Here’s What You Should And Shouldn’t Buy At Costco
Costco is one of the most popular stores in the United States, with net sales of over $120 billion a year. Over 94 million people shop at Costco, and for good reason. You can find just about anything you need, in large quantities and at a good price. So why shop anywhere else?
Well, because it doesn’t necessarily pay to buy everything at Costco. With inflation on the rise, buying in bulk might seem like a good deal under any circumstances, but it’s not. Out of the over 4,000 products that Costco offers, we have selected the BEST and WORST things to buy to help you make sense of it and save more money.
Buy: Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is definitely a staple in almost every home, and whether you have a large family or not, buying a family-size jar of peanut butter is always a good idea to save money and never run out. After all, a jar of peanut butter always runs out faster than you think!
It will not have time to go bad because peanut butter has a really long shelf life, and you will never have to hide your PB from your roommates again. The same goes for organic almond butter, which is also a total bargain if you prefer this one!
Don’t Buy: Fresh Fruits and Veggies
This one is tricky because, in some cases, purchasing your fresh fruits and veggies in a big store like Costco can indeed be a good idea, especially if your family eats a lot of it. And after all, we know that fresh fruits and vegetables can be very expensive elsewhere than at Costco.
However, if you opt for fruits and veggies that are in season, you can often find better deals at the grocery store. Also, if you can’t eat them all before they spoil, did you really save money by buying the larger portion? We don’t think so.
Buy: Cheese Wraps
A wrap inevitably means some cheese. A wrap without cheese is pretty sad, and it’s certainly not as satisfying. No one can say otherwise! But why settle for a few slices of cheese inside when you can have much better?
Costco literally sells wraps made with Parmesan, Jarlsberg or cheddar cheese. In addition to being delicious, they are lactose free, gluten free, and allow you to have a low carbohydrate wrap. These cheese wraps are available in packages of 4 or 10 and are sure to get you hooked!
Don’t Buy: Mattresses
Many people have a mentality of not wanting to pay too much for a mattress, and could therefore be tempted by those sold at Costco, and yet! It’s an average of 8 hours per night that a person spends in bed, so it’s worth a good investment, don’t you think?
Not only is it possible to find mattresses on sale in specialty stores that are less expensive than those sold at Costco, but in addition, you will be sure to buy one that really suits you in order to get the comfort you need.
Don’t Buy: Running Shoes
Costco often sells name-brand running shoes and while they may seem like a good deal, they have disappointed many customers when it comes to quality. RedFlagDeals has an entire thread dedicated to the running shoe brands available at Costco, and most of the comments are not good.
One commenter wrote, “Some of you may think you are getting a good deal by buying running shoes at Costco. You would be very wrong. These are Walmart quality running shoes and I think Walmart would sell them for less.” You’d be wise to shop around and buy your running shoes elsewhere.
There are the New York bagels, the Montreal bagels… And the Costco bagels. Whenever you hit the warehouse, grab two bags (they are sold in twos) of these perfect-for-breakfast-and-lunch-and-every-time-you-want cream cheese vessels.
You can pick any two flavors you want, your absolute favorite ones, and easily freeze whatever amount of bagels you won’t get to eat in about a week to save money. These bagels are totally worth it for the price, and they’re so good!
Buy: Kirkland Almond Milk
Unlike buying dairy milk, almond milk has a pretty great shelf life, and that product is more popular than ever these days. Many people prefer almond milk to cow’s milk because it is generally healthier, among other reasons.
Almond milk is great for smoothies, coffee and even to use in baking; you can really use it just like you would use cow’s milk. What’s more, Kirkland’s brand tastes just like the name brands, but at a fraction of the cost.
Buy: Pork Flank Belly
Pork belly is the new bacon of the moment. Absolutely delicious, it can be prepared in many ways. If you have a craving for pork belly, then Costco’s is certainly one of the best options you’ll find, and at a very reasonable price.
You can find a pork belly package at Costco for between $1.99/lb and $2.99/lb, depending on the cut you are looking for. At this price, you will not only get your money’s worth, but you will also get a quality product.
Don’t Buy: Bicycles
You might think that buying a bicycle at Costco could be a great idea. After all, the price is great, and what could go wrong with a bike? And you’re not an athlete, so there’s no need to pay a fortune for a top quality bike, right?
But the thing is, Costco employees, for all their good will, are not bicycle specialists, and sometimes even assemble them upside down! If you would like to purchase a bicycle, visit a specialized shop. You will pay a little more, but the bike will be assembled properly and, most importantly, will be custom made for you!
Buy: Ready-to-Drink Strawberry Margaritas
When the good weather arrives, it is difficult to resist a good aperitif in the sun. It’s always nice to have a light, fruity alcoholic beverage while having a good time, isn’t it? Luckily for you, Costco now sells the drink that will become your favorite!
A Margarita is always good, but what about the Ready-to-Drink Strawberry Margaritas that Costco now sells? Made with agave wine, real lime juice, cane sugar and strawberry, you won’t be able to stick to just one glass. But the best part? A 1.5 liter bottle with an ABV of 12.7% costs less than $10! It’s time to stock up!
Pickles are not necessarily loved by everyone, but many people love them to accompany their hamburger or smoked meat. Some even like them as a simple snack! And if there’s a good place to buy them, it’s at Costco.
If you want to stock up on some pickles, for as little as $4 or $5, you’ll leave Costco with no less than a 2-liter jar of pickles. And good ones too, that’s for sure! Why deprive yourself of such a bargain if you like pickles?
Buy: Egg’wich Breakfast Sandwiches
Are you concerned about your health and diet and want to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat in a day? Whether you’re on the keto diet or not, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the Egg’wich breakfast sandwiches offered at Costco.
Red’s All Natural brand Egg’wich breakfast sandwiches have recently made their appearance at Costco. Keto-friendly, they are available in two varieties: Turkey Sausage Egg’wich and Chicken Apple Egg’wich. Each containing 15g of protein, they will make your breakfast both delicious and nutritious, and this, at the very reasonable price of $12.99 for a box of 8!
Don’t Buy: Flour
Buying in bulk often seems like a good idea, especially for non-perishable products like flour, doesn’t it? However, contrary to what most people think, flour is perishable, so unless you really cook a lot with it, a huge bag of flour will go bad long before you can finish it.
Of course, the flour remains good for up to 4 to 8 months after the expiry date stated on the package, depending on the type. If it smells, tastes rancid or seems to have changed color, it is no longer good. To preserve it for as long as possible, the FDA recommends keeping it in a dry, cool cabinet, and if the original container is damaged, you’d better transfer it to an airtight container such as a countertop jar.
Buy: Costco Sheet Cakes
If you’re looking to buy a cake for a birthday, graduation, baby shower, or any other celebration, then you should consider checking out the sheet cakes at Costco. For starters, they’re cheaper than the cakes you’ll find at other big box stores. They offer many different designs and flavors.
Costco doesn’t just offer vanilla or chocolate options, either. According to Taste of Home, they offer a vanilla sheet cake filled with a vanilla cheesecake mousse topped with white buttercream, or a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and chocolate buttercream. Not bad for a discount store!
Buy: Frozen Fruits
It’s widely regarded that buying frozen fruit at Costco is a really great bargain, and many of these fruits are organic, too. They even come in resealable bags, unlike the smaller bags you find in your local grocery store. It’s much more convenient!
