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Grocery Shopping - December (Costco, QFC)

Groceries from QFC

We went grocery shopping this week! I am excited to be getting back into grocery shopping every 2 weeks (instead of every 7-10 days), and I must say... I was the only one at our house who complained as the variety got slim last week! :O I don't usually complain, but caught myself wishing aloud that we could go shopping as soon as the 2 weeks was up, because I was tired of not having whatever I wanted on hand!

But then I stopped and realized how blessed I am that my family was happy to eat whatever I made and that there had been no complaints from anyone, about any of the meals, and we were still eating lots of good food. :)

Anyway, Joshua went to the stores with my detailed list and did a great job of sticking to the list (and pushing a very heavy cart at Costco!). Here is what we got, which will allow us to wait at least another two weeks before going shopping again!

At QFC, a few sale items and some bananas (pictured above). There are 3 whole chickens in the bag for $0.88/lb, and the butter was $2/lb. I thought the butter was a good price, so we got 12 packages, but turns out it was only $0.05/lb. cheaper than butter at Costco, anyway. The chickens, however, were $0.11/lb. cheaper than Costco's chickens, so we saved a little on those. :)

QFC total: $50.99

Groceries from Costco

Most of our groceries are from Costco, as you can see. ;) We spent over $250 there.

Groceries from Costco

Bananas (3#)  $1.39
String cheese (60oz.) $10.55
Romaine lettuce (6ct.) $3.49
Shredded cheddar jack cheese (5#) $12.99
Broccoli florets, fresh (3#) $4.29
Applesauce (181oz.) $7.85
Shredded mozzarella cheese (10#) $21.98
Pears (6#) $3.99
Rolled oats (20#) $14.78
Whole milk (8 gal.) $20.24
Toilet paper $17.99
Instant oatmeal (104ct.) $13.98
Yellow onions (10#) $2.89
Canned pineapple (3kg.) $4.65
Yukon Gold potatoes (15#) $8.49
Oranges (13#) $8.99
Greek yogurt (2qt.) $6.99
Organic carrots (10#) $5.99
Frozen fruit blend (5#) $8.79
Frozen strawberries (6#) $8.99
Frozen berry blend (5#) $10.59
Organic frozen green beans (15#) $17.97
Organic frozen peas (10#) $11.78
Xlg eggs (10 dozen) $15.78
Dried cherries (20oz.) $6.99
Organic baby spinach (1#) $3.89

Costco total: $257.63

Groceries from Costco

We'll be using meat from our freezer (fish and chicken). A few of these items are especially for Joshua (easy to chew) -- like the applesauce and instant oatmeal.

We'll eat the fresh fruit this week (oranges, bananas, kiwi, pears) and the frozen fruit (hopefully not all of it, of course!) next week. :) Same with the veggies -- fresh broccoli, spinach, and lettuce this week; frozen veggies and carrots next week. :)

Here is what our fridge looked like after QFC but before Costco:

Empty-ish fridge

And after:

Full fridge

And I actually still had some room in the fridge :O I did put some of the cheese in the freezer. :)

And if you feel like weighing in... how do the prices at Costco compare to what you've been paying? :) I spent about 20 minutes making out my menu plan and list for Costco, and Joshua was gone 90 minutes total, shopping (he only took 1 child along). ;)

Comments

Costco Prices

I think that the money I save on butter alone pays for my Costco membership! I went to just pick up a package at the grocery store in between Costco trips and about died at the prices. I just did without! Our creamer for our coffee is also much cheaper at Costco.

Camille
www.growingupgabel.com

Tammy's picture

Butter at Costco

LOL! :)

When I was complaining to Joshua, he said "You know, QFC is right around the corner, just get a dozen eggs and whatever else you need so we can wait longer until going to Costco" and I laughed and said "I would probably just rather do without than pay regular price at QFC for anything!" ;)

Prices

Your Costco prices are cheaper than I just paid yesterday in PA.The carrots were 6.99 and the lettuce was 3.99 (possibly higher) and the butter was over $2 a pound.I always notice that you pay less.although I would think Seattle would be more expensive.We also have Amish and Mennonite stores near here which are nice to shop at-although the lanterns don't always make it so easy to read labels on rainy days.

