Super-Fast Friday: The Warehouse Club

11 Feb

Most of us joined a warehouse club (Cosco, Sam’s, BJ’s, etc.) to save money. Buy more, save more. Makes sense. But the warehouse club can also save us a ton of time.

I usually visit a number of stores every week to get all the groceries and paper/cleaning goods and basics my family needs. There’s the grocery store for fresh foods, Target or Wal-Mart for pantry goods, frozen foods, and supplies, and usually a stop at Trader Joe’s (This Fig Walked Into a Bar…mmmmm) and the drugstore thrown in there.

A few months ago, I kept a running list of the things I was buying every week–the stuff we use the most. The staples of our family. They’re different for each of us, depending on your family’s favorites and habits, but we all have those items we buy over and over, because life gets ugly if they’re not in the house. Once my lists were made, I realized how much time I could save by buying some of those things in bulk.

Buying in bulk only makes sense if you’re actually going to use up those big containers. I shy away from fresh veggies or fruit only because I know us, and we’re not going to eat through three pounds of asparagus in a few days (I do buy oranges and apples, because they last longer, but the fragile stuff generally ends up trashed). So it’s important to be realistic and know what you’ll use and what you won’t. And we all have limited storage space, so it’s also helpful to only really stock up on the stuff you’ll use. None of us has the space for extra boxes to just sit.

Since I started making the most of my warehouse club membership, I’m only visiting the Target/Wal Mart/drugstore type places once a month or so, and not every week as I had been. That’s a huge time saver. Huge.

This is my list–yours will be different, but it gives you an idea of the kinds of things that might make sense for you to buy when you’re stocking up. I go about once a month. And I usually buy:

  • Paper goods: paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, Ziploc bags (every few months).
  • Cleaning supplies: Windex, mop refills, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, Clorox wipes.
  • Frozen foods: Chicken breasts, salmon filets, hot dogs (they freeze really well).
  • Refrigerated foods: yogurt, milk, butter, half & half, cheese slices.
  • Canned goods: diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, canned fruit
  • Lunchbox food: peanut butter (SO much cheaper!), chips, raisins, dried fruits, juice boxes,
  • Office supplies: printer paper, printer ink, envelopes.
  • Personal items: toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, vitamins
  • Pantry: pasta, crackers, nuts/trail mix, chocolate chips, rice

So tell me: How do you make the most of your club membership to save both time and money?


4 Responses to “Super-Fast Friday: The Warehouse Club”

  1. Rachel February 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    I love to go and try new things at our Costco when they have people handing out samples! I hesitate to buy a huge bag of something I’m not sure we will like, but when you can try it (or better yet, your kids can try it), then you can be sure it won’t sit around for long! We have fabulous luck with Costco’s fruit too, it stays good WAY longer than Giant or other grocery chains. And you can’t find milk cheaper anywhere else!

  2. Rachel February 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Oh yeah! And also, a few years ago we switched to Costco’s Executive Membership which costs $100 a year but you get 2% of what you spend there back. We usually get enough to cover most if not all of the membership fee, so it’s like we get our membership for free!

  3. mary m February 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Costco is bad for any money saving. I can’t avoid the books!!

    But things we buy there:

    cheese (I always walk out with like 10lbs of cheese…)
    dog food/treats
    snack stuff/lunch box stuff
    paper stuff, but I also get this at target

    Costco doesn’t carry some of the brands I like for certain things, so I still hit Target up.


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