The Grocery Game | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

Should You Buy Into The Costco Membership Hype?

Costco Canada Membership
COSTCO STOCKS YOU UP BUT DOES IT STACK UP FOR COST SAVINGS?

Put away your coupon binder if you plan to shop at Costco Canada as they don’t accept manufacturer coupons because they have their own coupons and promotions for private members.

They also boast having the best deals because their buyers are able to negotiate great prices.

Just how great are these prices though compared to your typical grocery store paired with sales, coupons and coupon apps?

Let’s find out…

Related: How to chop everyday food prices without coupons

I think not owning a smartphone and Costco membership at the same time either means you’re very frugal, don’t see the benefit or there is no Costco location nearby so there’s no point considering if there are any budget savings to be had.

I don’t have either BUT we do have a Costco very close to our house so we wanted to see if there was a benefit for us to stop in and shop on my way home from work.

What I found interesting was that Costco motivates shoppers who entertain saving money by buying in bulk every frugal persons’ dream but they also offer a Costco Concierge Service.

Can we say frugal and posh at the same time?

Not really, it just sounds like it is. After reading about the concierge service I realized it was just frosting for the typical “Customer Service” help that almost every store has for customers.

Costco History

Costco was born in 1976…

The Costco story begins in 1976, when entrepreneur Sol Price introduced a groundbreaking retail concept in San Diego, California.

Price Club was the world’s first membership warehouse club, a place where efficient buying and operating practices gave members access to unmatched savings.

Most of you might not care about the history but the key point here is just how long consumers have been motivated to buy in bulk keeping the doors open to what has become a giant success story for Costco.

Welcome to Costco Canada

Friends of ours took us to Costco last week for final decision-making walk around the store to investigate prices and worthiness of our money towards a Costco Membership.

Besides that we had a non-friendly door host the overall experience was very good and so were the delicious samples.

When you walk through the front door of Costco you grab a massive shopping cart (more to fill and more money to spend) and if you aren’t prepared for what’s around the corner you’ll get hit with a super clean massive warehouse.

The fans on the ceiling are massive, the lighting very bright, tunes playing, food smells all over the place and shopping carts filling up.

It’s easy to see how anyone would want to shop in bulk BUT do we really need to stockpile food?

If you toss out food that is still in boxes or bags because no one eats it or your super-sized jars of condiments are going bad or past expiry you should consider not buying in large measure like that.

I think it would be a great experiment to purchase some items that you would normally buy at a regular grocery store but buy it at Costco.

From there you’ll want to see how long it takes to get through the product before it puts a dent in your pantry or freezer.

If you notice food waste, cut back. There’s nothing worse than saving to flush money down the toilet because you can’t get it back again.

As we raced from aisle to aisle my mathematical brain was going full-speed tapping into the regular Costco price, Costco sale price and whether we could pick a product up for less at the grocery store.

Don’t just look at the price either. You need to read the size, units, weight and so on to find out if you are getting the best bang for your buck.

For those unsuspecting customers who don’t know their prices they will potentially pay more at Costco on some items had they waited for a good sale at the grocery store.

A 3 pack of bacon at Costco will run you $15.99 but if you wait for a sale at the grocery store for $2.99 you’ll save more.

It also depends on product urgency as well but for the most part, you’ll see savings on many products at Costco if the need is immediate.

I couldn’t justify the prices on paper products because they always go on sale at the grocery store.

Just that day we bought a 6 pack of  Supreme Kleenex tissues on sale for $3.88- $1.50 Snap Groupon rebate on each pack making them $2.38.

Toilet paper and paper towel always go on sale and you can easily save more if you wait.

A 12 pack of Kleenex tissue at Costco was priced at $15.99 so you can see how patience really can save you money by waiting for grocery store sales sometimes.

We found that the produce was not something we would purchase often because we can’t inspect what we are buying as we do at the grocery store.