The only catch here is that you may need to clear out some space in your freezer, invest in a separate appliance or start drinking more smoothies because the size of your bag of frozen fruit from Costco will still be considerable!
Buy: Vanilla Extract
Unlike spices, prepared vanilla does not lose its flavor over time. So as long as you are not the fancy type that only uses fresh vanilla beans, purchasing a Costco size bottle of Kirkland Signature Vanilla Extract is a good investment.
You can keep it in your pantry for last minute and late night baking envies and as an emergency backup for whenever you run out of actual vanilla beans. Vanilla extract doesn’t really expire, so don’t worry about losing it. It is still advisable to consume it in about 2 years.
Buy: Healthy Bite-Sized Snacks
Everyone knows that eating well is very expensive and not accessible to everyone. Fortunately, we can now find some interesting options on the market a lot more easily! This is the case of the Organic Aussie Bites.
These healthy snacks are sold for only $12 for 32 bites. It doesn’t cost much per bite! So all week long, you can have perfect, healthy snacks that are delicious, easy to carry around and quick to eat, without breaking the bank!
Don’t Buy: Condiments
Yes, condiments like ketchup or mustard have a rather long shelf life, and unlike coffee or spices, they don’t lose taste over time. But they do need to be kept in the fridge after opening, though. They should definitely not be left in the pantry.
Did you think about that? Knowing that most people already lack some fridge space, try fitting those giant ketchup and mustard jars in your refrigerator door. Good luck with that. So unless you are hosting a major garden party or have a backup fridge for all things Costco sized, we suggest you skip it.
Buy: Uncooked Cookies
Hardly anyone knows this, but in Costco stores across Canada, you can buy cookies, croissants and other uncooked pastries for a lot less! Just go to the bakery counter and ask them for a box that they will gladly give you.
This buying alternative will save you a lot of money. For example, a box of 21 cookies would usually cost you $7.99 on the shelf, but if you go get a box of uncooked cookies, you can get 120 for $22.99! That’s a great value for your money!
Don’t Buy: Rice
Rice is one food that may be good to have in large amounts, especially if you eat it often. Therefore, the large bags sold at Costco aren’t a bad option from a quantity standpoint. However, the rice sold at Costco simply isn’t cost effective.
While you may get a large amount, the rice sold at Costco often costs up to 35 percent more than what you would pay at your local grocery store. To keep costs down, it’s best to buy smaller quantities more often, rather than shelling out significantly more money by purchasing rice at Costco.
Don’t Buy: Canned Foods
Canned goods might be your first thought for a bulk purchase from Costco. They stay fresh for practically forever, so what could be the downside in purchasing an extra-large pack? Well, the canned goods may not rot, but they will hurt your wallet.
It’s been found that canned goods sold at Costco can be up to 40 percent more expensive than what you’ll find at the grocery store. Plus, canned goods are often on sale at grocery stores, dropping the price even more. If you’re willing to shell out the extra money to have canned goods on hand, go ahead and buy from Costco. But if you want to get the best bang for your buck, save your canned food shopping for the grocery store.
Buy: Plastic Wrap
If you have the space at home, buying bulk plastic wrap makes a lot of sense. It’s even the best thing to do! It’s actually easier to use since the weight of the box holds it in place on the counter, making it easier to use.
Not only will you save a good amount of money over buying the small ones, but you may never need to purchase plastic wrap again! 3000 square feet of plastic wrap literally lasts for years! Some people claim to have had the same box of Costco’s plastic wrap for over 10 years!
Don’t Buy: Kirkland Signature Marinara Sauce
If you’re a pasta-lover, buying pasta sauce in bulk doesn’t seem like a bad idea. However, you might want to steer clear of Kirkland Signature marinara sauce. While the quantity of this sauce is actually fairly reasonable, the sauce itself just isn’t that great.
A former Costco employee claimed everyone who works there knows Kirkland Signature marinara sauce is just terrible. Their claims were backed up by several negative reviews across the internet, most of which claimed the sauce wasn’t flavorful and definitely tasted cheap.
Don’t Buy: Eggs
Eggs shouldn’t be bought from Costco, simply because very few families need to buy eggs in bulk. In addition, eggs at your grocery store are often the same price as the ones you’ll find at Costco. However, while you can buy your eggs for 30 cents at the grocery store, you can buy them for the same amount from Costco with the caveat that you have to buy two dozen or more at a time.
Not only do you end up spending more at Costco because of the large amount you have to buy, but it’s also unlikely that you’ll be able to use all the eggs before they go bad. Therefore, it’s best to buy smaller quantities at your local store to ensure your eggs are always fresh, not right on the brink of expiring.
Don’t Buy: Avocados
It’s a well-known fact that avocados are incredibly expensive. So, when you see a great deal on avocados in bulk from Costco, it’s tempting to purchase them, whether or not you think you’ll actually eat them. Unfortunately, avocados have an incredibly short shelf life. If you buy in bulk, you may find that they all ripen at the same time before quickly becoming inedible.
While you may have saved money at the start, if half your avocados go bad before you can consume them, you ended up just throwing money away. It’s better to pay the higher prices at the grocery store and ensure that your money is going to good use, rather than being tossed straight in the trash.
Don’t Buy: Shredded Cheese
Costco offers big, supersize bags of shredded cheese. While they seem alluring at first, they’re not the most practical purchase. Shredded cheese tends to go bad rather quickly. Plus, cheese isn’t something you can use in every meal.
Therefore, you may find that your cheese has gone moldy long before you’ve managed to get through the bag. If you want to get the best bang for your buck, buy smaller bags of shredded cheese from the grocery store so you can guarantee that you’ll use it all up before it goes bad.
Don’t Buy: Croissants
Size and quantity aren’t the only problems with Costco croissants. But don’t misunderstand—they’re still issues. Costco sells a variety of baked goods, including large croissants in packs of ten or more. The croissants themselves are huge, and the large quantity means they’re likely to go stale before you’re able to enjoy them.
However, the croissants from Costco also simply aren’t that good. Since they’re mass-produced, they tend to be less flavorful, flaky, and generally enjoyable. If you’re really craving a croissant, treat yourself to one from your local bakery rather than purchasing the subpar options at Costco.
Don’t Buy: Applesauce
Even for a store that specializes in bulk ingredients, the quantities of applesauce sold at Costco are simply too big. Unless you’re running a daycare or you have children who want to eat nothing but applesauce, you’ll likely never make your way through the ultra-large portions sold at Costco.
If you want to incorporate applesauce into your home, it’s best to buy the smaller portions available at your grocery store. Not only will you struggle to store the large amounts sold at Costco, but you’ll probably find that your taste for applesauce has disappeared long before you’ve reached the end of your supply.
Don’t Buy: Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is a delicious snack that many people like to keep around the house in case those hunger pangs set in. However, buying beef jerky in bulk goes against the recommendations for eating it. While beef jerky seems like it could last forever, most packages state that it should be consumed within three days of being opened.
If you want to extend the shelf life of your jerky, you could pop it in the fridge. However, that still only gives you another week or two before the jerky goes rotten. Knowing that it expires so quickly, it doesn’t make much sense to purchase an extra-large pack from Costco.
Don’t Buy: Kirkland Laundry Detergent
It would seem obvious and logical to think that buying detergent in bulk at Costco is a good idea. Yes, you will definitely save some money buying this bargain brand in bulk, and it will also save you from having to buy more in just a few weeks.
But it might surprise you to learn that detergent has a shelf life. Experts say after six months of being opened, detergent begins to lose its effectiveness. So unless you have a large and very messy family, you’re probably better off skipping this purchase.
