One way we save money is by warehouse shopping. We’re Costco members just because it’s close to us. I would assume you can get just as good prices at Sam’s and BJ’s. My parents shopped at Sam’s growing up, and Sam’s and Costco seem like the same thing to me. I’ve never been to BJ’s, but since I have a Costco membership (and BJ’s parking lot is horrible), I see no reason to try. I’m operating on the assumption that it works much like Sam’s and Costco.
Pretty much anything that is shelf stable or can be frozen we buy at Costco (and a few other things too). We rarely buy fresh veggies/fruits there just because we can’t finish them before they go bad. We will buy them if we’re entertaining or making up a big batch of something for the freezer though. We don’t drink bottled water (I drink tap water and Dad has an RO filter system), and we don’t drink sodas, so we generally aren’t buying those either.
The meat at Costco is significantly better than at our local grocery stores. We can even occasionally buy prime quality meat (try to find that at your local store). I’ve done the math on our meat (at least), and we end up paying a little bit more for meat at Costco over a sale at the grocery store. (ex: chicken breasts $1.99/lb on sale vs $2.49/lb at Costco) However, the quality isn’t very comparable, and I can buy meat whenever I want – it doesn’t have to be on sale, and on average, I would guess that we’d make out ahead overall.
One disadvantage to Costco is that we end up stopping at two places – and it’s practically guaranteed that I’ve got perishables in the car after a Costco trip – so we have to make two outings. It’s really not that bad as our grocery of choice is in the totally opposite direction of Costco, and we’d have to drive past our neighborhood anyway.
We do have an upright freezer to store things in – as well as quite a bit of storage space in our basement in which to keep all of the extra things we get at Costco. We used to just wrap the meat in freezer bags and put in the freezer “plain”, but we’re trying out putting the marinade in the bag with the meat so that we don’t have to remember to thaw the meat, then marinate for 24 hours. So far, it’s working, but I’ll save a separate post for that later.
Generally, we spend about $400/every other month on meat at Costco (about 50-70lbs of various meats). I’m a *huge* meat eater, so we have about 4oz of meat every night, and that goes quickly. The good thing is that we almost never have an empty freezer, and there’s always *something* to cook.