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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Warehouse Store vs Amazon vs FS

The New York Times has once again done us all a service: it ran an article comparing prices for non-food staples at Costco and Amazon along with some rumination on the value of your time, since Amazon delivers. The winner was Costco, but with time factored in, the writer opines that Amazon, via Subscribe and Save, may be the winner.

This is pretty useful, I guess. I've been using the Amazon more and more this year for food items. I've bought oatmeal for Miss Em.

Just the other day, I got quinoa for a little over $2.00/lb (that deal is expired, sadly) and I've sent Miss Em tea and other things.

But what of the items the NYT writer bought? Here's a partial list: My Costco list included the following: Huggies diapers, Tide powder, Bounty paper towels, Swiffer refills, Clorox wipes, Ziploc sandwich bags and enough Duracell batteries to power multiple electronic devices for many months.

There was also Dove soap, Lubriderm lotion, Tampax, Mach 3 Turbo razor blades and enough house brand ibuprofen to kill off hundreds of headaches, among other things.

Hmmmm. Well, I was a militant cloth diaper user, so I never was a regular buyer of the evil disposables. But I don't use more than a roll of paper towels/year (I use washable microfiber and terry). Ditto for Clorox wipes. As for the Tide, we all know, from my previous blog post and Funny About Money's comment on it, that we only need to use a tiny, tiny amount of detergent anyway, maybe 1/8 of the recommended amount.

As for the other stuff, I realize I mostly get the items from Walgreens or CVS, when they have a killer sale. Often, the stuff is free. It takes me about 5 minutes to peruse the weekly ads. The stores are within a miles of my house. I have so much stuff that I never NEED much of anything. In fact, I have 10 (free) toothpastes; about that much (free body wash), lots of (free) pain reliever, and so on. I got about a 6 month supply of toilet paper too. Lots of almost-free razors. And I don't even use coupons. The writer spends about $200plus on these items PER QUARTER. UGH. (Actually, I don't think that number reflects the cost of those evil diapers.)

So, my advice is to check out your drugstore, if one is nearby. And don't use so much environment-killing stuff, if you can help it.

So, yeah, I love the Amazon program, but mostly for food. And I wish I had a Costco, though mostly for cheese. As always, check your prices. And, as the article says, factor in your time.


Duchesse said...

I bought one Costco membership on the advice of a friend but found going there so dispiriting, never returned.I like to shop at neighbourhood chains for groceries and local butchers and fishmongers.

Liamsmom2 said...

Frugal, how do you get these necessities free from the drugstore?

Also, would love to read your opinion about BostonGalsOpenWallet's post about the rise and fall of the Simple Abundance woman Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--If I lived in Toronto or--oh bliss!--Montreal, I would have fun shopping in the small shops.

@Liamsmom--Check the ads. Walgreens and CVS frequently offer rebates that you can apply to other items: toothpaste for $2.99, with instant rebate coupon, which you can then apply to something else. You don't need to pay for the info. If you tell me your drugstore, I'll keep an eye out.

Just read the piece on Simple Abundance lady. Will digest and maybe write on it. Thanks!