Was Buying Our Halloween Candy At Costco A Good Deal?

We realized last year that we need quite a bit of Halloween candy.  Fall camping at many campgrounds in Michigan means that they set things up for Halloween, with campers decorating their RVs and campsites.  There are Halloween based activities for the kids, and of course trick or treating.

Least year was our first time at the nearby park, and we realized quickly how big this was.  We took about 9 bags of candy and it was gone in a flash.  Our kids came back with an enormous haul, which let us pretty much have enough to hand back out on the actual Halloween back at our house.

This past weekend was our planned trip, and this time we decided to be more prepared.  We doubled our purchase of candy, getting the equivalent of 18 bags.  I say equivalent because we bought it from Costco, where the bag sizes (like everything else) is bigger.  Much bigger.  We purchased two bags, each roughly 90 ounces.  One bag had candy based around chocolate, and the other was more the sugary sweet candy.

I decided to take a look to see if we got a deal or not.

Most bags of candy sold for the purposes of Halloween giveaway is around 10 ounces, so that was my assumption.

At Costco, we purchased two bags, each around 90 oz. each.  That gave us 180 oz. of candy, or approximately 18 bags.

Total Price: $28.58 ($14.99 and $13.59)
Ounces of candy: 182 ounces
Cost equivalent per 10 ounce bag: $1.57

Random check of other prices:

Not on sale bag at Meijer: $3.39
On sale at Walgreens: $1.99
On sale at Kroger: $1.50
Amazon (equivalent pricing): $3.24

So, with doing a random check, Costco came in 2nd, a few pennies more expensive than the sale price available at Kroger.

However, if given the choice I would still pick Costco.  Here’s why:

  • No quantity requirements (except for it being Costco) – For the Kroger deal, you had to buy the candy in multiples of four.  Meaning, if we were hard and fast to our 18 bags of candy, we would either have to get two bags less (16) or two extra bags (20). If you’re buying that many bags, chances are you can be flexible here, but there’s always…
  • Availability – This is probably the key one for me.  I was basing the price comparisons by what Kroger advertised in their circular.  But, I’ve seen deals like this before and more times than not, when I go to the store to grab the candy, there’s an empty spot on the shelf where the candy was that other lucky buyers already purchased (or three bags, just enough to where you can’t get the deal).  You can go track someone down to ask if there’s more in the back, but if anybody has ever gotten anything other than a shake of the head, you’ve been luckier than me.   You could try a rain check, but who wants to chance them not getting more, and then having to rush out last minute, and settle for being the house that gives out the little wrapped pieces of gum that lose their flavor after 3.7 seconds.

Purchasing candy at Halloween isn’t for everybody. If you need less than the equivalent of nine bags, chances are it’s not the place for you.  But, if you do need Halloween candy in bulk, I would recommend Costco without giving it a second thought.

Readers, where do you purchase your Halloween candy?  How do you sniff out deals?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

New Years And Lent Go Hand In Hand This Year

Every year I give up something for Lent.  The season of Lent leads up to Easter in the Christian church, and many people ‘give up something’ as a recognition of Jesus giving something (His life) for us.

What I give up usually ties back to one (or more) of the following things:

  • Candy (chocolate or not chocolate)
  • Snacks
  • Alcohol

None of the above items appealed to me.  Usually something jumps out but while all seemed like good ideas, none were things that would make me feel accomplished.  Even saying all of them just seemed ‘meh’.

Then, I thought back to one of my New Year’s Resolutions and I immediately hit my excitement.  The resolution which I listed was “Have treats (notably chocolate) primarily in social situations

I decided that I would give up all of the things on the list in terms of doing them alone.  This means that all of the following things would be off the table:

  • Having an after dinner snack while watching TV.  For me this is usually something like a couple of graham crackers, a handful of chips, or something along those lines.
  • Grabbing a drink on Saturday while catching up on blog work or things around the mb-201403treatshouse
  • Raiding the candy dishes on various co-workers desk during the day
  • Or anything along these lines.

This may not seem much, but I realize that I do these things far too often.  I have a snack just about every night.  My wife has one maybe twice a week.  So, now I’ll be ‘OK’ to have a snack twice a week, only when my wife does.  I will normally have a drink or two once or twice a week.  My wife has an occasional glass of wine or maybe a drink if we go out to dinner.  So, this will reduce my alcohol consumption.  My boss at work has candy dish and it would be about routine to stop by mid-afternoon and grab something.  No more.

So the bottom line is that I’m not completely cutting alcohol, sugar, or chocolate, but I’m cutting them all significantly.

And, honestly, my hope is that I can continue this as a routine practice even when Lent is done.

Do any of you out there ‘give something up’ for Lent?  What’s on your list this year?  And, giving up winter doesn’t count!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

It’s Time To Design Your Holiday Cards (And Get A Discount!)

