.

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  47. @Solstice Spa... freeze your dry goods for a few days before putting them in the pantry and it should kill off any critters.

    Costco has good prices on certain produce, too (carrots, for instance), at least around here. Most of these places will comp you a day pass - if you're not sure about the fee, go in once and price things out. See how much you'll save, and if it comes out to the cost of the annual fee or not. For us, right now, Costco wouldn't save us enough to be worth the membership (unless it's a year we can get tires from them or something). But if we had a Sam's Club nearby, because they carry the peanut butter we eat (one of the few things my family is picky about brand), we would save enough on peanut butter to pay for the membership. So figure it up and see!

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    1. You can leave them in the freezer it helps them stay fresh.

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  48. Love your advise! Going to give it a try! Great job! Also, did you know that if you put Avocado's and Kiwi in Zip Lock or re-sealable plastic bags as soon as you get home from buying them and keeping them in the fridge, they will last a good 3 to 4 weeks? I tried it and it works. Do not wash them before putting in the bags. Good luck.

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    1. I am excited to read your tips on how to save money. I'm looking forward to turning a page in my life by becoming a better steward. Again, thanks for sharing!

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  49. We do a lot of the same things that you are doing also. Thank you for writing about Bountiful Baskets. A woman told me about it last month and I lost the paper that she wrote it down on. Another tip for you is canning. I make all of our jams, relish, and other non-acid items. We have a couple of garden boxes in the back yard where we grow our vegetables and herbs at. My mother-in-law cans vegetables for us since she has a pressure cooker. The vegetables that we cannot can we simply blanch them first than freeze them. This year we will be buying half a pig, cow and a full lamb. Once we get the meat we break down the packages and then freeze them all. Like you said a freezer will be your best friend. We have two, one for bread, flour, rice and other dry goods. The other one for meats and vegetables. You can freeze everything, but oil based items, just in case you did not know that. I have been freezing milk since I was a child.

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  50. I just found your blog...I know, WHERE HAVE I BEEN??? First, I have to say, I love your red heads!! I have two red headed step sons and a red headed hubby. As of now, I have three teenaged boys to feed and had to allow for a little extra for food in our budget. (They are bottomless pits). Your blog is so helpful. I have favorited it. Crazy thing is that my husband read an article about you the same day I found your blog on Pinterest. We're both on board!

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  51. I have been shopping at a store that supplies restaurants called GFS. Gordon Food Service. Great thing is, no membership fee. They might be a little more than Sam's, but I don't have the extra to buy the membership fee. They have the bulk flour, yeast, etc as well. As usual, lots of stuff to blow your budget as well.

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  52. We buy our birthday cakes at Costco. I am the oldest of 7 and when you add in parents, spouses and grandkids, our family birthday parties are huge. The 1/2 sheet decorated cakes are cheaper and taste amazing. I have never paid more than $17 for one. Also, they freeze well, if you are at Costco and won't be going again before an event needing a cake.

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  53. I'm new to your blog, just seeing it today on the news. I'm so excited to start exploring all of your posts!

    I have a question about buying baking supplies, such as flour, in bulk. I've had trouble with those little bugs (I don't know what they're called.) getting into my flour and rice. Do you know of any way to prevent this? I read somewhere that putting them in the freezer would help, but if you buy in bulk, this would be hard to do.

    Thank you!

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  54. Hi Danielle, I was wondering how you shop for your meat products? Do you buy meat baskets or just buy what you will need for that month? Where is the best place for you to purchase your meats? I do buy a lot of meats from Costco. I re-bag them and freeze in small portions. I have a family of 5. Myself, hubby, a 20yr old boy, 13 yr old boy and 3 yr old girl. All the boys in my house can eat me out of house and home at times. I really enjoy what you have done here. I spend most of my time looking over all the great posts and ideas. Thank You...you are pretty amazing!

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    1. Danielle,
      I have just found out about your blog and love it ....no LOVE IT lol! I have one thing to add about costco. I own a small cleaning service and because I do use costco for business and office supplies to it is worth it for me to buy the executive membership. You say that is $100 BUCKS but what they don't tell you is that if you pay that for the executive membership you get 2% of all your purchases back at the end of the year and if you don't spend enough to earn up to at least $50 they will give you your $50 back anyway so you can't lose. I have found that I usually get a check for about $115-130 back every year which pays for my next year membership as well as a little to put toward my next purchase. So in actuality I have only put the $100 out of pocket one time and then additional years renewal are free. Also for those who don't know it when you purchase tires from costco, which I have found a minimum of $100 cheaper and then additional coupon of $75 saving me $175 is very nice and then to add free tire rotation and repair if needed for the life of your tires and all this can be done while you shop to save time. One other thing I love about costco is if you order electronics including computers from them you are given and additional year past the manufactures warranty free from costco and when i had to use it they were super fast and so helpful ;) I'm so glad to find this site and look forward to more great tips from you;)

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  55. my husband and i did a price comparison with our local HEB and costco- and pretty much in milk, meat, bread, produce, and a few other things.. costco was less expensive and you get way more for the price too! plus you don't have to go 55 times to the store. we have a family of 6.

