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Best Food Deals at Costco: Comparing Prices on 50 Products

Cheapism Logo By Saundra Latham of Cheapism | Slide 1 of 51: Can shoppers really save by skipping grocery stores in favor of <a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/why-customers-are-addicted-to-costco-14101/">warehouse clubs</a>? Cheapism.com compiled a list of 50 staple products and compared prices by the ounce, to account for differences in quantity, at Costco, the largest wholesale club operator, and Kroger, one of the nation's largest grocery chains.<br><br>The results aren't surprising: <a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/costco-grocery-meal-plan/">Costco</a> wins overall, with prices up to 67 percent cheaper on 38 items. Shopping at Kroger, even with its sales and loyalty-card discounts, netted savings on 10 items (prices were the same on two items). The savings were also much smaller at Kroger: 30 percent or less on all but one item, whereas Costco offered more than 30 percent savings on 18 items.<br><br>That doesn't mean consumers should ditch grocery stores entirely. <a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/buy-bulk-foods-3336/">Buying in bulk</a> saves only if the extra food doesn't go bad before it can be used. Also, selection is more limited at warehouse clubs; brand-conscious buyers won't find many favorites on the shelves. And don't forget the membership fee: $55 a year at Costco, $50 at BJ's Wholesale Club, and $45 at Sam's Club. But here's where a Costco membership pays off -- and where it doesn't.<br><br><strong>Related:</strong><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/shopping-at-costco-13669/">11 Types of People Who Shouldn't Set Foot in Costco</a>

SHOPPING SHOWDOWN

Can shoppers really save by skipping grocery stores in favor of warehouse clubs? Cheapism.com compiled a list of 50 staple products and compared prices by the ounce, to account for differences in quantity, at Costco, the largest wholesale club operator, and Kroger, one of the nation's largest grocery chains.

The results aren't surprising: Costco wins overall, with prices up to 67 percent cheaper on 38 items. Shopping at Kroger, even with its sales and loyalty-card discounts, netted savings on 10 items (prices were the same on two items). The savings were also much smaller at Kroger: 30 percent or less on all but one item, whereas Costco offered more than 30 percent savings on 18 items.

That doesn't mean consumers should ditch grocery stores entirely. Buying in bulk saves only if the extra food doesn't go bad before it can be used. Also, selection is more limited at warehouse clubs; brand-conscious buyers won't find many favorites on the shelves. And don't forget the membership fee: $55 a year at Costco, $50 at BJ's Wholesale Club, and $45 at Sam's Club. But here's where a Costco membership pays off -- and where it doesn't.
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