Christmas & Costco

I really missed being here last week! Thanks for your well wishes about my youngest. She is on the mend, and thankfully has only a little cough lingering. The common cold, around here, can turn into something far worse. We had a couple of sleepless nights with fevers, but that’s over now. I’m thankful that it’s just a common cold.

If you’re anything like me, you’re in full December nutty-land right now. Although my Christmas shopping is virtually all done and most of it wrapped, I’m still up to my neck in things to do on the work front, and things I want to do around the house. Add to that a bunch of Christmas parties, cards to mail, dinners, drinks with friends and you’re in nutty-land.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of heading north of Toronto to gather with some family for our holiday meal and gift exchange with the kids. There are 9 grandchildren in this bunch. Mine are the oldest, and officially surpassed the “gift receiving age”, which is totally cool with them. Two more grandchildren are in Texas, and we don’t get to see them too often.  The remaining five were present and accounted for! They’re all great kids.

I seem to remember a time when the grandchildren received some pretty generous gifts. Even I was more generous in the past than I was this year. The idea to give out children’s movie passes (complete with treats) was the overall theme. The kids got one from me, that I ordered online at a discount, and they also got some from their other aunt and uncle. This was a pretty cool gift for my brother, who cringes at the price to take his four boys and himself and his wife to the movies. More family time for them, and the boys are anxious to see the new Yogi Bear movie coming out.  Win-win for everybody.

Before arriving at the Christmas party, I had the opportunity to take my Mother’s Costco card and do a bit of shopping.  Seems like years since I’ve been in Costco. When I lived about a ten minute drive from Costco, I went there all the time. Their milk and eggs and bread were usually cheaper than I could buy at the grocery store. I also stocked up on some stuff we used a lot of in big, bulk quantities. I was married then, and my ex-husband has never been a light eater. It seemed to all make sense. Back then, I also bought lots of stuff that I didn’t intend to buy.

Yesterday, I was a bit shocked at how big everything looked to me. I found myself looking in people’s carts and checking out what they had. Maybe they were checking out my cart too!  I had eight loaves of bread (6 regular whole wheat, and two loaves of raisin bread on sale) to go in the freezer. Does that look weird to anybody? There were folks with a dozen or more rolls of Christmas wrap in their carts. To me that says “I have spent a bundle on presents, and this is all the paper I need to buy to wrap ’em all”. Maybe it’s something else entirely – what do I know?

With my WeightWatchers hat on, I’m always amazed at how much stuff gets out of the store that’s processed. The frozen pizzas, the frozen desserts, deep fried wonders, baked muffins as big as your head, etc. Bundles and bundles of that stuff.

I was pretty restrained, I thought. Stocked up on dish soap and dishwasher soap, chocolate chips (can’t get them for that price for Christmas baking anywhere else), healthy choice soup, frozen blueberries and raspberries and those eight loaves of bread.

Costco makes it pretty easy to overspend. The staff poised at the end of every alternate aisle gives you some sample of something yummy that’s stacked in a pile right beside them. My daughter and I had almost a meal just shopping and taking advantage of their samples. We had crackers with crab, we had lobster bisque, we had chocolate, more chocolate, green tea, etc. This strategy obviously works for them.  I remembered as I was checking out that Costco takes AMEX now.

Overspent? Why not put it on credit? Sure, you have to pay off your AMEX card in full when the bill comes, but you can use your line of credit or your other credit cards to pay it off!

Although I did enjoy stocking up on some stuff there, and walking around the aisles and checking out their wares, I’m glad I’m not within temptation range of this store any longer. As it was, I spent just over $100 without indulging in anything that I’d be having guilt over. My Toronto kitchen doesn’t have room for those suburban sized boxes of Cheerios and Oatmeal. I think I’ll stick with my local bulk store.

Not sure if I’ll make it back to Costco again before Mom comes back from the south in April. If this is my only trip, I think that’s ok with me. I realize now, I’m not missing too much.



3 responses to this post.

  1. I had to get a Costco membership to buy my bed from there. I’ve been there twice since then and don’t really see what the fascination is as a grocery store. Got the Halloween treats and a few big bulk spices that I haven’t seen anywhere else (like a big tub of pre-minced garlic – which I use a lot, but don’t often have on hand fresh).

    Everything else I’ve gotten has been non-grocery – like a big 3 plant poinsettia for $19.95. That was a great buy. My fleece sheets and blanket from there are much better quality for the price than what I had previously. And I replaced all my cookie sheets – that was a good deal too. I would be shocked if I bother renewing my membership. I need to do what you’ve done and just hook up with someone else who has a membership in the future.


  2. Glad your youngest is feeling better now! 🙂 We just went through that too.. not fun!

    I’ve only been to Costco a few times, but like you, don’t spend much really, and don’t need pkgs of cereal that are bigger than my 3 yr old. lol!! Glad you were able to keep the costs down!!


  3. I often think about NOT renewing my Costco membership but there are a number of things there that i like to buy. And I am gradually buying items in bulk, one or two at a time because I enjoy not having to buy toothpaste for a year, or shampoo, or vitamins. I can’t afford to do it all at once but it does save me money in the long run.
    Other things I buy at Costco: coleslaw (I’ve never found another brand that comes close to the taste of theirs), huge huge huge jars of pickled beets (I eat them everyday, half and half and milk is way cheaper, and I buy multiple loaves of bread like you, cheese, meat sometimes when they have a special, printer cartridges, razers, body wash etc etc. Could I live without it? Of course, but I go with a list and stick to it. No impulse buys or I’d be spending a fortune there! So many temptations!


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