Saturday, July 07, 2007

Question for Bulk Shoppers...

I have a question for those of you who frequent places like Sam's Club & Costco. I just purchased a membership at Costco and was trying to figure out how I would use it. So, I'm asking my loyal readers. And by the way, if you are a lurker and are also a wholesale buyer, now is the time to "delurk"! I'm gathering information and you are a vertiable windfall of knowledge!

Here are the actual questions:

~What is your main purpose for the bulk buying?
~Do you just use it for things like toilet paper? or do you use it for meat, vegetables and clothing, too?
~Do you shop there every week? or do you do a once a month thing?
~And finally, how do you budget in a huge package of whatever, like granola bars? Do you just buy it whenever you run out or do you plan a great big shopping thing and get all the stuff you need, and eat lean the week before?

I know that your answers will largely depend on your personal situation and preferences, but I'm really curious to see how people do this and how I can make the most out of it and not wind up with 11 bottles of ketchup and a case of croutons or something.


Sarah said...

I'll be honest...our main reason for a Costco membership is the gas. The price of gas is a consistent .05 cheaper than the other stations around.

We use it also for a few things here and there, but mostly gas.

Anonymous said...

I use Sam's once a quarter for the "BIG HONKIN TRIP". Love the bulk TP, Paper Towels, Tide, Cascade tabs, flour, sugar, etc. Mainly the pantry items. On occasion...I will buy a box of candy bars. They last me quite a while.

If you have a deep freeze, the meat would be a good idea as well. I'm saving up for one and will make my husband clean out the garage for it. I'll browse through the clothes, but really can't find much.

Budgeting. Figure out how long a box of granola bars last. The box at Sams/Costco would contain about 3 of those boxes.

For us, Sams is an hour away. So we can't just pop in whenever.

Angela Stone said...

Sam's is pretty close around here so I use it much more than when we lived 40 minutes away from it. Anyway a few years back I price compared and learned that Sam's doesn't carry the generics that I so religiously purchase. And therefore, its not cheaper many of the times I am shopping for something. But there are a few exceptions. If eggs aren't on sale, I get them there in the 5 dz pack, hash browns in the huge bag are always a good deal, if certain produce isn't in season and cheap I get it frozen in the big bags. We sometimes get our dry food commodities there, like flour, etc. We've just run out of the cleaning products my spouse got free from work for so many years so I"ll be checking prices again. Basically, I really only get the things I know are tons cheaper there. They are: cheese sticks, hash browns, frozen veggies, yogurts, peanut butter crackers, parmasan cheese, and noodles. As far as budgeting, I have my food budget plus a certain variable amount of padding for "stocking up" for when I either need to get stuff at sams or other loss leaders at other grocery stores. That way when boneless skinless chicken breast goes to 1.29/lb in a 40 lb case I can grab it!

Tiffany said...

I use my parents' Sam's membership to buy huge multi-packs of diapers before I go to a baby shower. It's usually the most popular gift.

Robin said...

We use our Sam's membership for the gas (James works in Indy so it is very convenient for him). We also use it for diapers, wipes (they have wipe refill packs with a pop top lid instead of the sticker), spices, morton salt, dog food. We do get their hamburger sometimes, which is in a ten lb roll, it is 90/10 lean and is like 1.89 lb. I just divide it up in freezer bags in 1 lb packages.

Budget- We use the envelope system. (We did Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University) Cash goes into envelopes every, dog, home, etc...That way there is always money in the envelopes for those things that I need to buy in bulk. What isn't used one month, just rolls into the next. James is commission based income, so that is the best way for us!
Enjoy your membership! I think it is perfect for you! You are such a planner!
Love ya

Stephanie Moss said...

I'm a lurker, but after your prodding I thought I'd share :) and it most likely won't be helpful at all but possibly somewhat entertaining

I use my mom's Costco Membership (when I'm in town) to get free samples (it's a meal usually or at least a big snack) and also they sell the most amazing ice cream bars :)

I also like that you can get good deals on massive bottles of advil, shampoo, and shaving gel.

hope you're well!

The Sheets said...

Well, we make a Sam's run every month. We buy a package of chicken breasts (at 1.99 a lb. as opposed to 3.99 a lb. anywhere else in town). When we get home, we put each breast in a freezer bag. That way we only take out what we need for a particular meal. And the chicken usually lasts us all month.

We also get Gideon's diapers there. But budgeting is a big thing. If you only budget $15 a month for face wash, and then get some at a whole-sale club... sure, you've got 2-3 months worth, but you've spent more than your $15.

But mainly, we get chicken and diapers. :) (oh, and when G was on formula and baby food, we got that there too)

Jennifer said...

Hey Kristen,

I just found your site from Kyla's and thought I'd respond. I don't use Sam's or Costco but I do the Grocery Game and it's awesome. I have cut my grocery bill more than half. Let me know if you want to hear about it (if you haven't already!)

Nicole said...

I do a "monthly" run. I'll buy pretty much anything I use that is cheaper and I have space for. We did save up and buy a small deep freeze (at Sam's) for our meat (and the tons of frozen breastmilk I'm hording) I also get my diapers and wipes there. The Sam's brand rocks and it's about half the price of buying Huggies at Wal-Mart. There are lots of great grocery items that we buy and use, as well as paper products and toiletries. If you buy bottled water at all,it is certainly the best place to do that. I spend probably half of my monthly grocery budget there. (we too do the "envelope" system. Granted, when your husband works for Dave Ramsey...)

My best advice is buy only what you know is cheaper and you will use. Don't get caught up in "bulk fever" and buy it just because you thought you needed 15lbs of spam.

Pops said...

~ I buy in bulk so I will always have plenty on hand. Meme #1 was famous for always having an "extra" of whatever was running out.
~ No, yes.
~ Every other week or so.
~ Budget ??? MeMe #2 doesn't even have the faintest idea of what that is or how to pronounce that word. I'm sure it's in the list of "bad" words somewhere :)

April Spicer said...

You have lots of good ideas already posted. Bottom line....Costco is not the cheapest for a lot of things. So definitely cost compare. But here are things I like to get which ARE cheaper:

Milk, eggs, bulk cheese, meat (however, Sprouts will beat their prices on most occasions), spices, salsa, chips if we are having a party, books (you will love that), coffee, and occasionally fruit/veggie depending on what occasion it is. ****FYI, diapers are not the cheapest there for sure and while their wipes are handy, they are scent-free which is a big no no in this house. We need all the good smelling goodness we can get!