Who knew that there was actual science behind getting the most out of your Costco membership? The members-only warehouses have their perks, there’s no doubt about it. If you want proof, just head to a Costco on a Saturday – you’ll see just how many customers are there with shopping carts that are full. While many people are sure they’re scoring the best deal by stocking up on cereal for the winter, that might not actually be true. To make sure you’re getting the best deals you can, find out what to buy and what to avoid.
Don’t Buy- Kirkland Laundry Detergent
While buying this laundry detergent will save you money, that’s more or less the only good thing about it. You’re going to end up using the money you saved on buying new clothes. Why? Because this low-quality detergent will ruin the clothing you have. Aside from the fact that it’s terrible for your jeans, it can also cause allergies and reactions in addition to respiratory problems and asthma. If that isn’t enough to convince you, it’s also bad for the environment.
Buy- Maple Syrup
It’s common knowledge that maple syrup is more on the expensive side. It’s most likely that breakfast restaurants use the alternative which is usually loaded with corn syrup and doesn’t taste like the real stuff at all. Kirkland was smart and produced their own Pure Maple Syrup. The big 1L jug is more than worth its price, making it a best-seller.
Don’t Buy- Books
The book aisle at Costco is good for one thing – browsing. Even though the prices are slightly lower than in other stores, there are online retailers like Amazon which are your best bet. Plenty of bookstores also offer used books for great prices.
Buy- Toilet Paper
While the rolls are quite big and the 30-roll pack takes up a significant amount of space, this Costco toilet-paper is a must-have. Believe us when we say you won’t mind sacrificing some space when you see the price. It’s the same for Costco’s paper towels as well.
Buy- Olive Oil
Olive oil is a staple that is used in just about all cuisines, so it’s a product you’re gonna want in your kitchen. We recommend buying the large option Costco offers. You’ll never need to worry about running out, and you’ll also be saving a good amount of money. Other than that, it’s also good quality extra-virgin olive oil!
Don’t Buy- Ground Coffee
Who else thinks of coffee as a religion? Yeah, same here. Lots of people can’t start their day without a cup of coffee, and if you’re one of them, this is for you. While you’ll be saving money with a larger size, you’ll be sacrificing something important: the taste. Once the beans are grounded, they are exposed to air and therefore lose their flavor. If freshness is a high priority for you, you’ll want to go for a smaller sized jar.
Even if all Costco’s warehouses would close down aside from their gas stations, it would be worthwhile to have a membership. The gas prices are great. Next time you take out your credit card, take out your Costco card as well.
Don’t Buy- Kirkland Light Beer
Brand names such as Corona, Budweiser, and Guinness, are your best bet if you love beer – even at Costco. The store’s attempt to make beer is the Kirkland Light Beer, and their beer brewing abilities simply aren’t the best.
Buy- Frozen Fruits
This particular item might cause you to buy a second freezer, but believe us when we say that it will end up saving you money in the long run. Frozen produce lasts for a long time and it’s a great thing to buy in bulk. While fruit is a fan-favorite, if you can spare the space, stock up on veggies as well.
Don’t Buy- Fresh Fruits And Veggies
We’ll admit, this one is tricky. Despite the fact that it seems like a good idea to buy your family’s favorite fruit in bulk, the truth is that you’ll find it cheaper in other places. This is especially true when it comes to fruits and veggies that aren’t in season.
Don’t Buy- Spices
Spices are similar to ground coffee since they too don’t have such a long shelf life. While they won’t expire or go bad, they’ll slowly lose their flavor with time. If you’re someone who’s cooking for an average of 2-4 people, go for the smaller jars. Leave bulk spices for Italian restaurants.
While spices lose their flavor over time, vanilla most certainly does not. Costco’s large bottle of vanilla extract is a great investment. This is especially true for those who love baking more often than not!
Don’t Buy- Tissues
Most brands will do the trick for any old sneeze, however, a cold needs heavy-duty, good quality tissues. Even though buying tissues in bulk will save you money, you’ll be losing out on the quality. Kirkland tissues tend to be thin and rough – not recommended.
