My brother Spencer emailed our whole extended family about his scientific cost comparisons at Costco. Since I shop there and often recommend Costco membership to my readers, I thought I’d share with you what he learned, and my own thoughts on whether Costco membership is worth the price.
Spencer and Heidi compared prices on 20 items to the other grocery stores they frequent. They found Costco’s price to be better on 19 out of 20 items.
If you are a produce hound, which you clearly are, if you’re doing 12 Steps to Whole foods and trying to eat a plant-based diet, Costco membership makes sense even if for just THREE ITEMS. Those are bananas (at $0.39/lb., easily 1/3 off what other grocery stores sell for), giant 40 oz. bags of spinach (1/2 to 2/3 less than other stores), and frozen mixed berries (4 lb. $11 bags, ½ less than other stores). My fourth favorite thing is pears that are generally $0.79/lb., which is Walmart’s best price only when they’re on sale. Those are all ingredients you’ll be buying very regularly if you’ve made a commitment to a green smoothie habit. I’m doing some YouTube videos tomorrow that include one showing a lot of what I buy at Costco, what I explain here and more.
And, the produce at Costco is famously high quality. I also buy the plastic tubs of spring greens year-round and the inexpensive packages of romaine hearts, and six-packs of bell peppers. The five-pound bag of baby carrots is also cheap, and you can use those or the 10-pound bag of regular carrots (more expensively) if you’re addicted to Hot-Pink Breakfast Smoothie like I am (see Ch. 10 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods). Using the big carrots is cheaper.
Costco is adding more and more high-nutrition items. Their dairy milk is hormone free. Right now you can get almond butter, and I love their organic, natural peanut butter. You can buy Rice Dream by the case for at least 25% less expensively than the health food stores I shop at. I buy big boxes of Shredded Wheat and Grape Nuts for those busy weeks that I don’t get around to making my granola.
Last year I got a $95 refund of my $100 membership fee based on my purchasing. Don’t forget that gas is cheaper at Costco than anywhere–we have a radio station here in Utah that announces the cheapest gas prices, and Costco is always #1.
One caveat about Costco shopping: be careful not to buy a giant quantity of something you don’t already know you like and will use up. Try new things in a smaller quantity somewhere else!
Here’s a photo of the conveyor belt with my purchases one day last year when I happened to be in possession of my camera.