You can’t pick and choose at Costco as you can at Zehrs for example. It either is, or it isn’t. The reason for this is to cut down on waste.

Oddly enough there are people who have no need for the typical grocery store and don’t even step foot inside one.

Costco is the only grocery store they will shop at and for many membership holders that makes sense for them.

Costco, for the most part, will give you the immediate sale price so you don’t have to wait for the grocery store sale.

That makes sense if you don’t care to wait it out.

If you have a smartphone you can download the Costco Canada App to do some price searching while you are in the store IF you have a data plan.

We didn’t read about any free WI-fi in the store while we were shopping which saddened us but I’m sure one day all stores will entertain the WI-fi idea for their customers.

The great thing about having online ability is that you can price match and base your buying decisions on price searches.

We didn’t end up buying anything during this trip to Costco but it sure was fun taking time to research what they offered and the prices available.

The toys, clothes and home appliance aisles were a few aisles that we splashed through but didn’t investigate too much.

From what we could see toys were reasonably priced and books were very popular as the section was packed with shoppers.

Were the prices good? Well, we buy books second-hand or go to the library so free and dirt cheap are how we roll when it comes to reading books.

You’ll always pay a premium for new books no matter where you shop but with Costco, you’ll likely save a bit more as you would with Chapters.

Costco Canada sells what?

They aren’t kidding around at Costco.. they probably sell a little bit of everything.

Even this…

The most shocking product I found at Costco Canada was a casket.

I honestly was not ready for that because typically when you need or want to pre-purchase a casket you go to the casket place don’t you?

Uh, I’m so not informed about where to buy caskets but don’t worry you won’t bump into one on display at the Costco store.

You can only order the casket online for $1599.99 along with flower arrangements for $99.99.

Not every funeral home will accept this and not every Costco ship Caskets. They offer this as a service to their members. I suppose this is one way to say, they care.

Costco Store Hours

If you don’t know where your closest Costco Store is they have a handy Costco Store Locator link on their website where you can type in your city and it will locate the closest Costco stores to you.

Every time I drive by our local Costco store the place is packed, day and night.

The Costco store hours are 10am-8:30 pm Monday to Friday, Saturday 9:30am-6pm and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.

I bet if Costco was a 24- hour warehouse operation that it probably would be packed at night too.

Everything about Costco is bulk in size and in some cases, price too. Ask anyone where to get the best price on pharmacy prescription refills and they will tell you, Costco.

A little tidbit I learned is that you don’t have to purchase a Costco membership to use the pharmacy either.

Certainly, give your local store a call and ask.

I know we pay $11.99 filling fees at Shoppers Drug Mart which are outrageous so right away pharmacy savings can add up over the course of a year.

Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick residents can now order prescriptions online and have them delivered in the convenience of their home. Register online.

The pharmacy hours at Costco are as follows:

Ontario
Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Saturday closed
Sunday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm

Alberta
Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 8:30 pm
Saturday 9:30am to 6:00pm
Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm
 
Nova Scotia
Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 8:30 pm
Saturday 9:30am to 6:00pm
Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm

When we first went to Costco years ago with my sister-in-law we did not own a house as I was back in school so renting a room was a viable option for us so we could save more money for a down-payment on a house.

There was not much storage space in our room so we were limited about what we could buy.

My first trip into Costco went as expected especially with the wide aisles, pallet stacks, bulk packaging, smells, and sights.

The samples clearly became the highlight of the show and I quickly realized that those sample booths are huge money-makers for the warehouse giant.

Food marketing is an extensive business of making sure that customers can taste, visualize and hold products before they put them in the shopping cart.

If a store can successfully draw a customer in with free food they know that is money in their pocket.

Just about everyone I know who talks about Costco tells me how much they love going to eat the free food samples.

This makes it fun and engaging for the customer and when you have happy customers they tend to spend more money.

Do you necessarily need that massive box of shrimp?