Buy: Maple Syrup
Real maple syrup is expensive, but when you want maple syrup, you want it to taste good. It’s no secret that some have a very questionable taste. Mind you, this is not surprising since most syrup out there is actually artificial maple flavoring and corn syrup.
Honestly, there is no substitute for the real stuff and it turns out Kirkland’s pure maple syrup is a great deal. Expect to pay almost half the price of what you would pay for pure maple syrup at your local grocery store, and you’ll have the taste you’re looking for.
Don’t Buy: Muffins
If you’ve ever bought muffins at Costco, you already know that their price is quite ridiculously low compared to muffins found in other stores, especially in relation to their size! And, what’s more, they are absolutely delicious!
However, even if these muffins are good for your taste as well as for your wallet, they are very bad for your health. They are very high in fat and sugar, which, according to dietician Megan Byrd, can “increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.”
Buy: Olive Oil
Olive oil is a staple in most kitchens these days. Most meals require the use of olive oil, even if only for cooking. So why not purchase a few big containers at a time, especially since it will allow you to save money in the end?
Besides being a total bargain, Costco’s olive oil is high quality, extra virgin and even organic. This one is a definite buy for everyday cooking, which will allow you to splurge on a small bottle of fancy olive oil for special occasions.
Don’t Buy: Ground Coffee
Most Americans drink coffee every day, whether it is a single cup or several, so it might seem pretty logical to purchase coffee in bulk. After all, it’s annoying to always have to buy more! And yes, you will save some money for doing this.
The only small problem is that once ground, coffee beans lose their strength and flavor through contact with air. Therefore, stick to smaller containers of ground coffee or better yet grind your own beans for the best flavor.
If Costco suddenly decided to close all of its warehouses and only keep their gas stations, owning a membership would still be worth it for those who fill their tanks up a lot. Yes, Costco’s gas is that cheaper than elsewhere!
You don’t even have to spend your days on the road to enjoy the price of this brand’s gas. Everyone needs to refuel at some point. So next time you need to fill your tank, don’t just take out your credit card, take out your membership card as well!
Don’t Buy: Kirkland Light Beer
Beer lovers should stick to their favorite brands whether it be Guinness, Molson, Budweiser, Corona, etc. Sure you can save a little money buying the Kirkland Signature brand, but you will potentially regret the taste.
Some consumers actually said the beer tasted like “urine.” How gross is that! So it’s only natural to learn that Costco discontinued their Kirkland Signature Light beer at the end of 2018, and few people are sad about it!
Buy: Breakfast Cereal
Do you have kids who love cereal for breakfast? Or lunch? Or even for a snack? Whether it is for your children or for yourself and your two roommates, Costco is one of the best places to buy your favorite cereal boxes.
Cereals at Costco are often at a discount and the quantities are difficult to beat! They can be kept for a very long time in a cupboard without ever losing their flavor. However, do not open all the bags at the same time, you will lose the crunchiness after a few weeks.
Don’t Buy: Spices
Much like ground coffee, even if you use them every day, spices do not have an indefinite shelf life. Although your giant jar of Italian seasoning won’t show signs of moldiness after a few weeks, it will lose flavor over time.
Unless you regularly cook up your infamous spaghetti sauce to feed your whole Italian family, which can barely fit into your dining room, and that your secret ingredient is a Kirkland mix of dried herbs, purchasing a smaller jar of spices would be smarter for more flavorful meals.
If you love bread of all kinds, Costco is definitely the place to buy it. Unfortunately, you’ll potentially have to freeze some—unless you really eat a lot of bread—as their sizes are generally much more generous than elsewhere, but the variety they offer is definitely worth it.
Another great reason to buy your bread at Costco is that you’ll usually find the best prices! Whether you want to eat bakery French bread, whole-wheat sliced sandwich bread, sandwich rolls or hamburger buns, you’ll pay less at Costco than at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
When you think of your car tires, think about Costco. Besides getting a great low price when you buy your tires there, you will also receive high-quality service for free. What more could you ask for, really? Good service is important, especially when it comes to your car tires.
Costco’s Tire Centre is, therefore, the number one stop to change your tires. No wonder people who aren’t even members chose Costco when it’s time for a new set. Tires are expensive, and a good service is rather rare these days!
Don’t Buy: Soda
Buying soft drinks at the same time as the rest of your food while you’re at Costco is normal. After all, why wouldn’t you do that? It’s much easier to put it in the basket with the rest rather than making an extra stop before returning home.
However, if you really want to save money, check the specials elsewhere and do make that extra stop! Why, you ask? Because soft drinks are one of the most popular specials in all stores, so big stores will not always offer the best discount!
Don’t Buy: Shredded Chicken
Of course, with our busy lives passing at a frantic pace, we all like to save time every time we can, but sometimes the price to pay just isn’t worth it. Unfortunately, this is the case for the shredded chicken sold at Costco.
Unless you’re really in a hurry or just want chicken breast meat, it’s much better for you to buy their chicken rotisserie and shred it yourself. In fact, the Rotisserie Chicken comes at $2.35/lb while the Hand Pulled Cooked Breast Meat comes at $4.57/lb. It will be just as good and you will get more for your money!
If you love to cook and make your own hummus at home, or if you use a lot of tahini in salad dressings and home-cooked meals, you know that this product is not cheap at all. But we understand that it is also too good to do without.
It is, therefore, a great idea to purchase it in bulk size at Costco. You will save a lot of money for this 100% pure sesame paste. In addition, tahini does not expire that quickly; just make sure to keep it in the fridge.
Buy: Toilet Paper
Unless you are the kind to take your quadruple layer quilted ultra-soft and strong toilet paper in your weekender whenever you leave the house for more than 24 hours, you should add one of those enormous Kirkland bags of toilet rolls to your cart. Sure, you must find or make some storage space. But if you have a mortgage to pay every month, you’ll be glad to sacrifice a little more room to save a few bucks. The same goes for paper towels.
In addition, it is important to note that toilet paper engineers are hired by Costco to test the product prior to release for quality control purposes. Even the whiteness of the paper is checked! So you can rest assured that your Costco toilet paper will be of superior quality!
Don’t Buy: Shampoo Or Soap
Soaps and shampoos are two products that must be purchased a few times a year. After all, they may come in big bottles, but we still use them every day! However, they are often on special in all stores, so you should never pay full price for these products at Costco.
So don’t worry about buying these products in bulk, just wait until they go on sale at your local supermarket! It’s not the kind of product you need to buy often enough that you need to buy a huge amount at a time, especially since it won’t save you money.
Buy: Ground Beef
It’s always a good idea to have ground meat on hand, because it’s a pretty all-purpose ingredient that can easily help out when needed. The recipes to make with it are endless! It is therefore a good idea to buy it in bulk, exactly what Costco offers at a great price!
To make sure you don’t waste any, however, it is recommended that you freeze your meat in single servings. In addition, although the price of a package of ground meat is still very attractive, a Costco employee informed Reddit users that “For extra lean (and cheap) ground beef, ask the meat department for a 10-pound chub. We sell our regular ground beef (88/12 percent) for $3.49 a pound. The way we make it is, we take our fat trimmings from cutting steaks and mix it with the chubs to bring up the fat content and increase our profits. The 10-pound chubs are probably sitting around 5 to 8 percent fat and only cost $2.99 a pound! You’ll have to ask for these specifically as we don’t normally put them out for sale.”
