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Costco Revisited

I have to admit, with all the new stores, and the changes I have made to cooking from scratch, I seem to have abandoned Costco. Not that it is such a bad thing. But, it surely shows that bulk buying is no longer part of my food budget.

We got our rebate check last week. It was roughly half of last year’s check, and didn’t cover the difference between basic membership, and the more expensive rebate membership. It looks like we will be changing our level when I renew.

From a produce standpoint, they have never been a good deal for me. Too many times, produce went bad far quicker than what we bought in the grocery stores, and now that we have almost year round CSA membership, I definitely can tell the difference. Everything we get from our CSA lasts longer, since it was picked one or two days before we receive it. Greens stored in our spinner can last up to two weeks, without turning or going all slimy on me.

I was there on Friday. We needed batteries and printer cartridges. I also wanted to pick up a few baking supplies to make Christmas cookies. I did end up finding one of the best deals for me there. The ends of wild ahi. They don’t always have it.

I like to buy it this way, then portion it out into meal sized medallions and one long strip suitable for slow cooking in tomato sauce in the oven. I get four or five meals from one of these. I use Costco’s cling wrap to put the individual portions into, and then put it all in a freezer bag. It does minimize any sort of drying out, and freezer burn.

The other staple in my pantry that I still buy in bulk there is the Pacific brand low sodium organic chicken stock. I use it often. It is the base for some of my couscous dishes. For risotto. A little in the bottom of a pan when I am deglazing it after sauteeing something. It is always in my fridge. My good homemade stocks are reserved for soups. These soups are 6 for $12 at Costco. Way less expensive than Roots. As for other grocery stores, they don’t all carry the low sodium one.

This last visit, I went in and checked out the produce. A good deal is only a good deal when it doesn’t get rotten. I can’t see buying a dozen cucumbers, or a huge bag of fruit.

We now have CSA pickups 42 weeks of the year. It will be interesting to see what I find around here from New Years until the beginning of March when we start up with Breezy Willow. I may be doing quite a bit of shopping at Roots, or head over to Wegmans to check out their winter organic produce. Thankfully, Olney will have their Sunday market starting in January, and weekly visits to Breezy Willow and TLV will keep me in eggs and meat.

Now that I have made the switch to minimize processed foods, unless we need to put tires on my husband’s car, it makes no sense to keep the more expensive membership at Costco. I suppose we have finally gone beyond the acquiring stage of our lives, and are moving into divesting ourselves of things. It was nice to get my camera, and my husband’s laptop there. As for food and clothes, we have cut back the purchases there. Books. Nope. Software, too. Christmas. We all made a pact. No more gifting. We are rightsizing these days.

I do still go there for vitamins, allergy pills and basic drug store stuff like Tylenol. Toothbrush heads. Toothpaste. Things we use daily and that make sense to buy at their better prices.

This is such a change from how I shopped ten years ago. I have to admit I didn’t think I could be so different when it comes to finding those “bargains”. Nowadays, to me, this is the bargain. A box full of just picked goodness. Can’t wait to see what we get tomorrow.


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

2 responses »

  1. I don’t use Costco much but I do still fill up my car there.

    • The nearest Costco to us is 15 miles each way. I only get there four or five times a year. When we lived in Columbia, they were convenient for gas.

      Now, I would be spending more on driving there for gas, which negates the savings. Our local Royal Farms has gas for 4-5 cents more per gallon. Saving less than a dollar a tank when a gallon is $3 plus.

      Our Costco also always has horrendous lines for gas, almost all day long. They are about 10 cents a gallon cheaper (or more) than gas costs in Columbia. Thankfully, out here in the rural area, our gas is always cheaper than it is in Columbia.

      My dentist is right up the road from Costco. I usually time my trips there to coincide with dentist appointments, and my husband does the same. That’s how we usually make the four trips a year.

      Occasionally I meet my mom for lunch since Costco is halfway between us. Then, she shops with me to stock up on her vitamins and other toiletries.

      It most certainly has stopped being a regular place for us to go.


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