Last week Costco announced that they were going to be raising their membership fees. The fee hike was relatively small, only 9%. Executive members will now pay a $120 a year fee, while Gold Star members will now pay $60 a year. Despite the minimal increase in a customer’s yearly fee, a shopper can still rake in many savings at the retail giant. Costco shoppers go to the warehouse to buy items in bulk. It is great for large families, but I even know of individuals with memberships that see the many benefits of shopping there. While savings can abound at Costco, buying quality, healthy products can provide a big benefit. There is a huge health benefit of buying healthy Costco foods that extends far beyond your budget and to one’s longevity.
Buying healthy Costco foods in bulk can help stretch your grocery budget for a given month. For example, I try to set aside $350 per month to spend on food. This includes eating out as well as purchases from Costco and other grocery stores. A family of four might have a monthly food expenditure of around $1000. The great part about buying food in bulk is that often times you can get a better price than buying the same item individually. Many who purchase items in bulk at Costco tend to go ahead and plan for long shelf lives for these items. For example, toilet paper and condiments are a few items where you can experience savings by buying in bulk. Additionally, these items along with others can be stored in a pantry for many years down the road. Shopping for lean healthy meats at Costco can provide a huge savings to a family of four as well. Purchasing healthy Costco foods such as lean chicken breasts in bulk can provide healthy nutrition and savings. By purchasing many pounds of lean chicken at once, you can slice and divide the breasts to your liking, put them in plastic Ziploc bags, and simply freeze them until a later date. Even when shopping at grocery stores, one of the tricks I do is purchase items when they are on sale. One week, chicken might be on sale for $1.99/lb while the next week it is $2.99/lb. Organizing purchases so you take advantage of them during sales is the best way to optimize your monthly grocery budget.
Costco has a good reputation among shoppers. This is partly because of the quality of their products, but it is also due to their excellent customer service and robust returns policy. So, if you’re shopping for organic food at Costco, there isn’t a lot of downside – the chances are good they’ll accept the product back if you want to return it.
Buying healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive, and buying healthy Costco foods doesn’t have to cost a lot either. When shopping for groceries, the keys are to buy in bulk when available and to also buy during sale prices for an item. Finally, by planning your purchases ahead of time by making a list, you can avoid unneeded items. Eating healthy and sticking to your budget doesn’t have to be hard.