Probably not but because you just had the best tasting grilled shrimp on a skewer at around lunchtime paying $75 for a big bag seems like the reasonable thing to do.

I’m betting just like any other grocery store if you don’t go in with a shopping list you’re risking your grocery budget.

If you go into Costco and try to justify every bulk product you put in your shopping cart you WILL spend more than you set out to spend.

Humans have a strange way of having a conversation with themselves to come up with answers to questions in which not much thought is needed. Either it’s yes or no.

If you have to think about it then you likely don’t need it.

How much is a Costco membership?

Buying a membership for Costco will either A) Help your grocery budget or B) Kill it and there’s no in-between because the minute you walk through any Costco Warehouse doors it’s game on for spending big bucks if you’re not careful.

If you’re not satisfied with your Costco membership they have no problem refunding your money so you can move on.

Your company at work may offer to pay a portion of your Costco membership as a benefits perk so make sure to talk to Human Resources or refer to your employee benefits book to see if you are that lucky person.

Costco regularly visits big companies to sign employees up but from what my wife remembers there were no discounts available. It was the convenience of them coming to you.

If you are an Aeroplan collector you can register your membership and Aeroplan card so you can collect Aeroplan miles promotions.

When you purchase your Costco Membership the card will have your photo on it and it is non-transferable which means you can’t just hand it to your relatives and friends to use.

If you want to buy your friends a Costco gift card they can shop in-store without needing the Costco membership.

This is a great Christmas gift for someone who may not be familiar with the store so they can shop at their own convenience.

Gold Star Costco Membership Fee: $55.00

Gold Star Membership allows you to purchase products for personal use at any Costco Wholesale worldwide, and at Costco.ca.

The annual membership fee is $55.  

A free Spouse card is also included for a spouse or family member 18 years of age or older living at the same address.

Business Costco Membership Fee $55.00

Business Membership is available to owners and managers of licensed businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, and to farmers and ranchers.

A Business Membership allows you to purchase products for business, personal and resale** use.

The membership fee is $55 annually.

A free Spouse card is also included for a spouse or family member 18 years of age or older living at the same address.

Executive Costco Membership Fee $110.00

How much does an executive Costco Membership cost?

Executive Membership benefits are available only to the primary Executive Membership cardholder and the Spouse cardholder (Spouse refers to either a spouse or a family member 18 years of age or older living at the same address).

Additional Secondary cards and their Spouse cardholders are not eligible for Executive Membership benefits or the 2% Reward.

The annual membership fee for an Executive Membership is $110.

Executive Gold Star Membership allows you to purchase products, access a wide variety of consumer services, and can be used at any Costco Wholesale worldwide or online at Costco.ca.

Everything you need to know about getting a Costco Membership.

Costco Membership Renewal Options

You can renew your Costco membership easily and you don’t have to leave home to do this.

If your membership has expired you can renew by signing into your account at Costco.ca, Go into any Costco store, Call Costco or you can renew online through your bank.

Costco Coupons Online

Costco shopping for most people means they can stock up on products that they frequently use at home so they are not going back and forth to the grocery store every month or so.

Costco mails members coupons and promotions at various times of the year. So be on the lookout for those extra savings on your favourite products.

Costco Prices

Not all Costco stores are created equally which means you may find different prices between brick and mortar stores just as you would online compared to in-store.

This is why:

There may be several reasons for a change or difference in the price of an item among our locations.

Our location managers and buying team keep a very close watch on inventory and pricing.

 There may be times that our vendors will be able to offer a lower price for an item on additional shipments.

 Finally, local competition may also be a reason for us to adjust our prices.

Our friends were asking why I was taking so many photos of products at Costco so I had to tell a white-lie and say that I was doing price research on products that interest us.

It would be nice to walk around with a phone for a few hours to check everything out but with a toddler who was hungry and the size of the store, there was no way that was going to happen.