My wife has been kicking butt and taking names with Moonshyne Designs, the Etsy business that she launched a few months ago for designing cards, invitations, wall art, and other related products.  The Etsy app that she has on her mobile phone plays a little cha-ching every time she gets an order, and we’ve been hearing lots of cha-chings.  She works to make sure every order is just right, she gets great reviews from her customers, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

She recently posted her holiday card designs, and I thought I’d share a couple of them with you.  As a special treat, she has graciously offered to provide a 15% discount for all Money Beagle readers who place their order in the next week.  Simply enter BEAGLE2013 when checking out in the coupon field, and you’ll get 15% off your order (hurry, this offer expires 11/22/13).

The process is simple.  Place your order (don’t forget your coupon code!), put in your info as needed, attach your photos in an e-mail, and my wife will get to work.  She’ll e-mail you back a proof, and if everything looks good, you’ll get your final card in electronic format.  The whole process takes a day or two at most, and after it’s done, you’ll have a file that you can have printed at the store of your choice!

Here’s a sampling of the holiday cards and invites that she has available, as well as one of her more popular non-holiday items:




mb-201311eatdrink mb-201311ears

That’s just a few of the many great items she has.  So give her shop a look and if you like what you see, get your order in today.  Satisfaction guaranteed!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

6 Ways To Save On Halloween This Year

I can’t believe how much things have changed for Halloween since I was a kid.  When I was a kid, 90% of the decorating for Halloween consisted of buying a pumpkin and carving it a few days before Halloween.  There was one or two houses in the neighborhood that did stuff like put cemeteries in the front yard or something cool, and that always got the neighborhood abuzz.

Now, decorations are more and more complex and I see them appearing in yards as early as mid-September (personally, I think that October 1st is the ‘it’s OK’ mark for decorating, though my wife brought our stuff out on September 26th this year).  Heck, when I stopped off at the Salvation Army store for a routine visit, they had about 20′ of wall space dedicated strictly to Halloween decorations and costumes.

With the explosion in popularity and options, it’s always helpful to come up with a few ways to save on Halloween items.  Most of these involve the concept of ‘going back to basics’ though by no means does it take away from the fun that Halloween can provide to adults and kids alike.

  1. For costumes, plant the seeds early – We are lucky in that our 4 year old and 2 year old are still rather…shall I say, impressionable.  As such, we have been able to steer them into costumes that are easy to work with, fit the budget, and will still be a lot of fun.  Dropping some hints a few weeks in advance might allow you to steer them toward something that you can make work, but even if they have their heart set on something, it gives you better time to look for the best deal.
  2. For costumes, make what you can – This year, our homemade versus store bought is at 50%.  Our four year old son wanted to be a doctor, and my wife found a great costume that had everything for $17 at Marshall’s.  It’s also something that can be used down the line for another costume or maybe part of a ‘dress up’ collection.  Our 2 year old daughter wanted to be a pumpkin, and my wife was able to score materials and make a fantastic pumpkin costume for just a few dollars.  Score!
  3. Estimate your candy needs – The temptation is to buy way too much candy.  Be mb-201310halloweenrealistic about what you’ll need and stick to buying that much.  Otherwise, it’ll end up going onto your waistline or you’ll end up contributing to the office stash.  Yes, your co-workers will love you but at the expense of wasted candy.
  4. Look for candy deals – Start shopping for candy now.  If you wait until the week of Halloween, you’ll likely be paying a premium.  You can find sales now, as well as coupons that can make the deals better.  Look beyond grocery stores.  Drugstores also see Halloween as big business, so you can nab some great deals there if you keep your eyes open.
  5. Don’t overspend on decorations – There are a million and one different decorations out there (as evidenced by the Salvation Army Thrift Store display I mentioned above).  But, keep in mind that Halloween still boils down to a few pretty simple concepts.  Pumpkins.  Ghosts.  Witches.  You get the idea.  Don’t be tempted by all the high priced items that are out there when moderate to cheap options will give you the same bang for the buck.
  6. Do not throw your pumpkin carving supplies away after you’re done – It’s a pretty fun night when pumpkins get carved.  The big thing now is to carve your pumpkins in more intricate designs.  Some can be printed out from online webpages, though the most popular thing I’ve seen is to buy a kit in the store, which has 10-20 different options, as well as the tools you’ll need for the various aspects of carving.  If you get one of those kits, keep the items that are salvageable from the tools (wash them after you’re done) and the unused sketches.  You might find that one carving kit can last you a couple of years!   Of course, the trick is remembering where you put it the following year, though if Halloween has grown in popularity in your household, you might have an entire bin dedicated to Halloween decorations.  I know we do!

Halloween is a great opportunity for fun and a fun bridge into the cooler fall weather for adults and kids alike.  Take the tips above as a way to stay fun but without a big crunch to your budget.

Readers, how crazy do you go for Halloween these days, and how do you look for ways to save?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.