Our Monthly Big Shop, Part 1 (Costco)

I took pictures yesterday of what we bought at Costco – I thought you might find it interesting to see what a monthly Big Shop looks like, and what we’re paying for food, toiletries and some other items here.

We bought a little bit more than usual this month because a) WenYu will be at home for another month; and b) YaYu goes back to school in less than three weeks and we had to buy things for that change in our meal planning. We also seemed to have run out of more than a few things during the last month, and while they upped our bill this month we won’t have to buy them again for several months or even a year.

Our monthly food budget is typically $500, but with WenYu home we’ve upped that to $600. We stuck to our list yesterday, and spent $538.46, which leaves us only $61.54 for Round 2 on Friday, when I’ll finish up at Walmart, Big Save, and Cost U Less. It will be a challenge, but I’ll stick to our list like glue and hope for the best.

Here goes:

Frozen:

  • 3 bags of frozen organic dark sweet cherries (4 lbs each): $32.07 (probably more than we need for the month, but I don’t want to run out)
  • 1 bag frozen organic blueberries (3 lbs): $11.39
  • 1 bag LingLing frozen potstickers: $10.49 (breakfast for YaYu; the girls also like them in their ramen bowls)
  • 1 box grass-fed beef patties: $15.89 (I cannot make these myself for less)
  • 1 gallon vanilla ice cream: $7.59

Refrigerated/deli:

  • 50-oz organic fresh sauerkraut: $8.49 (to go with the Polish sausages)
  • 3-lbs Fage Greek yogurt: $6.89
  • 8 Manapua: $12.49 (Chinese steamed barbecue pork buns – one of WenYu’s favorite things to have for breakfast)
  • Organic chicken flautas 2-pack: $12.49 (for YaYu’s lunches and sometimes breakfast)
  • 13.4-oz brie cheese: $4.99
  • Aidell’s teriyaki chicken meatballs with pineapple 2-pack: $13.69
  • 8 nitrite-free beef Polish sausages: $9.89 (two meals for us)
  • Uncured (nitrite-free) smoked ham twin-pack (4 lbs): $11.99
  • Not shown: 2 dozen organic eggs: $6.99 (they went right into the refrigerator)

Bakery:

  • 2 loaves country French bread: $5.99
  • 1 package (10) torta rolls: $6.99
  • 8 danish pastries (4 cherry, 4 cream cheese): $7.99 (I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the danish at Costco, but they are HUGE, and a bargain at $1 each)Meat/fish:
  • 1 big roast chicken: $4.99 (enough chicken for at least four meals)
  • 7-lbs ground pork: $17.53 (I was so excited to see this yesterday – first time ever at Costco! This much will last us three or four months)
  • 6-lbs pork loin chops: $17.34 (I broke this down into four packages, and the chops are huge)
  • 1.5-lbs of wild-caught Hawaiian mongchong: $16.67 (fish is our big splurge here, but this will be enough for three meals for us)

Grocery (Part 1):

  • Organic spaghetti 8-pack: $9.99
  • Organic chicken stock 6-pack: $11.99
  • 2 Melon Mix mixed nuts: $27.38 ( my snack every day – I have 1/4 cup)
  • Case of Sapporo Ichiban Japanese-style ramen (24 packages): $12.99 (the girls’ favorite brand)
  • Graham crackers (4-box pack): $7.99 (Brett’s favorite snack)
  • 3-lbs pistachios: $15.79 (more nuts for snacks)

Grocery (Part 2):

  • 12-pack organic macaroni & cheese: $12.59 (half for YaYu’s lunches, and half will go back to college with WenYu)
  • 12-pack organic vanilla soy milk (this will last us close to four months)
  • Not shown: 4-pack of Choco Pie (48 total): $8.99 (favorite lunchtime snack, and WenYu will take one of the four boxes of 12 back to college with her)

Produce:

  • Bag of 6 mixed peppers (2 each red, orange & yellow): $7.79
  • 2 organic cabbage: $3.99 (Hawaii grown)
  • 4-pack of local (!) zucchini: $7.99 (better price than the farmers’ market, and they are huge and straight, perfect for making zoodles!)
  • 2.5-lbs celery sticks: $4.99
  • 14-pack organic Gala apples: $11.49
  • 11-pack nectarines: $12.99
  • 1 watermelon: $9.99 (it’s in the upper right corner, and it’s HUGE!)

