Is Costco Wholesale Cheaper?

Yesterday, I posted what I bought at Costco, and today I went to my local grocery store to see how much I would have paid at Save-on_Foods for the same grocery cart. Below are the prices and between brackets I have indicated the price difference based on the same quantity/volume/weight. In other words, I wanted to know how much I would have spent buying the same foods today. When something was on sale, I used the sale price for the calculation.

  • 5 dozen eggs at Costco $11.55. At Save-on-Foods, 30 medium eggs cost $5.49 and large eggs $5.79. As such, 5 dozen eggs would cost either $10.98 or $11.58. At best, I saved at Costco 3 cents. (0.03)
  • Hot pepper rings (2 liters or 2 quarts) $3.99. Save-on-Foods price: $2.99 for 750ml. Cost for 2 liters = $7.97. ($3.98).
  • Medium cheddar (2 pounds or 907 g) $11.59 – $2.50 rebate = $9.09. Save-on-Food price was $8.89 for 750g and Save-on-Foods equivalent for 907g = $10.75. ($1.66)
  • Kraft dinner 9 pack $7.99. Save-on-Foods was selling 12 boxes of Kraft and Cheese for $12.99. Equivalent price for 9 boxes of Kraft and Cheese = $9.74. (1.75)
  • Pancake mix (4.53 kg or 10 pounds) $7.88. Save-on-Foods had 1kg of no name buttermilk pancake mix on sale for $2.99. Equivalent price: $13.55. ($5.67)
  • 6 cans of pink salmon $7.49. Save-on-Foods: 6 cans for $10.98. ($3.49)
  • Pace salsa (1.7 liters or 1.8 quarts) $6.59. Save-on-Foods had Pace salsa on sale: 2 for $6 and each bottle had 642ml. Save-on-Foods equivalent = $7.94 ($1.35)
  • 12 x 12oz cans of niblets corn $11.99. Save-on-Foods had an equivalent can on sale for $1.39. Save-on-Foods equivalent for 12 cans = $16.68. ($4.69)
  • 1 gallon homo milk $4.36. Save-on-Foods sells its gallons for $4.37. ($0.01)
  • 20 pounds of potatoes $9.99. Save-on-Foods had cheaper potatoes: $8.99. (-$1.00)
  • 10 kg or 22 pounds of sugar $10.99. Save-on-Foods had the same sugar for the same price.
  • 4 liters (roughly 1 gallon) of canola oil $6.99. Save-on-Foods had 3 liters on sale for $7.19 but they were sold out. The cheapest next option was 3 liters for $8.24 which works out to 4 liters for $10.99. ($4.00)
  • 2 liters or 2 quarts of Bick’s pickles 4.59. Save-on-Foods had 2 liters of no-name pickles for $4.89 ($0.30)
  • 8 kg (roughly 18 pounds) of Jasmine rice $12.99. Save-on-Foods was selling 4.54kg of Jasmine rice for $16.88. Equivalent price: $29.74 ($16.75)
  • Garlic 1.41 liters (1.5 quarts) of minced garlic $4.59. Save-on-Foods was selling 907g of minced garlic for $7.79. Equivalent price: $12.27. ($7.68)

As you can see, the only time I would have saved money at Save-on-Foods was with the potatoes. Only a few products was the price the same or the difference negligible: milk, eggs, and sugar. For all the other products, I saved either a bit or a large sum of money. In total I saved $50.36.

On one shopping trip, I practically paid off my membership ($57.75).

However, to save money at Costco, one must follow a number of rules:

  1. Make a list and stick to it;
  2. Never succumb to impulse buys;
  3. Avoid processed foods and buy the basics.

If you shop wisely, you can save money. Now that my wife and I have saved enough money to effectively pay for our membership in one shopping trip, we can now use Costco guilt free for processing our photos (much cheaper than anywhere else) and for buy those goods that we know are MUCH cheaper: cooking oil, rice, canned salmon, etc…

We also know that there are certain things that are not worth going to Costco for including milk and eggs. We can continue buying these at our local grocery store, as well as fresh produce such as potatoes as they are not necessarily cheaper at Costco.

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3 Responses to Is Costco Wholesale Cheaper?

  1. Joanne says:

    This is interesting as Melbourne is getting (or perhaps already has) a Costco. We are about an hour from Melbourne so fuel costs would be an issue.
    I would also be concerned about where food products are sourced as I am trying to avoid produce from China and Vietnam due to their standards on chemicals being a lot lower than ours. Many discount food outlets in Australia stock a lot of Chinese produce.

  2. thepennypincher says:

    True. It is hard at times to identify with certainty where food comes from. However, we try to stick to basic foods with little processing. Meat from a local butcher. Produce from Canada. Baking our own bread. The one thing which I bought which I am uncertain of its origin is the rice. It just states the importer and not the country of origin.

  3. I'm cheaper than you says:

    Save Of Foods – Today

    Coupon currently available at Save-On Until January 17 -Buy 5 participating kraft products and save $5. Kraft dinner is participating product.

    5 Kraft Dinners $1.19 each = $5.95
    less coupon -5.00

    total cost =$0.95 or
    $0.19 each

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