Grocery Shopping, Week 4 (Costco & QFC)

I've had fun typing up my grocery shopping trips from the past few weeks. It has actually helped me be much more aware of what we're buying/eating. :D

I hope some of you find these posts interesting, because I plan to continue sharing our grocery trips for at least a few more weeks! :)

This week's groceries were from Costco and QFC. I spent a lot at Costco, but I got a lot of food, too... but I always say that after going to Costco! :P

Here is what we got at Costco:

Organic red delicious apples (10#)     $6.29
Oranges (13#)                   $9.49
Fresh broccoli florets (3#)      $3.99
Bananas (3#)                  $1.32  x2
Tillamook shredded cheddar (5#)     $10.99
Shredded mozzarella (5#)         $10.29
Tilla-Moo cheese snacks (2#7oz)     $9.99
Cream cheese (3#)               $5.35
Darigold sour cream (3#)       $3.79
Whole chickens (10#)          $9.94
C&F Pinto beans (25#)          $12.99
Bottled water (35ct.)        $3.59
Dry yeast (2#)                 $3.89
Organic chicken base (1#)       $6.89
Mission tortillas (5#14oz)       $4.99
Organic frozen peas (5#)        $5.35
Canola oil (5qt.)                  $7.99
Dishwasher liquid (250oz.)        $8.99

Total: $128.29

However, I returned a half-used bag of Frigo Sting Cheese because it wasn't good and got $9.35 refunded to me. I mentally used that money toward the Tillamook cheddar cheese snacks (which aren't something we regularly eat since they're pricier... but they are SO yummy!). :)

So my adjsted Costco total is $118.94

The bottled water at Costco is a really good price (about 10 cents for each 1/2-liter bottle) but we wash and re-use the bottles, so a case lasts us a couple months. We like the bottles for Joshua's lunches or when we're in the car or away from home. We almost always have water with us! :)

The organic chicken base is Better Than Bouillon brand, which someone told me about here a while back, when I mentioned having difficulty finding chicken bouillon with an acceptable ingredient list (for me). :) We found it at Costco recently, and I love having chicken base on hand again!! :)

The dishwasher liquid is probably about a year's supply for us; we've had a dishwasher for just over a year and our previous Costco dishwasher soap is almost gone! :)

QFC groceries

My stop at QFC was just to get milk (lactose-free for Joshua) and use a freebie coupon:

Darigold lactose-free milk (1/2 gal.)        $2.99   (x4)
Always Infinity pads                        $5.79 -- but FREE with my coupon!

QFC total: $12.51

Yes, I get charged tax on the item I got for "free" with a coupon! :P :) The Always pads will go in my stash of free pads for after the baby is born. It is amazing how a year's worth of free sample pads adds up!

This week's grocery/household total: $131.45

Next week will be... MUST BE... less, however. I'll let you know how I do! :)


I like these posts!! :) I like seeing what others are buying and how much they are spending. Am I too nosy? Probably! ;)

You always make me wish for a Costco. But seeing how it's just my hubby and me, I don't really need one. But all the great deals on fresh/frozen produce...!!!

-Amanda Ranta

Yeah... I think Costco is easier for a large(er) family size... It can be tricky to fit large sizes of things in my fridge/pantry at times! And when I have 2-3 pounds of frozen peas or green beans left, it's time to buy another 5# bag... so I have upwards of 5# of something on hand quite frequently! :) But I absolutely LOVE the many healthier/organic foods we can afford at Costco! :)

It must be a woman thing. Even frugal women just love reading about shopping :-)

My family currently consists of my husband and me, but we still find our Costco membership worth it. We keep a list of the items where it is cheapest to buy them at Costco and record when we open packages so we have an idea how long it takes us to use something. The trick is to make sure that you're using up what you buy; food tossed to the trash is wasting money. Meal planning helps a lot with this, as well as reviewing your pantry/frozen items regularly. We usually visit a Costco every 5-6 weeks.

Some of the items we purchase at Costco are: tortilla chips, mango salsa, organic cage-free eggs, orange juice, frozen kosher chicken breasts, Tillamook cheddar, crackers, whole cranberries, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla beans.

they become a regular feature!


How often do you go to Costco?

Too often :| It seems like we go at least every 10 days or so... so 3 times a month probably? I get a lot of perishables there (produce, milk, cheese) and with a small freezer I can't usually buy a month's supply of everything at once (especially when it's full of fish and frozen vegetables and fruit!).

My family loves the Tilla-Moo cheese snacks. We were sad when our Costco didn't have them for awhile but last time I went they were back!! Thanks for sharing the things you buy. I see things on your list that I didn't know Costco sold. It gets me thinking about what I will buy next time I go. My 3 kids enjoy our shopping trips to Costco (about once a month) because they get "taste-stories" (samples) throughout the store.