What I did notice was that milk is a couple of cents cheaper but with rounding up and down these days because of the loss of the penny in Canada it didn’t make a lick of difference.

Meat, for the most part, looked delicious, clean and the butcher shop was thriving with staff rushing around to bring a product to the masses of customers.

I was very impressed by the meat counter at Costco and the prices were very reasonable compared to the grocery store.

The Costco bakery was no different with racks and bunkers full of fresh products.

The price for buns was cheap and certainly cost less than what we would pay at a local bakery or in the grocery store bakery.

We normally hit the 50% off rack for bread but if you’re looking for fresh stuff, Costco has it.

If you’re looking for full-on artisan bakery bread, you’ll pay for it but that typically comes from a mom and pop shop in town.

Of course, if you’re handy in the kitchen you can bake your own batch of buns at home for even less.

Not everyone has the time nor skill to do so though.

While we were walking around, drooling over the sweets section, our friends told us that they ate an entire Mile High cake by themselves one night.

For the size and price of the cake, I thought that was a huge saving because to order 2 slices at a restaurant would certainly cover that cost and then some.

Baking at home is the smartest way to save but not everyone knows how to bake either.

Related: Homemade vs Store-Bought

Costco In-store Offers

We had a general idea of what to expect but didn’t realize that they had someone at the front door with Costco deals flyer.

Silly me thought they were coupons but they are not so when I found the product I would subtract that coupon flyer coupon and wanted to cut them out.

I didn’t have scissors until our friends told us they were only flyers. Doh!

A deals flyer with in-store specials is a great way to target customers by handing them out at the front door after showing a Costco membership card to staff. (they are very strict by the way so have your membership card ready to show).

We were told to stand over to the side until our Costco membership holder friends showed up.

Honestly, we felt like Costco criminals because he wasn’t the friendliest greeter we’ve ever encountered.

Costco Online Offers

Costco Online offers are available if you visit the Costco website to see what deals you can score before you go shopping.

I did find a price discrepancy for the Kirkland baby wipes which makes me wonder how accurate Costco online pricing is compared to the actual in-store prices.

I wasn’t complaining as the price for the baby wipes were $4 less in-store.

A potential customer who is doing some price research may turn away from shopping at a Costco store or buying a Costco membership if the pricing is not reflective of in-store prices.

I’m not sure why Costco’s online prices would or should be any different.

Then I found this which means if you don’t read the fine print you might not know that online prices include shipping and handling.

So you’re going to pay a premium price on products if you can’t get to the store.

Costco.ca carries thousands of products not available in your local Costco warehouse.

Pricing on Costco.ca often includes shipping and handling; therefore, Costco.ca does not price-match our warehouses.

What I learned about this is that it’s always important to read the FAQ’s, store hours online or call your local Costco and ask a customer service agent what you are looking for.

If you want to find the current Costco Warehouse offers to click the “In the Warehouse” banner on their website along with the province and you will see the list of promotions available to you.

Costco Return Policy

You can bring products back to Costco for a return, refund or replacement.

If you request a product pick-up for return it may take up to 3-4 weeks and Costco requires you to send it back the same way you got it.

This is why my wife tells me to never throw out product packaging because you never know when you will need it.

Costco.ca offers convenient returns at any one of our Costco warehouses worldwide.

To expedite the return process, please have your order confirmation email with you. You may use our warehouse locator to find your local Costco, or if you wish to return merchandise directly, contact us at customer service.

Please select “Costco.ca Returns” as the subject of the e-mail and be sure to include the product’s item number and your order number to expedite the return process.

Costco has no problem with returns as long as you have your receipt but they do have some exceptions that you should be aware of before you make a purchase that you can’t return.

Costco Return Policy Exceptions:

  • Electronics- You have 90 days from the date on your receipt
  • Diamonds need to be verified so it can take days to do a return
  • Cigarettes and alcohol you cannot return
  • Check the warranty on tires and batteries or other products with a limited life span
  • Customer installation services unless you are claiming a warranty.

