You guys, I love Costco. Like, looooove it. So much so that I went to wander around Costco while I was taking care of my mom because I was homesick and boyfriend and I usually go together. Part of it is that my built-in deal addict is satiated by Costco and part of it is that it makes me feel really good about our future financial prospects. Normal grocery stores stress me out because the cheese is in 4 places and the bread is in 3 places and the aisles are so narrow that I end up with the aisle equivalent of road rage, which is magnified a million-fold when I have a cart. Plus, I get completely overwhelmed by the number of options. I’ve griped aloud more than once, “I just want normal peanut butter!” or “How do you have a wall of pickles but they’re all either yellow [a.k.a. vinegar-flavored] or sweetened? I just want a good deli dill, dammit!” It once took me several trips over the course of a month to the larger grocery store in our neighborhood to find some friggin’ malt vinegar. Fig vinegar? Check. Pear vinegar? Yep. White wine balsamic rice gluten-free vinegar? Probably. Costco may not always be able to scratch your particular peanut butter, pickle, or vinegar itch, but at least (a.) you don’t have to spend an hour per item on your shopping list wading through the Too Many Options or We’re Fancier Than You hells, and (b.) there’s always a chance they’ll have what you want in the future, at which point you can stock up like a survivialist, if you like.
I went before my final trip to clean out mom’s house and, having been a bit congested, thought, “I wonder if their pharmacy sells pseudoephedrine?” I checked, on a whim, and it was $1.19 (before tax) for 24 tablets. (At first, I thought maybe they sold it in Convenient Meth Lab Size for one hundred nineteen dollars because the clerk lady said “one nineteen” when I asked.) And so I added it to my mental list of things I love about Costco. Then I thought, why not share said list? I’ve appended #1 to the title because I’m sure others will follow.
Awesome stuff I recently found at Costco:
- I actually went that day because we needed another 18 lb. bag of Nature’s Domain salmon and sweet potato cat food. The kitties love it and so do our wallets. We still buy their insanely high-quality wet food at the local pet store, though.
- Giant bag (3 lbs, I think? It’s too cold to leave my blanket fort to check) of Cascadia Farms mixed berries for $10.89. They are usually half that price for maybe 1/6 the berries. This blend doesn’t have strawberries or cherries, which is my preference, and it comes in a resealable bag. I like to put them in smoothies or cook them down into a compote I can add to plain yogurt.
- Speaking of yogurt, for two 32 oz containers of their super healthy Kirkland Signature Greek yogurt, it’s $6.99. Yes, FOR SIXTY-FOUR OUNCES!
- I like to use Bolthouse or Naked Juice to sweeten smoothies or I’ll water it down a bunch and just drink it. (Yay, spirulina!) I found a 64 oz of the Naked Juice Green Machine (what I prefer for smoothies–recipe below) for $5.99 today! That’s almost what the 15 oz ones usually cost at fast food places and convenience stores! And I can never find a large Green Machine at the nearest grocery store.
Really Easy Smoothies:
Blend the following, to taste: fresh banana, fresh avocado, frozen mixed berries, plain yogurt (I usually use Stonyfield Low Fat Plain, but Greek works too, as long as you add more liquid), Bolthouse or Naked Juice green juice. To change things up, you can add fresh pineapple, kiwi, peaches, coconut milk, cooked oatmeal, or anything else you desire. Just be warned that apples and pears can make the texture grainy.
- Magic Hat variety pack for $1 per 12 oz bottle. There are cheaper options, too, but we’re happy with our craft beer at American lager prices.
- $5.99 for eight 14.5 oz cans of organic diced tomatoes. (The same size of Simply Balanced organic diced tomatoes at Target is $1.29 each.) I never buy organic (even though cherry tomatoes appeared on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list) because expensive. At least at the grocery stores near me. As are conventionally grown tomatoes on the vine, heirloom tomatoes, kumato tomatoes, campari tomatoes… pretty much any tomato with flavor. I have no idea yet whether my organic diced tomatoes will taste like anything, but it’ll be nice to have affordable diced tomatoes on hand for the foreseeable future.
- 32 oz. of Dofino brand, deli-sliced jalapeno havarti and chipotle gouda in a resealable bag. Score. $8.99. One can find cheaper cheese, I’m sure, but is it this convenient and delicious?
- I was probably more excited than I should have been when I found organic, no sugar added Mott’s applesauce in 36 of those little foil-lidded cups (that travel well in lunchboxes!) for $11.79. I had been meaning to make applesauce in the crock pot, but it’s hard to make it for cheaper than you can buy it in the city, even if you don’t care whether it’s organic. Apples are also part of the “Dirty Dozen,” so I feel like I was inadvertently more risk-averse for having shopped at Costco. (I didn’t see any other no sugar added applesauce, which is sort of the beauty of Costco.)
- A 6 lb. tray of frozen Kirkland Signature meat lasagna for $14.99. That should be dinner for *at least* three nights for us, so if we whip it out when we’re too busy or tired to cook, we’ll save a ton compared with ordering in. We’ve never had it before, so I’ll have to see how it measures up to my usual recipe.
- For New Years, we stayed in and made use of a microwavable tub of cheese fondue from Costco. I was skeptical even though the ingredients were all properly Swiss fondue-y, but it turned out to taste as legit as it read and it was so easy. I wish I could find the brand online, but I’m guessing it was a seasonal offering anyway.
- I’ve mentioned before that I’m obsessed with the various Calvin Klein pants at Costco (and I imagine ladies of other shapes might feel the same about the Gloria Vanderbilt line). Other awesome basics include: the Paradox Merino Blend Zip Top (which only makes me a tiny bit itchy, unlike most animal hair products), the Puma socks (available for men and women) with extra padding on the soles, and Kirkland’s twofer packaged tank tops ($9.99) and crew necks (neither of which I can find online) that actually end at a flattering place on my long torso.
Costco does have its quirks, like shifting and disappearing merchandise, and no help on the floor, but those are far outweighed by the amazing deals and lack of sadness in the air (cough cough, Walmart). You can feel good about shopping there, knowing employees aren’t compelled to hold their own in-store food drives in order to celebrate the holidays–nor are they forced to work on major holidays. And it’s a one-stop shop for cars, eye exams and prescription vision stuff, travel deals, etc., etc. (Even caskets!)
So, do you shop at Costco? Or perhaps another members-only discount store? What’s your favorite part?