The Best Food and Drink Bargains at Costco

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Whether you are looking for the best deals to throw a party or simply shopping for tires, there is little a trip to Costco will leave you wanting for. As a mega superstore, Costco presents shoppers with a unique opportunity to buy a surplus of the things they need at a reasonable price. Set-up as a members-only club, shoppers have access to exclusive services and deals on brand name merchandise, rather than general store-brand deals that traditional supermarkets offer.[related]

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Something almost ethereal happens when you walk into a Costco; however.. You go in with an idea of what you need, and then suddenly you are randomly purchasing items in bulk that you will never use just because it is a "deal." Soon, your money-saving trip has transformed into a bank account-draining catastrophe.

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To make sure you stay on track, there are not only great money-saving tips you can follow, but certain products that are definitely worth the bulk buy! For instance, buying items like berries in bulk — which are often jacked up in price by the pint — are worthwhile since they can be frozen and used at a later time. Big ticket items, like beer and soda, are worth the purchase at this wholesale market; even though supermarkets often offer sales on these items, since you'll get more bang for your buck — especially if you're throwing a party![slideshow:871435]

We also chatted with the eMeals team; a site dedicated to making meal planning easier, on how you can budget and plan your trip to a Costco effectively:

eMeal's Money Saving Tips:

-      Make sure to have a plan for all that you buy. It can be tempting to purchase items because they are a great bargain, but having recipes and a meal plan in mind for everything you select is critical.  

-      Check out the prepared foods section. Costco's rotisserie chickens can play a starring role in a variety of dishes, allowing you get a lot of mileage out of one purchase.

-      Invest in food storage equipment. Even if you have a plan as referenced above, buying in bulk almost always leads to leftovers. Ensure your purchases don't spoil by using a vacuum food sealer. Also, consider keeping an inexpensive kitchen thermometer in your refrigerator to be sure it's operating at maximum efficiency.

-      Compare prices and shop Costco in tandem with other grocery stores as needed. If you really only need a small quantity of an item on your list, it makes sense to supplement Costco's bulk value with a single-item purchase from a smaller store.

-      Take advantage of Costco's member savings mail flyer as well as more online savings from Costco.com. Locate the food items on sale and get creative weaving them into your dinner plans for that week.

-      Shop the frozen food aisles again and again. There are an abundance of options offering premium quality frozen fish, pasta, pizza, vegetable blends, party platters, and one-dish meals. Use half the bag now, and secure the remaining portion for next week's plan.

-      Shop alone; i.e. sans kids. This strategy allows you to shop without distractions that can typically lead to impulse buys.

-      Shop during non-peak, early morning or late evening hours. You'll be able to stay focused and move swiftly through the store. The end result? You can squeeze more into your day.

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