Costco Hot Dog Cost Me $61.99

by Scott on September 4, 2008

Kenneth Cole Pink ladies watch
photo credit: The Passive Dad
Today I was fortunate to have the grandparents come along for my Costco trip and assist with the kids while I did some shopping. I had my list, but also enjoyed having some guy time with grandpa and drooling over the new blue-ray dvd players. Prices are coming down and Costco had a Samsung, Sony, and Phillips blue-ray all for around $380. Still no reason to purchase one as the expense is not in the blue ray, but in the discs. I can imagine all of a sudden having the desire to watch Disney movies in blue ray. Not a real good use of savings right now.
I bought the usual boring items like milk, cereal, bread, and some batteries. My son loves the Costco hot dogs, so we decided to order some pizza and hot dogs and have lunch inside with grandma and grandpa. Since I’m usually knee deep in ketchup trying to catch falling hot dogs and wiping messy faces, I had some time to look around for a change. This must be what Costco wants to happen. In fact, they should offer to have employees feed your kids because I’m sure this would increase sales. I actually had time to look around and see what people had bought. Some guys had the boxes ripped open for some new cell phone or itouch and was reading the manual. Another lady was looking at her brand new purse that she just bought. When I looked at the purse, I also caught a glimpse of her watch. My light bulb went off and I remembered that my wife wanted a new watch as her last one was broken. The a-ha moment!
Since the kids were content with ketchup drenched hot dogs, I had time to go over to the jewelry case. Typically this case is never seen by myself or my wife as we are headed quickly to the back of the store. Today, I could look at all the ladies watches and find one that would fit her style and price range. Unbelievable how many gorgeous watches they have at Costco. I mean, my typical purchase is dog food and milk. Now I’m looking at Tag Heuer, a Bulova, and a Movado that range from $500 to $3,000. Wow! Further down they had some everyday practical watches that you wouldn’t feel bad about banging or having the dog scratch the glass. I settled on a pink Kenneth Cole watch that looked like something she would wear. If not, she can take it back and buy 30 hot dogs. Next time your eating your hot dog at Costco, be sure to just stare straight ahead and don’t look into another persons shopping basket. It could cost you $61.99 or more. Has this happened to you? I guess eating lunch or dinner in a mall could be just as dangerous.

Fortunately, the watch was a planned expense as my wife has been looking several weeks for a replacement and $61.99 was in our budget. This would have made a great Christmas present, but since she probably needs a watch before then she might get a nice surprise tonight. Do you have a category for watches or other personal items on your family budget?

The $61.99 hot dog could have cost a lot more if I had used a credit card with a balance. I would have broken my first rule of debt elimination if I had a card with any balance. In fact you could argue that I shouldn’t have had a hot dog in the first place if I had any type of CC balance.

Has the $1.50 Costco hot dog cost you $61.99 or more? I’d love to hear your story.

Also, check out these other great blog posts I found interesting about saving money at Costco and Costco discounts:

Money Saving Tip: Excellent Presents from Costco
I Figured Out A Way To Use ANY Credit Card At Costco (As They Only Accept AMEX Now)!
Shopping at Costco the Frugal Way
Buy Costco Gas Without Costco Membership
Wanna Save Money at Costco?

Another Way to Save Money At Costco
Is Costco Executive Membership Worth It?
Costco: Good Value for the Money, but Not Frugal
Does Your Costco Card Really Save You Money?
Retraction: Costco Doesn’t Save Me Money

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dana September 4, 2008 at 8:17 am

I just read your comment on squawkfox… you spent $2300 at starbucks! WOW!

2 Scott September 4, 2008 at 3:10 pm

@ Dana

Yes, it was a lot of money and for several years. The key now is to move that money into a passive investment and have the $2300 start earning money. The Starbucks was only building calories and not income.

3 hank September 4, 2008 at 3:52 pm

I think the $1.50 hot dog has cost me similar to your Starbucks addiction. I have 2 kids, and they both want hotdogs, and I dig the pizza and churros. So tack that on to the once a month trip and we’re spending about 300 on Costco food per month. So each time I go is more than I’ve budgeted for… Maybe I need to rework my budget… :)

4 asithi September 4, 2008 at 4:28 pm

My last trip to Cost Plus. I wanted to buy $6 worth of tea, ended spending $27 on tea and another $23 on miscellaneous sauces (all because I have a coupon for $10 off of $50). Urghh! What a sucker! Of course, everything taste great, but I would not have missed not making these purchases.

By the way, thanks for commenting on my blog. In case you do not stop by for my response to your comment, here it is:

“According to a Canadian government study*, the highest gross margin items are in-store bakeries, with 51.2%. Second are prepared foods, yielding a 50.3% gross margin.

The lowest profit margin item is milk. Milk is often priced as a loss leader since customers usually come in looking for this product.

For a restaurant, the highest profit margin is the drinks. I have family that owns a restaurant and they tell me that the fountain soda cost about 15 cents, but they charge $2.50 for each soda. And a lot of restaurants still do not offer free re-fills on their drinks.

Thanks for commenting Scott.

*Canada Agri-Food Trade Service, “Overview of the Retail Grocery Market in the U.S. Pacific Southwest”
(December, 1997)”

5 Scott September 6, 2008 at 1:43 pm

@ Hank I’ve got to try the churros next time. But I think I’ll get them for the car so I won’t be tempted to buy anything more expensive.

@ Asithi With margins over 50%, Costco must be making a ton of money from all the baked goods and hot dogs they sell. It’s probably the most profitable hot dog cart in town:)

6 Momma October 13, 2008 at 7:12 am

This is too funny. I love Costco, but only go alone. My husband is the reason they made EndCaps. If it’s bright and shiney, he asks if we need it.

7 fwp October 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm

i too have a weakness for the costco hotdogs, and also their frozen yogurts. alas!

i used to categorize items as you mention into a ‘gifts’ category. other personal items would depend on what they would be, exactly. there was a separate category for ‘personal hygiene’, for instance.

i no longer have this setup due to the fact that i am attempting to move away from a hard core budgeting system. now i simply have: 1) savings; 2) bills; and if anything is leftover, 3) everything else (in that order).

kudos for not putting that watch on credit! i have not been using a credit card for day to day use in a month or two now. it can be a habit pretty easily (using cash, debit card instead).

fortunately, the SO and i have not yet purchased anything that wasn’t already on our shopping list at costco.

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