10/06/16 1:00pm
Are you in den-aisle about how much you're saving? via Brigitte / Flickr

Are you in den-aisle about how much you’re saving? via Brigitte / Flickr

The beauty of living in New York City is having almost anything you need at your fingertips whenever you need. I could take out my phone right now and order bahn mi, batteries and an eighth of sativa delivered to my door. But where cost is concerned, convenience is cruel. We don’t have the sort of expendable income to be throwing away our cash haphazardly.

Since we’re too busy paddle boarding the Gowanus Canal, cuddling kittens and confronting our inner demons to make a career out of extreme couponing or schlepping to the Costco, locating in Sunset Park off the 36th Street R stop, we usually end up shelling out the extra few cents and dollars here and there.

But how much would you actually save by going to Costco? Is it worth the train ride there and back and the membership fee to get those sweet bulk prices? We conducted a comparative shopping test of a grocery store (Key Food), a bodega and Costco, all in Sunset Park. Keep in mind that prices are going to vary depending on your neighborhood, weekly specials and bodega of choice. But if you’ve ever wondered whether you were wasting money buying toilet paper one roll at a time at the corner store, maybe this will help ease your inner Suze Orman. (more…)

02/09/16 2:35pm
All this Costco cheese, whenever you please. Via Yelp.

All this Costco cheese, whenever you please. Via Yelp.

Hello and welcome to weekly lifehacks, a recurring series where we share a simple tip on how to make your life just a little bit easier (and we promise not to overuse the word “hack”). 

For city kids, Costco exists only in rumors. Tales of its bounty make it sound like the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, except instead of priceless treasures it’s filled floor to ceiling with bulk paper towels and cheap family sized jugs of peanut butter, discounted beer and jars of olive oil big enough to fry the world’s largest latke. It’s a discount fortress only accessible by car (the Brooklyn store is located in Sunset Park, under the BQE) and the admission fee is steep: You have to be a member to get in, and memberships alone costs $55 a year. But there is one trick that lets you get Costco items without a membership, and without having to find a ride there either. (more…)

05/07/12 12:04pm

The scene at the Los Angeles sale. Image courtesy of Racked/LA.

I know we’re not supposed to shop at flash sale sites, but very occasionally way too often, we do. Call it a little addiction borne of too much time online and too few moments of breathless excitement elsewhere during the day. So into today’s inbox pops an invitation to Gilt Groupe’s warehouse sale May 18 – 20, featuring the normal Gilt merch “at prices that are even better than you’ll find online.” So far so good. But wait. They’re charging admission! Whoa. What is this, Costco? (more…)

08/09/11 7:30am

We'll be brief: buying a 9-pack saves you dough. Photos by Aulistar Mark.

Underwear. All men have been forced to throw a pair in the trash due to the waistband wearing out, holes becoming too big for comfort, or the skid marks too deep for even Oxiclean to get white again. For men with a particularly active crotch lifestyle, you can’t be bothered to go shopping every time a pair goes kaput. The answer: economies of scale! I traveled around Brooklyn on a quest to find a discount underwear goldmine. (more…)

11/15/10 9:50am
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A ShopRite steal

It’s that time of year again, when the subway becomes a moving, underground Petri dish and every headache is just a warm-up for the Flu. If you’re uninsured, you’re probably resigned to the age-old combo of Emergen-C and chicken soup. And you lucky few, the insured, you probably think you’re sitting pretty. (A co-pay’s a co-pay, right?) Well… here’s the dirty little secret of the prescription-filling world: Drugs can cost less without insurance. You could be paying that rock-steady $25 co-pay all for a scrip that’s $4-a-month without your fancy PPO. We were recently hit with this startling fact and wondered just how much pill prices can vary without the insurance card. (more…)

04/27/10 5:04pm
walmart

Falling prices landing soon?

Like professional soccer, Budweiser American Ale and turning off your car alarm, megaultrahyper retailer Walmart has never really caught on in New York City. But don’t think they’re sitting there in Arkansas saying to themselves: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Target Town.” News came out this week that Walmart is planning yet another New York City invasion, and this time they could land on the shores of Jamaica Bay at the new Gateway II shopping center, reports Crain’s New York.

Walmart (whose total square footage of its stores is larger than Manhattan, btw) has attempted a few other incursions into the city before. But every time they try to crack the city, community and labor groups rise up in protest and block the way. Community leaders in Jamaica Bay are already vowing a fight too, but maybe they should save their energy. Because even if Walmart does come to Brooklyn, that doesn’t mean Brooklyn will come to Walmart. (more…)

09/21/09 12:41pm
Costco photo by Gene Jackson.

Costco photo by Gene Jackson.

Is it possible to go to Costco without wondering: Is this really worth it? The crowds, the Zipcar  to Third Avenue and 38th Street, the existential despair of seeing your future in jumbo-sized cereal boxes, the inevitable 12-pound bag of frozen salmon filets you’ll never get through, the paradox of spending more to make sure you get your $50 membership’s worth.

That annual fee, of course, is the biggest question of all. Brooklyn College finance professor Charles Stone estimates that Costco prices have traditionally been roughly 10 percent less than average retail, which means you’d have to spend at least $500 a year to make your $50 back. For some people, that’s not hard to do, what with all the crap they wind up buying while they’re there.

But it just so happens that Target has rolled out a new line of “value basics” called Up & Up, which seems like a direct strike against Costco’s store brand, Kirkland. How do the two compare? (more…)