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I finally joined Costco this year and I have been wondering just how much I’m saving on the stuff I’d buy anyway, and if that savings justifies the annual membership fee. The Costco membership fee recently increased to $60, so it is a significant amount to pay just to shop somewhere for most families.
And for a limited time, you can get a great deal on a Costco membership through Groupon!
In this post you’ll find a cost comparison of five items I buy regularly: butter, salad, shredded cheese, frozen fruit, and coffee. I’ve calculated how much I save by buying these items at Costco instead of my local grocery store, Food Lion. Read on to find out just how much you’ll save… you might be surprised!
We use a fair amount of butter because I do a lot of cooking and baking at home. Four sticks of butter equals a pound, and I estimate that I use between 4 and 6 sticks per month, depending on how much I’m baking.
Store brand unsalted butter costs $3.99 per pound at my local grocery store. Costco’s Kirkland Signature Butter is $2.37 per pound. When I buy a four-pound pack, I usually put one pound in the fridge and the other three in the freezer. Each month I save $2.43 on butter.
Total annual savings on butter: $29.16
#2 Salad Mix
I used to buy the little 6 oz. bags of Spring Mix in my local grocery for about $2.99 each. That works out to $7.97 per pound for conventional (non-organic) salad mix.
Now I buy the large 1-pound clamshells of Organic Spring Mix at Costco for $4.49 per pound. The quality is better, the salad is organic, and the mix lasts me through 2 weeks of a lot of salad eating!
I alternate between this Spring Mix and Costco’s Organic Baby Spinach. So each month I save around $6.96 on lettuce for salads and cooking.
Total annual savings on salad mix: $83.52
#3: Shredded Cheese
I use shredded cheese for some purpose almost daily. I had been buying 8 oz. bags of Cheddar, Mexican, and Mozzarella for around $2.50 each at Food Lion. If I caught a good sale I could get them for $2, which works out to $4 per pound, so I’ll use that price for comparison.
At Costco, the Kirkland Brand shredded cheese is usually around $2.35 per pound. I rotate among the three varieties named above and 5 pounds lasts us about 2 months. I also freeze the cheese in smaller Ziploc bags and it thaws super fast.
I end up saving $4.12 each month on shredded cheese.
Total annual savings on shredded cheese: $49.50
#4: Frozen Fruit
We drink a LOT of smoothies in our house, so I feel like I am constantly buying bags of frozen fruit. I like to add pineapple as a natural sweetener, and put it in every smoothie I make.
I had previously been buying 16 oz. bags at Food Lion for $2.50 and we used about one each week. A four-pound bag at Costco is $6.59, which works out to $1.65 per pound. So we are saving $3.40 each month on frozen pineapple alone.
Total annual savings on frozen fruit: $40.80
#5 Ground Coffee
We make a pot of half-caff coffee each day in our house. I previously had been buying mostly Food Lion store brand ground coffee in 12 oz. bags for $5 each. That works out to $6.66 per pound. Occasionally I would find a good deal on coffee on Amazon but rarely could I get it for much cheaper than that.
Costco’s Kirkland Signature Ground Coffee is $9.49 for 3 lbs, which works out to $3.16 per pound. I really like how this coffee tastes and think it is actually an improvement over the coffee we had been drinking!
I estimate that we go through about a pound of coffee every two weeks. Our savings per pound is $3.50, so we save about $7 each month just buying coffee at Costco.
Total annual savings: $84.00
It is likely clear that if you buy any of these items in the quantity that we do, a Costco membership will definitely pay for itself! Here is the total savings from these five items:
These results totally surprised me, even though I suspected that the membership would pay for itself.
After you subtract the $60 membership fee, you’d save $226.86 just buying these five items at Costco as opposed to a local grocery store. That is a LOT of money to save on stuff I’d buy anyway!
I also need to add that I think the quality of the Kirkland Signature brand is excellent. I think Costco works really hard to make sure that the quality of it’s store brand surpasses that of any other store brands around.
Do you have a Costco Membership? If not, how do you save on groceries? Please share your money-saving tips for groceries below! I’d love to learn your tips and tricks. 🙂