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  56. I'm not sure how I stumbled across your blog but it has been very helpful. Although there are only 2 in our family now (girls have long since moved out of the house) I recently quit my job so we are now one income. I do wish we could accommodate a freezer where we live! I keep touching base to see what's new.

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  57. Did you know that you could save sooo much more money and definitely eat much much healthier by making most of these items at home? Yogurt, nutella, nut butters, apple sauce, ranch dressing, tortillas, mayo.... all can be made at home. Some of the items are incredibly easy to make at home (mayo, dressing, nut butters) and only take a couple of minutes. Not trying to judge, but being low income doesn't mean you have to eat a lot of processed food with additives. Especially with small children -- it's so important to skip these foods! :) {from a fellow homeschooling mom of 4 with a grad student hubby}

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    1. Rachel, I totally agree with you on this one ! I make my own tortillas. The pancake mix I make enough to store in the fridge and have it ready at all times. I no longer buy salad dressing but make my own. Yogurt same thing and it saves money and I am not wasting containers. PLUS have you read the junk in yogurt? I cook with dried beans. Make my own whipped cream. Would LOVE to make my own butter on a regular basis but Youzaaaaaa !! The cost of cream is out of this world !

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  58. Danielle,
    THANKS for taking time to post all these great ideas. They're awesome AND helpful and I really appreciate that you're not 'snobby' about it: You tell people to take baby steps and why and that some things wont work for them- that's great because people can get discouraged.
    We have Sam's, not Costco, where I live. Here's a trick I use - I didn't see it in the posts here & hope it is not a repeat.

    I share my membership with a friend!! She owns a small business and has a 'business' mbrship. The fee for 2013 was $34.80. We each paid HALF the yearly fee, we each get a card, *AND* they allow BUSINESS mbrs into the store 1 hour before regular hours through the week... meaning I can get in and get started before it gets crowded! (Even a 'family' membership gets 2 cards so you could bring your BFF, sister, Sunday School teacher with you as the other family member... to share the mbrship cards!)

    Blog On, Danielle, you're doing GREAT!! (Esp with all that mom crap ;-)

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  59. Just discovered your blog & am loving it! I waffle on the Costco membership. We have a love-hate relationship because of that darned freezer section!! BUT I have also found their cheese to be cheaper than anything else anywhere. Averages around $2/lb if you get the Kirtland brand pre-shredded cheeses (5# bag for $10-12!!) and the Land O Lakes sliced cheese is about the same. Their nuts are also much cheaper than anywhere else, (then again, we don't have WinCo) and freeze well. On the sharing a membership note... if you get the executive membership which is $100 you get a percentage back on all your purchases, and guaranteed to get your $50 back, so it's never more expensive than the regular membership. If you bring friend(s) with you when you shop (someone who maybe doesn't care to buy the membership but loves the idea of cheese for $2/lb or whatever) you get a percentage of all that. We used to do a Girl's Night Out... to Costco. You can actually end up cancelling out the membership fee pretty easily. Rock on Danielle!

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  60. Just wondering if you find it's worth it for household things - paper goods, plastic bags, etc. I go back and forth whether I want to get a Sam's membership (we don't have a Costco here, darn it!), but I want to make sure I'm not paying tons for something I'm only going to use on a few things here and there.

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  61. I am perusing your blog for the first time- should've guessed you are LDS! You should try the refried beans from the cannery- they're great! My husband loves to mix in salsa or cheese etc to make them even better. :)

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  62. Great, great, great! Can't say that enough! Thank you so much for sharing all of your wisdoms :D
    I notice that you like to have brown gravy around (who doesn't?!). My grandmother taught me how to make homemade brown gravy, which saves money and uses some leftovers you may have.
    First, get your pan nice and hot. Put just a little bit of oil, butter, Crisco, lard, cooking spray, or whatever non-stick item you use, into the pan. Take flour and set it in the pan. Keep on a-stirring! Soon you'll see your flour has become browned. When you get it about to the brown-ness you want, start adding water a little at a time,(reduce heat) and make sure to keep stirring. This avoids lumps. You can add more or less water depending on how thick you want the gravy. If you have any left over bacon grease, chicken broth or stock, turkey drippings or anything to that affect, add that in, instead of so much water.
    Hope this comes in handy!

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  63. Love the blog! I've been following here for awhile and just wanted to add a note on Costco.

