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baby’s first costco trip

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(In case you are curious, I say it like the first green one.)

There are a lot of great things about where we used to live, but one thing that wasn’t so great about Bloomington was that it was a little isolated. Not, Into the Wild kind of isolated (side note: Emile Hirsch is Babyface’s doppelgänger), but definitely far enough away from any major cities to make certain luxuries inaccessible.

Now, even though we live in a much, much smaller town (read: population of 1400) we are actually much, much closer to all the amenities of the big city. We’re a hop, skip and a big jump over the Ohio River away from Louisville, Kentucky. Which has pretty much everything a girl could ask for, including a Trader Joe’s and a Costco.

Babyface and I set out to the Big City on Friday to stock up on low-cost foods from both TJ’s and Costco. We’d only been to Trader Joe’s once before (and it was a small, small store in Chicago) and had never hit up a Costco before. It was definitely an experience.

We hit up TJ’s first and, let me tell you, I went crazypants. Crazy. Pants. We dropped over $200 and I don’t regret a single penny of that! I’m guessing most of you already know the joy that is TJ’s, but this was really my first time shopping there for realsies.

Things that had me the most gobsmacked were cheap as hell organic cherries, cheap as hell whole wheat pizza dough and the insane selection of dark chocolate covered things.

We were also really stoked to find some all natural turkey jerky, which we noshed on in the car as we made the 15 minute trek out to Costco. Jerky gets a bad rap because of the yucky, processed, chemical-filled kind found at gas stations. But if you can find all natural stuff, it’s actually a really amazing, low-calorie, high-protein snack. And yummy dipped in hummus. Which is what we did the whole way to Costco.

I’m not sure I was really prepared for the amazingness that is Costco. I mean, I knew what I was getting into with TJ’s, but Costco almost blindsided me (read: we spent the same amount as our car payment).

There were so many organic, all natural and healthy options for so incredibly cheap. Like a giant bag of organic quinoa for $9 (which we bought)! Or this amazing 72 ounce bag of chocolate chips (which we, sadly, did not buy). I want to live in this yellow bag.

It took a while to adjust to the massive bulk shopping concept. I’ve never done much bulk shopping—I’ve only been to one or two shopping warehouses—so it took a while to grasp that, oh wait, everything is huge. Even the stuffed animals.

Thankfully we have a ton of storage in our house, because we needed it after unloading this cartful.

Overall, I’d say our trips to both stores were super successful! Because it does take 30-45 minutes to get to them, I’d say it’s a once-a-month kind of deal, but it’s nice to have some really good options within driving distance.

What’s your favorite item to buy at either Trader Joe’s or Costco?


Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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52 Responses
  1. oooh, one more thing about costco: make sure you’ve signed up to get the monthly coupons books in the mail! it will save you TONS if you’re strategic about when you buy/stock up on certain things. For instance, I think those giant boxes of ziploc freezer bags you snagged were like $4 off last month!

    1. Cassie

      I got the coupon book in the mail the NEXT DAY after we went! I was so bummed! But I’ll know for the next time. 🙂

  2. Susanna

    I have never been to a TJ’s I have begged via email to them. No dice thus far. Living in the NOLA metro area we don’t always get the other chains from the rest of the country. We are getting our first COSTCO to open next year downtown though. We do however have a few Sam’s so I’m well acquainted with warehouse shopping. Great finds though!

    Btw top left red pronunciation but I didn’t grow up there my Dad did.

  3. I used to live in Louisville – LOVE that city!

    I have a Trader Joe’s semi-near me now. It’s about 20 minutes away, so it’s hard to justify the drive *just* to visit TJ’s. But I always stop in if I’m in the area. Last time I was there, I found a package of pre-cooked salmon in the refrigerated section. Just microwave and eat. It was fantastically easy to throw on salads, etc.

  4. I only live a short distance from CostCo so it’s more convenient for me, but I will go there just to buy the organic eggs and salad greens. I can get two dozen eggs and a 1lb package of salad greens for the same price I would pay for half the amount at any other store.

    Other things I love –
    – the garlic infused olive oil (available sporadically from both TJ’s and CostCo)
    – the giant blocks of Cabot sharp cheddar and the Cabot snackers from CostCo
    – the awesome selection of beers at Trader Joe’s and the ability to build your own six pack. Also, as someone else mentioned, their house beer and wine are great for cooking!
    -the seaweed snacks at TJ’s are growing on me

  5. Trader Joe’s just cannot come to southwest Florida soon enough! Rumor has it that a TJ’s will be opening in Sarasota by the end of the year. I hope that’s true! I will gladly drive an hour to shop there!

    I recently went to a Costco for the first time ever. I bought SO MANY GREENS (but too many, because I couldn’t finish them before I went out of town). I was impressed with the quinoa and Medjool dates. Great deals!

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