Buy: Creamy Tuxedo Mousse Cake
Need a quick and delicious dessert for a special occasion, or simply because you have a sweet and chocolate craving? If you go through Costco, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in their Creamy Tuxedo Mousse Cake!
This delicious cake combines dark and white chocolate to perfection in multiple layers of mousse on top of a chocolate cake. It even has decadent chewy brownie pieces and dark chocolate ganache! Something to delight any chocolate cake lover.
Nuts are a snack of choice, being quite healthy, easy to carry and quick to eat. Plus, you don’t have to eat a ton to feel a little full. If you have ever bought nuts in your life, though, you know how expensive this delicious product can be.
By buying large formats, you will be able to save a few dollars in a very short time. In addition, with its reclosable lid, these roasted cashews can be kept for a very long time. You can even freeze them if you want to buy large quantities.
Don’t Buy: Salsa
People at Costco sure know that salsa and chips mean party. And it is clear that when Costco people don’t do things halfway when it comes to throwing a fiesta, at least judging by the size of their salsa jar. Or should we say bucket?
Consequently, if you are indeed hosting a pool party for the whole neighborhood, by all means, get that Costco salsa jar. Otherwise, you might want to consider saving some fridge space and some money and get that family size jar at the grocery store that will provide a good amount and won’t go bad before you get halfway through it.
If you have kids, and especially if they are in school, or simply if you are kind of a snacker, it would be wise planning a stop in the snacking aisle of your Costco store to stuck up on all your favorite crunchy, sweet and salty goodies.
Those big boxes filled with individually wrapped snacks are super practical and financially profitable if you usually spend a lot of money on crackers, nuts, cookies, and other lunch box friendly treats. And since these are small bags, it doesn’t matter if you eat a whole one!
If you are a big oatmeal eater—which is understandable, because it is delicious!—and that you consume it every morning, buying the large format containing 52 packets at Costco is certainly advantageous for your budget.
If you buy that many individual packets in a traditional supermarket, you will end up paying nearly $10 more every single time. That’s a lot of money lost in the end! If you take the time to calculate, it’s a bargain not to be missed.
Too often when purchasing drugs or vitamins, you are paying extra just because the brand is well renowned when the actual product is exactly the same as some other no-name ones. You only have to look at the list of ingredients to see the proof.
By buying large format Kirkland brand vitamins, you will get the exact same vitamins, but at a really cheaper price. In addition to getting value for your money, you won’t have to head to the store as often. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
If you’ve still got some gadgets at home that run on batteries, you’ll know that these little guys are not cheap, and unfortunately, it seems that you always have to buy them! But next time you head to Costco, it’d be wise to stick upon them.
One pack should be enough to power your electronics for some time and you will find them to be a lot cheaper than in other stores. Don’t shy away from purchasing the Kirkland brand as they are actually made by Duracell.
If your five kids and three kittens drink enough milk to go through one of these enormous Kirkland one gallon jugs before it goes bad, well, please go for it. But that’s a fact and no one can deny it, one gallon is definitely a lot of milk.
Most websites advise not to purchase this product at Costco but to buy it at any other market instead. Their only reason? The big quantities! Still, if you are certain to use it all, you will be saving a lot of money by going for the Kirkland brand.
Buy: Rotisserie Chicken
This one has been a cult favorite for years. Considered to be a loss leader, at $4.99 it might be the best deal on this list. For a very low price, you will have a good meal for the whole family and you may even have some leftovers. Fun fact: Costco sells an average of 157,000 chickens every single day!
However, it can sometimes be disappointing to arrive a little too late at the store and realize that there are no more delicious chickens left, or that the remaining chickens are not as fresh as they could be since they have been on sale for a little while. In that case, you just have to wait for the deli bell to ring; when you hear it, it means that a new batch of freshly cooked rotisserie chicken has just been made available to you!
Buy: Four Cheese And Spinach Manicotti
If you’re looking for something quick but delicious, the Costco Kirkland Signature Four Cheese and Spinach Manicotti are just what you need! There’s nothing better than a pre-made meal for those busy nights.
The manicotti are stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, romano and parmesan cheese with a touch of parsley, then covered with a tomato sauce. Obviously, this is not the healthiest meal, but for taste, price and convenience, you won’t go wrong!
Buy: Salted Sweet Cream Butter
Whatever the reason, we all need butter at one time or another. However, prices can vary greatly from one place to another, but also from one brand to another! With Kirkland Signature Salted Sweet Cream Butter, however, you’ll definitely get a good deal.
Although this butter is not new at Costco, it has had a significant price reduction, making it one of the most economical! In fact, you can now get this four 4 ounces sticks of butter for only $6.99. We think this is a great deal!
Buy: Coffee Cups
Even if it is not recommended to buy coffee in single portions, because it can be more expensive, and obviously, the capsules are not good for the environment. But we understand that the product can be interesting when you live on your own!
If you have a coffee machine that is compatible with these coffee cups, the individual formats sold at Costco will be very advantageous for you. You will get much more coffee for your money, and more coffee means more beautiful mornings ahead!
Don’t Buy: Toothpaste
There are some products that are very often on sale in local grocery stores, and toothpaste is definitely one of them! Whether or not you buy it in a large format, it is the final price that really matters, and you won’t find the best at Costco.
So rather than having to store 20 tubes of toothpaste in your bathroom, keep an eye out for sales, which will actually save you more than Costco! Here is a product that proves that sometimes buying in bulk is not advantageous.
Buy: Gift Cards
If there’s one thing you don’t want to miss at Costco when it comes to saving money, it’s definitely gift cards! Whether it’s to give to someone or even to buy for yourself, it would be really foolish to miss out on that item.
Not only does Costco offer a ton of different gift cards, but you can also buy them for less than their cash value! In fact, you can save up to 25% if you buy more than one. For example, it is possible to buy 4 movietickets.com gift cards, each worth $25, for only $74.99.
No matter where you get them, smartphones can be quite expensive, especially if you want the latest smart Apple or Samsung model, among others. Still, buying a smartphone from Costco can be very advantageous for you.
Buying your smartphone at Costco allows you to choose not only from the latest models but also from various distributors such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. But the biggest advantage is probably the additional bonuses that are not available elsewhere, such as free accessories or Costco gift cards!
Buy: Pet Food
If you own a pet and are used to giving it high quality food for its own good and health, you know that it can quickly become quite expensive. Luckily, pet food is another smart purchase to make at Costco to save money.
Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain food is the best brand you can find at Costco. It is important to know that the giant is using recognized existing brands such as Diamond Naturals to produce its food, so it is quality food at a very competitive price!
Buy: Thermacell Mosquito Repellant
One item that you should buy at Costco consistently gets excellent reviews. Thermacell’s Radius Mosquito Repeller is a great product that won’t break the bank. According to its website, this model effectively repels mosquitoes by creating a 15-foot zone of protection and is powered by a lithium-ion battery.
One reviewer wrote, “Highly recommended! The Thermacell Radius has given us our deck back in the evenings. We like to grill and eat out on the deck, but we were getting shredded by mosquitoes. The Radius works better than anything else we’ve tried. It’s simple to use, powerful, and small enough to be portable/packable.”
Don’t Buy: Barbecue Grill
Summer is upon us, and you may fantasize about grilling out. Many people buy big-ticket items at Costco, like grills, but you should skip the Urban Islands 4-Burner by Bull. Consumer Reports had plenty of negative things to say about this model.
