The Worst Bargains At Costco
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 an enormous 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 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.
Costco is known for selling food items in bulk. In fact, that’s the whole appeal of shopping at the store for most customers. But before you purchase all your groceries at Costco, you have to be sure you can actually eat the large quantities of food before they go bad.
Unless your family consumes multiple glasses of milk on a daily basis, you should stay away from purchasing this item at Costco. In most cases, the containers are just too big for the average family, meaning your milk may go bad before you have a chance to finish it. If half your Costco milk is rotting before you drink it, you’re wasting an awful lot of money when you could just buy a smaller container from another store.
6 Breakfast Cereal
Much like milk, breakfast cereal from Costco often comes in quantities that are too big to finish. While breakfast cereal doesn’t rot like milk, it does become stale and inedible. Unless you have the perfect storage system in your home, it’s likely you’ll end up throwing much of your cereal away.
Plus, cereal is an item that doesn’t necessarily need the signature Costco discount. You can find normal quantities of breakfast cereal at the grocery store for roughly the same price as Costco’s offerings. Grocery stores are also known to offer big sales for their breakfast cereals, so you might pay less at your local store than you would at Costco.
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.
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.
9 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.
10 Olive Oil
Olive oil is something you use fairly frequently, but that doesn’t mean it should be bought in bulk from Costco. According to the University of California, Davis, olive oil should be used up within about six weeks after its purchase date. That keeps the olive oil at its freshest.
Unfortunately, the large containers of olive oil at Costco likely can’t be used up within that six-week time slot. While the olive oil is technically still usable, it diminishes in freshness with each passing day. It’s best to buy smaller containers of olive oil from the store to ensure you’re always adding the freshest ingredients to your meal.
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.
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.
13 Baking Powder
Much like flour, baking powder actually doesn’t have a very long shelf life. 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.
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.
15 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.
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.”
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.
18 Ground Coffee
Most Americans drink coffee every day so it might seem logical to purchase coffee in bulk. And yes, you will save some money for doing this.
The 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.
19 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 Costco brand.
Some consumers actually said the beer tasted like “urine,” gross. So it’s only natural to learn Costco discontinued Kirkland Signature Light beer at the end of 2018.
Much like ground coffee, spices do not have an indefinite shelf life. Although your giant jar of Italian seasoning won’t show signs of moldiness, 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.
Buying soft drinks at the same time as the rest of your food is normal. It’s much easier to put it in the basket with the rest.
However, if you really want to save money, check the specials elsewhere! Why? Soft drinks are one of the most popular specials in all stores, so big stores will not always offer the best discount!
22 Shredded Chicken
Of course, we all like to save time, but sometimes the price to pay just isn’t worth it. 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!
23 Fresh Fruits and Veggies
This one is tricky because in some cases, purchasing your fresh fruits and veggies in a big store can be a good idea, especially if your family eats a lot of it.
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?
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.
Yes, condiments 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.
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.
There are products that are very often on sale in local grocery stores. Toothpaste is one of them! Whether or not you buy it in a large format, it is the final price that really matters!
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!
It might be tempting to buy his bike at Costco. After all, the price is great, and what could go wrong with a bike?
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!
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.
29 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.
30 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.
31 Kirkland Laundry Detergent
It would seem logical to think that buying detergent in bulk is a good idea. Yes, you will definitely save some money buying this bargain brand in bulk.
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.
It’s impossible to miss the giant tables of books in the middle of every Costco. And books don’t exactly qualify for the normal bulk discount.
Turns out the savings don’t add up and you can usually find better discounts online (Amazon) or during sales in bookstores. Plus, you will have a much bigger selection.
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.
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.
34 Shampoo or soap
As with soft drinks, soaps and shampoos are two products that are often on special in all stores! You should never pay full price for these products.
So don’t worry about buying these products in bulk, just wait until they go on sale at your local supermarket!
Did you know that the majority of the population would be able to save much more money every month than they think? When you think about all the non-essential things you buy, it’s pretty easy to believe! According to the long-proven 50/30/20 rule, you should set aside:
- 50% of your budget for essential expenses such as housing and food;
- 30%—maximum!—for non-essential spending;
- At least 20% of your income should be put into savings.
When you think about it, it’s a pretty logical way to manage your finances. Unfortunately, too few people take the time to make a detailed budget and think about it.
Here are some facts from 2018 about how Americans’ money relates to the LivingFacts website:
- 12% of Americans said they could not cover a potential $400 expense. 61% said they could afford the $400 in cash or equivalent, while 27% of Americans said they would have to borrow the $400, or sell assets, if the opportunity arose;
- 36% of Americans say their retirement savings are on track. 44% say they are having problems, and the remaining 20% are unsure about the state of their savings;
- 64% of Americans owned a home, while 27% rented one, and 9% had other arrangements;
- The average annual salary of an American can be divided into three different types of expenses: 33% for housing, 16% for transportation, and 13% for food;
- Only 47% of Americans with a credit card say they have been able to pay their bill in full every month for the past year. 26% say they have had a balance on their card a few times, while 27% have a balance most of the time;
- 82% of married people say they are doing well financially, compared to 66% of single people. 78% of married people with children under 18 are doing well, compared with 52% of single people with children.
Business Insider even goes so far as to say that many Americans plan to work until they die and not retire because their finances are so precarious. More precisely, 37% of Americans think they will have to work until they die, while 34% of them plan to be able to retire around the age of 80.
It is therefore quite clear that the financial health of American society in general is more precarious than one might think, especially considering that even people who manage to save do not in fact save enough.
With our best saving tips article, though, you will be able to get to your goal quickly and, who knows, maybe you’ll have a little more leeway for your non-essential spending in addition to planning your retirement properly!