Costco

Our Costco haulCostco Sydney
Last month Costco finally opened their first Sydney store, and pretty much the whole city went nuts. There are no other warehouse-type stores here (unless you count IKEA), so there was massive interest. We never had Costco in Indiana; instead we had The Wholesale Club and then Sam’s Club. They’re all basically the same though. The Snook and I were curious to see whether Costco’s prices would justify us schlepping out there in the GoGet car. There aren’t any prices on the Australian website, so the only way to find out was to go there ourselves. We signed up for a business membership online (hooray for having an ABN – saved us $5) and then headed out there Sunday morning. We got there about 10:15am… and there was already a queue of hundreds of people stretching through the parking garage. Wow. Luckily the line moved pretty quickly and we soon found ourselves at the entrance. We were able to get photographed and pick up our cards in less than 10 minutes. (The counter where people were signing up from scratch looked like it would take a LOT longer.) And then we were in! And it was CROWDED.

The store was just like the warehouse stores I remember from the States. We managed about 2 hours in there before we both started to go crazy. We didn’t actually buy that much; we don’t really have the room for perishables right now so we stuck to things we knew we could stash in the pantry. Mostly we just took photos of prices on things so we could compare back at home. They had a number of American products that I’ve never seen before in Australia, so that was pretty exciting. (Monterey Jack cheese! I haven’t had it in 10 years!!) They also had quite a lot of their Kirkland home brand range. As expected though, they’ve really only got a couple of options for any given product category. Some stuff we could tell was a really good deal; others we weren’t so sure of. Our fellow shoppers certainly looked to be taking advantage! The queue to the checkout was long but it moved quickly. By the time we left the store just after noon, police had blocked off the entrance to the full parking garage and were directing people to park at the shopping center across the road. So if you go on a Sunday, best get there early!

Now for the fun part: our price comparison. This was originally for our benefit, but I figure I might as well put it out there for future googlers. We basically just took photos of things that we thought we might actually buy. (Keep in mind that we eat a fairly low-carb diet; hence the lack of sugary, bready stuff.) Then we looked up those items online to see what they sell for elsewhere. For grocery items, I just compared to Coles and Woolworths online prices. (You may be able to get those items cheaper in the suburbs or with coupons, but I’d likely be paying premium at my inner city supermarket anyway so I just went with that.) Overall I was happy to see that just about everything was significantly cheaper at Costco. (Yay! Means we might be able to recoup our membership fee.) Read on if you want to find out whether you should make a trip out there too.The stuff we actually bought:

  • Melamine Bowl Set of 4 with Lids – $23.39. There’s no brand name for me to compare elsewhere, so I can’t say objectively if these were a good deal. I think they were though. They’re big and bright and colourful; and they all have fitted lids and a rubber ring on the bottom. I’ve been wanting some melamine mixing bowls for ages so these made me very happy!
  • Polder Slim Digital Kitchen Scale – $23.69. Our old kitchen scale was busted, and all the nice ones I’d seen for sale here were over $40. Even this one is $30 on Amazon. Great deal! I’ve used it several times already.
  • Snapware Glasslock 18pc Set – $31.99. I just about fell over when I saw these. The Snook bitches about us taking our lunches in plastic containers All. The. Time. I’d investigated getting glass containers with lids, but they were $10 EACH at Kmart Broadway. These work out to $3.55 each. The Snaplock are highly regarded, and you can’t beat the price. We’ve used these every day this week. Excellent deal.
  • Solenatura Diced Tomatoes – 12 x 400g cans – $6.69 – 56c per can. Good deal – Woolies generic brand is 74c per can; Coles generic is 69c per can.
  • Kosher Vlasic Dill pickles – 1.8L – $4.69. I’ve never been able to get Vlasic pickles in Australia before! These are the big crunchy American pickles of my dreams. Coles has much smaller jar of crappy dill pickles for $3.20; Woolies is same price.
  • Kirkland Canadian Maple Syrup – 946ml – $15.89 – $1.68/100ml. Fantastic deal – Coles has it for $3.83/100ml; Woolies has some for $2.14/100ml and others for $4/100ml.
  • Kirkland Signature Organic Peanut Butter 794g – $5.59 – 70c per 100g. This is the good stuff: no added sugar and you have to stir it up because it separates. Good deal – Woolies has Macro Organic PB for $1.43/100g; Coles doesn’t list any organic.
  • Kirkland Organic Salsa – 2 x 1.08kg bottles – $8.99 – 42c/100g. Fantastic deal – Coles has Old El Paso for $1.18/100g and home brand for 71c/100g; Woolies has Old El Paso for $1.23/100g and home brand for 78c/100g.