Go YOU!

Go you! No diapers. ;) Im always proud of myself when I dont buy those big boxes of diapers. :D Im hoping our bill will stay under $300 this week.. THAT would be awesome! I try to go to Sams on week 2 and this month will try our regular grocery on week 4. :) We'll see.

Tammy's picture

Diapers at Costco

Haha! I am glad that I don't buy diapers, but sometimes I wish I *could* bring myself to do so. I've saved a few of the $5-off coupons for diapers at Costco, thinking "I'll get a box to use for Moshe when the new baby's born" and then when we go down the aisle I can't bring myself to put them in the cart. LOL! I have used almost exclusively cloth diapers for so long I am just not used to paying for diapers (and our water and electric bills are still reasonable too). :)

No costco

No Costco near by I wish, we have bjs and sams club but for the same broccoli it was around $6. I'm hoping we get both a Costco and a trader joes sometime soon. I love bjs since they have great coupons and allow you to stack bjs with mfc which make for some great deals. But they don't carry many organics like Costco seems too!

Tammy's picture

Coupons and organics at Costco

I wish I could stack coupons at Costco! :)

I think Costco's organic selection varies by location... ours has a lot of organics! :)

real food

I love your grocery lists because you always buy real food. As far as the prices, most of them look comparable to grocery store sale prices here (northern California) and definitely better than the regular prices. I think our food budgets are pretty similar, and we are also a household of 6+ (3 adults, kids ages 5, 2, and 2, plus a baby due this spring). I generally watch the sales at 2 grocery stores and fill in with veggies from our garden.
It seems like shopping at Costco is probably better for meal-planning purposes because the prices are more consistent. I usually end up planning menus for the week after I get back from the stores because I'm never sure whether they'll have the sale items in stock.
Do you plan both weeks before going shopping or just one week and then see what's left for the second week?

Tammy's picture

Menu planning with bi-weekly grocery shopping

I usually just plan one week's menu at a time, so this week I planned my menu and added a few "extras" to the shopping list so I could try some new things. Next week, I'll plan the menu based on what I've got on hand. :)

Prices

Some of your prices are cheaper and some of them are higher than mine! I have actually almost completely stopped shopping at Costco, except for a couple things as I can't spend that much on groceries. I get discount milk though often for under $2 a gallon and if I don't get it for that, we go without. Eggs...no more than 1.29 a dozen, sometimes less.
Cheese though seems to be cheaper there...at Costco 5 lbs of Mozzarella is like $12 and cheddar is more like $15 for grated. I did pay $12.99 for 5 lbs there ungrated.

prices

Your Costco is much cheaper than ours here in FL. I can not believe the milk prices!!! Our costco has whole milk for about $3.60.

Katie
www.glutenfreefoodstorage.net

Grocery shopping - December (Costco, QFC)

Wow! Your food prices are sure lower there than they are here (Vancouver Island, BC, Canada). I can't provide comparitive prices for some of the items on your list because I don't shop for them but I've pasted your list below, with prices as seen in our big box grocers this week. You may find it interesting, especially in view of our $100 to $150/month grocery budget for two people.