Not only will you get winter and summer tires at a cheaper rate, but you’ll also be getting excellent service. For this reason, customers count on Costco’s Tire Centre for everything they need. Even people that aren’t members will choose this warehouse to buy their tires.
Don’t Buy- Soda
Even though you might want to buy your soft drinks while you’re out buying your other food, you’ll save money if you go to your local grocery store instead. Soft drinks tend to always have some kind of sale going on.
Don’t Buy- Diapers
Parents are all-too-aware of how expensive their little ones are. Just diapers can empty your wallet in a matter of seconds. Even though it makes the most sense to buy large quantities, the box can be pretty heavy. Not to mention, you’ll use them up quickly. Amazon has great discounts on diapers, especially if you buy them in bulk. The best part is that there’s free delivery right to your door.
Buy- Breakfast Cereal
Everyone seems to love cereal, no matter how old they are. Costco has been one of the best places to buy cereal for a while now and that hasn’t changed. Popular brands like Post and Kellogg’s are sold at lower prices, and the large boxes are an added bonus. Cereal also has a long shelf life, so you don’t need to worry about that.
Buy- Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrap by brands like Kirkland and Vitawrap is a must-buy when you’re shopping at Costco. You’ll be able to store them for years thanks to their large quantities. Aside from this plastic working on almost every surface, it’s also the cheapest one on the market.
Don’t Buy- Shampoo Or Soap
Similar to soft drinks, soaps and shampoos are almost always on sale at supermarkets. You shouldn’t have to pay full price for these products. It’s unfortunate that Costco doesn’t odder much of a discount.
The 60-packet Instant Oatmeal box is a much better buy than any grocery store. On average, you can save almost $10 when buying this amount at Costco as opposed to your local supermarket. All you need is space to store the big box.
Buy- Healthy Bite-Sized Snacks
We all know how expensive healthy food can be. This is really unfortunate since it becomes inaccessible for many people. Well, Costco offers healthy foods at low costs, especially their best-selling Aussie Bites that cost $12 for 32 bites.
Sadly, nuts tend to be pricey no matter where you go to buy them. The bright side is that you can save some money in the long run by buying them in large quantities. Costco’s recloseable lid is a feature that makes sure the cashews will stay fresh for longer.
Don’t Buy- Condiments
Condiments like ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise don’t have much of a shelf life. They just stay fresh and delicious for practically forever. However, once they’re opened, they have to be refrigerated. Fitting those huge containers in the fridge door will be a workout in itself.
Don’t Buy- Salsa
This jar of salsa at Costco is most definitely party size. The huge amount makes it great for a get-together. But, for the rare ships and salsa eater, the smaller jar is a much better idea. Costco’s massive version will spoil before you’re halfway finished with it.
Pre-packaged snacks are great for kid’s lunch boxes and for people who are always on the go. Costco has all you’ll need, from sweet to salty and everything in between. The bigger boxes are a good way to save money and also practical.
Medicines and vitamins can be pretty expensive, and oftentimes, we pay for the brand name when the product is exactly the same as the store brand. Kirkland brand vitamins are just the same as any other. You’ll just get them in a bigger bottle while paying half the price.
A lot of us use electronics that are powered by batteries. Unfortunately, they tend to cost quite a bit. Next time you’re at Costco, make sure to fill your cart with some Duracell batteries. Also, Kirkland has their own batteries which are made by Duracell.
If you and your family can get through a gallon of Kirkland milk before it spoils, then it’s a great buy. However, if you see sites telling you to buy it somewhere else, it’s only due to its large quantity.
Buy- Coffee Cups
It’s advised to steer clear of individual coffee portions for environmental reasons. However, they are convenient and economical for those who live alone. Costco’s individual cups are not expensive compared to other brands and they taste great.
Buy- Rotisserie Chicken
The $5 rotisserie chicken at Costco is the best-selling product in the store for a good reason. The chicken is already cooked and its large size will be enough to feed the whole family. If you don’t have too many people to feed, you can save the rest and eat it a different day.
Don’t Buy- Toothpaste
Toothpaste is a product that is almost always on sale in supermarkets and pharmacies. While Costco does offer big tubes or a few tubes in a pack, you’ll still be getting better deals in other stores nearby.
Buy- Peanut Butter
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? The family size jar will save you money while also making sure you’ll never run out of it. Since peanut butter never goes bad, it’s a win-win! The same goes for almond butter.
Costco offers their own brand of bagels which are absolutely delicious. The 2-pack comes at a good price with a handful of flavors to choose from. Whatever you won’t manage to eat in the first week you can freeze and eat later on.
Don’t Buy- Kirkland Almond Milk
Costco has great options for people who don’t want to drink milk. However, we recommend that you go with Almond Breeze as opposed to Kirkland’s almond milk. While Costco’s version is organic, it has a lacking ingredient list which results in a bad taste.
Tahini is a great salad dressing, and it’s a crucial ingredient for making hummus. Just like many other things, this stuff is expensive normally, so it’s a good idea to buy it at Costco in bulk size. Just make sure to store it in the frigde after opening.
Buy – Bacon
The sliced bacon Kirkland sells is surprisingly rated very good from its consumers. The only cons were the amount you have to buy at once when shopping at Costco. Not to mention, it’s a great price that no other store can beat.
Buy – Bacon Crumbles
Bacon is great, yes. However, it’s also good to have bacon crumbles on hand. There’s no effort involved and they’re delicious on just about everything! They can be put on so many different dishes and improve them.
Buy: Fresh eggs
There are two benefits to buying eggs ar Costco: great prices, and great variety. “They have a surprising level of choice when it comes to eggs,” one customer said. You can find anything from conventional eggs to free-range and organic.
Buy: Hot dogs and soda at the food court
While pizza has been rated the best in Costco’s court, there are many regulars that think the hot-dog-and-soda combo is the best deal. The snack is so popular it even has its own fansite. Not to mention, it’s been named “the best hot dog in America”.
Buy: The acai bowl at the food court
Another popular food court at Costco is their cheap acai bowl. Plant-based and only $5, it’s a great bargain. In fact, people love it so much that it made headlines in the summer all across the country.
The cheese aisle in Costco is absolute for all those cheese lovers. There is a large variety, and of course, it’s all priced fairly. The amount you can get for less than $20 can easily feed four dinner parties.
Skip: Signateur gas grill
While Costco does have this gas grill for about half the price you would normally pay for a Weber grill, people have said this one isn’t built well. Not to mention, it wold be difficult to find replacement parts for it.
Buy: Organic berries
The one exception from the fresh produce rule is organic berries. If they happen to be in season, you can find a great deal. Of course, berries are extremely healthy, and they can be pretty expensive.
Skip: Flour, baking powder, and dried yeast
Assorted baking ingredients like flour, baking powder, and dried yeast all have a limited shelf life. People have warned others about buying them in bulk since they go bad pretty quickly. So, skip the big purchase and buy them in smaller amounts.
Buy: Kirkland organic coconut water
If you drink a lot of coconut water, you’ll want to get this 12-pack of Kirkland organic coconut water. It has plenty of five-star reviews online and is very well prices. This amount will also last you a while.
Buy: Verka organic yogurt
In Costco, you can buy a 64-ounce tub of Verka organic yogurt for a little more than you would pay for a 16-ounce yogurt at the grocery store. This product has a surprisingly long shelf life and it tastes great.
Skip: Las Fortunitas tortilla chips
If the Costco by you sells these chips that come in a bag the size of a garbage bag, skip them. This isn’t because of the price. The entire bag costs less than $6, but it’s huge. You’re not likely to finish the whole bag before it goes stale.
Buy: Kerrygold butter
There are a few brands of butter that are sold at Costco, and the organic Kirkland brand is one of them. If you’re looking for high-quality butter, foodies have said they prefer Kerrygold. It’s made of whole milk from grass-fed cows.
Buy: Kirkland vodka
Buying any kind of alcohol at Costco is good but you’ll get the best deal for vodka. The house-brand vodka is so good that some people are convinced it’s actually Grey Goose undercover. There are even sites that did taste tests and found that Costco’s French vodka was the best one.