Costco Services

I had no idea that Costco had so many types of services available to members which also factors into the decision as to whether we want to purchase a Costco Membership.

  • Bakery
  • Food Court
  • Fresh Produce
  • Fresh Deli
  • Propane
  • Service Deli
  • Membership Services
  • Gas Station
  • Fresh Meat
  • Photo Centre
  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Optical Department
  • Hearing Aids
  • Tire Service Centre
  • Pharmacy

Filling up at the Costco gas station with your Costco membership will always save you money compared to what city gas stations are charging.

Don’t try and cheat the system either because you’ll need that membership card in good standing to even pump gas.

If you have an expired card Costco will allow you a courtesy pump but if you try a second time they will block you and send you to renew your membership.

Just an FYI if you plan to try and get cheap gas without a valid membership card.

I do follow gas prices and every time I drive by Costco the price is very competitive and worth it because I find myself thinking, damn that’s a good price.

So just the pharmacy and gas alone is a huge saving to the budget IF you plan to use those Costco services.

Mind you I’m not sure if we are ready to move our prescriptions to Costco if we did get a membership but it would certainly be something we’d consider.

Overall Thoughts

Our trip ended at the Costco food bar as we all decided to enjoy dinner at Costco instead of going to McDonald’s which was the plan with the kids since we had them out at dinner time.

The food bar only accepts cash so make sure to hit the ATM or your cash budget envelope before you go if you plan to grab a hot-dog or ice-cream cone.

Prices at the food bar were not overly expensive but definitely hit the spot after all that walking around and enjoying food samples which kick-started my appetite in the first place.

Both IKEA and Costco know how to target food to customers after a long walk around their massive facilities.

See Costco succeeds!! That’s how marketing is done.

There are pros and cons to just about every store out there and Costco is no exception.

The biggest pitfall would be to buy too much of one item either because it’s on sale or you think you will get through it but you don’t.

This creates waste and loss of money.

I also believe that buying massive amounts of food in bulk packaging also contributes to over-eating because of larger sizing.

The bags of chips are massive and for someone who can’t stop at one this bag can easily become a food devil.

Sometimes it pays to shop smaller but that all depends on how you approach bulk shopping.

I believe that yes we will purchase a Costco Membership for $55 even if it’s for the cheap gas, cheese and other products that are comparable at the grocery store that might never go on sale.

CBB Fans Speak Up About Costco

Some of my fans shared their thoughts about shopping at Costco and this is what they had to say:

KNOW your prices, both regular and sale, before you shop there .

We go every month and spend anywhere from 2 to 4 hundred each time . We buy food, clothes, treats, gifts, computer stuff, camping stuff, books, etc .

There is only one in our area sells gas so we do fill up if we go to that one.

I like their meat, it’s good quality at a decent price.

I buy ground beef and repack it into 1 lb bags at home – chicken goes into bags too, 2 or 3 pieces each bag – need lots of storage room for some items.

Pharmacy prices are very good for both scripts and over the counter stuff.

Iron pills at Costco for me is 8 at the pharmacy where we get our drugs it’s 13 or 14,

You must know your prices in order to make it worth your time and money.

We spend enough there that we get a rebate cheque each February that more than pays for our membership each year- Sharon

We buy a certain brand of Soy Milk & I figured out if I buy it at Costco most of the time I will save more than the cost of membership.

I have been relieved that I have spent responsibly there, no purchases that I later regretted.

I buy a few items on discount & we may buy an appliance there, we’ll check out & compare first.- Faith

I love Costco – but my budget doesn’t. I tend to overspend and come out with a $500 bill which then just blows my budget. Now that the kids have moved out.

I don’t really need all that food and I can usually get better deals with coupons and sale items.

I find it’s good for Christmas gifts.

