Miss MoneyPenny loves Costco . You may find it strange that a single lady would shop at Costco because it is warehouse shopping in bulk. It is true, though. When I was married to my favorite ex- husband, we would go once a month and spend a whole gob of money. We didn't even have a list!!! When I became single again, I would do the same thing! That didn't last long. I decided to just avoid Costco altogether because I couldn't get out of there without spending at least $200. Now, you know Miss MoneyPenny doesn't have $200 in her budget for Costco, nor do I even need $200 worth of stuff every month.
After several years of avoiding the place, my daughter-in-law, who works there, put me on her family plan. That means I don't have to pay the yearly $50. What a deal! So, I decided that I was going to learn how to shop Costco and get the most for my money. The is what I've learned:
First - never, never go there without a list. I keep a list of things that I need on the refrigerator. Sometimes I start a new list as soon as I get home if I've seen something interesting during my shopping trip. I rarely buy anything that is not on my list because it can really wreck my budget since everything is in bulk, and that adds up quick. If I'm still interested next month, I'll keep it on the list. No recreational shopping at Costco. Ever.
Second - Think hard and long about buying produce at Costco. I can do the bananas, peppers, grape tomatoes, fresh blueberries and sometimes a container of salad mix. That is about it. The quality of their produce is top notch but there is no way one person can eat a flat of apples before they go soft. I've tried.
Third - Can you use it up before the expiration date? I'm talking about canned goods, frozen foods and cheeses. I've found that I can't, no matter how hard I try, no matter how good the price.
That being said, Costco is the best place to buy cat litter, toilet paper, oatmeal, Special K, almonds, canned cat food, Cetaphil, eye drops, baking soda & vinegar, most vitamins, tires, flannel sheets, pillows, Comet, frozen smoothie fruit and rotisserie chickens. These are things that I use all the time so nothing goes bad before it gets used up. You may wonder how one woman can eat up 10 pounds of oatmeal. Good question, but I do. It has taken me quite a while to figure out what works for me at Costco. Your list is probably very different from mine, especially if you have a family and don't like oatmeal.
I bought my iPod at Costco and swear by their concierge service - free technical support and an 800 number. They are very patient with people that need a manual to figure things out. What is the deal with all this technology that doesn't come with a manual? Miss MoneyPenny never reads the manual until all else fails, but it is still good to have it, don't you think? Anyway, I've also been looking at their mattresses. Who knew that a mattress doesn't last a lifetime? Now, all I need is a truck to haul it out of there.
Be sure and take advantage of their coupons because they are good ones and make the deal that much sweeter. I don't get them in the mail because I am family (what is up with that?) but someone is always giving me theirs. When all else fails, I drop by and pick them up at the Returns Counter.
Speaking of returns - they are really good about giving your money back if something is wrong. I bought the wrong vitamins once and took them back. I had my receipt and hadn't opened them. I understand from my daughter-in-law that some people really take advantage. That is too bad. Costco is a warehouse CLUB and we belong to it. They should get black balled out of the club because it probably doesn't help with keeping the prices low.
And they take a pretty good picture, not like the Department of Motor Vehicles, where you can look like Dracula's step sister.