What to buy at Costco & what to skip

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Nothing beats the membership deals at Costco.

Whether you’re shopping for groceries, electronics, furniture or apparel, there are so many products and brands to choose from, all of which are sold at exclusively low prices. Walking around Costco is like having your cake and eating it, too. Not only is everything budget-friendly, but you really can’t beat the quality.

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That being said, there is a method to saving money at Costco that includes knowing exactly what to buy and what not to buy. Some deals are better than others, which is why we put together this guide! We’re revealing everything you should and should not buy at Costco in 2021, including snacks and more.

Food

Costco is known for its incredible food court choices (one hot dog, please!), large cheese selection and amazing wine. Here’s what you should and should not buy when it comes to food at Costco.

Buy: Cheese

All types of cheese are fair game at Costco. The per-unit price is really low, whether you’re shopping for parmesan, mozzarella, feta, blue cheese, goat, fontina, cheddar … you get the picture.

Buy: Olive Oil

Olive oil is a great item to stock up on because the price is low and the shelf life is long (up to 24 months). The Kirkland Signature brand of olive oil is one of the most affordable options.

Buy: Fresh Eggs

Not only are eggs super affordable, but they come in a large selection at Costco. Typically, shoppers see five dozen eggs for less than $5 and three dozen eggs for less than $3.

Buy: Hot Dogs & Snacks

Never pass up a food court purchase. The store is home to ready-made hot dogs, pizza, fries, beverages and more. Some shoppers go as far as to say that Costco hot dogs are some of the best in America. The best part is that you can purchase a hot dog and a drink for the insanely low price of $1.50.

Buy: Rotisserie Chicken

Typically priced at $4.99, the rotisserie chicken is a major steal, especially when you don’t want to make dinner. We suggest shredding the chicken for salads or meals throughout the week.

Buy: Organic Almond Butter

Nut butter can be costly no matter where you shop. However, you can find a 27oz of almond butter for just $8 at Costco. This is definitely one of the cheapest prices we’ve seen.

Buy: Kirkland Bacon

The Kirkland Bacon comes in bundles of four, which makes it easy to stock up for a low price.

Buy: Frozen Fruit

Frozen fruit is something you can throw in the freezer and forget about. Members can find reasonable prices on frozen berries, peaches, bananas and other organic options that are great for smoothies.

Buy: Frozen Food

Most frozen food items are on the buy list. You can save on things like Hot Pockets, frozen pizza, pizza rolls and other snacks. Just be aware of larger bulk items that will take up too much space in your freezer.

Buy: Maple Syrup

You can score maple syrup for a super low price, and it can last in the pantry for about a year. Purchase the Kirkland Signature brand — the 34-ounce bottle usually retails for just $13.29.

Buy: Microwave Popcorn

Don’t be afraid to buy microwave popcorn in bulk. The prices are low, and it will last in your pantry.

Buy: Wine

Costco has some of the best prices on wine and other adult beverages, including vodka and rum.

Don’t Buy: Milk

Milk has a pretty short shelf life, which is why you might not want to stock up on gallons of milk at Costco. (If you are going to purchase milk, we suggest getting the Kirkland organic almond milk.)

Don’t Buy: Condiments

The only time you should buy condiments from Costco is when you’re shopping for a large party or gathering. Otherwise, things like ketchup, mustard and mayo may expire before you’re able to use them.

Don’t Buy: Fruits & Vegetables

Purchasing fruits and vegetables in bulk is tough unless you’re shopping for a household of 20. We suggest buying smaller amounts of produce at your local grocery store to save money.

Don’t Buy: Flour & Baking Powder

Things like flour and baking powder don’t last as long as you may think. Unless you’re someone who bakes every day, you can find better prices on these items at your local grocery store.

Don’t Buy: Prepared Foods

Some of the prepared foods, like soups, sandwiches and salads, may cost more than you’re willing to spend. You can save money by buying ingredients and making your own meals.

Don’t Buy: Sugar

Sugar follows the same rule as flour and baking powder. This item may go bad before you’re able to use it. Only purchase sugar if you’re shopping for a large party or gathering.

Appliances & Electronics

Members can get an incredible price on a new TV, appliance or vacuum. From refrigerators to laundry machines, here are the items to look for (and stay away from) when it comes to household gadgets.

Buy: TVs

Big-screen TVs are always on sale at Costco. Take advantage of brands like Samsung and LG, and don’t forget to look for a coupon in the monthly coupon book.

Buy: Tires

Tires are one of the best items to buy, including brands like Goodyear, BFGoodrich and Bridgestone.

Buy: Refrigerators

Refrigerators are often featured in the monthly coupon book with as much as $1,500 off name brands.

Buy: Laundry Machines

The same applies to laundry machines. You can find low-priced washers and dryers at the retailer.

Buy: Robotic Vacuum

Shoppers will find some of the lowest prices on robotic vacuum cleaners from various manufacturers.

Don’t Buy: Signateur Gas Grill

Turns out that the Signateur-brand gas grill isn’t that great of a deal. The price may look appealing, but shoppers have commented on how the quality isn’t exactly up to par.

