Monday, April 07, 2008

the opposite of supersize

I went with my sister to Costco today. There is something so seductive about the bright, shiny-clean aisles full of great stuff in giant sizes. It's nothing like Sam's Club, which was dingy and really looked like a warehouse, except that it tempts you to buy mass quantities of stuff you don't really need, just because it's there and so cheap. The carts look like trucks, so you have plenty of room for everything. A 50-pack of Charmin? Six pairs of bikini underwear for $10? A giant bottle of laundry detergent that costs less than a penny per load? I picked up about seven items on impulse, then put them back again. I did get the laundry detergent.

But for the groceries I actually needed, I went to a small Five-Star grocery store, which is the size that supermarkets probably were when they were first introduced. They have regular-sized grocery carts and these mini-sized ones. I didn't need a lot of stuff so I grabbed a handbasket. I figured that would keep me from impulse buying.

There is a good overview of everything and even some gourmet items, but there is a smaller selection of brands for most things. They maybe stock 10 kinds of yogurt (including Fage!) instead of 50, 50 kinds of cereal instead of 100.

I have found that I buy less at this store, though I go more frequently (maybe 2 trips a week at $50 each time) and the things I buy are more often things I actually need and not impulse buys. I am sure that's the reason that modern supermarkets are so dazzling and huge. I usually end up with 2 bags of groceries, so I can even bring my own reusable bags.

I probably paid a little more for each of the individual items, but I am sure I saved overall because I didn't buy things I didn't need, like the latest and greatest snack foods. So I saved a little money, and maybe it will help me chip away at the New Job Weight.


  1. I love Costco and BJ's. As a single person, I used to think I would waste food but have found that going once a month or so lets me stock up on an 8-pack of canned tomatoes, etc. Normal size packages shrinkwrapped together, things I know I'll eat. The produce quantities are too big but I can get protein to freeze.

    Reading this makes me think I need to try out a small-size grocery store near my house instead of the "super store" variety. It sounds as though you're able to find what you really need without picking up the eye-catching extras.

  2. Every time I go into Costco, it feels like I'm going into battle. I really have to be "armed" with enough will power and intelligence to evaluate what goes into my cart.

    Is the cost per ounce/pound/serving of this giant box/bag/can of ______ *really* less than what I can get it for in the grocery store?

    Do I *really* need a 40lb bag of macaroons?

    Am I spending enough here to justify the $50.00 membership?

    I'm at the point where, like you, I go once or twice per week to my local (smaller) store where I feel a bit more in control. Plus, the more often I go, the more fresh food I feel I can buy.

    Anyway... glad you were able to resist the temptation of warehouse shopping.



"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07