Thanks for tuning in to The Fake Cheap. Please excuse the absence of posts for the last 2 weeks as sickness swept through our family, and it’s getting to be a busy time for Mr Fake Cheap with my sporting season getting underway and overtime being put in at work. So hopefully I’ll be back on the near weekly post routine. Also, I posted this post by error the other day instead of saving to a draft, so my apologies for everyone who immediately dropped what they were doing to see my latest work of financial art.
The trip to Costco. Some folks go weekly, others monthly, we tend to get to this shopping mecca about once a year since we gave up our membership (SHOCKING!) about 2 years ago. We often get our Costco obsessed families to pick up a couple of items for us when they go, which is often. I agree, the prices there are generally pretty good, they seem to treat employees right, but the question is: Do you really NEED all that stuff? I often hear phrases like “I went for laundry detergent, and I ended up spending $300!” or “I just ran to Costco on Saturday for a salad, the line ups and traffic were so bad it took me 2 hours!”
On this recent occasion my wife actually had to chance to go and poke around with a family member who has a membership. She ended up with a bill of about $170 taxes in (YIKES!) was it worth it? Let’s break this down Fake Cheap style. I’m going to keep my analysis as objective as possible.
The following was purchased (cost before tax and rounded for ease):
Cream Cheese 2 large tubs – $7
This is a staple in the House of The Fake Cheap, and we do consume a lot of this. This is a decent price, but only when compared to a typical grocery store which normally sells ONE large tub for $5-6. This isn’t a price I pay as long as I don’t have a gun to my head, I can find large tubs on sale for just under $3, making this item a loser.
Granola Bars (60 of ’em) – $10
A typical snack of mine. I must admit this price is a humdinger! The price works out to about 16 cents each! Which I admit is fairly amazing. I usually aim for 25-30 cents per bar. The down side is that I really don’t love these bars (yes, I’m abandoning my objectiveness for a moment). Would I buy them again? Maybe during our 2016 run to Costco. I give this item a marginal win.
Broccoli Salad – $10
I find the salads at Costco to be tasty and good bang for your buck. The down fall is with this and the quinoa salad being bought at the same time, we ate only salad’s for lunches and suppers for 3 or 4 days in a row, and still threw out a serving or two of each. Is it Costco’s fault we can’t eat their stuff before it goes bad? Meh, I guess not.
I call these items winners.
Quinoa Salad – $10
Baby Wipes – $20
These are our preferred brand of wipes, they come in at about 3 cents each, and are of good quality. This item is a big winner.
Cinnamon Stick snacks $6
This is an item I didn’t eat, and was a total impulse buy that got to the wife. She barley put a dent in these before they went stale. This item was a huge flop for us.
Six sleepers for the little guy $45 (7.50 each)
We find Costco clothing to be of decent quality, and the price is okish. I’ll give these a marginal win.
Book for the little guy -$10
Another impulse buy, our little guy doesn’t seem to like this book any more than the other 453 books he has. A loser.
2 Huge bags of chips -$7
My goodness…does anyone need this many chips? The bags are the size of my pillow! Hopefully no one person eats a bag of chips this size over no less than a fortnight. The value is there though for sure, so I have to count this is a winner, but only if you need enough chips to fill a dump truck.
Cereal 2 kinds -$16 ($7.99 each)
I’m still eating this same box (I haven’t eaten it everyday) and it hasn’t gone stale, and the wife finished hers a while back. Another good value buy, a winner.
Bagels x12 -$6
I don’t love the bagels from Costco, and the price is only marginally better than what I pay at the grocery store, I’ll call this one a draw.
Bread 3 loaves -$7.50
The wife got taken on this one. It is actually the exact same brand I can find on sale for $2 each. We have a loser.
Smartpop (popcorn) $6
Another item that would not have been purchased if not seen. Ms Fake Cheap enjoys this as a snack, I do not. I’m unsure about value, I don’t buy a lot of popcorn. Call this a draw.
Total $154.5 + tax = about $178
So quick review, 3 solid winners (wipes, salads, cereal) and maybe the chips, but we certainly don’t need that many chips! 2 marginal wins, 2 draws, and 4 losers. The 4 losers cost us about $25ish dollars…pretty much right out the window. We did save on the wipes, about $10, also about $7 I figure on the cereal, and some marginal savings on the salads. Based on these finding, on this particular trip, for us TOTALLY NOT worth it. I’m also not factoring in the intangibles like the fact that Costco is not close by for us, so it is a pain to drive there, and there are so many people there I don’t find it to be a pleasant experience. AND this doesn’t count the membership fee.
If my relatives came and said that they wouldn’t buy for us anymore, would I get a membership? No, I would not. But Fake Cheap, you’re doing it wrong! I save a ton of money at Costco. I’m sure there are people who do and have this down to a science. Let us know what your Costco strategy is. Perhaps you cold convince The Fake Cheap to reconsider the membership? Yeah, good luck with that!