The stuff we didn’t buy but might next time:

  • Beef Tenderloin Whole – Vacuum Packed – Product of Australia – $26.99/kg. Possibly good deal – Snook thinks you’d pay more than this in bulk at somewhere like Glenmore, but you’d need to check the quality. We picked up a cheap whole scotch fillet at Harris Farm recently that was tough and tasteless. Costco meat quality in the US is highly regarded, so it’s worth a shot.
  • Pork Belly Strips Boneless Rindless – Product of Australia – $9.99/kg. Can’t find comparable product online.
  • Pork Belly Whole – Product of Australia – $8.99/kg. Good deal – Coles has for $12.50/kg.
  • Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Regiano matured 24 months = $31.99/kg. Good deal – Coles has for $49-58/kg; Woolies for $45/kg
  • Luv-A-Duck Duck Fat 330g – $4.89. Good deal – Coles has for $5.95. Woolies doesn’t list.
  • Beechworth Pure Honey 2 x 1.5kg tubs – $19.99. Good deal – Coles sells a single 1.5kg tub for $13.36; Woolies is $13.75.
  • Speedy Berry (frozen) Raspberries 1kg – $6.89. Good deal – Coles has ranging from $10-18.50/kg; Woolies has $17-19/kg.
  • Borg’s Puff Pastry Sheets 1.7kg – $4.39 – 26c per 100g. Good deal – Coles has cheapest for 43c per 100g; Woolies has Borg’s for 34c per 100g
  • Johnny’s Ranch Dressing 1.4L – $9.29 – $6.64/L. Ranch dressing is hard to find in Australia! Good deal – Coles has for Newman’s Own for $17.90/L; Woolies has two kinds for $10/L and $18.60/L.
  • Kirkland Signature Whole Almonds 1.36kg – $12.49 = $9.18/kg. Possibly good deal – http://thenutman.com.au/ sells raw for $14/kg and roasted $18/kg; Coles has generic brand for $15.97/kg; Woolies has for $20+/kg. (Need to check bulk prices.)
  • Kirkland Signature Pecan Halves 908g – $18.99 = $20.91/kg. Possibly good deal – http://thenutman.com.au/ sells $30/kg. Coles has for $27/kg; Woolies has for $26/kg. (Need to check bulk prices.)
  • Maille Dijon Mustard 865g – $8.39. Good deal – Coles sells 215g for $3.77, so 4 x 215g = 860g for $15.08. Woolies is even more for that size jar ($3.86).
  • Strawberries – 1kg – $9.99. Good deal – Coles has fresh strawberries for $11.92/kg; Woolies is same price.
  • Cucina Chickpeas 12 x 400g cans – $8.69 – 72c per can. Good deal – Coles cheapest is $1.07/can (on sale now at 80c/can)
  • Kirkland Signature California Pistachios 1.36kg – $19.79 = $14.55/kg. Possibly good deal – http://thenutman.com.au/ sells for $25/kg. Coles has for $24.58/kg; Woolies has for $25.31/kg. (Need to check bulk prices.)
  • Kirkland Signature Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts 680g – $17.99 = $26.46/kg. Possibly good deal – http://thenutman.com.au/ sells for $32/kg. Coles has for $37.09/kg; Woolies cheapest for $32.69/kg.
  • Glad Wrap 600m x 45cm – $23.99 – 4c per meter. Good deal – Coles and Woolies both have cheapest price as 7c per meter.
  • Western Star Butter 1.5kg – $9.99 – $6.66/kg. I actually did a double-take at these humongous, oversized blocks of butter! Good deal – Coles sells for $10-11.60/kg; Woolies has for $10/kg.
  • Skippy Peanut Butter 1.36kg – $5.69 – 42c per 100g. I’ve never seen Skippy for sale in Australia before! Good deal – Coles has generic PB for 60c/100g; Woolies has generic for 57c. All name brands more expensive.
  • Kirkland Signature Monterey Jack Cheese 907g – $6.29/kg. Never seen it anywhere else in Australia EVER!
  • Mainland Tasty Cheese Block 2kg – $21.39 – $10.70/kg. Good deal – Coles has for $13.90/kg; Woolies has for $13.75/kg.
  • Kirkland Signature Raw Pine Nuts 680g – $27.98 – $41.15/kg. Good deal – Coles cheapest are $55.92/kg; Woolies cheapest are $53.20.
  • Queen Vanilla Bean Paste 320g – $24.39 – $7.62/100g. Good deal – Coles has it for $16.45/100g; Woolies has it for $16.52/100g.
  • Head & Shoulders Shampoo 2 x 750ml bottles – $22.99 – $11.50 each. Good deal – Coles has a single 750ml bottle for $17.11; Wooles for $17.19.
  • Kraft Vegemite 950g tub – $11.49 – $1.20/100g. Good deal – Coles has for $1.44/100g; Woolies is same price.
  • Ivory Bath Bar 16 x 127g bars – $7.99. Good deal – hard to find in Australia – this site has 16 for $9.99.
  • Herbal Essences Shampoo (or Conditioner) 3 x 400ml bottles – $14.99 – $5 per bottle. Good deal – Coles sells 300ml bottle for $6.58, 400ml bottle for $7.48. Woolies has 300ml for $6.44.
  • Pantene Shampoo (or Conditioner) 1.2L – $15.79 – $1.32 per 100ml. Good deal – Coles biggest bottles work out around $2.14/100ml; Woolies are around $2.42/100ml.
  • Opti-free Replenish Contact Lens Solution – Economy Pack 300ml + 120ml (and free case) – $12.99 – $3.09 per 100ml. Good deal – Optometrist charges $29 for 2 x 300ml + 120ml (with 2 cases) which is $4.03 per 100ml.
  • Finish Quantum Powerball Dishwasher Tablets 3 x 30ct boxes – $39.99 – 44c per tablet. Good deal – Coles normally has for 80-86c per tablet (on sale now for 50c per tablet). Woolies normally has for 81-86c per table (on sale now for 59c per tablet).
  • Kleenex Cottonelle Toilet Tissue 60 x 190sheet rolls – $26.99 – 45c per roll. Good deal – Coles normally sells for 74c per roll (on sale now for 58c); Woolies normally sells for 76c per roll (on sale now for 42c per roll) – might be unwieldy to store 60 rolls of TP though!!
  • Janome Overlocker 8002DX – $314.99. Good deal – listed at $799 on Janome’s site (PULL THE OTHER ONE, JANOME), but selling for $399 from all retailers I could find.
  • Riedel Vinum Shiraz glasses – set of 4 – $74.99. Great deal – prices from online retailers ran from $115 – $180.