Propane is one thing that we do buy there for our barbeque – but that’s like once a year. I don’t buy gas there as it is about 40 KM’s from me – so not really worth the drive and the lineups.

I would rather fill up at RCSS and collect my points for free groceries. If we are travelling in the USA – we do however stop at Costco for gas – as it is cheaper and a hot-dog and drink for lunch is really cheap too!- Christine M

I used to have a membership to Costco- not worth it when there is only two of us in a small house, and I have always religiously followed the grocery store flyers, plus now I coupon and price match, so can get most food in the quantity we use, cheaper elsewhere.

I know plenty of people with a membership though, so I will go 2-3 times a year for the few things I love and feel is worth it.

The bed sheets, both flannel and cotton, are super inexpensive for the high quality , the packs of Contigo water bottles and coffee mugs are super handy and a great price, and I will stock up on pharmacy items like vitamins and Advil, which are super cheap.

Not a lot of people know this, but the Costco pharmacy has the best prices around, and you don’t need a membership to use it! (it’s Ontario law). Just say you are heading to the pharmacy – you can only get the prescription items though, NO over the counter and NO supplements, just the stuff you need a script- Beth B.

We buy all our gas for our truck at Costco as well as propane. Also I make a detailed list when shopping, my go to items are laundry pods, bounce sheets, freezer bags, toilet paper, paper towel, Kleenex, gravy base( the one they use for their poutine…YUM), spices, garlic, ketchup in the tin, Miracle Whip, Ranch dressing, mustard….I find these items are of a great value for what you get and one shop will normally last us for 2-3 months.

I don’t find the meat or produce worth it for our family. If I can shop only 3 to 4 times a year and spend approx. $250 each time I am happy/ I hate the parking, I have a meltdown before I even get into the store lol, it is very busy and line ups are horrible always…that is my 2 cents worth. I also get a free membership as a perk through my work.- Tammy B.

I always pick up the 4 pack of farmer sausage as it’s the same price for 2 at any other store. Also picked up 2 beef roasts for $20. I forgot to check price per kg but each roast will easily feed us 3 meals.

Their fresh chicken wings are really good too and you get probably 3x (or more!) the amount compared to M&M’s. I don’t think we’ve bought much meat from there as our freezer is always full when we go. – Samantha J.

First make a list of the things I know are good value, spices, flour, sugar, yeast they are at least 1/2 price if not more from Costco compared to the superstore. I often buy my coffee for my Tassimo there.- Nicola

Don’t belong to Costco, but have been twice, once in Denver CO and once in Winston-Salem NC.

We shop at Sam’s Club and find some really good deals, but some things aren’t.

You just have to know what is a good price and what isn’t. Buy gas there a lot, but a lot of time gas is cheaper elsewhere. The prices at their snack bar are cheap.- Pat

Things we buy there: polish sausages (like they sell in their canteen because they are huge and my family loves them compared to regular hot dogs); flour and yeast because I bake most of our bread products as well as cookies etc; chocolate chips, cocoa and vanilla extract; toilet paper because their rolls last a long time so it’s a better value; some meat and poultry if it’s on sale; and sometimes bagels. Even just buying those few items makes the price of the basic membership worth it for us, particularly the baking supplies.

What I don’t like about it is how busy it is most of the time – I now go only at opening. I also don’t like the checkout area – it could be done in a much more logical way that doesn’t block that entire front shelf.

Some winding theatre roping and one dedicated person at the front guiding the next shopper in line to an open cash would work so much better!

What I like: the price per unit of many of the items I use a lot of. What’s for dinner: frozen pizza, because I baked 8 dozen cookies today and wore myself out!- Tracey R.

If you are careful, Costco can be a big money-saver. I try to go just once a month, and do a big shop when I do, but I move fast and don’t let myself get distracted by bargains that aren’t on my list.

I find the Kirkland brand products to be very good. I definitely save enough money to make it worth the membership. And I know the workers there are paid decently and get good benefits, which I like.

