Save at big-box stores - MoneySense

Save at big-box stores

The savings aren’t automatic so keep your ‘smart-shopper’ hat on


I love shopping at big box stores but I don’t assume the prices are all going to be better. I just love the ones that are better because they can be SO much better.

Take tea for example. Before I became a teaophile, I used to buy boxes of tea bags. At Costco I could buy 200 tea bags for what I paid for 100 at a local grocery store. And I’m still using the thick, enormous, scrumptiously soft bath sheets that I bought from Costco almost seven years ago for $14.99 each.

But not everything is a good deal. Sometimes I buy fresh veggies, but only when I find stuff not carried at my local grocers. Not only are the prices higher, but the size of the packaging means it would be too much for my wee family.

Frozen veggies are another story all together. The Costco house brand beats No Name and Club Pack options on price and on quality. Remember, you not only have to look at the unit price to make sure you’re getting a deal (you do look at the unit prices don’t you?), you also have to compare the quality of what you’re getting.

So how do you make sure you’re saving money?

1. Share a membership with friends or family. Get three or four people in on the deal. You can split trips to the store and you’ll need far less room to store the haul when you’ve divvied up the 30 packages of toilet paper.

2. Always shop with a list. The temptation to overspend is huge because sometimes the deals are phenomenal. But buying enough pickles to feed an army makes no sense if you’re only going to eat half the jar before it goes bad. That being said…

3. Allocate some money to “the deal of the day.” This will let you take advantage of a special purchase that may not be on your list but that you’ll actually be able to use. Now you’re not blowing your shopping budget.