For starters, it’s pricier and doesn’t perform as well as the other grills that they rated. The report stated, “It’s particularly bad at maintaining even heat at high temperatures, a must for perfectly seared steaks.” If a top-notch grill is what you’re seeking for your next backyard barbecue, then this model probably isn’t for you.
Buy: Outdoor Furniture
With the arrival of summer, many families are spending more and more time outside, so now is the perfect time to buy outdoor furniture. Costco has a large variety of products to choose from for a steal. You’ll be impressed by both the quality and the price.
From patio furniture to an outdoor dining set, they’ve got you covered. They offer many stylish and weather-resistant sets that would be perfect for your deck or backyard space. Start entertaining today with the amazing deals at Costco. This is one product you won’t regret buying.
Buy: Outdoor Playset
When it comes to buying an outdoor playset for children, Costco has a great selection at discounted prices. These aren’t the swing sets we grew up with. Many of them come with all the bells and whistles. From twisty tunnel slides to multi-colored rock walls, they have many fun options.
The quality is top notch and many of the models they sell have impressive reviews. One consumer wrote about the Cedar Summit by KidKraft Austin Playset, saying, “Instructions are clear and easy to follow. Kids love all the features. Took longer than expected to set up, but worth it at the end.”
Buy: Electric Scooter
Costco sells many big-ticket items, so if you’re in the market to buy an electric scooter, they often have them in stock for a bargain. It’s important to know which products you should or shouldn’t buy, and you can feel confident buying a scooter from Costco.
They offer the Segway Ninebot ES3 KickScooter, which has mostly excellent reviews. One shopper wrote, “The Segway scooter is just like the ones you rent in downtown, very strong, sturdy and very quiet. It also folds down very quick and easy, so you can put it in the trunk of your car and take it with you.”
Buy: Your Grocery Online
Did you know that it is possible to have your groceries delivered the same day thanks to Costco’s collaboration with Instacart? No need to go out and mingle with the crowd to do your groceries since it is possible to do it in the comfort of your living room!
Now also available in many Costco locations across Canada, this online delivery service allows you to have all your groceries, pantry staples and household essentials delivered in just two hours. So get enough lead time to get the fresh produce, meat or seafood you need just in time for dinner!
Don’t Buy: Tissues
For a simple sneeze, most brands of tissues can be suitable. However, when a cold strikes, the quality of the tissues you have on hand is important. Remember how red and dry your nose gets after a few days of constant blowing!
Tissues sold in large quantities are always financially advantageous, but they are rarely the best to relieve our irritated nose. Kirkland tissues may not be the best option for you if you are the kind of person who blows his nose a few times a day.
Don’t Buy: Books
It’s literally impossible to miss the giant tables of books that are located in the middle of every Costco. This section is just so huge! But sadly, books don’t exactly qualify for the normal bulk discount you can usually find at Costco.
Turns out the savings don’t add up and you can usually find better discounts online, for example, on Amazon, or during sales in bookstores. Plus, you will have a much bigger selection and not just the most recent releases.
Don’t Buy: Baking Powder
Much like flour, baking powder actually doesn’t have a very long shelf life. At least, not as long as you think. While it doesn’t “go bad” in the traditional sense of rotting or forming mold, it does lose its efficacy in about a year.
Therefore, buying baking powder in bulk from Costco is usually a waste of money. Unless you’re baking day in and day out, it’s highly unlikely you’ll use all the baking powder before it goes bad. Then, you’ll be left with a huge container of baking powder that no longer works effectively.
Buy: Kirkland Signature Vodka
Alcoholic beverages are some of the best-selling products at Costco. This is especially true when it comes to Kirkland Signature vodka. It was Costco’s number one selling liquor item in 2017. Sure, you could purchase the Grey Goose label, but Kirkland Signature vodka is made using the same water source that Grey Goose uses. It’s rumored that the two liquors are even manufactured in the same place.
Plus, according to an article published by USA TODAY, Kirkland Signature French vodka “has regularly topped Grey Goose in blind taste tests.” Not only that, but Kirkland Signature vodka costs half of what you’d pay for Grey Goose.
Don’t Buy: Cold Cuts
Did you know that packages of sliced deli meats have a very short shelf life once they have been opened? Yep, it’s true. It wouldn’t make sense, then, to buy a whole heap of it, unless, of course, you’re going to use it on a meat platter for a party you’re throwing.
That being said, your best bet is to head to a butcher or a deli counter (yes, Costco has one) and get them to slice off only the amount you know you can consume within a few days. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money and food.
Don’t Buy: Candy
Do you really need candy in huge quantities? I mean, if you’re expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters for Halloween or you’re planning on stuffing a piñata for a birthday party, then by all means, head to Costco and load up on this sweet stuff.
But if you’re buying it simply to satisfy a sweet tooth, you might want to avoid it altogether. “Candy and unhealthy snacks can be tempting to buy in bulk but tough to control portions, so most people are better off health-wise buying smaller quantities when needed,” retail and shopping expert Kristen Gall, from the cash-back service Rakuten, told Best Life.
Buy: Kirkland Signature 1/4 Pound Plus Beef Dogs
The Kirkland Signature 1/4 pound plus beef hot dog is one of Costco’s best sellers in its food court. In fact, the warehouse club sells millions of them every year! The hot dog is so popular shoppers say it’s one of the reasons they’re willing to pay for an annual membership.
You can get the hot dog and soda combo for just $1.50. This combo has been the same price for more than three decades. Awesome, right?! I mean, where else can you go to get an entire meal for less than two bucks?
Don’t Buy: Peeled Garlic
Buying garlic that’s already been peeled is not only a time saver, it keeps your hands from being stinky, too. But there’s actually a downside to buying peeled garlic. According to chef Lizzy Briskin, pre-peeled garlic cloves tend to be dry, woody, and lacking in the flavor department. Not to mention that you probably won’t be able to finish the entire bag before it further loses its flavor and/or goes bad.
I know it might take more time, but do your wallet and your taste buds a favor and buy garlic that you have to peel yourself. If peeling garlic is a tedious task to you, you can always invest in a garlic peeler. It will peel your garlic in a flash, plus it’ll keep your hands odor free. These peelers are easy to use, too. You only need to roll the peeler back and forth on a table or countertop and the cloves will come out peeled.
Buy: Kirkland Signature Bacon
Bacon makes everything better! And Costco shoppers would agree—especially when it comes to Kirkland Signature bacon. In fact, it’s a cult favorite. For one thing, it’s super tasty. Another reason Costco shoppers love it so much is because it’s super cheap—about $1.50 cheaper per pound than the competition, to be exact.
Kirkland Signature bacon comes in bundles of four 1-pound packs. Now, if you’re worried about what to do with all that bacon, don’t. You can always freeze it and thaw only the amount you need at a later date. Oh, by the way, Kirkland Signature has bacon crumbles and fully cooked hickory wood smoked thick cut bacon slices, too. You get 40 to 50 slices in a pack for $17.49.
Don’t Buy: Protein Bars
What’s wrong with protein bars, you ask? They’re healthy, right? Well, not exactly. It all depends on what you’re buying. That being said, you need to take a close look at the label and read the ingredients very carefully. That’s because some of the protein bars found at Costco are packed with sugar and oils. The fiber and protein are only added to make them seem like healthy options.
