Let’s get this out of the way first hand: I have an obsession with Costco. I was first introduced to the warehouse shopping club when I was a little tyke and my parents took me on shopping excursions at Price Club wayyyyy back in the early ’90s. In 1993, Price Club merged with Costco and began taking over the world… just kidding, kinda. Costco is a multi-billion dollar company with warehouses in eight countries right now! You can read some interesting background on the original Price Club and Costco HERE.
This is NOT a sponsored post; I just really REALLY love Costco and want to share my love for Costco with all the families I know. Costco has high quality products at ridiculously awesome prices. My hope is that this Mom’s Guide to All Things Costco will help you make the MOST of your shopping experience, and in turn save your family some moolah! I mean, who doesn’t love to save money?!
What’s to love about Costco:
Costco offers several types of memberships, but I highly recommend spending the extra $55 and going for the Executive Membership. This membership costs $110 a year and gives you 2% cash back on most of your purchases at the end of the year! My family always gets the Executive Membership and each year, that cash back ALWAYS pays for the membership.
Family Friendly Environment
Costco offers DOUBLE SEATER carts. Can I get an AMEN?! I can sit both my kiddos in the cart, which makes my shopping experience so much easier. Samples of different food products are offered throughout the store which keeps both me and my kiddos happy. Bounce on over to the amazing bakery and the friendly staff will happily give your kiddos a cookie to munch on while you check things off your list. Happy kiddos=great shopping experience.
Fresh, High Quality Meat
Costco is the ONLY place I buy meat. Their selection is always fresh and they have a wide range of different types of meat. The people who work in their meat department are always willing to help, so if you have a question about something, all you have to do is ask! My favorites include: ground beef, whole chickens to roast, chicken breast, roasts, ham and sausages… I told you I’m a little obsessed.
Costco has a HUGE selection of fruits and vegetables. They offer a wide range of organic produce at an unbeatable price. Some of my family’s favorites from the produce aisles are bananas, blueberries, Grimmway Farm carrots, gigantic baking potatoes, broccoli salad mix, asparagus and mushrooms. If you want organic produce that will last in your fridge more than a day, Costco is your new BFF. And guess what? If you take something home and aren’t satisfied with the quality, they will take it back. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Now THAT is customer service!
Costco’s generic brand is named Kirkland. I have been so happy with the quality of their products that I have kicked some of my name brand products to the curb. Costco wins again and I have a few extra bucks in my pocket with the cost savings. My family uses Kirkland paper towels, Kirkland free and clear laundry detergent, Kirkland apple sauce packets, Kirkland milk, Kirkland cheese and we even used Kirkland brand formula when my baby needed to supplement. The Kirkland formula was HALF the price of Enfamil Premium and had almost the same ingredients. Don’t believe me? Check for yourself!
Discounted Local Attractions
Costco offers opportunities to purchase tickets and gift cards at a discounted price for local attractions. Their selection will always vary, so if you see something you love, you better snag it up. At the Costco in Knoxville I have seen discounted tickets for The Biltmore, Braves baseball games, Build-a-Bear, and restaurants such as Nama, PF Changs, The Orangery, Abuelos and Puelos Grille.
As a member you can also take advantage of shopping online for discounted products. They offer vacation packages, cars, furniture, appliances, electronics, jewelry and MORE! Sometimes there are special deals if you buy online and if you hit it right, you may even get FREE SHIPPING! Some products are only offered online. This particular day I was at Costco appliances were $100-$750 OFF ONLINE ONLY.
Clothing is a STEAL
Looking for a new seasonal wardrobe for your kids? A special Easter outfit? Look no further! Costco carries a great selection of name brand children’s clothes. I have purchased brands such as Carter’s, Little Me, Quicksilver, London Fog, Oshkosh, Adidas, and Lucky Brand, to name a few! Don’t leave Mom and Dad out; there are some great picks for ladies and gentlemen, too!
Costco carries awesome seasonal items. Christmas trees and decorations during the holidays, indoor and outdoor furniture and household rugs during the late winter/early spring, and workout equipment and super cool gaming essentials like air hockey tables and arcade games at other times throughout the year. We have pretty much furnished our house through Costco. If you watch an item closely it might even go on sale, but from experience you better snag it quickly!
As a member you are entitled to take advantage of Costco gas! Your 2% cash back won’t apply to fuel purchases, however I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, as their fuel prices are sometimes as low as $0.40 cheaper than local gas retailers. Prices will vary, but I generally find them unbeatable.
Cheap and Easy Lunch
Top off your shopping experience with cheap lunch for you and the kids. I mean, you can’t beat a hot dog and a drink for $1.50!!! Yes you read that right… a dollar fifty!!! Sign.me.up! If hot dogs aren’t your thang you can choose a slice of pizza (or the whole darn pie if you want), a salad, a chicken bake or a brisket sandwich. Don’t forget a tasty $1.00 churro. You deserve it.
Price Protection and Satisfaction Guarantee
I’ve never known a company to be so great to their customers. If you have a problem with a product, they are more than willing to help you in any way possible. My husband and I had a random problem with a seam in our couch that we purchased from Costco and they went above and beyond to get the issue resolved with their vendor as well as me (the customer). Costco for the win!
Costco has a little system that you totally need to know about if you’re as much as a Costco shopper as I am! Here are some insider insights:
- If you see an asterisk (*) on the upper right corner of the price sign this means that the item is not going to be reordered and will be discontinued. Translation: if you really want this item, buy it today!
- An item ending in .79, .49 or .89 means that this item is a markdown from the manufacturer.
- An item ending in .97 is a markdown item from Costco itself and is usually an AWESOME DEAL. Buy it! 🙂
- Need some dinner inspiration? Costco offers free cookbooks online! Featuring over 2,400 fabulous cross-indexed recipes to try with products that you can buy right in the warehouse. Recipes: The Costco Way
- You don’t have to have a membership to shop with a gift card. So if you want to “try before you buy,” have a friend (who is a member) buy you a gift card and take your Costco experience on a test drive before you fully commit to a membership.
- Costco doesn’t accept manufacturer coupons but you can earn more cash back on your purchases through the Ibotta app. If you don’t have it, you should download right now! You could be saving a few bucks a month on purchases like milk, eggs, produce, etc.
- Non-members are still allowed to take advantage of the pharmacy and purchase alcohol.