A little over a year ago, a new Costco was built close enough for our family to consider buying a membership. We hesitated taking the plunge, not sure if we’d save enough to justify the cost of membership. We’d been members years ago when we lived in Arizona, and ended up rarely using it. That, however, was pre-kids and Costco has changed a lot in the last ten years.
When I went to check it out, I was shocked to see their expanded food options. There are so many healthy and organic choices lining their shelves now! It seemed like a smart choice so we got the membership.
After a year of shopping at Costco, I’ve discovered that we’ve saved some serious money! The things I buy at Costco are food and household related items such as toilet paper. We now save an average of $130.00 per month on food and household items by shopping there.
How did I figure it out? It only took some simple calculations to see the savings. I looked at our credit card statements from the 6 months before Costco and added up how much I spent at groceries stores and Target each month. Those are the main stores that Costco purchases were taking away from. Then I added up how much I spent at groceries stores, Target, and Costco for 6 months after we got our membership. The monthly total with Costco in the mix was $130.00 per month less than the previous 6 months before we started shopping at Costco. Cha ching!
I think the reason I save this amount each month is twofold. One, there are some great prices on organic food products that are much more expensive at the grocery store. There are great savings on some household items, also. There’s another reason I’m saving money, though. Coscto prices can’t take all of the credit.
One reason I’m saving money by shopping at Costco? I go to Target less. Every time I go to Target, I buy things I don’t need. Every. Stinking. Time. I spent way more money at Target before we joined Costco, and I know it wasn’t only on the things we needed.
There’s just so many tempting items! Oh, look at this cute bowl. $4.99? Throw it in the cart. Oh, the t-shirts are on sale for $12.99? I could use a few new t-shirts. What a cute jacket–this will look adorable on Meghan. I’m totally getting this for her. Until I’ve spent an extra $100 I didn’t plan on spending. Whoops.
There’s still a few things I go to Target for, but the frequency is much less and that’s saving us those frivolous purchases.
Costco does get some of the credit, however, as we’ve found some staple items there for great prices. Let me give you a look at some of the things we buy at Costco that helps us save money. Although we buy household items like trash bags and toilet paper, I’m going to focus on the healthy food items as those are the most surprising and probably what you are most interested in. But know that you can definitely save money by buying household goods at Costco.
Please excuse the photo quality. I was hastily snapping pictures with my iPhone while feeling like a fool for taking pictures in Costco. 😉
Healthy and Organic Foods I Buy at Costco
Beans (average price-$6.99 for 8 (15 ounce) cans)
I think I did a jump for joy when I discovered Costco’s beans. They carry organic beans in cans that feature a BPA-free lining. Yessss! And the price? $6.99 for 8 cans equals $.87 a can. I was paying about $2.50+ per can for organic beans in a BPA-free can. This price is incredible and has saved me so much! Talk about cheap, plant-based protein! I always stock up on different beans including black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
Dates (average price-$6.99 for 3 pounds)
First of all, these are the best dates ever. They are soft and work so well for the different snack balls I use them for and are great for snacking. My kids love peanut-butter filled dates for a snack, but if the dates are hard they are too difficult to chew. These are perfection. Plus I use dates so e that a big container is perfect for us. In the store you can usually only buy an 8 ounce package, which costs much more than the $1.16 this equals out to for that amount.
Organic Diced Tomatoes (average price-$6.49 for 8 (14.5 ounce) cans)
Diced tomatoes are a staple to have on hand for everything from soups to pasta dishes and I’m committed to using organic tomatoes. These cans are not, unfortunately, BPA-free, but for the price ($.81 per can), I can’t pass these up. I was paying about three times that amount for my canned diced organic tomatoes before.
Frozen Fruits (prices vary)
I use frozen fruits for everything from smoothies to oatmeal to chia seed jam. Buying these in bulk at Costco has saved us a ton of money. Organic fruits are expensive and I haven’t seen better prices anywhere than at Costco. The one fruit I am okay with not buying organic is pineapple, and Costco has a great price on that as well.
Organic Tomato Sauce and Organic Tomato Paste (average price-$7.99 for 12 (15 ounce) cans and $5.99 for 12 (6 ounce) cans)
This is the same story as with the organic tomato sauce. You just can’t find a better price on organic tomato sauce or paste than $0.66 a can and $0.49 a can.
Organic Go Go Squeeze (average price-$10.89 for 20 (3.2 ounce) containers)
I have to send a snack in to school everyday for my 1st grade daughter to eat. She loves it when she has these because she says she can eat it fast and then go play. Apparently they do snack right before recess and if I send something time consuming to eat it cuts into her play time. Right now I’m probably sending these for a snack 2 days a week . At most stores you’ll find the organic fruit pouches equal out to about $1.00 each, so $0.54 each is a big savings.
