Friday, July 31, 2009

Price Check in Aisle 3

Why did I pick "Aisle 3"? I don't know. Just go with it.

So, I devoured all the comments yesterday about Costco. And, keep 'em coming. I'm still on the fence about it. On the one hand, I see the point about Costco treating their employees better than Sam's. And, Costco is closer. And, it IS more glamorous, after all. I don't want to be in the loser group.

But on the other hand, Sam's has the cheeseballs. And the pee-smell-eliminator.
Now, I will tell you one thing about the wine prices of both stores: not a big deciding factor for me. I wish I drank more than I really do, because it would probably make me a much mellower mommy, but in truth I would take a diet Coke any day of the week over a glass of wine. I probably buy 2 bottles of wine a year, and half of the bottle I will use for cooking and the other half of bottle I will serve to guests.

But, do they have discount prices on chewing tobacco? Don't even make me start going off about what a nasty habit it is, but if Texan Papa is going to buy that shit I might as well save some money on it.

So today I went to Tom Thumb grocery store, which is an affiliate of Safeway (if you have that near you). Normally, Tom Thumb is just about the most expensive grocery store in town. But, I am not willing to buy something that is overpriced just because I need it. I will go without until it goes on sale. Except chocolate. No explanation necessary there. Anyhoo, I would like to share with you a run-down of some prices I paid for groceries there. Almost all of these are the sale prices, not the regular prices, but that is what I would compare to the Warehouse Store prices anyway because I would never pay non-sale prices anytime. I shopped on the big sale day, early in the morning when stocks were still plentiful. I didn't use any coupons except the ones that were printed in the ad flyer, which I picked up as I walked in the door.

Broccoli Crowns: $0.88/lb
Red seedless grapes: $1.99/lb
1 lb baby carrots: $1.00
milk: $1.99/gallon
1 lb. butter: $1.99
boneless, skinless chicken breast: $1.99/lb
Hershey's chocolate Syrup, 24oz: $2.00
Top Round Roast: $2.29/lb
Minute Maid frozen OJ concentrate (makes 46 oz): $2.00
Lays Chips(10.5 oz): $2.49
Doritos (14 oz): $1.88
Rice Krispie Treats (8 ct.): $0.99
1 doz large eggs: $1.29
diet Coke, 24 pack: $5.99
Safeway bottled water, 24-pack (500mL bottles): $3.49
Smithfield Bacon, 1 lb: $2.50
Mott's Natural Applesauce, 46oz: $2.59

So, I think I got some good prices, and this shopping trip is not unusual for me. I would NEVER pay more than $2.75 per pound for boneless skinless chicken breasts anyway, so going to a Warehouse store to get a 6- or 8-pound bag for the same unit price really doesn't motivate me.

The one thing that keeps drawing me back into Sams are the few items that I do regularly purchase there that are a steal (for example, getting a 16-oz bottle of REAL vanilla for $6.75. Seriously, this is an amazingly cheap price. Also, a huge bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch powder that I can use to make endless bottles of Ranch dressing for my kids' carrots. Also, the Mrs. Butterworth's pancake syrup. And 2-lb box of Club Crackers for $3.47.) Also, I'm not kidding, that pee-smell-eliminator stuff is great and I've never found another product like it. And the cheese balls are addictive.

I've thought about it... is $50 a year really THAT big of a deal to spend in order to get savings on a few items? I can get the items I really WANT, buy the few items that ARE a good deal, and get a competitive price on the items that I would normally purchase at the grocery store anyway. But, the thing is, once I buy those bulk items, I don't need to go back to Sam's for a long time. So, if I bought those items repeatedly, the savings would be obvious. But if I only buy them once every 6 months, the savings seem kinda puny.

Okay, this post is way too long already. I must end the Costco Vs. Sams drama now. But, please, more opinions. I love the opinions.


Jennifer said...

Oh Lord. I don't even know what else to say about this. Just go ahead and get the membership.

HaB said...

Go ahead. Join the club. Everyone's doing it. =)

McVal said...

Go with Sam's! Go with Sam's!!
Or really - whatever you want to do... I don't own stock in them or anything...

nicole said...

I used to shop at Sam's and just joined Costco this week. I was convinced by my friends. And the Veggie Straws. My kids love them. And I love their all-natural goodness. From the few items I purchased, the prices are competitive to Sam's. You are right though, on sale a lot of things are cheaper at the regular grocery store. I buy some things in bulk for convenience more than money saving reasons. And we might be buying more organic things in the future.

ItsKelly said...

okay, I have one more thing to add - a reason to not pick either one. Sometimes when I'm grocery shopping, I want a cookie, just ONE, but at Sams you can't just get one cookie, they come in a package of like 1000. And they are soooo good (the ones in the bakery part). Of course I buy them and a week later they're all gone. And I have to look at my husband, all innocent, and be like "I don't know who ate the cookies!"

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

If you can stay on track and not buy the 'great deals' of stuff you would have never bought in the first place, you might want to get a membership.
I agree with ItsKelly though--you may end up with WAY too much food you really like and that's never good ;)

Merritt said...

I don't know that this is of any value...but we don't even have a Costco. We do have a Sam's, but I don't have a membership anymore. There was just something unsettling about shopping there and coming home with 47 boxes of macaroni & cheese and 38 tubes of toothpaste when I really only went in for frozen pizza. But if you are able to practice the art of self control (which I clearly am not), go for it sister!

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

We don't have a Costco in Midland America, so it's Sam's for me. And I like it.

Sturgmom said...

My husband says Target is to Costco what Wal Mart is to Sams. In other words, I wish we had a Costco. Alas, my lot in life is to shop at Sams. We all have a cross to bear. ;)

Just do it.

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Sounds like you just need to find a friend who will take you to Sams once a year so you can stock up on everything you need.

Alternatively, Sam's usually runs a promotion once or twice a year where you can get in free one day to see if you like the store.

dianthe said...


i've been a member at both and you probably won't find a huge difference when it comes to price - but when it comes to selection, Costo kills Sams - they carry a lot of the same brands when it comes to household brands but Costco's Kirkland brand is sheer greatness - i cloth diaper and use cloth wipes but my friends rave about Kirkland's baby wipes - they also carry a lot of name brand items for less than you'll see in average retail stores - especially baby clothes!!

Tami (Pixeltrash) said...

I used to go to Costco in San Diego, now I've moved to UPstate NY and I go to SAms because it is my only choice. I don't see much difference to tell you the truth. I did love Kirkland brand fabric softener and laundry soap. The meat at Costco seemed better, but other than that, I really see little difference.

Happy SITS Sharefest Saturday. You were above me in the queue!

MochaTrina@Me So Hongry... said...

Thanks for stopping by yesterday. Thank goodness I don't live close to a Costo. But it wouldn't matter any way because I don't go to Sam's down the street. I'm scared I'll walk out with a bunch of crap I don't need like 50 lbs of buffalo wings. My kids do love their pizza and hot dogs in the food area.