10 Must Buy Costco Items

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I have always loved shopping at Costco. It's true that sometimes you can go crazy and spend way more money than you intend to but there are a lot of products that are amazing deals and very high quality. I have especially noticed this since moving to California where grocery prices are through the roof.



These are a few of my favorite Costco finds.

Kirkland Multigrain Bread - This is my all time favorite bread. It is healthy yet soft and 100% whole grain. It is my favorite for for sandwiches or toast. This comes in a 2 pack for about $4.50 I keep one loaf in the fridge and toss the other in the freezer.

Vanilla Extract - I can always tell the difference in my baking when I use this product. It is a great price for being such a high quality product. Have I mentioned how amazing it smells? This is about $8 for a 16oz bottle compared to a lot of other brands that sell for about $5 for 2 oz.

TruRoots Organic Quinoa - The price of quinoa has sky rocketed in the last few years due to high demand but this is about $2 a pound less than any other retailer in my area. Most recently this sells for $5 a pound for a 4lb bag.

Pesto Sauce - This is a recent discovery of mine and I can't get over how yummy it is. It is perfect on a sandwich, mixed with pasta, added to pizza, or just on a piece of bread. Given my success rate of keeping basil plants alive this is a great bang for your buck. Previously I was buying basil plants for about $4 and they would always die within 2 weeks. At around $9 for this large bottle it is definitely going to last me a lot longer!

Kirkland Kitchen Garbage Bags - These last forever! There's nothing worse than running out of garbage bags so I love buying these 200ct boxes for around $18.

Vitamins/OTC Medicine - I always load up on vitamins and OTC drugs like ibuprofen here. These can be super expensive at many stores but can be found for about a penny per pill at Costco.

Rotisserie Chicken - It is a no brainer how delicious these are. There is so much meat and they taste much better than grocery store chickens in my opinion. I also love using the leftovers for chicken soup the next day!

Household Surface Wipes - I love the Kirkland brand since they are significantly cheaper than name brand but I haven't seen them lately. I love these since I just cannot use dish rags or sponges without getting grossed out so these are always a staple in our house.

Organic Spinach - I buy the 1lb box of spinach and go crazy for about a week putting spinach in everything and then freeze the leftovers for smoothies. I don't buy organic everything but try to go organic with leafy greens when I can. This is a great buy at around $3 a lb.

Milk - This is a no brainer. This is always significantly cheaper than other stores. My husband's favorite food is cereal so we go through a lot of milk!

Frozen Fruit- I go through a ton of this for green smoothies. Especially once the farmer's markets have ended and gone are the days of huge flats of berries for $5. Always delicious and great to have on hand during the winter months.

Like I said, these are just a few of our favorites.  It was hard to narrow it down to 10! What are your Costco favorites?

15 Things You Might Not Know About Me

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I saw my friends Laura and Elisabeth post about this and I thought it looked like fun so I am joining in on the fun!

1. I have terrible circulation. If I don't move my legs around or sit with my feet on the floor too long my feet turn purple.

2. I used to sleep with the radio on super loud next to my head when I was a teenager but now I like it to be super dark, cold, and quiet to sleep.

3.  I love cookies. I will pick a cookie over any other dessert.

4.  I hate driving. I will walk anywhere within a couple miles or if possible wait for Tim to get home so I don't have to drive.

5.  I hate getting in water where I can't touch the bottom. I feel like I'm not in control and it freaks me out. I'm guessing this is a result of having brothers who would sit on my shoulders when I was trying to swim when I was little. Being the only girl is rough guys.

6. I could hula hoop for hours if I wanted to. When I was little my "talent" was hula hooping while playing the flute.

7. When I was 12 my brother knocked out half my front tooth with a steel coiled dog leash. I found the other half of my tooth and brought it with me to the dentist. He temporarily glued it on and 12 years later it is still there. So don't ever hit me in the mouth or it might fall out ;-)


8. I get motion sick really easily. Ever since I was about 9 or 10 I haven't been able to even go on a swing set without tons of nausea.

