Monday, 13 April 2015

A trip to Costco - tips and tricks for buying in bulk


As a kid I remember opening the kitchen cupboard and always finding stacks of food. I never ran out of toothpaste or shampoo. Friends would question the amount of food & toiletries and I would always answer, "My mum likes to bulk buy."

Years later, I now understand the benefits of buying in bulk. Whenever there's something we usually buy on offer, I stock up. Recently, I was excited to find out that my friend Claire has a Costco membership and was willing to let us use hers in exchange for giving her a lift to and from the store. You seriously need a car for this trip.

We walked through the doors and I was in paradise!

Tips and Tricks for shopping at Costco

Like normal supermarket shopping, make a list before you go. Otherwise you will seriously be out of pocket - at least if you're anything like Topher and I are.

Not everything is better value there. Nice toilet paper yes, washing up liquid, no. It's a good idea to look at the items you usually buy and how much they cost per unit before you go. I made a spreadsheet afterwards to compare the difference and that will definitely affect my list the next time we visit.

Think about where you're going to store everything. Especially if you live in a small place.

And if you're going with friends - make sure you don't overshop otherwise it won't fit in the car. We were a bit worried about this but luckily finished before that could happen. 

Who needs the gym? 

Cheese is a bargain! Though if you're buying this much then it will need to be chopped up into slabs and kept in the freezer. This does make it quite crumbly when it defrosts, but we don't mind as we tend to mainly use cheese crumbled into recipes. Typically the best thing to do is to grate it into freezer bags but I was tired after separating all the meat! 

Our industrial size block of cheese with our biggest knife and a banana for scale

Warning, your kitchen will temporary become a disaster zone when you get home as when you buy things in bulk - particularly meat, you need to split them into meal portions. For people who tend to be vegetarian most of the month due to cost, this has now aided us in filling our freezer for the next few months for a cheaper price. Woo hoo - meat! 

Now, where to keep all this cheese?

As well as having aisles of drink, dry food and toiletries, there is also a bakery and fruit & vegetable section. I would avoid these sections unless you have a big family or a lot of people to feed for a party or event.

Alcohol tends to be a pretty good deal, so look up the costs of your favourites before you go. Topher was looking up prices on his phone as we wandered around and we picked up a few bottles for our non-existant drinks cabinet.

And finally beware of the treats! We succumbed to buying a massive cheesecake and a big box of macaroons. You know you're spending the rest of your life with someone when you spot a box of 36 mini macaroons and both do a mini gasp...


What are your tips for buying in bulk? Have you ever visited Costco?

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