Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Best Deals at Big Box Stores: a Cheat Sheet

Yesterday, we asked you readers for the best deals at the major big box stores - CostCo, BJ's Wholesale Club, and Sam's Club. Your responses were comprehensive and, excuse my language, pretty farging great. (Quinoa! Who knew?)

Wiki Ken Hammond
Last night, I compiled those responses into this, a master list of Big Box Bargains – like a cheat sheet - which should help you find the best deals next time you visit a glorious warehouse. (For me, see: tonight.) It's useful! It's extensive! It's pretty!

About the process: Every product mention got one vote. (So, if three different commenters wrote "mushrooms," it got three votes.) Some things, like mattresses, elicited one clear vote and were easy to tally. Others, like cheese, were much more varied, producing several similar-but-not-exactly-alike answers. In those cases, I tallied the category as a whole, and then elaborated on individual responses within parentheses. (Um … if that makes sense, which it only kind of does. But you'll see.)


Cheese (2 votes feta, 2 votes Tillamook)
Paper products (10 votes toilet paper, 4 votes paper towels)

Spices (5 votes cinnamon, 3 votes pepper)

Olive Oil

Yeast (reader Jennifer: “Literally 100x cheaper than the envelopes”)

Nuts (2 votes almonds)

Pet food & supplies (3 votes dog food, 2 votes supplies, 1 vote cat food)
Salad greens (4 votes organic)

Canned tomatoes (1 vote organic)
Dried fruit (2 Craisin votes)
Eggs (2 votes organic)
Milk (1 vote organic)

Baby supplies (2 votes diapers, 2 votes wipes)
Bread (2 votes "fancy bread")
Electronics/big appliances (camera, elliptical, computer, etc.)
Vanilla Extract

Alcohol (wine, bourbon, etc.)
Baking soda
Cleaning products
Movie tickets
Peanut butter (1 vote organic)
Rice (1 vote Basmati)
Sabra Hummus
Yogurt (1 vote Greek-style)

Almond butter, Bagels, Beans, Cereal (1 vote Kashi), Clif bars, Coffee, Contact lens solution, Drugs (Kirkland brand Advil, Zyrtec, etc.), Frozen berries, Frozen chicken, Ground turkey, Gum, Kids' clothes, Laundry detergent, Lettuce, Maple syrup, Soy milk, Tissues, Toothbrushes/toothpaste, Tortillas, Vinegar, Potatoes, Tomatoes

Bacon (Kirkland brand), Better than Bouillon chicken base, Bisquick, Books, Breathe-right nose strips, Brita filters, Brown sugar, Canned pineapple, Canned tuna/salmon, Cars (!), Checks, Chicken breasts, Chicken broth, Chicken thighs, Coconut Milk, Cornstarch, Crackers, Cutting boards, Dairy, Dental floss, Deodorant, Dish detergent, Dr. Pepper, Dried onions, Floss, Flour, Food court items, Fresh meats, Frozen edamame, Frozen hamburger patties, Frozen salmon fillets, Frozen shrimp, Frozen strawberries, Frozen vegetables, G2, Garlic, Gelato, Gift card deals (restaurants, movie theaters, etc.), Glasses, Goldfish, Grains, Granulated garlic, Ground flaxmeal, Honey, Hot dogs, Hot sauce, Green chiles, Janitorial supplies, Jarred roasted red peppers, Larabars, Marinated shrimp, Magazines, Marinated artichoke hearts, Mattresses, Nutella, Onions, Organic, Organic apples, Organic carrots, Organic frozen fruit, Organic hamburger, Popcorn (the kind you pop on the stove), Popcorn salt, Prescriptions, Printer paper, Ramen, Rotel, Rotisserie chicken, Salmon, Salmon burgers, Salsa, Shampoo, Shaving gel, Smuckers strawberry jam, Store-brand fish oil, Store-brand naprosyn, Sugar, Strawberries, Sun-dried tomatoes, Sweet potatoes, Tires, Toiletries, Tuna, Tupperware, Udi's granola, Veggie burgers

Fun comments:
  • Commenter Aryn writes: “Beware the giant box 'o pens. My husband and I bought 200 pens when we started grad school thinking we'd use them up quickly. It's been seven years. We still have about 180 of those pens.” (Aryn! I totally did this once, too, for a friend's promotional event. Maybe we can have a pen party?)
  • Commenter Ami writes: "I tend to shop with my mom and we split items that neither of us can use in a week - we also split the cost of membership with makes it even more worthwhile."
  • Also of note: Readers loved CostCo’s return policy, especially on appliances and electronics.
And that's it! Sweet readers, do you agree/disagree/have anything to add? The comment section is wide open.


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