3 whole chickens in the bag...Your store: $0.88/lb Our store: $2.29/lb
Butter...Your store $2/lb. Our store: $3.47/lb
Bananas...Your store (3#) $1.39 Our store: $0.66/lb
Romaine lettuce...Your store (6ct.) $3.49 Our store: $1.49 each
Shredded cheddar jack cheese: Your store: (5#) $12.99 Our store: 2.2 lbs (1 kg) $13.99
Broccoli florets, fresh...Your store (3#) $4.29 Our store $1.69/lb
Shredded mozzarella cheese...Your store: (10#) $21.98, Our store: 2.2 lbs (1 kg) $13.99
Pears...Your store: (6#) $3.99, Our store: $0.99/lb
Rolled oats...Your store: (20#) $14.78, Our store: 11 lbs (5 kg) $8.65
Whole milk ...Your store: (8 gal.) $20.24, Our store: 2 litres (2.24 quarts)/$3.78
Toilet paper...Your store: $17.99, Our store, 36 rolls (Scott tissue double ply)/$22.99
Yellow onions...Your store: (10#) $2.89, Our store: 5 lbs/$3.69
Yukon Gold potatoes...Your store: (15#) $8.49, Our store: $10 lbs/6.99
Oranges...Your store: (13#) $8.99, Our store: 3 lbs/$5.99
Greek yogurt...Your store: (2qt.) $6.99, Our store: 500 ml (16.9 oz) $4.69
Organic carrots...Your store: (10#) $5.99, Our store: $1.49/lb
Organic frozen green beans...Your store: (15#) $17.97, not available at our store but Green Giant are $6.49 for 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Organic frozen peas...Your store (10#) $11.78, not available at our store but Green Giant are $5.29 for 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Xlg eggs...Your store: (10 dozen) $15.78, Our store: $2.32/dozen for the first two dozen, $3.48/dozen for every dozen after that.
Organic baby spinach...Your store: (1#) $3.89, Our store: 12 oz/ $4.29

Not that I'm complaining, just remarking. You can understand the challenge we're facing managing on our budget with these prices.

Tammy's picture

Wow! Are those regular

Wow! Are those regular prices, or sale prices?! Those prices look similar to the regular prices at QFC here...

I really appreciate Costco's prices for our food -- I would probably spend a lot more time each week getting 2-3 sale items each at several stores to keep our food budget what it is with Costco... and we're pretty spoiled by the quality of things from Costco (like the frozen vegetables... they're so good!).

wow! are those regular prices?

Those are the best prices based on local flyers and in-store sales in the area. We have no Costco here in town but we do have WalMart and Superstore. If I want to go to Costco, I have to drive about 40 kms (25 miles) and, with gas costing what it does, it doesn't make sense for us to do that unless we have a very large order. With a grocery budget of only $100 to $150/month, it's rare that we have the money to do a really big shop.

Milk Jugs

Reuben and I think your milk jugs might be upside-down...lol. When we first looked at them, we were like "Those are funny looking milk jugs". Anyway, just a funny thought about that.

Tammy's picture

Costco milk jugs

Haha! They are not upside down... they're rectangular. I love them, because I can put them in the fridge and then stack food on top of them because they're flat on top! :D

Our Costco shopping....

Our costco shopping is nearly identical. We live near the Washington border and pay about the same it looks like.
My monthly shopping involves the butcher (ground beef, chicken, lamb, beef bacon)
Winco for canned goods/generic stuff like instant oatmeal, fish sticks and so on
Costco for pretty much every thing else - nearly identical to your list. Also, all my dairy I buy at costco.

I put some pinto beans in water for Sabbath dinner tomorrow night :)

Prices in Canada

Wow! Your prices are a lot lower than ours are here on Vancouver Island. Even shopping at Costco, my order would've come to almost 50% more, with the dairy costing twice to four times what you paid.

Cost of the butter

Tammy,

Could you clarify about the cost of the butter you bought? Were they $2 per lb. or 5 cents per lb.? The lowest price I've seen (at least where I shop) is about $3.50 per lb. when on sale in Vancouver, Canada. I rarely buy butter and when i do it's very precious to me. I use hard margarine (when on sale it's $3. for 3 lb. box) for baking, since any differences in taste doesn't bother me. Unless I'm using them for toast I probably wouldn't know the difference.

