Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Costco and Me = Reunited (Cue Up the Peaches and Herb)

My mom is here from Philly spending a long weekend with us, helping out around the house after The Husband's thyroid cancer surgery. I'm beyond thrilled that she's here; we haven't seen her since last Christmas, which is entirely way too long. We've only been back to Philly once since December (and that September weekend happened to be one that my mom was away). I've missed her - a lot.

Anyway, since shopping is kind of what we do on this side of the family, I was thrilled when my mom said she'd brought her Costco card with her.

I used to be a Costco shopper, once upon a time. When you have newborn twins in Pampers and formula (don't judge) and you're shooting something ridiculous like three dozen rolls of film a week (no digital camera for me back in those days), Costco becomes your home away from home.

But we later moved to a new town that didn't have a Costco close by, I got myself a digital camera, and  didn't renew our membership.

My mother, on the other hand, is a Costco member for one thing and one thing only: their $4.99 rotisserie chicken. That's all she EVER buys at any given time with her $55 annual membership. A CHICKEN. That's IT. Nothing else.

So, 10 years later, with my mom's membership and a Costco conveniently less than five minutes from our (once again new to us) house, we headed over yesterday for dinner comprised of food samples to stock up on some things.  (We, meaning it was Betty and Boo's FIRST TRIP EVER to Costco. Boo especially was in heaven. Costco was made for this kid.) Since I just went grocery shopping the day before and since I've been known to fall into financial peril at Costco back in the day, I was careful to only purchase products that we would use regularly. Here's what I got:

Entenmann's Little Bites (20 pouches total = 5 blueberry muffins, 5 fudge brownie, 10 chocolate chip) $8.99
Betty and Boo eat these for breakfast. It's something easy that they can get themselves, if they happen to wake up before we do. I've tried to get more in the habit of making muffins, but sometimes that doesn't always happen - and especially not now with a post-cancer surgery patient to care for. Two boxes at the grocery store equals 10 pouches and usually costs me more than $9.00 total, which is beyond ridiculous. This was $8.99. Even I, as mathematically-challenged as I am, know that this equals a significant savings.

Kirkland Chocolate Chips, 56 ozs. for $6.99
The Husband often makes chocolate chip pancakes for Betty and Boo in the mornings. This bag is more economical than the 12 ozs. if purchased at the grocery store for an average of $2.99. The Kirkland brand is .12 per oz., while I'm paying .24 at the grocery store. Plus, if I ever do get around to making muffins again, these will come in handy.

Popcorners 24 count variety pack (White Cheddar, Kettle, and Sea Salt) $7.99
An impulse buy after sampling some of these chips. I only sampled the White Cheddar and should have purchased the large bag of just those. After trying the Kettle flavor today, I'm not too crazy about them, sad to say.

170 Dixie paper plates for $10.34
Our dishwasher has been broken for several months. Nor do we have a garbage disposal yet. I know paper plates aren't the most environmentally-conscious thing, but with The Husband out of commission, washing dishes (especially for messy meals like Italian dishes) is one less thing to deal with now.

80 Newman's Own Newman's Special Blend K cups for $36.99
We are going through A LOT of coffee lately (who am I kidding with the lately?!) and the K cups are making my grocery bill go sky high. At an average of $8.99 per box of 12, that's .74 per K cup when purchased in the grocery store.  At Costco, this was .46.  K cups were the main reason I wanted to go to Costco in the first place.

54 Starbucks Cafe Verona K-Cups for $31.99
These are never on sale in our grocery sale for less than $9.99 for a box of 12, making these .83 each. Here, they're .59.

Chopped Vegetable and Barley Soup, 64 oz. total, 2 pks. for $8.89
Another impulse buy. I thought they would be good for these days of nursing my patient back to health and easy dinners for me and the kids.

Macaroni and Cheese, 3.3 lbs., $10.11
I often buy the Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese for busy nights and make that either as a main dish or as a side with some chicken (for the kids). At our store, the Family Size is usually around $8.99 (I like the Farmer's Harvest variety). I made this tonight as a main dish for The Husband and a side dish for the kids and my mom. There were leftovers AND, everyone loved this. Winning! Next time I think I will get a tray, divide it, and freeze the second half.

24 Chocolate Chip Cookies for $6.99
Because we can't have enough chocolate chip cookies in this house lately. (To prove this point and as if she read my mind, a big cookie basket from The Husband's boss arrived at the house right after I came home.)

Not pictured: 24 pk. of AAA Duracell batteries, $11.99, for Boo's videocam.

Total cost? $142.61.

I decided right then and there to purchase a Costco membership. My grocery bill has been in the range of $150-$180 every week. The last few weeks notwithstanding, I've been trying to use more coupons and make more things (like the muffins and macaroni and cheese) from scratch, but I'm not seeing much of a difference. With the skyrocketing prices and my unemployment benefits ending in January (talk about heading toward a fiscal cliff), going grocery shopping every week is also becoming depressing and I'd like to try and get staples such a toilet paper and paper towels at Costco once or twice a month. I think the savings with a membership will be more than worth it.

Do you shop at Costco? If so, what are your favorite foods (or anything else) to buy there?

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs welcome.

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Teddyree said...

Awesome bargains, Costco has not long arrived in Australia and plans are underway for the very first Costco in our state of Queensland, it will be about a 35 min drive though. All very exciting LOL

caite said...

I go to Sam's Costco around here...and I love the deals.
And the chickens too! They are excellent!

Beth F said...

I shop at Costco when I visit my parents. I'm jealous. Sam's Club is just not the same. BUT we just got a Trader Joe's and I can.not.wait. to shop there.k

jama said...

My mom also swears by that chicken! I see you didn't buy one :).

We have a Costco nearby but I haven't renewed my membership recently -- I don't usually buy in such quantity for just 2 people in the household. Thanks for sharing your haul.

Joy Weese Moll said...

I used to be a Sam's shopper, but our local grocery store expanded and sells large quantities of toilet paper and the like, so I wasn't seeing as much benefit for the extra stop. We didn't have Costco back then, but we do now. Maybe I should take a look.

Cecelia said...

I don't have a Costco membership myself, but my mother does, and she uses it every week (she raised 5 kids - she had to!). I love to go with her when I visit and see all of the cool things you can buy in bulk (and then I linger by the book section). Glad that this will be cost-effective for you!

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I'm heading to Costco tomorrow! I get the $4.99 chicken- I can make so many recipes from one chicken, it's ridiculous.
I buy Pellegrino water, diet soda, the big bag of Dunkin' Donuts, the chocolate chip cookies, Eggland eggs, BabyBel cheese. They also have some nice kids clothes.

Heather said...

My mom is a Costco shopper. She will take me any time I want. I always buy the Tassimo T disks. They work out to $5.00 per package and at the grocery they are $7.00+ ANything else we get is bonus.

Book Dragon said...

Tomatoes! I've been going through A LOT of grape tomatoes and it just makes sense to buy the big pack at Costco.

Toilet paper use to be a favorite, large amount individually wrapped but they're wrapped as a 6-pack now :-( I still buy it.

Book prices are still awesome but the selection has changed.

soup, noodles, Fiber One bars, lettuce, berries...

Peaceful Reader said...

I sometimes dream of having a Costco membership-the closest one is 40 minutes away but my mother-in-law does a lot of shopping there so I'm familiar with the deals. I have a hard time justifying the ginormous quantities. At least Costco is kinder to their employees so if given a choice I would choose them over Sam's Club. Now a Trader Joe's coming to town would make my life much easier! Healing thoughts for your husband as he recuperates.