We all love the free samples (what a fun way to encourage tired/grumpy boys to behave at least until the next sample stand! heehee) but I've also found that our store (in Seattle :P) is usually really crowded during the times when samples are offered, and the sample stands make cart traffic even more congested! :| So recently I've been going later in the evening (7:30 or 8pm) and trying to make it a quick run through the store by myself... :)

We have a family of 11. We can easily spend $250+ 3-4 times a month at Costco. I can't imagine what our food bill would be without Costco!

We do not buy prepackaged or premade food. Everything we buy at Costco is staples like cheese, veggies, frozen veggies, fresh fruits and veggies, frozen ground beef chubs, tomato sauces/pastes, vanilla (can't beat this price at the market ever!), etc. One of our "treats" there is the Dubliner Cheese. When I splurge and buy this we make fettucine with it. We also love their bag of little peppers. And their organic carrots. And the samples of food as you shop : ) And so much more...........

My husband is working in Everett WA for 6 months so I've been in your area a couple of times this fall. I LOVE the Business Costco! We stocked his apartment kitchen at the Business Costco knowing that these heavy duty stainless utensils would end up at home in a few months : )

Costco is my store of choice at which to shop.

Recording the Faithfulness and Provision of God for Future Generations

We have a Business Costco nearby and they carry different things... I like certain things about both Costcos! The Business Costco has some cheaper items but less organic/natural selection. Unfortunately since they're further from our house and their hours are more limited, I rarely get there... :)

But yeah, we buy lots of "whole" foods at Costco and even if I might be able to run to several different stores and get comparable prices on things, I would MUCH rather go to one place and know what I can get and for a good price. Traffic, extra gas, taking kids along, and all the TIME it takes to make a number of stops... Costco keeps it simple for us right now! :)

I really like these posts.....keep them coming!

It helps me to rethink what we are doing and how we are spending our money when I see what other people are doing.

I really enjoy these posts - thank you for taking the time to share them. It does make me jealous though! I wish we had a Costco! But sadly, I don't think there is even one in my entire state - West Virginia. I have considered travelling two hours to Columbus, Ohio to shop at one though! At least I have Sam's Club and Aldi.

I am a big Costco fan but I wouldn't travel 2 hours to go to one... no way! :) In Ohio we shopped at Aldi, Kroger, IGA, and Wal-mart. It was what was nearby and it worked fine! :)

I'm also finding these posts interesting. We live right across the street from a Safeway and a CVS, and shopping the sales there and combined with printable coupons is working really well for us right now (3 adults, a 3-year-old, and 2 babies). But Costco is fairly nearby, and I can see how that might be a better option for us in a couple of years.

Also, I'm a little surprised at the Always Pads. I would've figured you used flannel pads, given all the cloth diapering.

I do have cloth pads as well, but I am always open to freebies! ;)

About how many cloth pads would you recommend that a new mom-to-be have in her stash for post-delivery? I realize that this figure depends on lots of factors, such as laundry...but what's realistic? Also, how do you wash them?

I'm enjoying your trips to Costco. I (with a kid or two) shop there once a month because it is a distance from my home, and I do the bulk of my shopping once a month. When you purchase something for a great price I add it to my list to check at our Costco. It's amazing how you can shop somewhere and never see a product until I friend tells you about it.

where i live we have no costco, but I see alot of comments about this stre wish we had one. We do have a Sam's club, is this anything like costco?

Sam's Club is similar to Costco, but I haven't been in a Sam's Club more than a couple times and don't know much about them!

We just went to Costco and spent $240! But some of that was on clothes... I can usually find much higher quality clothes for the boys there for so much less than at Target or Walmart. I think I also got enough meat and fish to last a month or more... we'll see! When I spend that much I try to make it last. :-|

~Elizabeth in Alaska

I love to browse the clothing section at Costco... especially the cute Carter's kids outfits for about what Wal-mart charges for their cheapest kids stuff! :) We usually manage to find most things at GoodWill, supplemented with hand-me-downs and garage sales, so I browse and tell myself we don't really *need* any of it! :)

It is SO easy to spend a lot at Costco though. :P It seems like 10-12 items is almost $100 usually!! Yikes! :)

Cool, I didn't know Better than Bouillon made an organic variety. I completely stopped buying the regular version several years ago when I became more health-conscious. Currently, when I need chicken broth and don't have homemade, I buy organic chicken broth in an asceptic package from Trader Joe's, which is reasonably-priced (I guess), but it still galls me to pay for all the WATER in the box.

I will have to keep my eyes peeled for organic BtB. I don't have a Costco membership, but I wonder if Fred Meyer would have it? Anyone know any other stores that carry the organic variety?


Whole Foods carries it too! it was on sale before Thanksgiving, so maybe check around Christmas?

and found beef base (bouillon powder) for 95 cents!! I don't know if it was a special deal or not. The chicken was $3 something. I only got one because I've never used anything except bouillon cubes.

The other spices were really cheap, too. I got a big container of cinnamon for $2.99, big container of basil for $2 something and pure vanilla extract for $6 (also a really big container for vanilla!)