Tammy's picture

The butter was $2 per pound.

The butter was $2 per pound. (Trust me, I would have filled my freezer with it if it were $0.05 a pound!) What I meant was that butter is $2.05 a pound at Costco... so I thought I would save a lot but it ended up being $0.60 savings on $24.00 of butter. Not that saving $0.60 isn't saving a little -- but it wouldn't have been worth a special trip. :)

Costco once a month shopping.

I love this post as I just bought a Costco membership last week. I live 75 miles from Costco and am trying to only shop once a month so these posts help me very much. Thanks!

prices

I think your milk prices are fantastic. I live in Iowa and you are about .75 cheaper per gallon than my best price. We are getting a Costco in a town just south of me. I might drive the 20 mins to get better prices on milk and some of the produce. Your cheese price was a bit higher than what I can get it.

I have been doing the two week grocery shopping too. Wondering do you have a meal plan for those two weeks? You must not publish those? It would be interesting to see.

I love your website. I check it everyday to see if you updated.

Linda

Tammy's picture

Cheese prices and menu plan

Thanks, Linda! :)

What are your cheese prices like in Iowa? Cheese here doesn't seem to go on sale for $2 a pound... so I consider the Costco cheese prices to be a great deal! :) I know in Ohio, I got cheese on sale for $2/lb. and froze enough to last until the next sale... so I never paid more than that. But, that was 3-4 years ago...

I have my menu plan for this week posted here. I'll make up next week's menu plan based on what I see in the fridge/freezer and what I feel like eating that week. :) I tend to buy mostly "staples" so I can use them to make a variety of things... I guess that's the beauty of cooking from scratch! :)

no costco here

we dont have a costco here, but we do have a Sam's club. I have a few things I buy there(string cheese, grapes, bananas, cheddar cheese, trash bags, pet food, 3 lb bags of salad, seasoning salt, olive oil, and chips) that are cheaper than at any of the grocery stores around here. Locally, there's been a lot of sales on butter for 1.88/lb(versus the over $3 that it was) so Ive been stocking up on it like crazy!

Costco

Our prices here in Colorado look just about the same as yours, although I do think that your produce prices look a bit higher. I will be going sometime this week and will take note.
One thing that I haven't seen at my Costco however is the flat-top milk boxes...why aren't they all made that way; it seems so much more practical!!!
Starting this Monday I will begin menu planning/shopping for two week periods of time. I have been a menu planner for a long time but two weeks always seemed daunting to me for some reason. Wish me luck, looks like you are doing great with yours!

Tammy's picture

Flat-top milk jugs

I have a local friend who says her children beg her not to buy milk at Costco because they have trouble with the milk jugs dribbling when you pour from them... and I will say, we do get the occasional jug (probably 1/8 or so) that tends to be messy like that... so not everyone loves them like I do. ;)

I hope your 2-week plan goes well! :)

Costco

I split my shopping between Costco and king soopers. Between the two i can usually find affordable prices.

Wow

I am shocked at what grocery prices cost around the country! I pay on average $1.80 for a gallon of milk, I shop almost excluxively at Wal-mart since they add match. If one of the 4 stores has milk for $1.80, I get it for that price. I would say that I spend about $70 a week on groceries and then $200 at costco once a month.
But my costco trip also includes dog food and laundry detergent.
I meal plan and stick to it, only changing the items on the day of the week. I do not buy my meats at costco, It is cheaper at the grocery store.

I am so blessed to live in this market!

I live in Phoenix, AZ area and this is the most competitive grocery market in the country. Our milk prices run $1.57/gallon almost all the time (at one store or another). I live very close (1-3 miles) to 9 different grocery stores, so it is easy to just shop door busters and get great prices! Except for the cheese, I never pay as much as your Costco prices. Cheese usually is on sale for about $2.99/lb. We have only about $200/month in our budget for groceries (family of 4 with 2 teenagers - one a wrestler and football player:-) and we wouldn't make it anywhere else in the country, so God has us just where we need to be for now. I can feed my family very well for that amount and am SO very thankful to live here when I read about the grocery prices around the rest of the country!

