Our Guide to Shopping at Costco!

Our Guide to Shopping at Costco!

Hi guys! Happy Tuesday!  Long time, no see – summer is in full swing, and business is booming.  I feel like I am never in front of my computer anymore, and I’m starting to wonder if that will ever really change.  Well, I’m here today so let’s jump in.  A few weeks ago I talked about grocery shopping and asked you guys if you wanted to hear about our switch to being Costco shoppers.  The answer was a resounding YES, so here I am with a pots about all things Costco!

First things first, I just want to clarify that there is no partnership or sponsorship here.  This is just our family, paying for our membership, buying our groceries, and loving our experience.  Nothing more to it – although we do use our business membership for company things too – an added bonus!

For many years I’ve been jumping around to various grocery stores.  Despite many friends telling me I needed to join Costco, I was hesitant because it’s 20+ minutes from our house.  I like convenience!  So up until last fall I was doing most of our shopping at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  I was spending a TON of money, and felt like I was at the grocery store every other day to “just grab a few things.”  When the New Year rolled around, we decided to overhaul our grocery budget and focus on drastically reducing what we were spending on food and household items.  Not to mention all the time wasted for short grocery ships, and threats made to small children for misbehaving in grocery stores and fighting over who gets to push the kid’s cart (WHY DO THESE EXIST?).

And so starting in January, we switched our shopping almost entirely over to Costco!  After six months of this, we have it down to a pretty good science, and we have cut our grocery spending by more than half of what we used to spend each month.  My goal is two make two Costco runs each month – one big and one smaller – and then very minimal supplementing from other stores for a few specific items (which I will get to at the end).

But just like any store, Costco has amazing marketing and if you aren’t careful or prepared, you can easily walk out of there spending way more than intended.  The “seasonal” section is always the one that gets me.  I walk in the door and immediately think, “are we even LIVING if we don’t have kayaks?”

Related, see this massive “floating island” hanging from the ceiling?  I actually bought it last year.  I am that person.  I stood there staring at it for like 45 minutes the day before we left for our lake trip, and the 50% discount was too powerful for me to resist.  I’m pretty sure Casey considered filing for divorce when he saw it.  It is HUGE and ridiculous, and I can’t wait to take it to the lake again this year.  No regrets!

Another seasonal impulse buy was this foldable wagon we got for our beach trip last summer.  I know I’ve told you about it here no less than 400 times.  Truly, some of the best $50 I’ve spent as a parent.  We use it instead of a stroller now that the kids are bigger, and we have taken it all over the country by rolling it straight through the airport. 

Moving on from excessive impulse buys – since I’m trying to show you how we SAVE money at Costco – here are a few of my favorite items that I didn’t actually purchase on this particular shopping trip.  Eventually I’m going to show you what I DID buy for a standard monthly grocery haul, but first these are some favorite we already had on hand.

Love these frozen smoothie mixes – so many good organic frozen options, including these fruit and veggie packs that are perfect for the kids’ smoothies.  We use these almost daily!

Also, I know one of the big hurdles a lot of people feel toward box bog bulk shopping stores is lack of healthy/organic options.  Personally, I haven’t found that to be the case at Costco at all!  Yes, you can find conventional basics, but you can also find plenty of crunchy natural foods as well – and for WAY better prices than health food stores.  We always have these big bags of organic hemp and chia seeds in our pantry!

I found this organic coconut butter on my May trip to Costco, and still have over 1.5 jars left, so no need to restock any time soon.  It is super delicious on toast or oatmeal, and the $9.79 price for a 2-pack is insanely cheap.

Another pantry favorite – avocado oil mayo!  We use this for egg salad and Casey adds it to tuna salad – it is so delicious and we prefer it to regular mayo. 

I keep a bag of this organic “salad topper” mix in our pantry at all times.  I never put it on salads, but use it as a nut-free trail mix for the kids instead!  Since so many schools and activities are nut free, I always try to do allergy-friendly snacks when we are out of the house.  My kids love taking baggies of this on the go!

Okay, now onto what we bought for our monthly haul.  These are all the things I got for our family’s June 1st groceries, and I expected this to last for about 2 weeks.  I broke it out into categories to streamline a bit.  First up – fruit!  One of our biggest reasons for switching to Costco shopping has been the produce selection.  There is a good selection of both organic and conventional – we typically buy organic when it’s one of the items from the “dirty dozen” list, or when the price is comparable.  For this month we grabbed a GIANT watermelon, a bunch of bananas, organic blueberries, organic blackberries, and organic raspberries.  Hooray for summer fruit!

Next up, veggies!  This is usually a BIG part of our cart.  For this particular grocery run I snagged:

2 big bags of asparagus

a giant bag of organic yellow squash and zucchini

Ingredients

  • 2 big bags of asparagus
  • 3 bags organic cauliflower rice
  • 3 large organic English cucumbers
  • 4-pack organic firm tofu
  • 24 organic fresh eggs
  • 3-pack Kerrygold grass-fed butter
  • 8 jars organic black beans
  • 2-pack fresh mozzarella slices
  • 2-pack sliced Tillamook cheese
  • 6 cans wild-caught albacore tuna
  • 12 grass-fed beef sausages (for Casey)
  • 2 bags organic granola (because they had a monthly coupon for $3 off each bag!)
  • 2-pack organic raisins
  • 5lb bag organic coffee beans
  • 4-pack snack packs of pretzels, carrot sticks, grapes, and cheese cubes
  • 24 organic hummus snack size cups
Read the whole recipe on Daily Garnish