    We've paid for our membership alone in dog food. The Kirkland Brand dog food is great quality and almost half the price of the pricey vet/pet store food. I have a large dog with allergies and the Kirkland Grain-free brand food has been a life saver. We use to pay $50+ for her food for the month, Kirkland is less than $30 for a bag lasting 6 weeks. In reviews it's received just as high ratings or higher of some of the leading brands. I brought the bag to my vet and she approved all the ingredients.

    Also look into the executive membership. As someone else stated you get the difference back in rebates if you make the limit or not. You can also check out more than one transaction per card. So technically you can bring a friend and they can use your card. I've only had a problem once with this, we called a manager over and he confirmed executive cards are allowed to seperate trasactions at once.

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  64. Love the blog! I've been following here for awhile and just wanted to add a note on Costco.

    We've paid for our membership alone in dog food. The Kirkland Brand dog food is great quality and almost half the price of the pricey vet/pet store food. I have a large dog with allergies and the Kirkland Grain-free brand food has been a life saver. We use to pay $50+ for her food for the month, Kirkland is less than $30 for a bag lasting 6 weeks. In reviews it's received just as high ratings or higher of some of the leading brands. I brought the bag to my vet and she approved all the ingredients.

    Also look into the executive membership. As someone else stated you get the difference back in rebates if you make the limit or not. You can also check out more than one transaction per card. So technically you can bring a friend and they can use your card. I've only had a problem once with this, we called a manager over and he confirmed executive cards are allowed to seperate trasactions at once.

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  65. Great post. We have a Costco membership, and it pays for itself with the annual rebate, so essentially no membership cost at all. Plus, then I get the savings for all my staples. Living in New England, the cost of living is super high, so that helps.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Laura

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  66. This is a wonderful post! I am always doing the opposite at Costco. Buying in the freezer and fridge sections and not buying the staples. Then, of course, my budget is OUT the window! Thank you for your insight and sharing your ideas and planning. I've never been good at meal planning, but it's time I get serious. I'm thrilled to have found your blog!

    Thank you!

    Jennifer

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  67. No wonder you save so much money...you feed your family toxic laced, chemical laden food, how sad : (

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  68. We don't have a Costco in our area, but we do have a Sam's Club and we've been members for years. I can't beat their price on dog food and that alone - as others have mentioned - can quickly offset the cost of the membership right there! I learned early on from other site to figure out Unit Cost and compare that to see if you are really getting savings at a store like Sam's. For example, a 5 lb block of cheese is $12.93 - I then figure out the cost per ounce and that is the unit cost. 16 oz per lb means 5 lbs is 80 ounces - $12.93 divided by 80 = roughly $0.16 per ounce. Then you compare that to the cost per ounce at any other store you might consider buying at. Aldi has 8 oz blocks of cheese for $1.99 so that equals $0.24 per ounce. Making Sam's the better deal. Over time I've learned the typical unit cost for items we buy all the time at stores I shop frequently and then can use that info to make a decision on whether or not to buy at Sam's. Cheese is obviously mentioned several times by other posters as a great deal. Spices, herbs are also rockin deals. I'd much rather buy a huge bottle of freeze dried chives - let' say - for $4.28 than a tiny little bottle for about the same at the grocery store. Real vanilla extract - not imitation - is another great deal! Sometimes flour and sugar prices are better at Aldi, sometimes Sam's - seems to depend on time of year. I also buy the store brand bulk packs of toilet paper, paper towels and tissue if I can't get a better deal couponing on top of sales. It's a good fall back place to buy. And Sam's just cannot be beat if you have a baby and you are buying formula, diapers, wipes, infant advil, etc. Those were huge savings for us during those years! I buy vinegar jugs - a 2 pack - for $3.58 - about a $1 more than buying 1 jug at grocery store. I use it for cleaning, laundry etc. I'll also get the 4 pack of Clorox wipes for a great price too! And buying one jug of Ecos Organic no chemicals added laundry detergent will get me through most of a year - for $13.98! You can't beat that with a stick! I buy liquid fabric softener there too at great cost savings. And if you need to/want to buy alcohol - that is another way to save - especially on the larger bottles of things like whiskey or vodka. Bottles that big last for us for YEARS. I hadn't thought of buying coffee there and will definitely check that out now that I've sworn off Starbucks and make my own at home. I usually go to Sam's 3-4 times per year. I try hard to avoid the "traps" and it works well as a complement to my Aldi trips and my couponing trips to other stores. Great info from all here! Thanks so much!

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  69. What I love about this is the humility with which you share your tricks and tips. No nonsense, no judgement, just the facts and some sweet transparency. Great job. Keep up the hard work! I have a big family and feed college students regularly, and I am loving all your good ideas. (And I don't want to wring your neck because you are some sort of a ridiculous perfectionist!) THANKS!

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