We did it. We broke up with Costco almost a year ago and…we survived. Better than that, actually. We are THRIVING!
We’ve belonged to a ‘warehouse club’ for longer than I can remember. And, nope, I’m not feeding a family of 6. Just me, my hubs and 2 kids. Truth is, we were members before we even had kids. We first joined Sam’s Club because I thought it would be a great way to stock up on basics and to save a bit while doing so. The bulk toilet paper and paper towels drew me in and, from there, I was hooked. A while back, we made the leap to Costco because I heard they had a great selection of bulk, organic products. That’s funny…bulk + organic. Two words you rarely see together.
Here’s what we thought we LOVED about it:
Saving time and $$$.
I was convinced we were saving a ton of money. And, on some things, I’m sure we were. I also liked not having to think about buying staples as often as I used to. Buying toilet paper and paper towels once every other month sounded far easier than every other week. And, since I’ve worked freezer meals into our meal planning, getting that quantity of meat seemed like a great idea.
High-quality meat and produce.
Even now, I do often miss some of the products that Costco offers. The bags of avocados are hands down, the best I’ve found. Their pork loin is super fresh and their giant rotisserie chicken is better than any I’ve tried at a traditional grocery store.
Let’s get real…the samples.
Seriously, going to Costco was an event for us. The kids loved it. We loved it. It was an experience, a total indulgence in consumption and consumerism and, it was fun. Until it wasn’t. Until I hated maneuvering around carts that were slowly zigzagging through the store to hit up every sample stand. Until I couldn’t handle my kids whining, ‘Sample! Sample!’ one.more.time. Until I was so sick of eating chicken taquito samples that my kids grabbed, thinking they would like it (every time, mind you).
Why we pulled the proverbial Costco plug:
Our extra fridge died.
No really…that was the beginning of the end. I had been stocking up on milk, eggs, meats and cheese and when the fridge died that just wasn’t an option anymore.
It became another chore.
I was tired of storing napkins in my laundry closet and applesauce in the linen closet. I would come home from grocery shopping and have to rearrange our pantry and upstairs closets just to make room for the amount of food and supplies we had purchased.
We started to live more simply.
I started craving empty space in our home. Dropping the Costco membership freed up an entire shelf in our linen closet. The space in our pantry between the floor and bottom shelf was not filled with bulk cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce anymore. Dropping the membership really fell in line with our desire to buy, own, and consume less.
Kids are fickle little beasts.
Without fail, whenever I purchased in bulk for the kids, their tastes changed before we ate all of that item. You name it…Babybel cheese, single-serve hummus, raisins. Whatever it was, my kids never ended up eating all of those bulk single-serve servings.
We live within 5 miles of TEN grocery stores and…there’s Amazon.
If we need it, we can get it. Stocking up as though the apocalypse is coming is unnecessary when we have an overabundant access to….everything.
Why I doubt we’ll ever go back:
Our grocery bill has gone down.
That happens when our money isn’t sitting in the form of a 3-month supply of Pirate’s Booty next to the washcloths. And, impulse buys at Costco are far more expensive than impulse buys at Kroger.
Size does matter.
5lb bags of frozen veggies take up A LOT of space. In defense of those bags, having that quantity on hand pretty much ensured that I could always include a veggie with our quick meals, but we’ve been able to significantly pare down that amount through better planning. These days, I enjoy being able to fit an entire turkey in our freezer without having to commit 30 minutes to reorganizing.
We have far less waste.
There were times that food would go bad and I would totally rationalize it because it was often cheaper to buy in bulk and throw away the extra than buy the serving size we’d actually use. Just typing that is disturbing.
It’s removed an errand from my list.
Since I have consolidated a lot of our grocery shopping by meal planning around our busy schedules, not going to Costco also removes a ‘To Do’ from my list. Our trips to Costco, which we used to envision as ‘family time’ have been replaced by family hikes, bike rides and visits to local parks.
I dipped my toe back in the Costco pool and got burned.
True confession. This school year, my daughter has been eating single served guacamoles for lunch and had been loving them! Since they are far cheaper at Costco than at the grocery store, I asked my friend who was headed there to pick up a pack and a bag of avocados. What happened? 2 lunches packed…2 guacamoles came home in the lunch box. Apparently, in a week’s time, her tastes had changed. And, the avocados–we ate most of them, but the last 2 we opened were past their prime and had bruised, so we tossed them. Yep…..never going back.
So, that’s our story and I’m sticking to it. What about you? I’d love to hear how Costco or any warehouse club is making your life easier. I do know that for some families and their situations, it is a game changer. Or, if you’re middle of the road about it, maybe this will have you reconsidering how it’s working for you. I’d LOVE to hear your perspective in the comments.
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