We feel it is worth our Costco membership even though we just go a few times a year. We also buy online from Costco a few times a year too. The nearest Sam's Club is 3 hours (and there are several 3 hours in all directions). We would rather drive an hour more and go to Costco. When we do go we really stock up-we spent close to $400 on Monday. But unless Ram has to go to visit someone in the hospital, we probably won't be going back to Costco until next summer-unless we do another Costco run like Monday. We also have an American Express Card from Costco. We charge everything everywhere that takes American Express all year and our once a year rebate for Costco is usually around $150. (We pay it off each month, but enjoy the rewards!) We use this rebate to pay for our membership plus get a nice rebate (it has to be used at Costco, but we have no problem spending our rebate check there!)
We went on Monday for a few reasons.
1. The weather was good enough to travel and we can't depend on that again until next spring.
2. Ram was free to go on Monday before Advent and Christmas activities really got going.
3. We hadn't been to Costco since August. We weren't running out of our supplies, but we couldn't make it until next spring.
4. We were out of rice milk and they have the best price I have seen. It was worth the gas money to go to Costco just for the savings of rice milk.
5. It is the most fun to go to Costco around the holidays, even if we just window shop-they have items now that they don't have other times of the year.
Here is a picture of what we bought on Monday. A few items we would have bought more, but Ram's parents had just visited us and left treats. I forgot one box of rice milk for the photo! There are a few items that we didn't buy because we weren't out of them from August so this isn't a complete list of what we normally buy at Costco.
pretzels (this is the one junk food our boys eat often, especially Lamb 3 loves them and they have big tubs!)
freeze dried strawberries (we usually buy dried fruit but the Lambs convinced us to try these-they like them but I don't know if we will buy them again)
sour cream (I began only buying Daisy because it is natural and this was a huge tub-will be good for holiday dips etc.)
vanilla beans (I'm going to start making my own vanilla!)
avocados (we only buy avocados at Costco-they are huge and so yummy-I hate the times of the year that we don't get to Costco because we can't get avocados like that anywhere else)
mango salsa (in the refrigerated section-our favorite kind)
mini sweet peppers (we only started buying these this summer-they are so good to eat like apples or to use in recipes or salads)
brown sugar (huge bag-ready to make cinnamon rolls again!)
fresh tomatoes (I did make an exception and buy out of season because our garden tomatoes are gone-just this once and then I'll have to wait until next summer)
pomegranate juice (WIC is no longer giving us very much juice so if we are going to buy juice I want it to be better juice. We aren't drinking as much juice as we used to and we water the juice down too.)
honey (it is cheaper than buying from our town but I feel guilty-most of the time we buy from our town)
olive oil (cheapest place is Costco)
canned clams (to make Susan's recipe!)
cinnamon (we think Costco's really tastes better and we eat a lot of cinnamon-lowers your blood sugar)
canned turkey (fast suppers during busy time of year)
mayo (first time we ever bought at Costco-we've been trying to use yogurt in place of mayo in some recipes so we may not buy Costco size again)
almond butter (WIC no longer gives us as much peanut butter so we've been using almond butter-Costco is so much cheaper for this)
canned salmon (we have been trying to use more fish in our diet)
flax seed pills
apples (I was sick when they were available locally and although I made applesauce, our family did not have our fill of apples this year. They are so huge we have cut them in fourths and given 1/4 to each of us except Lamb 3.)
pecans (getting low after making pecan pies for fall festivals and Thanksgiving)
walnuts (we try to eat a lot of walnuts in our diet-for a snack we eat walnuts, dried blueberries, and dark chocolate chunks mix)
black beans (I wanted garbanzo but they didn't have any)
peanut butter (mainly for recipes like peanut butter cookies, we're trying to eat almond butter)
biscotti (so yummy-a splurge)
6 dozen rice milk (probably should have bought more)
You will notice that we didn't buy anything frozen and only a few refrigerated items. In the summer I wouldn't even buy refrigerated items-it is too difficult to get it home. We only bought a few items that weren't food. We have to be unusual because we didn't buy any electronics, Christmas presents, books, movies, or clothes. Everything we bought was on our list-we didn't impulse buy. Spending $400 wasn't so bad when you consider it will last us several months. Just like Sam's Club-you do have to consider each item, will you really use it before it goes bad? For example, I never buy Bisquick at Costco because we would never use that huge of a box before it expires-instead I buy a very small box at the grocery to use when we are in a hurry for a fast supper instead of making it from scratch. Also, we have 3 churches so I am asked to bring a lot this time of year to different activities-some of our purchases were for baking for this. Another item that we buy at Costco that we didn't buy this time is whole wheat pasta. Many of the items that we buy are organic and better quality and healthier foods.
The Lambs love to get samples at Costco and if we lived closer it would be worth shopping there for the samples for them!
We love Costco and we are jealous of those of you that live closer to one!