Last year I went on a cost reduction drive. Why ? Well the main reason – home education. Our decision to follow this route has meant I can not earn the second income that we had always thought I would (I am an Accountant), but we know it is a good sacrifice so we are trying as hard as we can to reduce our costs. I knew about Costco and I had been inside one about 10 years ago when I visited a friend in the US (in fact the fleece that I bought on that trip is still hanging in my cupboard) so I had an idea of what to expect but I kept thinking that paying for the membership and then driving out to a warehouse would offset any savings I made. So I kept putting it off. Then last year we decided to go and see, walk the aisles look at what we would buy and work out the savings right there and then. (Costco do allow you to visit the store but you can not buy anything unless you go and get your membership card).
Within minutes I had worked out that I would save. So we went and sorted out our membership card and started buying. And one year later we have just renewed our membership and I have just been back to stock up.
I don’t have a big fridge/ freezer so I can not comment on that side of things but I do have some cupboard space. So what do I buy ? All my household items – cleaning goods, toiletries, tinned items, coffee, tea, snacks, baking (basically anything that does not need to be in the fridge).
They also have kids toys (we bought my son a huge hot wheels set for his birthday which was a good price), clothes (I have bought my husband a shirt ), shoes, furniture, electrical goods, stationary, books. Oh the books. As a home educator I love their table of books. It is not a big selection but they always have stunning books at amazing prices – I have bought some books for the kids that were half the price I would have paid in other stores (the photo below was taken last year so please don’t rush into Costco UK tomorrow expecting to see the exact same books).
I only go every 6 weeks/ 2 months and then I tend to stock up on the items I need but after a year of doing this I can honestly say I have saved.
Do I have any issues with Costco shopping ? Well two.
The membership card should come with a warning that you might be tempted to go and buy a bigger car. Luckily my kids are good sports and happily share their backseat with all the items that do not fit into our boot.
And secondly beware of the Costco coupons that arrive. You will think you have figured out all the cool things you can buy until your book of coupons arrive. Suddenly you will notice some really good deals for items that you never spotted. And the coupon booklet also highlights some excellent online deals – case in point their climbing frame (see my comment below about buying online).
In the UK you can also buy from Costco online – I have not spent much time looking at this. I logged on once and I bought the kids a climbing fame for Christmas, I knew what I wanted and what the price was (thanks to their booklet) so I did not spend any time looking around. The item arrived very quickly and the driver was helpful getting the boxes into the house (it was very heavy). Based on this experience I will happily buy from them online again.
Oh and the climbing frame is honestly the best. The kids love it.
In case you are wondering – this is just me writing about Costco, it is not linked to the company in any way or form I have just found shopping there to be a good way of reducing our costs.