Beware of breakfast bars, too. According to an article published by Insider, nutritionists say they’re loaded with sugar and refined grains. Try finding healthier alternatives to protein bars. For example, you could eat an apple or orange and a handful of almonds, a banana and a handful of peanuts, low-fat yogurt with granola and nuts, or oatmeal with brown sugar, almonds, skim milk, and a banana. And, as weird as it might sound, you could even eat some dried fruit and a hard-boiled egg.
Buy: Dried Fruit
There are a number of things you can do with dried fruit. You can enjoy it as a healthy snack, you can add it to your favorite hot or cold cereals, you can toss it in salads or yogurt, you can mix it into cake, muffin, waffle or pancake batter, or you can use it in a smoothie recipe. As you can see, the possibilities are endless!
And, when it comes to dried fruit, Costco has got you covered. They have dried blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and, of course, raisins—just to name a few. One shopper even said they saw dried watermelon on the shelves at Costco. The warehouse club sells organic dried fruit as well, including figs, mangoes, and goji berries. There’s even an option to purchase freeze dried fruit. And, get this: fruit that has been freeze-dried fresh lasts up to a year after opening! You can’t go wrong with that.
Don’t Buy: Salty Snacks
Okay, so what can I say about salty snacks that haven’t already been said? Everyone knows that they are very unhealthy. And any salty snacks bought from Costco will be even more unhealthy. That’s due to the size of the bag they come in. Now, it’s up to you to watch your portion sizes, but let’s be real about it: no one does that. Well, at least most of us don’t, anyway. That’s why Lay’s tells us that they bet we can’t eat just one. They know salty snacks—especially potato chips—are one of American’s go-to comfort foods.
And while it doesn’t make you a bad person to comfort yourself with food, it can lead to some very bad health outcomes. Do yourself a favor and buy a small bag of chips from a convenience store instead. Yes, you could buy a box of 50 one-ounce bags of chips at Costco, but the question is, will you be able to stop at one bag? If you can, then go for it. If not, then head down to 7-Eleven and buy a single 1.5-ounce bag of whatever salty snack you prefer.
This is one product that you don’t have to worry about buying too much of. That’s because even though it’s sold in bulk at Costco, honey, if stored properly, never expires! It may darken and/or crystallize, but it will still be safe to eat. Not only that, but honey has a ton of uses.
Not only can you use it to sweeten your food, you can also use honey as an antibacterial and antiviral, for treating insomnia or wounds, to moisturize and exfoliate skin, to ease coughs, and so on. FYI, manufacturers only place an expiration date on bottles or jars of honey to help stores with their inventory and to make sure customers will consume the honey when it’s at its optimal flavor and freshness levels.
Don’t Buy: Pancake Mix
Pancake mix is one of those items you would definitely come out better with if you make your own at home if you plan on buying it in bulk from a warehouse club. For example, a box or bag of pancake mix at Costco will run you anywhere from $6 to $11, but if you were to purchase all the ingredients needed to make your own pancake mix at home, it would cost you less than $2 for the same quantity.
If, however, it’s a matter of convenience for you and you absolutely must purchase pre-made pancake mix, your best bet is to wait until it goes on sale at the supermarket or a big box retailer like Walmart. Not only that, but grocery and big box stores accept manufacturer coupons, whereas Costco doesn’t. If you’re able to combine a coupon with the sale price, you could very likely get your pancake mix for a steal!
Don’t Buy: Frozen Salmon
In all honesty, it’s best to buy everything fresh instead of frozen, and salmon is no exception. According to chef Lizzy Briskin, “you’re better off buying fresh salmon at Costco’s seafood counter and marinating the fish yourself than buying anything frozen and pre-seasoned.”
“Protein, especially delicate fish, shouldn’t be marinated indefinitely. Over time, the fish’s flaky texture will break down and you’ll end up with something much mushier than the soft, buttery texture you’re looking for. Extended periods of freezing can have the same effect, making this frozen and marinated salmon something to avoid,” she told Insider.
Don’t Buy: Bulk Bread Crumbs
Unless your name is Wolfgang Puck, you probably won’t need an oversized can of bread crumbs. That’s because you likely won’t be able to use them in enough recipes before they become stale. Not only that, but you can’t even freeze them to extend their shelf life. Additionally, the seasoning in pre-seasoned bread crumbs is likely to decrease their shelf life even quicker.
So, what should you do? You could purchase a small container of bread crumbs and add your own seasonings. Or you could make your own bread crumbs at home using a food processor. Almost any loaf of bread (except for a baguette) will do.
Buy: Food Court Pizza
Costco’s food court is one of the country’s largest pizzerias, and shoppers are absolutely in love with their fresh-baked pizza. You can get an 18″ one for less than $10. You can pre-order your pizza while you shop, or you can call ahead and place your order over the phone. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes for the pizza to cook. If you order ahead, it’ll be ready by the time you get there or by the time you’re ready to check out.
Not only that, but your pizza is guaranteed to have the same amount of deliciousness each time you order one. That’s because Costco makes each pizza with precision. For example, they’re all made with 1.5 pounds of a blend of low-fat mozzarella, provolone and freshly grated parmesan cheeses, and their pepperoni pizzas all contain exactly 60 slices of pepperoni.
Don’t Buy: Mixed Nuts
There are a number of reasons why you should avoid buying mixed nuts at Costco. One reason is that there’s a pretty good chance that you or your family members will only eat the ones you like and leave the rest behind. That’s a total waste of money. Here’s something else: nuts can go rancid pretty quickly. This is even true when you store them in an airtight container and keep them in a cool, dark spot. The longest they’ll keep in those conditions is a couple of months.
This is due to the fact that nuts are high in natural oils. So, if you buy a big container of them, like those found at warehouse clubs, there’s no way you can finish them all before they go bad. You’ll just still be wasting money. To get the most bang for your buck, purchase the single-variety packs of unroasted nuts (the roasting process significantly decreases their shelf life) and keep them in the freezer for maximum freshness.
Buy: Don Lee Farms Plant-Based Burgers
Don Lee Farms plant-based burgers are some of the most popular items sold at Costco. The company sold a million of them in the first 60 days of launching! So, what’s all the hype about? Well, for one thing, Don Lee Farms boasts America’s first organic plant-based burgers. These burgers also “bleed” and sizzle on the grill just like raw beef. That’s all thanks to the organic beet juice and organic vegetable-based fats that have been added.
Don Lee Farms plant-based burgers are organic certified, all-natural, vegan, GMO-free, gluten-free, and contain absolutely no preservatives or artificial flavors. Each 2.8-oz. patty contains 260 calories, 12g of fat, 2g of saturated fat, and 15g of protein. They are sold in packs of 12.
Buy: Kirkland Signature Kombucha
For those of you who aren’t aware of what kombucha is, it’s a fermented tea loaded with lots of health benefits. It’s said to ward off high blood pressure and heart disease, aid in digestion, and do a number of other things. And Costco’s private label, Kirkland Signature, makes its own.
This tea is USDA organic, 100% raw, craft brewed, live and active, and contains two billion CFU probiotic cultures. Kombucha contains a healthy dose of B vitamins as well. Kirkland Signature kombucha contains only 35 calories, 10 milligrams of sodium and 9 grams of sugar per serving (8 ounces). It contains no fat, cholesterol, fiber, or protein. Each bottle is 16 fluid ounces, and you can buy a case of 8 bottles.
Don’t Buy: Sour Cream
How long do you think it will take you to go through a 3 pounds tub of sour cream? Think about it very well, because 3 pounds is a lot. If your answer is longer than two weeks, then you maybe will want to skip this purchase.