I haven't been thrilled with the fruit prices, though. The bananas are a good price but everything else is too high for me to afford. Sams seems to have better fruit prices in my area.

I see you bought whole chickens and talked about buying lots of fish.Does your family eat much of any other meats or are those your main ones?I have never been to a Costco before but I got to sams and I think they are pretty close from what I hear.I buy 2 whole chickens at a time there since it is so cheap.We eat a lot of chicken.I am trying to stay away from pork.I don't care for it myself but DH loves it.I think it is too greasy and I just don't enjoy the flavor to much.

We like to buy the whole chickens, and also frozen chicken breast... and Joshua loves chicken drumsticks! I can usually beat Costco's price on the chicken breast and drumsticks by watching for the occasional really good sale at nearby grocery stores. :)

We also eat ground beef, and fish. We love steaks on the grill, but those are a more rare treat... :)

I love to see what you have bought & the prices.I`ve been debating about joining Costco.The nearest one is about 20 miles away so it would probably be a monthly trip at most .I apreciate all your hard work to provide the information.Thanks.!

I wish my Costco carried dried beans! I've only been able to find canned black beans!

Hi Tammy,
It has been so long since I"ve logged on here! I didn't realize that you were expecting again. Congratulations. How far along are you? How are you feeling? I see you're drinking pregnancy tea. I wish I had known about that.

I am catching up on old posts too but wanted to post here and ask you. How much do you spend per month on groceries? Do you eat out? If so how much do you spend on that?
If these questions are too personal I will definitely understand. Last month I reviewed our spending and we had spent nearly $500 on food for 4 of us and 2 are small children!

I am one of those people who have toyed with the idea of a Costco membership. They opened one last year about 10 minutes from us. I have been there a few times with my MIL. I really like getting some certain items from there but other items I find I can buy for less other places.

Do you buy fish at Costco? If so would you post pictures of a message about which particular brand you buy from there? We've bought it twice from there (two different brands) and both of them tasted bad to us. We do eat and enjoy fish so it isn't just that we don't know what fish is supposed to taste like LOL! :)

Thank you Tammy
I truly appreciate your blog!

Hi K! :)

Our new baby's due in February so I'm about 32 weeks or so... I've felt a LOT better in the past 4 weeks than I did for all the rest :P I guess that is a good thing to enjoy the end of pregnancy... maybe I won't be so anxious to go into labor! ;)

We spend about $400 a month on groceries/household. I think that pretty much includes anything outside our bills (electric, phone, internet, and rent/water) and we don't spend much on clothes (second-hand stores and hand-me-downs fill those needs affordably, thankfully!) or entertainment. :) Cloth diapers/wipes helps in the "grocery" department too! ;)

We don't eat out very often at all... we did get take-and-bake pizza once in October (or Sept? I can't remember) and sometimes (maybe every 2-3 months) we buy hotdogs and ice cream at Costco (I think that costs about $9 for 4 huge all-beef hot dogs, 2 big cups of ice cream, and 4 drinks). :) So... even though it seems like our grocery budget should be less, I suppose the good part is that we don't spend money on going out to eat, and also we almost always have plenty of food to share with others (guests, friends, church potlucks, etc.) too. :)

From Costco, we have bought the Trident brand of fish.

Their frozen "Ultimate Fish Sticks" are about $12 for 3 or 4 pounds (can't remember exactly since we haven't bought any recently) and have a good amount of fish for the breading part and are SO tasty although not "health food"! ;) Very yummy for a quick meal though.

We have also bought the Trident salmon burgers, which Joshua grills. They're basically just round salmon patties (all meat) so nothing too fancy, but very tasty! :)

I *think* that is all we have tried from Costco for fish, since recently we have gotten fish for a reduced price from Joshua's employer and haven't bought any from Costco for quite a while. It is rather pricey!! :)

Oh my! You're already nearing the end of the pregnancy. Now I feel bad that I've been neglecting my favorite blog and didn't know that.

We use cloth diapers and all of our clothing is either bought used or we receive them as gifts. That helps our budget too. And who can resist the food court at Costco! :)

I will look in to the Trident brand of fish. Thank you for the recommendation.

by the way, I made your "Italian Chicken and Asparagus" last night for supper with a salad and a loaf of homemade bread. Even my 4 year old raved about how good it was. For me it was (well, I have 2 handfulls of plum tomatoes and a half bunch of asparagus, some already cooked chicken and I'm not sure what to make... so it was Tammy's recipes to the rescue and not only did I get to use up what we had on hand AND my family LOVED it!!!

You're a blessing.
Thank you for your work here.

Wow, kinda amazing that you had tomatoes, asparagus, and cooked chicken and ended up with my Italian Chicken and Asparagus! :) But I guess if the combo sounded good enough for me to try it, it shouldn't surprise me that you would try to use all those in a dish! ;)

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