my first trip to Costco

I think I’ve been saying for quite a while (like since the first store opened) that I wanted to visit Costco. I didn’t envisage taking my littlest 3 on my own there but I did. We survived and I’ll be back. Did I take any photos. Oh well the phone was in my ergo to take photos but juggling the big trolley, an almost 4 year old who didn’t want to sit in the trolley or hold my hand or the trolley meant that I took 2 photos.

image source SMH

Before I headed off I asked on my facebook page for a few tips. My readers know everything and are the best people to ask (am I right or am I right?). They said – make a list, know your prices, go on a weekday, take someone with you or leave the kids at home (I failed that one but in my defence my helper had to cancel that morning so I had planned to take an extra pair of hands).

It was a bit of a drive from our house (especially when the directions had me end up on the wrong street and have to find my way back to the store) but easy enough to do on a school day. Parking was easy, I got there at about 10.30 and parked 3 rows back from the lift, a man was finishing with his trolley so I was able to load in the kids and head off to the store. I did my membership at home ($60) and took in my print out which did save a little time but there was still a queue and no one serving us when we first got there. The husband of the lady behind me (who I had started chatting to) got to the desk and told them they needed someone on memberships and that hurried things along. So I probably spent 10 minutes in the queue and getting my card. And then we went in.

First up were cute outfits for toddlers/preschoolers at about $13 each so we got 2 of them for preschool. Some cute busy books like Monsters University, Palace Pets that have toys inside them and are great for our speech therapy and helping at home with speech. $10 each and are very handy for church so we got a few of them.

Then I had no idea where to go, at this point emerson threw all his duplo out of the trolley and a kind staff member came and helped me pick it all up and then I managed to drop it again everywhere. He was very kind and helped me and off we went. Picked up some lollies, some snacks for school and then a few of the food aisles and nappies and wipes. At this point I met up with the lady I’d been chatting to at the membership desk and she came to see how I was going and gave me some tips and products she likes.

Now after a while I couldn’t find the bakery section and my little miss wasn’t keen on walking close by me so we picked up some summer pjs and tshirts and headed to the checkout. The queues had died down so there was only one person in front of me, I had no idea which side to stand on as your trolley goes one side and you go the other but the staff were all very helpful and nice and I said it was my first time! I paid and then we were out of there. Those trolleys are big and take up some room so it did take a bit of time to get out there but we did. Now I didn’t buy a lot of food – missing from this photo were a big bag of ruffles chips, a 1.2kg bag of snakes and a big bag of violet crumbles. You all know where they have gone, except for the snakes which are in the pantry and will last us a long time.

That coconut flour was only $5.99 a bag which was probably best buy of the day and the choc chips were another best buy at $11.89 which will keep us going a while.

We had a hot dog and a lemonade, another kind man walked over and got me some straws, easy to find a table to sit down and then we were in the car and I sat in the front and fed the baby before our long drive home.

Prices – you were right that not everything was cheaper, I almost bought a big box of cherry ripes for someone who loves cherry ripes until I saw that they were $40 for the box. I also saw a huge banana bread but at $19 for the loaf I could easily make a nice fresh one at home for much less. So do pay attention to prices before you chuck it in the trolley. All up I spent $304 but that included 4 t-shirts and 6 sets of clothes/ pjs for the kids that I have put away for Christmas and I thought the Osh Kosh summer pjs were great quality. These sequinned tees were $9.99 each.

And my favourite camera was there too………

So the verdict? I loved it. I think my first trip was more just to check it out, work out what I could buy in the future, confirm that I probably don’t want to take my littlest 3 with me again (surprise surprise) and I also got the idea that it would be great to go before little lawson’s baptism and the next birthday parties. I wouldn’t go for my regular shop but I think for a few big stock ups and for parties then it will be worth my while. I also like the jumbo bags and boxes of products which when you have a big family will be great.

Tips for next time. I’ll take 1 little person with me and try to leave the rest at home. I will make my list and work out where everything is. I kind of walked in and just went left and did about a third of the store so next time I’ll try to see more. I’ll take a few more photos. I’ll make a list. I’ll mentally add up the tally as I go and I’ll empty out my pantry, fridge and freezer before I go so I can stock up.

And that was that. I hope to get back in about a months time and will follow my tips. I also love Costco Mum on Facebook where you can see people’s purchases and what’s in store.

What are your tips? Have you been? Do you go regularly? Do you have a Costco near you? 


  1. I am really keen to go. I have been following costco mum on facebook to get an idea of all the stuff they have & what the prices are like. You were very brave attempting it with the 3 little ones. You did well with what you got even though you didn’t get around to everything. Sounds like a good idea going with just one little one so you are able to look around a bit more. I have seen a few people say how important it is to know your prices so you don’t just assume the bulk quantity will be cheaper. Before I go I want to make a list of some of the basic stuff I buy that would be good in bulk & get their prices at aldi where I do most of my shopping. I look forward to seeing how you go next time when you get a chance to look around more.

    • definitely go, I really enjoyed it and it was worth the trip out there! I’ll definitely report back on my 2nd trip which will take up more of the store:) :)

  2. I love Costco too. We’re happy to do the 1 hr trip to the Casula store – especially during the week while kids are at school.

