Excuse me sir, could I please get some help picking up these 200 tiny grape tomatoes that I just dumped out of my cart?” I asked, pleadingly with one of Costco’s checkers, as I was standing in the check-out line.

You could hear the Costco staff muttering under their breath, “Why lady … why?” as the tomatoes were being stepped on, squished, and were rolling around the cement floor. But then in Costco-fashion, the workers came rushing to my side – broom, dustpan, and all.

My friend Kristi and I had decided that morning that we were tired of buying produce at Costco and having it go bad on us. As in – we didn’t eat it fast enough, so we’d end up dumping out the last portions. So we tried something different.

We did our shopping trip together, with a goal of sharing and saving some money.

Off we went to Costco, barely finding a parking spot. Hitting the store early, it seemed everyone else in our town was thinking “Costco,” because of the 100-degree weather we’ve had. We squeezed into this tiny parking place (with tires up on the curb – oh well!) and practically jogged up to the store. We moms were on a mission!

I’ve shopped at Costco with my friend Hoppi in the past, as we’ve shared items between our two households. Keeping these ideas in mind – this is why shopping with a friend has worked well for me:

· You get fresh ideas, from one mom of hungry kids to another
· You try something you’ve never tried before, but always wondered if it was good
· You can buy bulk items, divide them in half, and then split the bill
· You can share a little bit of what you bought with your friend, just for a “try”
· You can compare prices together
· You will always have a good laugh or a good cry

As the drama continued, over in Kristi’s line, a man behind her dropped 5 cartons of eggs! What a mess that made, and along with my grape tomatoes smeared to the floor – we both couldn’t wait to get out of the store. We stopped off at the deli line and shared a yummy Costco turkey wrap! Delicious! Then we headed out to load up and head home.

When we got to Kristi’s house, and as I began to open up the back of the Suburban, the whole pack of FUJI apples went rolling out of the back – into the driveway and down the street!

No!!” I screamed, having had enough shopping drama for the day.

We divided our peppers, green beans and sweet peas – into Ziploc bags – gave each other a hug, and decided we needed to do this more often.

Yes, we were 2 busy moms on a mission.

So why not shop, share and save a few bucks – and do it with a friend? What are your secrets for saving and sharing?

(Photos: Fun at Costco. Kristi is an ex-neighbor, running partner and a great friend!)