They have good clothing, so though I usually buy used clothes, when I do buy new it is usually at Costco. You have to know your prices for food, though, and be disciplined.

If you like to bake, they have excellent prices on bulk flour and white sugar. Excellent place to buy prescriptions and prescription glasses. If you have bad eyes like me, and purchase just one pair of glasses, your membership will pay for itself.- Ketchup With That

We love Costco! There are of course some things that aren’t that much of a deal but if you like to buy in bulk and all at once than it’s worth not having to go another store.

Other things are just so incredibly cheaper that it just makes sense to buy in bulk. It’s just the 2 of us plus my 4 daycare children so we freeze what we won’t eat right away….meat, cheese, bread, cookies, veggies.

Things like coffee, toilet paper, peanut butter, pickles and most baking supplies are SO much cheaper!

Their pasta is another thing we always buy as 3 of theirs is just under the price of 2 at Walmart and are bigger packs. The non food items are nice too and often hard to find at other places. Service has always been great which is more than I can say for other stores.- Samantha

We have bought the commercial rolls of film (food wrap), both the 12″ and the 18″ wide.

They last me five-six years (I put my date on the box), so averages $2.00 to $3.00 per year and I would guess a roll of Saran Wrap or Glad Wrap costs more.- Pat

After recording every penny of groceries I purchased last month, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should buy all of our dairy products there. I’ve always purchased flour there.

The bagels are not cheaper, but so good! I bought my son’s glasses their last month and was able to get 2 pairs for just under our $200 insurance coverage. I’m starting to appreciate Costco more.- Heather

As much as I am a fan of buying in bulk and at great prices.

We just won’t pay a membership to shop at any store.

I buy what I need when the stores have the items I need on sale and stock up and I am 3 hours away from the closest one.- Colleen

We pay $110 for our executive membership and get a rebate cheque each year for more than that – so in the long run we pay nothing, they pay us- Sharon

We shop at Costco but rarely. Last trip was just freezer bags and Finish dishwasher pucks. Most things I find cheaper on sale elsewhere, especially using coupons.- Debbie

I’m ready to give up our membership I really don’t find groceries that much cheaper.

I’m not impressed with their clothing and the only thing we really purchase is the gas. I have noticed this week it is cheaper at the corner gas station.

I’m speaking about Costco Canada- Hazel

I love Costco though I don’t shop there a lot, probably once a month. We didn’t sign up the membership till we had a baby.

I remember we bought a Braun brand ear thermometer for 49.99 while RCSS had it for $79.99.

That alone already saved us 30 dollars. I also find their rotisserie chicken is cheaper than anywhere else and it tastes good (well, slightly saltier).

We also like to buy their fresh wild pacific salmon.

Great selection on healthy snacks like kale chips, chickpea chips and organic products at a fraction price compared to Loblaws.

I regularly buy frozen organic blueberries for smoothies. One 1.2 kg bag for 9.99 while PCO charges me 5.99 for 400 g or something.

After shopping around for winter tires last fall, we also found they have the best price for tires and free installation for members.

Hey, can’t beat that! I also shop online on Costco and they have a speedy shipping and I love their return policy.

They make everything so easy if you’re not satisfied with their products. Tonight’s dinner: salad with roasted beets and fennel, jerk chicken. –Juyenty

I buy cereal, yogurt, hummus, wraps coffee beans, flour, spices, fruit, and some meat.at Costco because it is a lot cheaper than the grocery store. You need to know your prices, not everything is cheaper. Yes, we buy gas at Costco. –Pam

My best tip about Costco is KNOW your prices!!!! I have staple items that we buy there like tums($11.49 4pk), brown sugar (2kg $3.29), lemon concentrate (2pk $4.29 just went up from $3.99), 4L homo milk($4.99), coffee creamer 10% ($1.99 1L), date night at the movies ($26ish), Kirkland AA batteries ($13.99), beef gravy powder ($5ish), ground black pepper($6), yeast ($4.49 2lb), stamps ($84 for 100pk), also coconut oil ($27.99 for 2.7L) but unfortunately they are outta stock for those, iced tea powder ($6.59 2.35kg), also books and movies can be a great deal if you’re looking for those things.

