Great ‘What to Buy at Costco & Makro’ Hunt

edited 28 April 2009 at 5:54PM in Shop but don't drop
1.9K replies 773.5K views


  • heppy23heppy23 Forumite
    478 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Makro member, I go to the Leeds one which isn't far from work.

    From memory these are things that are a lot cheaper:-

    • Washing powder
    • Dishwasher tablets
    • Baby wipes
    • Sweets (like the earlier poster if you are putting sweets in lunchboxes you can save a lot)
    • Fruit shoots for the kids (about £6 for 24!) - you can pay £1 for one when out!
    • soft drinks (bottle of diet coke more than a pound from garages/sandwich shop - about 40p from makro when you buy a case)
    There are some things that CAN be cheaper but you have to be careful:-

    • Nappies
    • Booze (got a good deal on champagne for my DDs christening but it's not so good for beers)
    Then there are also some things you can't get in normal shops:-

    • Chicken balti pies for my mum
    • Catering stuff like frozen chopped onion, veg, sandwich steak etc.
    You have to be VERY careful with the VAT - you think something looks OK then it's not so good with the VAT on top.
    You have to be careful with stocking up on things. I went through a phase of buying big bulk of foods, I got sick to death of weetabix.

    It's somewhere you can go in looking for a few things and come out spending £100s.

    If I had the storage room and a bigger freezer I would use it a lot more - probably get very organised and go more regularly and stagger stuff - i.e. buy a crate of bake beans then you don't need baked beans for 3 months etc.
  • edited 29 April 2009 at 7:28AM
    newleafnewleaf Forumite
    3.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker PPI Party Pooper
    edited 29 April 2009 at 7:28AM
    So do Costco do a day membership? How do you get this? Just turn up? Or is there a particular time of the week? And how much is it?

    Questions! Questions!
    No, they only do annual membership, either Trade or Individual. For Individual membership you have to work for one of the professions listed on their board - Any of the Public Services, Teacher, Chartered Accountant, Social Services etc. or work for a company that has Corporate membership. You need to take a payslip and proof of address (utility bill etc) to prove you are eligible for membership. Trade members need a letterhead or business bank account statement.
    You can get a day pass to look around, but you can't buy anything until you join. It's about £29 for Individual membership, for which you get a card for yourself and a second 'spouse' card, which you can actually give to anyone - so it's worth splitting the membership fee with a friend and having a card each. (I gave my second card to my in-laws). Your photo goes on the card, so you can't lend it to anyone else, and they issue it straight away so go prepared for having your photo taken ;). Individual members can only shop after midday during th eweek, and at weekends. Trade members can go any time.
    It's cash or debit card only. (There's a cash machine available if you find you have spent more than you expected!) We've found they can be inconsistent with the rules - on occasions they have insisted I pay with my own debit card, because the membership is in my name, on other occasions they have been happy for my husband to pay.
    I have been a member for about 4 years. We buy all our meat there, it's fantastic quality, but not cheap. Soap powder is always a good purchase, and often on offer with good discounts. Their paper goods - toilet rolls, kitchen paper etc are very good quality, and also their household linens & towels. Books are also often good value, they seem to have a lot of boxed sets which make nice presents, especially children's books. It is a good place to look for wedding presents etc, I have to say, I don't think Costco membership is strictly in the 'moneysaving' class - we have spent £300+ on every visit, so we only go every 3 months or so. They sell everything in huge sizes too, which I think can make you use more in the long run, and as has already been said, you need to account for the VAT. The prices are listed both with & without VAT, but the VAT inc. price is always in smaller print.
    Official DFW Nerd No 096 - Proud to have dealt with my debt!
  • Gillette Mach 3 razor blades are particularly good value. I can't remember the exact price, but you get 20 for a fraction of what they would cost on the high street.

    Loo rolls, Cat food (felix), bird seed, washing powder, chewing gum, shampoo/conditioner, Pizza are all good value too.

    I agree that the quality of the meet is fantastic no fat on them at all.
  • Have been a member for several years and it pays for itself. Friends and parents enjoy the experience too. I go with 2 girlfriends for a morning out each Oct when the Christmas stuff is in store. If you dont need things in bulk (e.g. 24 tins baked beans) its good to go with someone and share stuff.
    The meat is excellent quality and things like steak, joints etc much cheaper. The things that are staples on our list when we do go are Greek Yogurt, Apple Juice, batteries - agree re the Kirkland ones, dishwasher tablets, meat and cheese. The baked potatoes at £1.25 for lunch are amazing value. Where else can you get a warm lunch and drink for £2.50! Danish pastries are good and electricals. We had a tv which went wrong a week before the warranty ran out. The refund was at the current price and we got back more than we paid after 3 years of use?!!!
    They also recalled a product, a slow cooker, 2 years after purchase and refunded it.
    Do allow plenty of time to have a good look round and be prepared to come away with things you didn't know you wanted....
    I keeping my fingers crossed that they get planning permission for one in Coventry to save me going to Birmingham although Tesco might not agree.
  • ferf1223ferf1223 Forumite
    8.9K Posts
    We get our membership fee back in the savings on cat litter and contact solution alone, both are at least double the price at our Sainsbury's.

