I used to joke with other moms about how hard it was to make a trip to big box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco for less than $200. In addition to big bulky items that I had to find places for in our home, one trip to Costco or Sam’s Club would ruin my grocery budget each month.
In order to attempt to stick to a grocery budget, I tested avoiding big box stores altogether for a couple of months, and I was able to stay in budget. The problem was buying some items in bulk could save us money, but I had to figure out how to remain in budget.
I am a loyal customer of Walmart grocery pickup so I decided to use their ordering system to price compare to see what I was saving at the big box stores and what I needed to purchase in non-bulk quantities. To do this, I placed all of my grocery list items in my grocery pick up app and went shopping at Costco.
While I was shopping, I looked at my list and priced compared with the similar items at Costco. Because Costco typically offers their items in larger quantities, I had to look at the price per unit to accurately compare. On some items I saved as much as $5 per item at Costco, but others would cost me more money than buying them in a normal grocery store. Once I determined what items I was purchasing from Costco, I deleted them from my grocery list on the Walmart pickup app. In the end, I had about $40 left of items on my Walmart grocery list that qualified for a free pickup. I submitted my order to Walmart for a later pickup and left Costco for approximately $100. My budget was not hindered but helped with the savings.
To save a big box store:
Price compare: Know your prices. Just because you are buying in bulk, it does not mean you are saving money on every item. Kroger pickup, Instacart, and Walmart grocery apps can make price comparing easy and on the spot.
Shop with a list: Take a list! Do not shop without a list! Between all the food sampling and gadgets on display, there are multiple distractions that make it easy to buy things not on a list. A budget is easily blown when a list is not followed.
Don’t buy in bulk just because it is a good price: It may be tempting to grab everything on your list in order to avoid another shopping trip, but buying all things in bulk is not always wise especially if it is fresh meat or produce that cannot be saved. Throwing away uneaten food is like throwing away your hard earned money.
Writer Bio: Summer Bolte
I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.