Monday, February 14, 2011

Moolah Monday - Cheap Dates & Club Stores

What do club stores have to do with cheap dates?

My husband and I have been memebers of Costco for the entire time we've been married.  I'm not sure if we were given a gift membership or if we used leftover money from our wedding to buy our first membership (which we shared with my sister who lived 2 doors down), but I know that in my first membership card picture I still had the braids I got on my honeymoon, so it was really early on.

Since then we've taken a weekly trip to Costco.  We love club store shopping - as long as you make sure that you are purchasing things you need and watch the premium brand pricing you save a bundle.  As an example - I usually get 2 loaves of bread for about $4.50 at Costco - the same bread is about $4 per loaf at a regular store so I save a ton.  Of course, that's assuming I'm not normally buying the 99cent loaf of white bread, which I can assure you I'm not. (though I have on occasion so no guilt tripping here).  On the other hand, I almost never buy meat at Costco because they offer the super good quality meat for a higher price per lb than I can get on the "going out of code" section at the grocery store.  I know we save a ton of money shopping in bulk when we're careful how we do it.

But there's a side benefit.  If you're frugal like me - your local club store can turn into a weekly date.  I know, I know, it's cheesy and really "cheap" not in a good way, but we've turned it into a family tradition that has lasted 6 1/2 years. 

Believe it or not, when we first moved here we were broke.  We didn't have kids so the time to go on dates was pretty much endless, but we didn't have the money to do much either.  So, every Sunday after church we'd stop at Costco on the way home.  We'd pick up anything we needed (and could afford) which usually amounted to a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, or a package of bananas.  We'd spend $5-$10 at the most each week.  But we took our time walking the aisles, chatting, dreaming of things we might want to buy in the future - and sampling the various foods they offered.  Even though we went in to buy 1-2 items and could have gotten out quickly (Costco in TX isn't nearly as busy as Costco in LA), we usually would spend an hour shopping.  Then, we topped it off with lunch - 2 slices of pizza and 2 drinks which you can get for about $6. 

Fast forward more than 6 years.  We still go shopping after church.  We still take our time getting samples and seeing what's out there.  Our big kiddo now knows this tradition and makes plans around the Costco trip.  Our order has changed - now we get 2 slices of pizza and 3 drinks - for an extra 55 cents we don't have to share with our 4 year old - and depending on how many kids we have at the time we might add a hot dog (which comes with a drink, by the way).  We usually spend 10x more than we used to each week.  But our family has grown and so have our resources.

And we have a good time as a family. 

No comments: