Who would have thought that getting the most out of a Costco membership involves a science of sorts? There are many perks to these members-only warehouses. On a normal Saturday, these places will have a lot of customers moving shopping carts full to the brim. Even though the masses that stock up on cereal think that they are getting a good deal, they might be dead wrong. You should read to figure out what things you should buy and avoid in order to get your money’s worth!
Don’t Buy- Kirkland Laundry Detergent
You can save money by using Kirkland laundry detergent, but this is the only good thing about it. You will probably end up spending the money you saved on new clothes since this low-quality detergent destroyed your old ones. It is not just bad for your clothes, but it has also been blamed for asthma, allergies, and respiratory issues. If this is not enough to convince you, it is bad for the environment too!
Buy- Maple Syrup
We are all aware that real maple syrup is not cheap. There is a good chance that your favorite breakfast joint only uses a corn syrup alternative that does not taste like the good stuff. We are very glad that Kirkland has produced Pure Maple Syrup! The affordable 1L container is a best-seller for a good reason.
Don’t Buy- Books
You should only ever browse the Costco book aisle. Even though the prices are lower than other stores out there, your best bet would be online retailers such as Amazon. If you are not particular, you can also save your money by buying used books instead.
Buy- Toilet Paper
Even though the rolls are huge and can take up a lot of space in the house, you should always buy those soft toilet paper. When you take a good look at the price tag, you would not mind sacrificing space. Savings, here we come! This is also true for the paper towels at Costco.
Buy- Olive Oil
You can use olive oil in nearly all cuisines, so it is always a good idea to have some in the kitchen. You should take advantage of the options you have at Costco. You can stop worrying about running out of it, and you will save some money as well. On top of that, it is organic, extra-virgin, and high-quality! Nice.
Don’t Buy- Ground Coffee
A lot of people pretty much worship coffee. We are huge fans ourselves! A lot of people cannot go about their day without coffee, and we have an important tip for these folks. Even though you can save money by going for a bigger size, we hope that you do not forget about the importance of taste. When coffee beans are grounded, the exposure to air will make them lose strength and flavor. Skip this one!
Even if every single Costco warehouse shut down and only kept the gas stations open, it is still neat to be a member. The gas prices they offer are very good, so it is a good idea to fill your car over here. Next time that you bring out a credit card, make sure to whip out your Costco membership card too.
Don’t Buy- Kirkland Light Beer
Beer lovers are fond of brands such as Guinness, Budweiser, and Corona. When you are at Costco, it is better to go for these familiar names instead of Kirkland Light Beer. The company’s attempt is honestly subpar, so you should go for the ones that you like best. The money you save would not be worth it.
Buy- Frozen Fruits
This entry might push you to get a 2nd freezer, but you will save money in the end. You can store frozen produce for a long time, so it is a good idea to buy it in bulk instead. Everyone generally likes frozen fruit, but it is also a good idea to stock up on veggies if you have some space to spare.
Don’t Buy- Fresh Fruits And Veggies
This one is a little tricky, to be honest. Even though it might seem like a good idea to buy your favorite fruits in one go, you can get a better deal somewhere else. This is especially true when it comes to veggies and fruits that are out of season. Your local grocery store is the best place to get them.
Don’t Buy- Spices
Spices, just like ground coffee, do not generally have a long shelf life. Even though they would not go bad or expire, they tend to lose more flavor with the passage of time. If you are a normal person cooking for two to four people, smaller jars are more advisable. Bulk spices are meant for Italian restaurants!
Even though most spices lose flavor after a while, vanilla is an exception. The large vanilla extract bottle at Costco is a great investment. This is especially good if you like spontaneous cookie baking sessions.
Don’t Buy- Tissues
A lot of brands will do the trick for an odd sneeze, but you should get heavy-duty, high-quality tissues when you are dealing with a cold. Even though it is more economical to buy tissues in bulk, you should not risk the quality. When you have a runny nose, the thin and rough Kirkland tissues won’t do the trick.
Not only will you get winter and summer tires at a discount, but you will also get top-tier service at Costco’s Tire Centre! It is the reason that customers go there all the time. Even people who do not hold memberships will head there when they need to buy new treads.
Don’t Buy- Soda
You probably want to buy your soda when you are shopping for other kitchen essentials, but you can save a lot of money when you do it at the local grocery store instead. Over there, there are many sale stickers all over the soft drink shelves. It would be wise to take advantage of this instead.
Don’t Buy- Diapers
Parents are aware that having a child is a very expensive endeavor. Diapers alone will drain your wallet in a matter of seconds. It might make a lot of sense to get them in bulk, but the box is heavy. On top of that, you tend to go through a set in no time at all. Amazon offers huge discounts on these essentials, and they are even cheaper when you buy them in big quantities. Free delivery also makes it hassle-free!
Buy- Breakfast Cereal
Everyone, regardless of age, appears to be smitten with cereal. Costco is one of the best retailers to get cereal from, and this fact is true to this day. Popular brands such as Kellogg’s and Post are available at discounted prices, and it is hard to beat those large boxes. Cereal lasts a very long time, so you do not need to worry about eating it all right away. However, we highly recommend refraining from opening the boxes until you plan to eat them. This way, you can ensure that you will eat crunchy cereal.
Buy- Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrap brands such as Vitawrap and Kirkland are must-buys at Costco. You will be able to keep the boxes for years on end. Of course, this has something to do with the huge quantity. The paper does not only work on just about any surface out there, but it also happens to be the cheapest one you’ll find.
Don’t Buy- Shampoo Or Soap
Shampoos and soaps can be compared to soda in the sense that they seem to be forever discounted at supermarkets. You should never pay for these products in full. Sadly, Costco does not really offer discounts on these products. The best thing to do is to buy them on sale at a different store.
Costco offers a deal on a 60-packet of Instant Oatmeal. This is better than what you can get at a grocery store! You can save almost $10 when you buy that amount at Costco instead of the local supermarket. The only thing that you have to do is to ensure that you have somewhere to store the huge box.
Buy- Healthy Bite-Sized Snacks
Healthy food is generally more expensive, so not everyone has access to it. Aren’t you glad that Costco offers cheap but nutritious food? We highly recommend their Aussie Bites, which costs $12 for 32 bites.
Sadly, nuts cost a lot of money everywhere. You can save a little money if you buy them in bulk. The reclosable lid you can get at Costco makes it possible to keep them fresh for a longer period of time!
Don’t Buy- Condiments
Condiments like mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise do not really have shelf lives at all. They are pretty much fresh and delicious forever. However, you have to keep them in the fridge after you open them. It can also be annoying to fit the huge containers inside the fridge. It’s not worth it!
Don’t Buy- Salsa
This Costco salsa jar is truly party size. The huge amount is the reason it is amazing for get-togethers. If you only eat them every now and then, you are better off with the smaller one. The huge version will likely spoil before you get to half of it.
Pre-packaged snacks are ideal for people on the go as well as kid’s lunch boxes. Costco offers everything that you need, from the salty to the sweet. The huge boxes are not only practical, but they are also economical. You need to have these things on hand if you like to stock up on delicious snacks.
Vitamins and drugs can get pretty pricey. In reality, you are paying a premium for the brand name. This does not make sense since cheaper brands work just as well. Kirkland brand vitamins will do the trick. Not only will you pay for a fraction of the price, but you can also get a big bottle!
A lot of gadgets run on batteries every single day. It is sad that this energy and power source has a steep price. The next time that you visit the warehouse, it would be a great idea to get as many Duracell batteries as you will need. Kirkland also offers batteries that are actually manufactured by Duracell!
Is it easy to go through an entire gallon of Kirkland milk in your household? If this is the case, feel free to get it from Costco! The websites that advise you to go elsewhere only do so because of the huge quantity. It is more than worth it if you can finish the entire thing in time.
Buy- Coffee Cups
It is advisable to avoid individual coffee portions for the sake of the environment. However, they are economical and convenient if you live on your own. The individual cups that you can get at Costco are pretty cheap when you compare it to other brands.
Buy- Rotisserie Chicken
The $5 rotisserie chicken from Costco is the best-selling product that the company has to offer! This has been the case for years already. The chicken is already cooked, and the huge size is going to be enough for the entire family. If it is too much for everyone, you can put it in the fridge and eat it some other day.
Don’t Buy- Toothpaste
It feels like toothpaste is always on sale, doesn’t it? While it is true that Costco offers huge tubes with several containers in a pack, you will get better deals at the pharmacy or the supermarket.
Buy- Peanut Butter
Every family member likes peanut butter. Even the dogs love it! The family size container will ensure that you always have the creamy treat and help you save money. We are also glad to report that peanut butter does not go bad and neither does almond butter. It is a good idea to stock up on them.
Costco offers bagels, and they are amazingly delicious. They offer 2-pack deals that are affordable. On top of that, there are a handful of flavors to suit your preference. If you do not finish them within the week you bought the treats, you can simply freeze them in the meantime.
Don’t Buy- Kirkland Almond Milk
Costco has a lot of options for people who cannot or do not want to drink regular milk. Still, we think that you are better off with the Almond Breeze brand instead of the Kirkland almond milk. The Costco version might be organic, but the taste is not the best. The ingredient list leaves something to be desired as well.
Tahini is an awesome salad dressing. Aside from that, you cannot make hummus without it! Like other items on the list, this sesame paste can be costly. For this reason, you should buy it in bulk at Costco. Just make sure to store it in the fridge after you open the container!
Buy – Bacon
The Kirkland sliced bacon from Costco has a great rep among customers. The only downside is that you need to buy a lot of them at a single time. This is not necessarily bad as the price is hard to beat!
Buy – Bacon Crumbles
Bacon might be great, but bacon crumbles are better with certain dishes. They do not take any effort and taste amazing in anything. Sometimes, you only have to scramble these over a dish to improve it!
Buy: Fresh eggs
What are the two benefits of getting your eggs from Costco? Not only are the prices awesome, but the variety is neat as well. “They have a surprising level of choice when it comes to eggs,” one customer said. You can get everything from free-range eggs to conventional ones.
Buy: Hot dogs and soda at the food court
Pizza is the top-rated item at the Costco food court. There are regulars who would disagree and say that it is actually the hot dog and soda combo. This snack is popular enough to get a fan site of its own! On top of that, Business Insider called it “the best hot dog in America”.
Buy: The acai bowl at the food court
The acai bowl is another popular item at the Costco food court. It is a plant-based dish that you can get for only $5. Isn’t that a great deal? People liked it so much that it even made national headlines. Whoa.
The cheese aisle at Costco is heaven for cheese lovers. There is a huge variety, and it is priced fairly as well. With only $20, you can get enough cheese to last 3 or 4 dinner parties. What an amazing deal!
Skip: Signature gas grill
You should not get a gas grill from Costco just because it goes for half the price of a Weber grill. For one, people said that it is nowhere near as sturdy. It is also hard to get replacement parts when needed!
Buy: Organic berries
Organic berries would be the only exception to the fresh produce rule. If they are in season, it is possible to get a great deal on them. Berries are very healthy but pricey, so make sure to snag this deal.
Skip: Flour, baking powder, and dried yeast
Baking ingredients such as dried yeast, baking powder, and flour come with a short shelf life. You should not buy them in bulk because they tend to go bad quickly. Ditch the big purchase and get them in smaller amounts instead!
Buy: Kirkland organic coconut water
If you like to drink plenty of coconut water, you might want to bring home a 12-pack of organic coconut water from the Kirkland brand. It gets 5-star reviews and has a great price. It is a good way to hydrate!
Buy: Verka organic yogurt
You can get a 64-unce Verka tub of organic yogurt for only a little more than you would pay for a 16-ounce tub from the grocery store. It is surprising to hear that the product boasts a long shelf life and a taste comparable to whole-milk products. The yogurt got a good rating from the Cornucopia Institute, an agency that promotes family farming. There are other Costco yogurt options, but this one is the best.
Skip: Las Fortunitas tortilla chips
If your local Costco sells Las Fortunitas chips, which come in a container the size of a garbage bag, ignore them. We are not saying this because of the price or the taste. The bag is less than $6, which is a great price, and the chips are great. However, we think that you should skip them since you will be unable to finish it. You can buy them for a party, but we are sure that your guests can only finish half of this 5-pound bag. Aside from that, Fooducate gave the product a B-minus rating thanks to hydrogenated oils.
Buy: Kerrygold butter
There are a number of butter brands that you can buy at Costco. Kirkland offers an organic version too. Foodies say that you should buy Kerrygold. The milk comes from grass-fed cows and is of better quality.
Buy: Kirkland vodka
While it is a good idea to buy alcohol at Costco, vodka has the best deals. The house-brand vodka at Costco is so good that there are people who think that it is just like Grey Goose. There are also sites that pitted it against name brands in a taste test. The Kirkland French vodka ended up coming out on top!
Skip: Hearing aids
Hearing aids can be pricey, so it is sad that they are not covered by insurance. Costco actually sells them for a lower price. While they have an attractive price, you should rethink if this is the best thing to do. There are people who reported that certain branches offer poor service. On top of that, some locations do not have the necessary equipment to adjust the device properly. Cheap hearing aids are not worth it if they do not work as advertised!
Buy: Prescription glasses
Prescription eyeglasses can be pricey, and this is even truer if you need any type of special lenses. A solution to this would be to buy them online. However, it can be difficult to get the right number and fit. Can you believe it when we say that the optometry department at Costco is a great solution for such a problem? You can get your eyes tested at the store or get a prescription from your doctor. If you do not have insurance, your best bet would be Costco Optical. Members can also obtain special online discounts for both contact lenses and glasses!
Buy: Wedding floral arrangements
Costco is recommended for adventurous couples on a budget. You can get bouquets of flowers and full wedding arrangements to make the wedding memorable and save the money at the same time. The flowers at Costco can go up to $449.
Even though they do not have a huge selection, Costco offers decent suitcases for good prices. As a matter of fact, Clark Deals included the warehouse on the list of places to buy luggage bargains. The website also recommended for shoppers to keep an eye out for coupons that will help you save plenty of money.
Skip: Name-brand clothing
You should be cautious when you find designer clothing at Costco. It is probably going to be of lower quality than the ones from an original store. There are chances that the company cut corners for the Costco product. You can buy the clothes if you like what you see, but you should not expect it to be of the same quality as the brand name. Places like Marshalls offer better name-brand deals.
Buy: Shirts and pants for work
Even if you should stay away from designer clothes at Costco, plenty of customers are fans of their work shirts and pants. Here was what a commenter on the Red Flag Deals forum had to say: “All my work shirts are Kirkland shirts. High-end tailored shirts aside, I think the Kirkland stuff is the best value on the market, just as good quality (sometimes better) as what you get at The Bay or mid-range stores.”
Buy: Athleisure clothes
Do you need clothes that you can wear to your spin or yoga class? Costco is a good place to shop for athletic clothes that are still stylish. A blog called Tough Nickel said that you can score great deals there!
While you will find reviews that complain about the elastic found on the men’s briefs at Costco, many were more than satisfied with the prices and comfort of the products. On the Costco website, there are plenty of five-star reviews for them.
Buy: Flu shots
Customer reports also revealed that Costco offers the best prices for flu shots. If you are paying for them on your own, this is the place to do it. HPV and pneumonia shots are also available at these stores.
Do you have your eye on a particular TV set? If this is the case, you should not head to Costco. However, it is a great idea to buy it from the store if you are more flexible. For one thing, you can get a TV set for a great price. On top of that, you will also receive an extended 2-year warranty.
Buy: Golf balls
Costco might not be the first place on your mind when you think of golf gear. The warehouse, however, has since released golf balls under the Kirkland brand. Golfers seem to be happy with them. Upon testing the products, Golfalot found out that they were comparable to premium golf balls.
You truly never know what you will come across when you browse at Costco. While a lot of shoppers drop by to do groceries, it would not be long before the books, accessories, and clothes catch their eyes. We are sure that many cannot resist the temptation of going to the electronics section with its flashing lights and gadgets on display. They might look amazing to the naked eye, but they are not really the best ones on the market. Researchers have revealed that you can avail of the same deals at other electronic shops that do not require yearly memberships.
Costco shoppers would be glad to hear that the warehouse store offers a lot of nuts. On top of that, you can get them in huge packages. However, anyone who likes nuts will know that they can get very pricey. On top of that, they are kept in resealable packages that will do wonders for their freshness.
Worst: Kirkland Signature Paper Towels
You might think that it is a good idea to buy paper towels in huge amounts. To a certain extent, this is true. However, it might not be a good idea to get the 30-pack of Kirkland Signature Paper Towels. A study showed that Kirkland came out third among four brands. On top of that, a study by Consumer Reports showed that the Kirkland brand was dead last when they ranked five brands of paper towels. They are just too thin to be of much use when it comes to tough messes.
Costco is the place to be when you need prescription or over-the-counter pills. Consumer Reports showed a study that compared 150 pharmacies in the United States. It went on to show that Costco was the best bet when it came to price.
Did you know that sunscreen only lasts 3 years before it loses its effectiveness? If you get a multipack from Costco, make sure to look at the expiration date to see if it is going to work properly. You are just going to waste money otherwise.
Worst: Disposable Razors
Even though it might sound like you will get a good deal by buying a huge box of disposable razors, Costco is not the best option. Walmart actually offers better prices! Even though Costco offers 14 razors for $23, it is possible to get 10 Gillette disposables at Walmart for only $7.97. It is nearly half the price!
Buy: Uncooked Cookies
Not a lot of people are aware that you can get uncooked cookies and other pastries for a low price at Costco. Drop by the bakery counter and get a box, which they will gladly hand over to you. Trust us, your wallet will thank you for this. A box full of 21 cookies will cost you $7.99, but you can get as many as 120 uncooked cookies for only $22.99. What a great deal!
A lot of shopping experts claimed that there are better places to buy rice than Costco. After looking into it, a frequent shopper at Costco realized that the rice available at Costco was 35% pricier! Just so you know, she was comparing it to the same product that was being sold by a local Asian store. There are times in which Costco sells rice for $40, although you can get the same amount for $14 at a small store.
Worst: Dried Pasta
You would not lose your money if you get dried pasta from Costco, but you can get a better bang for your buck at another lace. Comparisons said that Trader Joe’s and Walmart have pastas that are cheaper at any given moment.
If you still like to buy DVDs, you would do well to avoid buying them at Costco. It is not surprising that Amazon offers better prices on these products. Of course, they also deliver the discs straight to you!
Worst: Gel Dishwasher Detergent
What did Consumer Reports have to say about this product? “The Kirkland Signature Gel is one of our lowest-rated detergents.” They also said, “It struggled with dishes, pots and pans, and resistance to water spots.”
Worst: Canned Goods
You would not find the greatest deals on canned goods at Costco. After all, there are other stores that sell these products at prices that are 20% to 40% lower. It is especially true when a sale is happening at the time.
Worst: Body Lotions
When you want to save money on body lotion, the key is to use coupons. If you wait for the biggest sales and right coupons, you can get the products at Costco at other places for even cheaper! This is a great way to save money and keep your skin soft and moisturized.
Worst: Protein Bars
If you had not yet tried the Costco signature protein bar, there is no reason for you to risk buying 40 of them. On top of that, the protein bars are sold at around $1 a bar. If you get a bulk order of Pure Protein bars on Amazon, you end up paying less because they will come up to only $0.90 per bar.
Worst: Whole Grains
Are you aware that whole grains come with oils? They are found in the bran and germ of the grain, which is why they can go bad in no time at all. This is also true for seeds and nuts. Even though the oils are taken out in certain grains, they can remain attached and make the food product go bad.
Beef jerky is preserved with the use of salt and spices, so you might assume that it will stay fresh for a while. Sadly, the truth is that you have to put it in the fridge after opening it regardless of what meat it is. Most packages say that the jerky should be consumed within 3 days of opening and then refrigerated. Jerky will last just a week or two in the fridge. For that reason, it is better to just get smaller packages.
We really doubt that you need all the hummus in a Costco-sized tub unless you plan to throw a huge party. Simply get a smaller container from the traditional grocery store to prevent wasting any food.
Worst: Printer Paper
If you do not print all that much at home or are shopping for the office, you should know that office supply stores typically boast better paper deals. You can get paper and office supplies for very low prices at Staples and similar stores as long as you have good coupons or go during a sale.
Buy: Gift Cards
You can get gift cards for big retailers with a 15% to 30% discount at Costco. It is even possible to get a deal on two separate gift cards together. This is a good way to save money if you are thinking of getting a gift for a loved one or treating yourself to something nice.
Costco has earned a rep for its high-quality wines that are still more affordable than other brands. The store boasts a signature Kirkland brand, which is produced by a lot of renowned wineries. How nice!
Buy: Meat and Poultry
At Costco, the normal price at the supermarket is higher than the club price. The grade of beef is also higher here! If you get a huge amount of meat, you can just cut it up and freeze the slices for later.
Buy: Kirkland Animal Crackers
Are you going to feed the kids or simply looking for a yummy snack? The Kirkland Signature Organic Animal Crackers might be what you are looking for. You can get the 64-ounce barrel for only $9.99. The same product retails for the same price in other supermarket chains but weighs 4 ounces less!
Buy: Kirkland Honey
You can buy 100% American raw and unfiltered honey in 3-pound jars from the Kirkland Signature at Costco. A jar will set you back by $8.99! In other places, 2-pound jars of the same thing go for $12.99.
Buy: Kirkland Italian Sparkling Water
If you like sparkling water, there is a chance that you like San Pellegrino. However, you should know that the Kirkland Signature Italian Sparkling Mineral Water is also a great choice. They do not taste all that different, but the price difference is pretty big. A 24-bottle case of the one from Kirkland costs $12.99. On the other hand, a smaller case of San Pellegrino will set you back by $16.99.
Buy: Kirkland Vitamin Water
Are you aware that the fruit-flavored, mineral-rich and no-calorie Kirkland Signature Vita Rain Zero bears a lot of similarities to Glaceau Vitaminwater Zero? They are both available at Costco, but they taste pretty much the same. Of course, you also have to consider the price difference. The 24-count variety pack of 20-oz Vita Rain Zero has a price tag of $9.99, whereas a case of Glaceau Vitaminwater Zero costs $15.99.