According to the USDA, sour cream is good for up to three weeks after the sell-by date, provided it’s been stored in the refrigerator at 40°F. And you can forget about trying to freeze it. Sour cream, like most dairy products, doesn’t freeze well. That being said, it’s best to stick to small containers of sour cream.
Buy: Cheese Flights
A couple of years ago, Kirkland Signature released pre-packaged 1.8-pound cheese flights that come with five wedges of cheese. Depending on the pack, you might get something like the following:
- Yellow Door Creamery Tuscan Hand-Rubbed Fontina
- Jasper Hill Farm Cabot Clothbound Mature Bandage Cheddar
- El Pastor Spanish Red Wine Soaked Goat
- Busti Il Tartufo Pecorino Toscana
- Yellow Door Creamery Monteau Alpine
- Zanetti DOP Provolone
- Torero Matador 10-Month Aged Manchego
- El Pastor Valencia Orange Chevre
- Beecher’s Flagship Handmade Cheddar
- Cello Creamy Dill Hand-Rubbed Fontal
Additionally, each cheese flight comes with wine and beer pairing suggestions, which include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Lager, and Belgian or Hoppy Ale. There are a variety of milks used, too. For example, Busti Il Tartufo Pecorino Toscana is made using pasteurized sheep’s milk. Naturally, the El Pastor Spanish Red Wine Soaked Goat is made using pasteurized goat’s milk. The others in the pack are made using pasteurized cow’s milk.
Buy: Street-Taco Kits
Costco’s Chicken Street Tacos come with everything you need to recreate that street food flavor you love so much. What’s more is that these kits come with enough seasoned chicken, cheese, fresh shredded veggies, lime wedges, salsa, cilantro-lime crema, and tortillas to make 12 tacos! Can you say Taco Tuesday?! And these DIY taco kits are as delicious as they look. It’s the perfect mid-week family meal, and it has people all over the world salivating.
A word of warning: many people find these tacos a bit spicy. That being said, you might want to dull down the spiciness a bit if you’re going to be serving these tacos to your kids. You can do that by adding sour cream or by heating the chicken in a pan along with a cup of chicken stock to “make it a bit saucy,” as one mother told the Daily Mail. FYI, Costco sells a giant version of this platter, too, with enough ingredients to make 36 tacos!
Don’t Buy: Frozen Produce
Okay, so you’ve just scored a great deal on a 10-pound bag of frozen veggies… At least you thought it was a great deal. But tell me this: how long will it take you to go through that bag of vegetables? That long, huh? They’ll surely lose their quality and taste after that. Not to mention that they can get freezer burn when you keep opening and closing the bag because you’re exposing the vegetables to fresh air.
And here’s another issue when it comes to frozen foods: they take up a lot of space in the freezer. This is even true when you purchase small bags. I can’t imagine how much space would be occupied by a 10-pound bag!
Don’t Buy: LaCroix Sparkling Water
Did you know you can get a 24-pack of LaCroix sparkling water from Costco for just $8.99? That’s a steal, isn’t it? Well, it would seem that way until you realize you can get the same amount of LaCroix sparkling water at Target for just $7.38! And here’s a not-so-fun fact about LaCroix sparkling water. Just a few years ago, its parent company was sued for including cockroach insecticide as an ingredient in the beverages.
“LaCroix in fact contains ingredients that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as synthetic,” the lawsuit obtained by CBS Philadelphia stated. “These chemicals include limonene, which can cause kidney toxicity and tumors; linalool propionate, which is used to treat cancer; and linalool, which is used in cockroach insecticide.” Yeah, you might want to pass on this purchase altogether.
Don’t Buy: Butter
I love butter! I put it on everything—on my toast, on my potatoes, in my oatmeal. I could go on and on. But the truth of the matter is that even though I love butter, I don’t really eat it all that often. In other words, I don’t eat toast, potatoes, oatmeal or any of the other stuff I love putting butter on every single day of my life. And even if I did, I wouldn’t go overboard and just slather a whole bunch of it on my food. That would be so unhealthy.
That being said, butter isn’t something I need to buy in bulk. I’m pretty sure the same applies to your life. Unless, of course, you own a restaurant or something of that nature. I mean, sure, there are certain times of the year when you’d need a lot of butter—say around the holidays—but even then just your basic 16-ounce package of butter or margarine from the grocery store will do.
Don’t Buy: Frozen Turkeys
Take it from former savings expert Kendal Perez when she says that you’re better off getting your frozen turkey from a grocery store. “I purchased a 14-pound Kroger brand turkey from King Soopers for 69 cents per pound, compared to Costco’s price of 99 cents per pound for Butterball frozen turkeys,” she told GOBankingRates.
And who knows, if you shop around you just might find one cheaper than that—especially when they go on sale around the holidays. Or if you’re one of those lucky people who gets a free turkey (in the form of a voucher) from their employer every year at Thanksgiving, you just might wanna hold out for that.
Don’t Buy: Hummus
A Costco-sized tub of hummus is good if you’re throwing a party. If not, then it’s best to stick with the smaller sizes found in the grocery store. Sure, you might really love it and eat it every day, but you likely won’t be able to eat all of it before it reaches its expiration date. Not only that, but expiration dates are typically good for as long as the product hasn’t been opened.
Once you open your tub of hummus, it likely won’t last you more than a week. Yes, you could freeze it, but that’s really not a good idea either. That’s because the longer it remains frozen, the more likely it is to lose its flavor. You should simply buy your hummus in smaller quantities, even if it means buying more often.
Don’t Buy: Disposable Plates, Cups, And Utensils
Let’s be honest. Most of us probably load up on this stuff when we catch a good deal on it. After all, plastic cups, paper plates and plastic utensils come in handy when you’re having a family picnic or you’re just feeling lazy and don’t want to have to wash dishes. This is a great way to save a lot of time on dishes, too!
But the problem comes when it’s time to store these items. If you’ve ever been to Costco and seen the ginormous packages of disposable cups, utensils and plates, then you know they can take up a lot of much-needed cabinet or pantry space. That said, it’s probably best if you just purchase these items in smaller quantities at Walmart or Target.
Don’t Buy: Name-Brand Items
It’s no surprise that name-brand items are more expensive than store brands, so it makes sense—at least most of the time anyway—to pass on them in favor of the generic stuff. “The Kirkland Signature items are just as good if not better than their name-brand counterparts,” Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with the shopping comparison site DealNews.com, says, according to Best Life. “In fact, I’m still sad that our Costco stopped carrying Kirkland Signature chocolate hazelnut spread because it was leagues better than Nutella, in my opinion.”
“There are always rumors about who really makes the Kirkland Signature products, with some claiming various Kirkland products taste just like their name-brand counterparts. And that may be true, but all I know is that when given a choice, I always opt for the Kirkland Signature brand over the name brand.”
Don’t Buy: Things You’ve Never Tried Before
Manufacturers come out with new flavors, colors and versions of their products all the time, and many people are dying to try them. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine. Just make sure you try a small size of the product first so you don’t waste your money.
For example, if Hershey’s comes out with a new flavor for their milk chocolate bar—let’s say they add coconut to it or something like that—and you want to know what it tastes like, head to your local grocery store and pick up ONE bar for a dollar and some change. That way, if you don’t like it, you won’t be out of a whole lot of money. On the other hand, if you buy it in bulk from Costco, you’ll have a ton of it and will just end up throwing it (and your money) away.