Organic Quinoa (average price-$11.99 for a 4 pound bag)
Organic Vegetable Broth (average price-$11.59 for 6 (32 ounce) boxes)
This has been another huge money saver for me. The price averages out to $1.93 per box, and this brand has no added ingredients I don’t want in there. I also buy the chicken stock occasionally, but I try to make my own as much as I can.
Organic Meats (prices vary)
The biggest ticket item when trying to eat a mostly organic diet is the meat. Organic meat is pricey, but in my eyes totally worth the investment in my family’s health. Costco’s prices are the lowest I’ve seen on organic chicken and ground beef. Typically organic ground beef runs $7.99/pound, whereas it’s only $5.99/pound at Costco. The chicken is less expensive as well. I often stock my freezer with meats when I buy them at Costco.
Organic Greens (average prices $4.49 a pound)
I get my greens from my CSA for much of the year, but when I’m not getting greens in my weekly Happy Box, I get them from Costco. Other grocery stores sell half that many organic greens for the same price.
Organic Coffee (lowest price-$12.99 for 2 pounds)
Coffee is another one of those crops that I know is highly sprayed with pesticides and I always try to get organic. Before Costco, I was spending more than this for just one pound of coffee! Crazy savings here!
Almond Butter (average price-$11.99 for 27 ounces)
Steel Cut Oatmeal (average price-$6.59 for 4 pounds)
Organic Maple Syrup (average price-$9.99 for 1 L)
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (average price $14.99 for 2 L)
Avocado Oil (average price-$9.99 for 1 L)
Avocado oil is a great high-heat oil. It’s much healthier for you than canola oil or any vegetable oil and it withstands a higher heat than extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. This is the best price I’ve seen for avocado oil! Organic Coconut Oil (average price-$24.99 for 2 (42.3 ounce) jars) This price is for two huge jars. This coconut oil lasts forever! I love this stuff and use it in so much of my cooking and baking.
Canned Wild Alaskan Salmon (average price-$12.99 for 6 (6 ounce) cans)
I rarely buy fresh wild Alaskan salmon because it’s so pricey. I really want my family eating fatty fish, however, as getting sufficient omega-3 fatty acids is so important. Canned wild Alaskan salmon is the answer and this is a staple at our house. I love making salmon cakes with them and it’s one of Meghan’s favorite dinners. This equals out to just over $2.00 a can, which is a significant savings from regular grocery store.
I used to buy these all the time because Luke wanted hummus almost every day. These are the perfect serving size for him and although I don’t *love* that the packaging is plastic, the packaging keeps the hummus fresh and makes it super convenient for us. I don’t buy this as often anymore, but it’s a fantastic price for organic hummus that is made with olive oil. Most store bought hummus is made with soybean oil. Organic Sliced Cheese (average price-$10.49 for 24 ounces) I mostly buy this for grilled cheese sandwiches so it lasts us a long time. This is pretty much the only sliced cheese I’ve bought since joining Costco a year ago. We love this!
I love using coconut water in my smoothies. Before joining Costco, I’d buy individual bottles at the grocery store. They were so expensive for a small bottle! This is a much better deal and I love that it’s organic with nothing added.
Organic Raw Honey (average price-$11.69 for 2 (44 ounce) containers)
These containers are huge and last so long! Raw honey is the kind of honey you want to be using, and this is an incredible price. Nuts (prices vary) You can save a ton of money buying your nuts at Costco. The almonds pictured are $17.99 for 3 pounds. That’s $5.99 a pound which is cheaper than even Trader Joes. We also get walnuts, cashews, and pistachios here, all at great prices.
Raw Hemp Seeds (average price-$12.99 for a 28 ounce bag)
Buying hemp seeds in a regular grocery store, you can easily spend this same amount (or more) on just a pound. This is a fantastic price and really helps me get this protein-rich seed in my diet more. I love sprinkling these on my salads, in smoothies, energy balls, or oatmeal. Believe it or not, there are actually even more healthy and organic options than what I have listed here. There are some other items we get occasionally, but these are the staples we almost always buy. You’ll notice that I don’t buy a whole lot of produce at Costco. I find the portions are mostly too large for our family to eat up quickly enough. Plus, they don’t have a lot of organic options when it comes to their fruits and vegetables. I have purchased produce here and there, but it’s not where I typically get my fruits or vegetables. I’m sure this post is much longer than you bargained for, so if you made it this far, thanks for reading!
I’d love to hear what your experiences are with Costco, too, so please chime in in the comment section.