Stuff we will probably NOT be buying anytime soon:

  • Steggles Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – “Saddle Pack” – Product of Australia – $10.79/kg. Not a great deal – Coles deli has for $10.90/kg, and you can often get cheaper on sale or from Lenards or Harris Farm. Woolworths is $15.50/kg though.
  • Pork Spare Ribs – Product of Australia – $13.99/kg. Not a great deal – Coles has for $13/kg. Woolies has for $15.47/kg.
  • Kirkland Signature Whole Fancy Cashews 1.13kg – $21.99 = $19.46. Not a great deal – http://thenutman.com.au/ sells for $17/kg. Coles has for $19.02/kg; Woolies has for $19.97/kg. (Need to check bulk prices though.)

Incidentally, if any of my Sydney friends want to go out there on some weekend, if you provide the transport I can do the purchasing! (You have to be a member to buy anything.)

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3 Comments

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  1. Thanks for doing that. We tried to go at probably about the same time as you (Sunday morning around 10:15 or so), and were put off by the queues so turned around and went home again without going in. We think we’ll try again in another month or two during the week. Good to know that the prices are worth it.

  2. The pork ribs are probably a better deal than this comparison shows. The ribs at Coles and the butcher at Broadway are trimmed right down, with the only real meat being between the bones. The Costco racks had a nice layer of meat on the outside maybe 1-2cm thick.

  3. We live quite close, so if you ever need transport and want to go, give me a call. I can pick you up from a train station, take you there, and drop you home – I think I need to check it out in person before I commit to a membership, so it would be great for me.

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