Saving Money at Costco and BJ’s

by ThePrudentPatron on March 11, 2010
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Saving Money at Costco and BJ's

Saving Money at Costco and BJ’s

Before I started couponing, I regularly shopped at warehouse stores to save money. Warehouse stores are cheaper than buying an item full price somewhere else, but I make few purchases that fit that qualification. However, there are still deals to be had at warehouse stores.

The secret to saving money at a warehouse store, or any store for that matter, is to know your prices! Warehouse stores are usually good places to get items that rarely go on sale or have a coupon. Some items I commonly purchase are milk, half and half, frozen fish, produce (when the price is right), movie passes and cat litter.

Once you know what you want to buy, there are ways to get additional savings. I shop at Costco and BJ’s. Here are the ways I’ve found to save extra at these two stores:

Costco is pretty basic. If there are items you regularly purchase, like cat litter, from Costco, try to purchase it when there is a store coupon available. If you have the space, buy the limit the coupon will allow. One other way to save at Costco is to stay on the lookout for unadvertised sales, usually in the form of instant rebates. These will be posted in front of the product and will come off instantly at checkout. Last, but not least, how can I not mention Costco’s $1.50 hotdog and drink combo? This frugal girl’s favorite bargain lunch!

If you shop at BJ’s, you probably already know that they accept manufacturer coupons and store coupons. However, what is really great about BJ’s is they not only allow you to stack the manufacturer and store coupons, but they allow multiple manufacturer coupons on multipacks! For example, if you are purchasing a two pack of soy milk, you can use a BJ’s coupon and two manufacturer coupons (one for each soy milk in the two pack)!

It is important to note, I don’t actually have a membership to both of these stores (that certainly wouldn’t save me much money)! I have a Costco membership and I have several friends with BJ’s memberships. We pair up to save extra money! Each store has things the other one doesn’t sell. We also find that their prices vary when it comes to the staples we buy. When I go shopping at Costco, I pick up movie passes for my friends because BJ’s doesn’t sell them. When they go to BJ’s, they pick me up a couple gallons of milk because it is cheaper at BJ’s. Finding a shopping buddy with a membership to a different warehouse is just one more way to save when shopping at these mega stores!

Do you shop at a warehouse store? What items have you found worth purchasing?

You can see more thrifty and frugal living ideas at Frugal Living.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frugal Mom March 11, 2010 at 9:04 PM

I shop at BJ's and have been told that I can not use more then one coupon per item so I actually stopped. I thought what you had explained was there policy.

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Michelle March 11, 2010 at 9:37 PM

I'm pretty sure that American Express has a Costco credit card, which gives extra rewards points for shopping at Costco with it.. This might be a good way for responsible shoppers to get an extra buck out of Costco. You would want to pay off your balance each month to avoid interest fees of course! Just a thought…

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The Prudent Patron March 11, 2010 at 10:20 PM

Frugal Mom – Here's what I have been told: You cannot use more than one coupon on multipacks that are not intended for resale. The best example I can think of would be cereal. You would not be able to purchase those two bags inside the large box separately. However, you can use them on what are referred to as club packs. This is where multiple items are packaged together. A good example of a club pack would be toothpaste. It is often the same box you would get at CVS, but they’re put together with shrink wrap.

However, it is also their policy to leave it up to the individual stores to decide if they will even accept stacked coupons. Therefore, I would imagine you will find variations of both of these policies depending on the store. It is a shame they don't make it one standard policy because I think it really gives them an edge over Costco.

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Frugal Mom March 12, 2010 at 4:30 AM

Thank you for the explanation! As an aside…I love your site…got ya bookmarked ;)

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Coupon Teacher March 12, 2010 at 3:17 PM

I use Sam's club, but I don't pay for the membership. It is a gift. I love to buy trash bags and ink there. I tend to get great deals.

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Money4thisnot4that March 12, 2010 at 4:39 PM

I agree Costco does have some great prices on certain things. I do wish they would take coupons.

Did you know that Costco does clearance items? It's not often, but it's easy to tell, the price ends in $.77. For instance a regular priced item might be $12.99, but the clearance price would be $8.77. You will see this in the clothing department often.

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