Saving with Costco
For the record, I'm 100% against memberships in order to "save" money. However, wifey kept hearing things about how Costco had the freshest meats or how the prices at Costco were sooooooo much cheaper than everyone else.
After much deliberations, I gave in and decided to pay the $55 for a Costco membership.
First of all, wifey and I did our research. All those anecdotes about Costco being sooooooo much cheaper than everywhere else. That's true to a certain extent.
When it comes to clothing, yes, the case can be made that they are cheapest. However, when it comes to groceries... Costco is pretty much on par, or MORE expensive than their competition.
Yes, 4L of milk is $3.96. But it's only $3.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart. Difference of 3 cents. If you factor in credit card rewards, Shoppers Drug Mart (PC World Elite Mastercard @ 3% + Shoppers Optimum Points) beats Costco (Tangerine Mastercard @ 1%).
We checked out the price of salmon this past weekend. Huge cut of salmon at Costco was $9/lb. That week, many grocery stores had salmon for $3.99/lb. My in-laws managed to find salmon for $2.99/lb at one of the Chinese supermarkets. What a rip!
It's not all doom and gloom. There are many items, although regular price, that more than make up the savings that are equivalent to the price of a Costco membership.
Vitamins and supplements for one. Wifey bought some for herself and family back home. I calculated the savings. At least $60 from purchasing 2 bottles. Wow!
Flour for another. When it's on sale, a 10kg bag of all purpose flour is around $8. At Costco, a 20kg bag of flour is only $14. At regular price. Wow! Okay, 20kg of flour seems like a lot? Not when your in-laws made their own steamed buns, or roll their own noodles. I kid you not. There's nothing like fresh noodles.
That's not counting the baking I've been doing recently. Muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, loaves of bread... you name it.
Things like baking powder, yeast, and even walnuts are much cheaper at Costco than elsewhere.
Of course, when things go on sale, that makes the savings even more ridiculous. We purchased a 1.8kg bag of dried cranberries for around $8. That's $2/lb! Half price as the regular sale price of dried cranberries is $4/lb. That's insane! Who needs 1.8kg of dried cranberries? Well, you can put it in muffins, cookies, bread, etc. It's a good way to add sweetness to baked goods without needing to add too much sugar.
Of course, it's harder to compare prices at Costco as they don't have an online flyer or something for you to look. Seems they prefer to keep their prices secret. Force you to go there in person. Doesn't help that they list the prices per kg while everyone else lists them per lb (this is easy to overcome, just divide the number listed per kg by 2.2 to get the per lb cost).
The point is, savings can be had at Costco. Just don't assume everything in Costco is at the cheapest price.
As for the freshness claim, everything looked the same to me compared to a No Frills or Walmart or Food Basics.
Just don't tell that to the extremely passionate Chinese folks* who insist that Costco is 200% fresher than other stores.
*An extremely (EXTREMELY) passionate neighbour.