Don’t Buy: Kool-Aid Jammers
I remember when these drinks were all the rage in the 90s. They’re quite similar to a drink my peers and I were going crazy over in the 80s, and there’s a reason Kool-Aid Jammers were so popular with the kiddies. One word: sugar. In fact, the second ingredient in these drink pouches is high fructose corn syrup. That means there’s only one ingredient that there’s more of in these drink pouches than sugar.
That also means that there’s less Vitamin C and natural flavors in there than there is sugar. Not so healthy, huh? So, while you may be able to find a good deal on them at Costco, they definitely are not good for you. Instead, you should buy juices made from real fruit. They also contain sugar, but the less added sugar, the better!
Don’t Buy: Electronics
Truth be told, you could find cheaper electronics on Amazon and other online retailers than you could at Costco. Not only that, but manufacturers will often create exclusive versions of their popular electronics for warehouse stores. These exclusive versions are usually missing key features found in the regular versions. That’s why warehouse stores can sell them for so cheap.
Now, it’s totally up to you to buy these items if you feel you can live without those key features. If not, do yourself a favor and check out the technical specifications before spending your money on these exclusive warehouse store electronics. Electronics usually last a rather long time, so it’s can be worth it to invest a little more.
Don’t Buy: Over-The-Counter Medication
Unless your immune system is so weak that you can go through a 500-tablet bottle of medicine very quickly, it’s best to leave these big bottles of pills in the store. There is absolutely no way on earth you could ever go through that much medicine before it expires. Although medications can still be taken after their expiration date, the older they are, the less effective they are.
Not only that, but Cheapism says that having that much medication on hand at one time “could also lead to potentially dangerous situations.” That being said, you can get inexpensive OTC medications in much smaller quantities at Walmart. For example, the mass merchandise retailer sells bottles of 40 ibuprofen tablets for just $0.98.
Don’t Buy: Kirkland Signature Lemonade
According to an article published by Eat This, Not That!, Kirkland Signature lemonade is one of the worst drinks you can buy at Costco. But it has nothing to do with its price. Rather, it’s about its nutritional value—or lack thereof. In the article, Charleston-based registered dietitian Lauren Manaker said that the drink is nothing more than a sugar bomb with empty calories. That’s because the drink has 29 grams of added sugars and nothing much really when it comes to nutrition.
It’s obvious then that you’d be better off making your own fresh-squeezed lemonade at home! And get this: you’ll pay about $3 less for a 2-pound bag of lemons at Walmart than you would for a 2-count package of Kirkland Signature lemonade at Costco.
Don’t Buy: Kirkland Signature Spiced Rum
You can actually get a good deal on alcohol at Costco if you know what to look for. Unfortunately, the Kirkland Signature Spiced Rum isn’t much of a good deal. For one thing, it costs about $20 for a 1.75 L bottle, so you’re not really saving a ton of money on it. Additionally, a lot of people don’t like the taste.
In a blind taste test conducted by Buzzfeed, panelists said it tasted “like a drunk gingerbread man”—whatever that means. In all, panelists preferred the taste of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum to that of the Kirkland Signature Spiced Rum. We understand that saving money is always nice, but when it comes at the expense of a pleasant taste, we prefer to pay a little more!
Don’t Buy: Kirkland Signature Silver Tequila
Perhaps the fact that blanco tequila won’t give you a hangover is what’s drawing you in to purchase this beverage. Be that as it may, the Kirkland Signature Silver Tequila, which has been touted as blanco tequila, is a low-quality drink, according to an article published by Mashed. That’s because the alcohol flavor in the drink is said to overpower the agave and citrus flavors.
But if you’re still looking to purchase the Kirkland brand, you can always try their other two tequilas: Añejo and Reposado. They both received rave reviews. The Añejo was loved because it’s an aged tequila you can get for less than $30. According to the reviews, the Añejo is good straight or over ice. The Reposado, on the other hand, is great for making simple cocktails.
Don’t Buy: Kirkland Signature London Dry Gin
The problem with this gin, as Mashed.com puts it, is that it doesn’t stand out from the competition. “After all, depending on where you buy it, you can get the same amount of New Amsterdam for a pretty similar price,” the website said in an article. Additionally, this particular gin is said to be a poor choice for certain cocktails.
For example, this isn’t the gin you want to use if you’re looking to make a good martini. “You want something with more complexity and additional floral and citrus notes to balance out the juniper,” the website said. “Tanqueray, Boodles, and Hendrick’s are all great choices and at $20 to $35 a bottle, they aren’t going to set you back much more than the Costco stuff,” which costs around $25 for 1.75 L.
Don’t Buy: Kirkland Signature Dishwasher Tablets
Depending on who you ask, Kirkland Signature dishwasher tablets can be hit or miss. Some customers say they have used them for years because they work great and are available at a great price. On the other hand, some customers say they aren’t worth the money and they smell awful. It may be important to note here that Costco recently changed the formulation of its tablets, so that may be the cause of the mixed reviews.
Another cause may be the fact that the type of dishwasher a person has, as well as the mineral content of their water, can affect the dishwashing process. Either way, when it comes to buying Kirkland Signature dishwasher tablets versus the leading brands, choose carefully.
Don’t Buy: Disposable Razors
The problem with buying disposable razors from Costco is that you can usually get them cheaper at Walmart or a drugstore—at least some of the time, anyway. It really depends on whether there’s a sale going on and if you can get your hands on a manufacturer coupon, which Costco doesn’t accept.
So, just how much can you save with a sale and coupons? According to Kiplinger, it’s possible to get the razors for $4 less at Walmart than you would at Costco. All you have to do is hang on to any coupons you may have, wait for Walmart to have a sale, and boom! Inexpensive disposable razors! Buying at Costco is really not always advantageous!
Don’t Buy: Sunscreen
Do you really go to the beach that much or spend that much time outdoors in general that you would go through multiple bottles of sunscreen a year? No? I didn’t think so. That being the case, why on earth would you ever purchase sunscreen in bulk? Unless you’re planning on giving it away to family members and friends, it’s best to just purchase it from a traditional store.
You see, here’s the thing: just like everything else, sunscreen also has an expiration date. It loses its effectiveness after three years, and while that may be a long time, it’s really not enough time to go through multiple bottles of the stuff. So it’s best to buy less of it to avoid wasting money or putting on sunscreen that will eventually no longer protect your skin.
Don’t Buy: Fresh Meat
There’s no shame in stocking up on meat, especially if you have the freezer space to store some of the big portions sold at Costco. However, while you’ll get a large quantity of meat during your shop, you may be wasting your money.
Apparently, the only way you’ll manage to save money by buying your meat at Costco is by purchasing a 60-pound case. Otherwise, the meat is roughly the same price per pound as what you can find at the grocery store. 60 pounds is obviously a ridiculous amount of meat, so it might be best to leave steak off your shopping list the next time you go to Costco.
Don’t Buy: Nuts
There’s seems to be a consensus that nuts can never go bad, no matter how long you leave them sitting on the shelf. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Nuts contain a high amount of oil, which can cause them to go rancid. In general, most nuts will only last 12 months at the very outside, with some going bad within just one month.
Therefore, buying the huge packs of nuts sold at Costco doesn’t really make sense. Eating all those nuts before they expire might be unhealthy, and allowing them to go bad means you’re wasting money. There’s no way to win with this purchase.