We don’t gas up there anymore as the one close to us has crazy long line ups and isn’t always a great deal.

The garden center flowers are amazing and the baskets at mother’s day start at $12.99 and go up in price and are better quality than you can get at RCSS or Walmart.

Speaking of quality they have a great return policy! You can return within the year with almost no hassle about the return (having the receipt makes the return faster and easier).

We bought little miss sleepers from there and she tore a hole in the knees on a pair and a hole in the toes on another pair and I received a full refund!

They also have their own price matching policy that if you buy something and it goes on sale for less you can get the difference back when you bring in your receipt. –Juanita

So… either you love it or hate it at Costco. We’ll give it a try for one year and see what we think and revisit this post then for a further review.

Discussion: Do you have a Costco Membership? Why or Why not?

February Grocery Game Challenge posts 2016

Join in the 2016 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post.

Here are the rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the updated 2016 GGC schedule.

Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule so it’s handy.

Thanks to Mary for putting this together for us again this year. If you need any help please let me know.

New monthly prize: $10 President’s Choice Gift Card for Canadian residents only BUT If you want to play from outside of Canada and have PayPal and you win I will pay you $10CDN.

I use a random online generator to pick the winning ballot every month.

If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up each week below for you so you don’t have to go looking for past GGC posts for the month.

Alternatively, just click on the “Grocery Game Challenge” tab on the blog side-bar to see past posts.

Free Money Saving Tools 2016

I know I blast you every which way I can on this blog about my free money-saving tools and that’s because I want you to take advantage of them for FREE.

So many people pay for budgets and tools on the internet to help them save money and honestly, you don’t need to. Even a paper and pen will do the trick.

Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE.

We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE!

We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.

Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2016

Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken over 4 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget-saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

2016 Grocery Shop Results

Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2016: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$235.00
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $217.05
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $50
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 58570
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: Over 700,000 points ( I will update this twice a year)

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Snap Groupon to cash out: $0 (Cashed out $45.00)
  • Zweet to cash out: $18.25
  • Checkout51 to cash out: $7.00

Grocery Shop This Week

Food Basics

  • 2 x 2% milk 4L- $3.97
  • 2 x Homo 3.25 % Milk 4 L $4.97

Total Out-of-Pocket: $17.98

  • Total to spend this month $235.00-$17.95 over Jan = $217.05
  • Stockpile budget of 2016 ($25.00):$25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $4
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $128.10
  • Total spent this week: $17.98
  • Total spent so far this month: $74.07
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month:- $n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: $160.87
  • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95+ Feb $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We didn’t need much this week as we have lots of leftovers from the pulled pork, pig roast party we attended on the weekend.

There was so much food that we took some home with us. Boring I know…. but the savings are nice.

Coupons and Coupon Apps 2016

Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!

These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money.

We’re finding fewer and fewer coupons in the stores these days.

Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

coupons grocery game challenge Canada 2016 Feb g2

Grocery Game Challenge 2016 FAQ’s

  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated for the 2016 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our, out of country friends, it’s $10 CDN via Paypal if they win. As more people join I will add more money to the gift card or I will split it up and offer 2 prizes every month.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule.
  • If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop.
  • It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap, etc.
  • As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
  • Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough.
  •  Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest  Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.
  • There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days.
  • Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available.
  • If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our iPhone so if you were to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us.
  • There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget as many people do.

This is why the grocery game challenge was created back in 2012 and is one of the most popular hangout spots for people who want to save money on groceries in Canada.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 get ready to examine your grocery budget by learning…

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.

You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2016!

-Mr.CBB

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