Thursday, January 3, 2013

Groceries and Costco and Breastfeeding

I now have too many great grocery stores to choose from! I only live in a small town, but boy howdy, we're blessed with great shops.

We have:

The Grocery Outlet (my favorite)


Fred Meyer's (everyone claims it's too spendy but honestly, their eggs and almond milk are ALWAYS the cheapest)

Food 4 Less (cheap, but dirty, busy, and I can never find anything)

Trader Joe's (adorable but smallish. Love their tortillas and Two Buck Chuck, though!)


My parents got me a Costco membership, so now I have to know:

What are the best things to buy at Costco?

Walk me through it, because this was the first and last time I shopped at Costco:

I had just given birth to Gianni-Be-Good. I think it may even have been my first outing. First outings after having a baby are monumental, life changing, desperately needed, and always, always, always, horrible.

We were broke as a joke but everyone kept telling me to use Costco.

You'll save so much money, they said.
It'll be fun, they said.

I spent half my week's budget and only bought toilet paper and milk. I left in tears. I was leaking down my shirt, my body hurt, and when my husband gently asked me to cover up better when nursing (in my car. There were pedestrians walking by) I nearly murdered him in several different ways. The baby was crying, my back hurt from my trendy sling, and I just wanted to never leave my house again.

Hence, the fear of Costco.

I used to love grocery shopping, back when I never left the house. It was like, my only outing. My only reason to wear actual clothing. Now I leave the house quite often, and I'd rather grocery shop LESS, even if it means spending more at once. (Though I may have a heart attack the first time). If you hear a loud scream, it's me.

Do you grocery shop once a week? Twice? Twice a month? I have friends who only go twice a month, but my math has never been good and doubling everything I buy sounds...weird. I just can't imagine my groceries lasting two weeks! Is this possible?

What should I buy at Costco and what should I avoid? I'm the kind of person who will actually go to all those above mentioned stores all in one day, just to get the best price on everything, thus spending five times more on gas. Unless you talk me out of it.

So, please. Thoughts?


  1. Tomatoes, cheese (from fancy to the 5# block you can grate up yourself in your fancy food processor), tortilla chips,chicken, turkeys at holiday time, almonds, dried cherries, butter, sour cream, greek yogurt (coupon this month for that!), canned organic tomatoes and chicken broth.
    The mushrooms are always slimy in one day, however, so I don't buy them. I got a jar of freeze-dried there, though, and they're cool.
    And, ta-duh! GAS!!
    But mostly tomatoes.

  2. And toilet paper! Two ply!

  3. I love the Apple cellar sour dough bread, $2.50 a loaf. Also the bagels...and the romaine lettuce which lasts forever. The pizza is pretty good for $9.99. The San Francisco coffee beans are my favorite of any kind anywhere, and very inexpensive. For years I have shopped once a month at Food For Less. I find the prices the same as Costco and I don't have to buy as big of a package. I think their paper goods are even cheaper than FFL. I just buy produce locally at smaller stores once a week.I prefer to stock my pantry so I don't have to decide what I need to buy for the week's meals. I keep stuff on hand and cook what I feel like cooking, with maybe a quick run to the store. I used to love grocery shopping too, when I had littles, it was an outing. I still don't buy much at Costco, but the few things I buy I'm addicted to. DON't buy eyeglasses from them; I bought some and they were too big but they wouldn't take them back or exchange them.

  4. And if anybody ends up with myopia, contact lens solution is waaaay cheaper at Costco than anywhere else.
    And organic pasta.

  5. I meant to say I think the paper goods are cheaper at FFL than Costco...

  6. Melyssa--

    I've read several of your posts. Boy, do I remember those huge-wet-circles-on-my-shirt days when I nursed my kids. Rock hard breasts (that now are more like divining rods, sadly).

    I'm sorry I can't give you advice about Costco. But I can tell you that the chocolate-covered almonds at Trader Joe's are addicting.

    As far as chick flicks, how about "Love, Actually." It is delightful (a bit of nudity) and has an all-star cast. Colin Firth. Liam Neeson. Emma Thompson. Alan Rickman. Hugh Grant. Lots of storylines. Very charming.

    1. Yes! I was actually hoping to stream that the other day because I haven't seen it in years and I have to see a movie more than once to remember anything about it. I know I thought it was adorable and I'd love to see it again! (Not available for streaming, fyi).

  7. Some of these have already been said, but when has that ever stopped me?
    I go to Costco 1-2 times a month. We do save a ton of money. My costco staples (though sometimes I buy other things they get in seasonally) are:
    butter (best price by far)
    eggs (BEST price for Organic, cage free eggs)
    ground turkey
    Chicken breasts (fresh, NOT frozen. AWESOME price)
    Oranges (winter)
    vegetables (fresh)
    Berries (fresh, in season)
    bakery breads (we love their pretzel slider buns, their ciabatta rolls for burgers and sandwiches, their garlic bread for bruschetta, their sourdough for french toast and meatball subs)
    canned tomatoes and beans (all we eat canned)
    Bananas. (Best price in town, BUT sometimes they don't ripen. it's odd.)
    Olive Oil
    Sausage (in a big roll. It's jimmy dean, it's delicious. It's 20 times cheaper than the store.)
    thick cut bacon (it's pricy, but it's the bacon we love and cheaper than anywhere else we have seen it.)
    Organic Sugar
    whipping cream
    half and half
    sour cream
    Dave's Killer Bread
    Tortilla land ready to cook tortillas

    So, there you go. What to avoid? Their apples are pretty pricey and sometimes taste super chemically. the meats are more expensive than winco (usually). Obviously, re: Costco, we can't get that all at once or it would cost a fortune. BUT once we have a good supply, we spend about $1-200 a month at Costco keeping it up- and that is the MAJORITY of our groceries.

    Anyway, i grocery shop every week. But it's what we call maintenance shopping...You know: Milk, yogurt, salad stuff, apples, etc. Every other week I will hot Costco (keep an eye on their coupons) and/or winco to stock up on bigger things. (cuts of beef, etc.)

    We TRY to stock up at TJ's 2-3 times a year on things like pasta, soups (best of both things, ever), naan, baking ingredients, etc...