Rolled oats I buy in bulk for $0.50/lb., I never pay more than $0.99/dozen for eggs, 10#s potatoes for $1.79, for a few examples. We also have several Mexican food chains and they really keep the produce competitive around here.

Milk Storage

Hey Tammy! I'm so inspired by your once every 2 week shopping trip...that's actually our goal for the new year, since we have a slight problem with making grocery trips whenever the mood strikes : ) I have a question though. How do you store all of that milk that you buy at once? Do you have a separate fridge for storage? I'm confident that we can work our way up to only shopping once every two weeks, but for milk and eggs I don't know.

Tammy's picture

Storing milk and eggs for bi-weekly grocery shopping

I can fit 2 weeks' milk in our fridge (6-8 gallons), as 6 gallons will fit on one of the shelves, and I put any others on another shelf OR in the freezer. We have a small chest freezer, which is how I have room for meat, veggies, fruit, cheese AND milk in the freezer. ;) If I plan well (and have used up leftovers, etc. before we went shopping) I can fit everything in the fridge okay. We just have 1 fridge, but it's definitely bigger than the one from our apartment (and possibly bigger than the fridge in our rental house in Ohio), so that helps. And the shelves are adjustable so I can customize it to fit milk, eggs. etc. in larger quantities.

My milk from Costco usually has about 2.5 weeks until it expires when I buy it, so it's fine to get enough for 2 weeks... if I want to wait longer than 2 weeks, I put a gallon or two in the freezer to extend the "expiration date".

Eggs will keep longer than 2 weeks -- my problem is that I buy eggs in 5-dozen packages at Costco, and each package lasts about a week... so if I wanted to wait any longer than 2 weeks, I'd need to get another package (15 dozen total) and I'm not sure about fitting THAT many in the fridge. So, I kind of need to plan well with the eggs... a few extra projects like egg nog, crepes, or even pancakes can easily diminish our egg supply! ;)

Anyway -- having adjustable shelves in the fridge (and figuring out how to efficiently fit everything in) and then having extra freezer space is how I am able to go longer between shopping. :) In our apartment (small fridge and no extra freezer space!) we couldn't usually go longer than 10 days because I couldn't fit enough frozen veggies, milk, eggs, etc. in the fridge/freezer. :)

your grocery trip

First off, I wish to thank you Tammy for the time and effort you put into your blog. I really enjoy reading it and trying your recipes. As for the storage of milk - does it taste the same after being frozen? We are considering buying a milk cow - in a year or so - and are trying to learn as much as we can first. So, if we have too much milk, I assume we can freeze it and it should still taste fresh - any thoughts? As for your eggs - I just read on another blog that you can freeze eggs! Just crack about 4 of them into a container and stir well. When you take them out to thaw, just measure 1/4 cup for each egg you need to use. As for food prices - do you have an Aldi nearby? We don't have a Costco close, but Aldi has great prices - $2/lb butter, $0.33/lb sweet potatoes, $0.25/lb white potatoes, $0.44/lb bananas - I usually buy most of my produce and dairy there because they are cheaper than our Super Walmart or local grocery. Sorry for the long message! Just had alot to say! Hope you and your family have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Tammy's picture

Freezing milk

I don't drink plain milk, but we do use it for cereal, kefir, etc. and I think it tastes the same after being frozen. :) This is with pasteurized and homogenized milk from the grocery store, though. I know growing up, I could tell when we were drinking goat's milk that had been frozen vs. fresh... it had a slightly different texture or something. :)

That's a good idea about cracking the eggs to freeze them! :)

We don't have Aldi's here, but we shopped there a lot when we lived near one in Ohio! :)

Happy new year to you, too! :)

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