9. I was in a rollover accident in college and walked away without a scratch.

10. About a year ago I was hit by a car while crossing the street as a pedestrian.  Now do you get why I hate driving? :)

11. My hair has been everything from jet black to super blonde. Luckily the blonde only lasted for a couple months.




12. I cannot wink. I have tried basically my whole life and I can never do it.

13. I cannot wear leggings or tights. They make me super claustrophobic. I am definitely all about comfort over fashion.

14. I haven't worn earrings in over 5 years.

15. I read magazines from back to front. Sometimes I do this with tests and assignments as well.

How To Do New York City On A Budget

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New York City is one of our favorite places to go. It also happens to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. Here are a few ways of my favorite ways to cut down on the expenses while visiting the big apple!


Flights
Keep an eye out for deals and check the competition! We have almost always been able to get free flights by using airline mileage points. This has probably saved us more money than anything. My next suggestion is to take a red eye flight if you can handle it. They're not the most fun thing but they are typically cheaper and it saves you an extra night in a hotel room! Once we get into town we typically check our bags at the hotel and either head over to Central Park or to the High Line to take quick nap. Or at least someone does. ;-)


Hotels
If you are anything like me you are only going to be using your hotel to sleep at night and will hardly be near it for the rest of the day. Hotel prices in Manhattan can be extremely expensive so if you don't anticipate spending much time in the hotel room I definitely recommend just going conservative. Always check to see if WiFi is extra if that is something you need. It is pretty much a toss up if a hotel will provide it or not. Also check about breakfast. A hotel may be a bit more expensive but offer free WiFi and a continental breakfast so it may save you money in the long run.

If you don't care about the details of the hotel go ahead and make a bid on Priceline. We have been able to get decent hotels after naming our own price this way and haven't regretted it! 



Transportation
From the Airport
I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is the very first one they make when arriving in the city. It can be super overwhelming to land at the airport and wonder how in the world you are going to get to Manhattan so they get in line with everyone else for a cab. If you want to save money purchase your Metro Card right off the bat outside the airport and hop on the bus that will connect you to the subway line.

MTA
MTA is the best and cheapest way to get around. A single ride is $2.50 so if you are going to be in the city longer than a day I would recommend getting the 7 day card which is $30. The rides add up quickly since sometimes you have to change trains jut to get to your destination.

Ride Share Services
Companies like Lyft and Uber are super popular right now and many offer your first ride complimentary.


Free Activities
Even though most things come with a price tag there are plenty of things to do during the day that are totally free. One of my favorite things to do is to pick an area of the city that I want to explore and jump on the Subway and just check out the neighborhood. I have definitely found some of my favorite places that way. Just use common sense so you don't end up in a sketchy neighborhood in the middle of the night.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Staten Island Ferry 
Free museum days
Window shop
People watch
Coney Island
Watch street performers
Central Park (Sometime's you might even catch a free concert in the park. One trip we happened to be walking through in the middle of an Ingrid Michaelson concert)
Governor's Island Ferry
Walk the High Line
New York public library
Explore college campuses
Live tapings of television or talk shows
The MET (While there is a recommended $25 entry fee this is just a recommendation. Pay what you can based on how long you will be staying. One of my favorite things to do is go up to the roof. It is one of the most amazing views of the city!)


Food
Food is a big priority on my list so I tend to splurge on this. You can always save money by packing a lunch or snacks around with you. Share a plate. You don't want to be taking leftovers with you so it makes more sense to either split a plate or order a smaller meal. There is nothing I hate more than wasting money on food I didn't finish. Never forget, there is always 99 cent pizza slices on every corner.


Broadway Shows
One of my favorite things to do while in the city is to see shows. This can end up being super expensive if you don't know the tricks to save some money. Before buying regular tickets online or at the box office always check and see if you can get discount tickets!

Lottery Tickets 

This is my favorite way to see shows! Look up the show you want to see online and see if they offer lottery tickets. There are generally 26 tickets and you can request one or two tickets. Make sure to bring your I.D and cash with you as many of them are cash only. Tickets range in price from $25-40 dollars.

Rush Tickets 

Rush tickets are tickets available on a first come first serve basis once the ticket office opens. Sometimes you do have to sit in line for a couple hours but it is usually first thing in the morning so you may as well bring breakfast with you and relax and plan out your day while sitting in line. 

TKTS

Another option is to head over to the TKTS booth. You can get reduced tickets. They aren't as great of a deal as rush or lottery but will still save you some money.