Of all the stores that I regularly talk about at the blog, there’s one that I’m far more likely to overspend at. No surprises, it’s Costco. In fact, I’ve devoted an entire blog series to the ways Costco entices you to buy things you didn’t know you needed.
But what if you really DO need to stick to a budget while shopping at Costco? What if you truly opened your membership not to buy random throw blankets and coffee table books, but to stock up on meat, produce and other basic household goods? The last thing you want to do is negate your savings by overspending.
After shopping regularly at Costco for several years and paying close to attention to the way the store cycles merchandise in and out, I have a few handy tips to share with you today.
Tip #1: Stop calling Costco a great place to save money and recognize it for the marketing machine that it is.
Here’s the normal progression of a Costco shopping trip: finding a great deal here, another there, adding it to the cart. Look at all this money we’re saving! And then, the moment of truth: checkout. Inevitably, that pesky total is always more than we’d bargained for. If you’re like me, you end up doing what I like to call the Costco Justification Parking Lot Walk. This is where you justify the amount you spent to yourself (or your spouse or shopping partner) as you exit the store. “Well, we really did need new plants for the front porch…” “We’d talked about buying a new sofa a year ago…” “We’ll eat up all that canned soup eventually…” If you’re laughing right now, it’s because you’re guilty of it too. [Read more…]