Non-food:

  • Costco bar soap (15 bars): $10.49
  • 6-pack dental floss: $12.99
  • Chewable vitamins: $9.49 (the girls have these every day)
  • Maxi pads (90-count): $11.49
  • 72 AA-batteries: $19.99
  • Not shown: 1.75 liter bottle of Bacardi light rum: $18.99 (Wait- mojitos aren’t food? Still, this bottle will last us for nearly a year)
  • Not shown: case of Diet Coke (24 cans): $9.49 + $1.44 deposit (my vice – I have one a day)

The only thing Costco did not have that was on our list was organic peanut butter, but I will get two jars of something at Big Save or Cost U Less on Friday. Costco pretty much beats everyone else in town’s prices for the items we bought, but they don’t carry everything which is why we will go to the three other stores. We will not have to go back to Costco for a month now except (hopefully) once for some more fruit, which sadly will most likely take us over our monthly budget. As you might notice, many of the items are organic, or nitrate-free, or locally grown – they cost more, but it’s what and how we like to eat. All the plastic packaging from Costco can and will be recycled.

I’ll post Part 2 next Thursday!

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11 thoughts on “Our Monthly Big Shop, Part 1 (Costco)

  1. Emilee says:

    I love that sauerkraut! I’ll have to look at my Costco to see if they carry that brand. It’s rather expensive when you buy it in a small jar at the grocery store.

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    • Laura says:

      The person in front of us at checkout last month had it, and we said “next month!” We love sauerkraut and are looking forward to it with our sausages.

      BTW, the Polish sausages we bought turned out to be jalapeño and cheddar bratwurst! I was going to take them back, but everyone else voted to keep them, and thought they’d be good with the sauerkraut.

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  2. JRE says:

    This may sound weird but I hear you talking about rooster noises, can you have chickens at your rental? I have 4, they are easy, sweet, and provide wonderful eggs. I got an inexpensive coop kit for Christmas three years ago and it works out well. My only trouble is Minnesota winters which you would not have. Great supply of organic eggs!

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    • JJ says:

      I hope Laura doesn’t mind if I respond to this, but feral roosters (and chickens) are literally everywhere on Kauai, so that’s what Laura is referring to when she mentions the noises.

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    • Laura says:

      JJ is right – the feral chickens/roosters here can cause BIG problems here if you’re raising domestic chickens for eggs. People do it, but it requires lots of extra effort and security – you can’t just set up a coop and let your chickens roam the yard.

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  3. Isabella says:

    Thanks for sharing! Our Costco is about 1/2 mile from of house. Like you, I can’t find all that I need there and also go to a Trader Joe and a Cub Food (a supermarket chain here in Minneapolis.) What do you do with all your celery? I find that celery goes to waste for us here. I may buy it for a recipe and then the rest goes bad. We don’t munch on it much raw. Can it be frozen? I will have to check out the Costco ham next time. Pretty good price!

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    • Laura says:

      I use the celery in recipes, but Brett likes it raw with peanut butter, so it eventually all gets eaten.

      The ham is really good!! And I would just about die to have a Trader Joe’s here.

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  4. quesoit1 says:

    This is really interesting! We have a Costco membership but don’t often shop for food there — since there are just two of us we tend not to buy in quantity. But we could really make use of those frozen organic cherries and blueberries.

    It’s great that Costco carries local items. I wish ours sold manapua and other good stuff from Hawaii!

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    • Laura says:

      We will probably still buy from Costco after the girls are gone, but only things we can break down into smaller servings and freeze, things like chicken, or the pork chops. Brett and I can easily eat the apples and other fruit in a month (that watermelon would be too much though). We’re so grateful they’re here on the island – our food bill would be much higher if they weren’t.

      The manapua are good! They used to sell the baked version as well, but we haven’t seen them lately. The only Hawaii item that’s been bad was the laulau – we thought it was nasty. But, they keep carrying it, so someone must like it.

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      • JJ says:

        I live alone and shop at Costco and don’t find it wasteful, so you and Brett will be fine once the girls are gone, especially since you are such smart shoppers. I sometimes share what I buy with friends or relatives, especially if it’s fresh food that will go bad before I can finish it like fruit and bread, but frozen food is great because you can just keep it in the freezer and use it whenever you need it. I also buy things like paper towels and detergent that take me months to use which means fewer trips to other stores!

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      • Laura says:

        I’m pretty sure Brett and I will always be shopping at Costco. Once you figure out a good system for how to store and use bulk amounts, you can really save there, especially on items you always use.

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