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How to Maximize Your Shopping Value at Costco

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by GiGi GMV (subscribe)
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Published March 27th 2014
Bulk Buy Deal or No Deal?
We were contemplating whether the Costco membership was worth it and if you really do save money there ...

All my friends raved about their positive shopping experiences at Costco. I was unsure about shopping there, mainly because of the following:

1. Buying in bulk, which will take up valuable storage spaces.

Living space in Sydney is getting smaller and smaller. Real estate prices are soaring. For me, it does not make any sense to stock up 48 rolls of toilet paper, 36 bread rolls, gigantic cereal boxes and mutli-packs in my limited cupboard spaces where I pay a premium rent for the place.

2. Members only restriction policy.

I was not keen with Costco's members only policy. To impose exclusivity on grocery shopping is just so Ausun-tralian and the unilateral data-collection on shoppers' buying habits and patterns is another concern.

3. Inconvenient store locations.

Currently, there are only 2 Costco stores in Sydney. The main one is located at Auburn and another one located at Liverpool. It may be convenient for families who live close-by, but for us, it is a fair hike to get our weekly groceries and practically, how often would we visit?

On an overcast weekend, we decided to have a Costco shopping experience. Luckily, we were guided by our experienced Costco frequent shoppers/friends and they shared their value-maximisation strategies to shop effectively at Costco with us.

Membership cards cost $60 and renewable annually. They will put a photo on them for identification purposes.

Members are allowed to take up to 2 guests into the store and only member can purchase items. I guess our friends are footing our grocery bill for today. That would be a total saving and loss of 2 good friends! Visitors like us will need to do the split bill outside.

The glass counters for high-end luxury bags like Bvlgari, Prada, Versace ...etc

Somehow buying top end designer bags still with a 4 figures price tag at a warehouse mart is slightly strange.

Oh wow, Costco is selling diamond rings too! That is a big bling stone. Look at the price tag. Is that a bargain? I will let you work that one out.

You will be wowed by the sizes of the items. Take these giant cupcakes for example, they looked so stunning delicious and large too. The price is so reasonable that I was tempted to get a packet. But unless I am having a party, I don't think we can finish all the cupcakes between us.

When we reached the electronic aisle with gigantic TVs, cameras and various electronic gadgets, the boys flick out their smartphones immediately and start comparing prices.

Tip 1: When buying big ticket-items. Do your homework first. If Costco's price is cheaper, you can always price-match at your preferred electronic store. Or vice-versa.

Tip 2: Not everything in Costco is cheaper than what you can find on discount or specials in Coles, Woolies or your local supermarkets.

Unless you are familiar with the product itself, I would be hesitant to buy bulk of something I've never tried it before. Don't worry, Costco will help you to overcome your fear.

Tip 3: Come on Saturday mornings. Auburn Costco will transform into a tasting mart! There are plenty of free tasting stands and promotion deals that will have crowds hovering all over.

Who can resist a freebie or two? Whilst we were browsing from aisle to aisle, we also tasted a wide range of sample offerings: Korean Beef Bulgogi, Sandwich wraps, pastries, cakes, dips, cured meats, fish fingers...and when we got thirsty, what do you know? They offer OJ and drink tastings too. This is better than a tasting fair.

Try everything and chances you may like it and but a bulk quantity.

This is a smart selling strategy to make people do a lot of impulse purchases.

The size and quantities are larger than normal; it does take some mathematical calculation to work out unit price and to see if you are getting a good deal.

People come to Costco to find bargain buys, but if they know how to read the pricing codes, shoppers can even save more! One of my friends used to work at Costco and he revealed Costco's pricing policy.

Tip 4: Costco do not like to do price slash-down advertising like Coles. But keep an eye out for Instant Rebate specials.

Tip 5: Price-tag with 99c ending: These are your regular priced merchandise. They usually work out about the same price as the regular supermarket. So these are not their special value sales.

What my friends look for are price tags with 59c ending. These are really the special marked-down buys.

Tip 6: My friend revealed anything that is lower than the 79c ending is a good buy.

So this morning, we played the 'seek and you shall find' game at Costco. Our best find is this $16.29 for 2.2 kg banana bread!

Just because you are paying for a lower price, you don't need to worry about the expiry dates and the quality (obviously I asked). The merchandise is equally good and all backed by Costco's satisfaction guarantee.

Tip 7: Always keep your receipts for exchange or warranty purposes.

After you add in the 'game' components, free tastings and bargain find, Costco is not a bad shopping venue. Plus my friends paid for our groceries, too.

The total grocery bill amounts to $350.00 this morning....
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Why? Bulk- buy discounts
When: 10am-8:30pm
Phone: (02) 8756 4600
Where: 17 Parramatta Road Homebush West
Cost: $$
Your Comment
If you go with a friend to Costco, you can pay for your groceries separately. Costco prefers this in case there is an item to be returend,
by erinb (score: 0|3) 2123 days ago
How'd you find out about the "ending in .99" rule??
by Lilian (score: 0|2) 2118 days ago
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