    Also always buy the toilet roll and kitchen roll when they're on offer - glad we have a good sized shed to store it in.

    Other things that we always keep in stock in our house:

    Sweet Chili Dip - 2 massive bottles that last ages, much cheaper than buying at the regular supermarket

    Cardini's Caesar Salad Dressing - big bottle again, but we use loads as marinade for grilled chicken and prawns in the summer...way cheaper than supermarket for several smaller bottles.

    Washing up liquid if it's on special - 6 gigantic bottles of the green washing up liquid.

    Bold 2-in-1 laundry tablets - there's 150something in a box so lasts us ages, again, we buy them when they're on special.

    Gum...find that buying a pack of 24 or 30 packs works out much less than buying the odds one at the news agent - nice to have on hand.

    If they have it in the candy section (they don't always) - Almond Roca - it's one my favorites (I'm American) and costs an absolute fortune if you buy it from one of the American speciality shops.

    The frozen chicken nuggets are really good too - not reformed rubbish, proper pieces of chicken and they're massive.

    The pineapples that they sell there always seem to be way better than any others I've found too.

    josey1964 - thanks for the comment on the granola bars - 1.5 points sounds pretty good to me - may have to check them out!
    Does remembering a time that a certain degree of personal responsibility was more or less standard means that I am officially old?
  • ferf1223ferf1223 Forumite
    8.9K Posts
    oh ! I did forget about Christmas stuff.

    I always go and get a box of the gift bags, box of the cards, thing of the pretty tissue paper...and people rave about how pretty all our packages and cards are every year...the cards and gift bags are soooo much nicer than what you can get in the shops and so much less money.

    The regular non-Christmas boxes of handmade cards are great too - and usually work out to less than £0.50 per card - for really nice ones.
    Does remembering a time that a certain degree of personal responsibility was more or less standard means that I am officially old?
  • brownfrogbrownfrog Forumite
    189 Posts
    Saint_Nick wrote: »
    Makro was the place to be 20 years ago but now unless things are on offer in the Makro Mail (toilet roll, kitchen roll etc) it is a waste of time. You must know the price of things if you are going there or you could get stung.

    The sweets are still good value though

    Agree. Makro used to be cheaper than many places, but then Aldi and Lidl arrived, and with the discount brands available in so many supermarkets as a response, it's just not competitive on many things any more. The packaging size can be a bit deceptive - you really do need to have things priced up beforehand per gram or per tablet, or whatever to compare properly. Even the things in the Makro Mail aren't always that great any longer, and certainly as the above post says, unless it's stuff you really can buy in bulk (loo/kitchen roll as above, their own-brand teabags, huge sacks of rice), it's not really worth it unless you live nearby and can just pop in.
  • tabathtabath Forumite
    490 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    The packs of wrappping paper work out cheaper than anywhere else.icludes birthday and xmas types
    Starting MB- looking for Raf offers.

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  • jeffwjeffw Forumite
    1 Post
    I have been a member of Costco for 4 years and thankfully it is only a couple of minutes down the road. I have noticed their prices fluctuate, sometimes a deal today is gone tomorrow, so grab it when you see it.
    Things I recommend and buy :
    Mature Cheddar Cheese : approx £4.79 kilo (cheaper than tesco value cheddar),
    Grated Mozzarella is excellent value, 1.5k for £3.89, 250g was £1.44 in tesco, Babybels fluctuate but I have bought a bag of 24 for £2.47.
    Twin packs of Multigrain bread, £1.89, cakes/all bakery products are superb value/quality.
    Wines are very competitively priced with many bargains to be found. Sugar as someone asked was 56p a kilo the other day, but you have to buy 15 bags (we split it with friends/family).
    2x1 litre Lemon Juice about £2.99.
    Branston beans worked out at 25p a tin (4x6pk) same as the offers in the supermarkets 4 for a £1.
    Olive Oil 5l for £12.80ish (£15'ish usually) when vouchers are available, although the other week I noticed it was less than a tenner, not on offer.
    Their meat is not expensive au contrare to other peoples comments.
    It is of high quality and either the same or less than Tescos per kilo price.
    Their mince is steak mince, on offer twice a year and the same price as tescos own standard mince. Their joints are superb.
    Expensive only because you have to buy a 2k-3k joint at £20-£30 instead of 500g for £5. Cut it up and freeze it.
    Electricals are always quality brands, sometimes cheaper than other stores unbranded products.
    The only thing you need to be careful of is not to get carried away and know what your usual supermarket/stores charge. You will find loads of bargains and higher quality meat/produce at the same or lower price than elsewhere.
    Oh, I haven't mentioned their sausages (95% pork) cheaper than Tesco finest. Their ham, bacon, fish fingers.... You get the idea.
    Hope this helps.
  • PhoolgrrrlPhoolgrrrl Forumite
    685 Posts
    i use Makro for toilet rolls when ever they are in the makro mail on offer, got enought triple velvet at in jan for the year! Also good for fancy cheeses and choc bars, not essentials but cheaper than in supermarkets. the off licence is great for choice ,it sells brothers cider, the only place I've seen it in NI! Used to only be able to get it at glasto :)
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