    My best buys are toilet paper, laundry powder, paper towel and snacks. I bought the Kirkland dishwashing tabs too and they seem okay. The frozen foods have some fun finds – things we wouldn’t normally buy or eat.

    The large cheese pizza at the end is great value and feeds our whole family.

    Happy Shopping!!

  3. Well you have finally conquered your first trip to Costco!!! We have been members for the last year and I’m debating whether to rejoin as it’s really only hubby and I at home now. There is no denying that you save money shopping at Costco, I think we worked out that in only our first or second trip we had saved more than the membership price. As everyone says, you need to know your prices so that you can figure out what a good saving is and isn’t as not everything is cheaper. Generally each week both Coles and Woolworths have half price specials so I will stock up on toilet paper, paper towels, tissues etc then – it means I can buy the premium brands but at half the price; otherwise I would buy them at Costco. My other tip is not to go crazy – I buy things I know I use or that store well – it’s not a bargain if you have to throw it out ( so my husband tells me!). You can also get the Glad baking paper, foil or plastic in bulk and cheaper than the supermarkets. It’s interesting to shop at Costco, we don’t go every week but generally once a month. Oh and I bought a huge bag of Birdseye frozen corn kernels there, I think it cost me about $7 – heaps cheaper than the smaller packets I usually buy and the freshest frozen corn ( doesn’t sound right I know! It’s frozen so it’s not fresh, but you know what I mean) I have ever eaten. Definitely a handy place to shop but you do need to keep a bit of a tally as you go so you don’t get carried away, it can be a little overwhelming and very tempting. I am not so keen on Costco baked goods but they look nice, and I think their fruit and veggies are often times dearer than elsewhere. Oops, sorry, I have almost written a blog post myself!

  4. You did better than me, I spent just over $700 on my first trip! Also knew to check prices and was very happy with purchases. I know I at least saved over $70 on all the things I bought. At $8 for 2 kg tub, jalna yoghurt was our winner that plus bagels…proper bagels!! Yum. Totally agree about pre party shopping, it would be perfect. Am going again tomorrow but not expecting to spend anywhere near as much!

    • oh wow!!!!!!! I’ll have to tell my husband that so he doesn’t think I overspent! I did love it and yes there were so many things I wanted like the yoghurt etc but hadn’t made space in the fridge!

  5. We go to Costco at least once a week. As a family of 6 living in Santa Barbara, California…well, it’s very expensive here and Costco is a lifesaver. My husband insists on all of us going (kids ages are 8, 5, 2 and 2 months). The kids adore it for the huge aisles and places to run and scream. The only thing is that if you see something you want at Costco and you debate over getting it, just get it. Things come and go there so quickly it’s crazy and then you kick yourself later.

    • if it was closer to me I would definitely go more often. Our stores are still fairly new and a bit busy but I could totally see my kids loving it. I’m going to take my hubby on our 2nd trip and hope it doesn’t scare him off:) :)

  6. Love Costco, it is a 6 hour return trip for us and usually spend up to $600 every three months and only buy what is needed on our weekly shop to the local supermarket. I have also been looking at the Olympus Camera OMD em 10. Just thought that I would let you know that TVSN has the OMD em 10 & 5. Highly considering getting one through them as you can do monthly payments. The em 10 comes with a case and memory card for $949. :-)

    • oh you would love the em-10! I didn’t do a price check to compare prices but does that include the twin lens kit too for the price? Someone asked how did it compare and I wasn’t sure. You wouldn’t regret that camera purchase:)
      and wow a 6 hour trip, I won’t complain about how far I travelled then:)

  7. Wow, it all looks huge and very overwhelming. I would probably need a whole day to get the full experience I think, haha. Don’t see that happening anytime soon though. I found this post very interesting Corrie, thanks for sharing. Had to smile that you fed bubs in the car before you drove home… I have had to do that quite a few times over the past couple of months, the things we need to do as Mama’s :) xo

    • it is huge! I wish they had a map first so I could have seen where to go and planned it out a little better.
      and yes feeding in the front is something I’m used to but in our van it’s a bit of a hike up to the front seat so lucky my little guy is tiny and I can do it easily:) :)

  8. The bagels are so good! And freeze really well! I also find the double bags of Abbots bread are great too. The 1.8kg bags Quinoa for $19, 900gm jars of raw organic cold pressed coconut oil for $13 are also a great bargain! I also recommend the Kirkland fabric softener, eggs, A2 milk and the 1kg of English spinach for $10! I have found that the Crossroads store does tend to have more items in stock as Auburn seems to sell out fast. Eg Crossroads has night nappies but I can never find them at Auburn.
    P.S the coffee frappe is delish!

  9. We first joined Cosco when on holidays in The States a few years ago, and was delighted when it came here. It still was a shock to see the prices here, big difference between here and the USA. I love their frozen Alaskan Salmon, it’s wild caught unlike most of the salmon sold here in Australia. We usually come home with a few book too :)

  10. We are soon to get our first Costco is Adelaide just around the corner from where I live so very exciting. I;m so glad you mentioned leaving kids at home as with 3 little ones shopping can be a nightmare

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