Home Essentials

There aren’t many home essentials that you’re going to want to skip at the retailer, but we have a few different rules for stocking up on soap, toilet paper and paper towels.

Buy: Soap

Feel free to stock up on soap every time you shop. This item is fairly easy to store, and most store-bought soap brands will last for two to three years. (If it still lathers in your hands, you’re good to go.)

Buy: Toilet Paper

Shoppers can find large bundles of toilet paper for a competitive price. However, we want to caution shoppers who don’t have a lot of space to store what may feel like a million rolls of toilet paper.

Buy: Paper Towel

The same goes for packages of paper towels. The price is right; just make sure you have the space!

Buy: Over-the-Counter Medicine

You can trust generic-brand medicine (and its prices) at Costco. We suggest stocking up on over-the-counter medication, vitamins and supplements because you’ll spend more at your local drugstore.

Buy: Prescription Medicine

Thanks to Costco’s convenient pharmacy, members can also find price cuts on prescription medicine, too.

Other

From gas and luggage to gift cards and decor, here’s how you can maximize your savings on these items.

Buy: Gas

Most shoppers know that gas is one of the best items to buy at Costco thanks to the membership pricing.

Buy: Luggage

Take advantage of deals on suitcases, duffles, backpacks and other travel accessories. The store doesn’t have a huge selection of luggage, but you can look for deals in the monthly coupon book.

Buy: Gift Cards

If you’re shopping for a gift, you can purchase gift cards at Costco for face value.

Buy: Holiday Decor

November and December are great times to stock up on holiday decor. Typically, the store will offer deals on Christmas trees, outdoor decorations, banners, lights, wreaths and more.

Buy: Wedding Flowers

Did you know that Costco is a smart place to purchase floral arrangements for an upcoming wedding? Shoppers have reported saving money on fresh bouquets and arrangements for the big day.

Buy: Generic Apparel

Clothing without the designer label is a smart buy. Shoppers can stock up on basic tops, including flannels and sweatshirts, as well as pants, most of which make great options for work clothes.

Don’t Buy: Oversized Toys

While toys are typically a smart purchase, be careful of oversized playthings like giant stuffed animals. Costco sells a 93-inch stuffed bear that will take up way too much space in your home to be worth it.

Don’t Buy: Name-Brand Apparel

Our rule of thumb when it comes to shopping for clothes is if it has a name-brand tag, skip it. Shoppers really won’t save all that much on designer tops, bottoms and outerwear.

Don’t Buy: Diapers

Although diapers are reasonably priced, the problem lies in the quantity. Make sure your baby will not outgrow a large bundle of Kirkland diapers before buying them in bulk.

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18 secret Costco membership perks

18 secret Costco membership perks

If you’re a Costco member you already know how good the savings can be. But you might be missing out on even more perks that can wind up saving you even more. Here are 18 of the best benefits you might not even realize your Costco membership is getting you.

Related: 19 ways to make passive income in 2020 & beyond

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You can buy personal or business checks from Costco at lower cost than at many banks. Costco offers free standard delivery on checks. You can save an average of 50% by using your Costco membership for obtaining checks.

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Costco offers comprehensive identity protection and credit monitoring for members. Costco’s monitoring and protection includes regular credit report updates, a multi-layered system of identity restoration services and information monitoring from Complete ID. Members pay $13.99 per month per person and executive members pay $8.99 per month per person.

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Few people probably think of Costco when they think of buying or refinancing their home, but Costco members can use the company’s mortgage program through First Choice Loan Services Inc. Check Costco’s Mortgage Services page for information about current rates and Veterans Affairs loans.

Related: How to refinance your mortgage in 8 easy steps

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Speaking of homes, Costco also has a home insurance program for members through Ameriprise. Costco members enjoy a discount on both home and auto insurance through the insurer.

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Costco members can also see a discount on life insurance if they use their membership to sign up with Protective Life. Protective Life partners with Costco to make it easier and cheaper for Costco members to sign up for life insurance.

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Did you realize you could get your dental care through Costco? Many people probably don’t. DeltaCare offers exclusive rates on dental plans for Costco members living in Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington state.

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If you’re a Costco member, you can join the Costco Member Prescription Program to save money on your and your family’s prescriptions. You don’t need to have insurance and can enroll at any Costco Pharmacy. Your pets are even eligible for the program, through which Costco members can receive a Discount Card to use to save money on prescription drugs.

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If you are looking for health insurance for your business and not just yourself, you may not realize that your Costco membership can get you discounts. Costco works with Carrier and other companies so members can find business health insurance plans for less.

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Make sure vision is included in your business’ health insurance plan and get a discount while you’re at it. Costco works with MESVision to offer an affordable vision plan for businesses. Your employees will be able to make use of Costco Optical, as well as other locations.

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Get bottled water delivered to your home or business with your Costco membership. You can select 3- or 5-gallon bottles, add an optional water dispenser, then select your delivery options to see your savings on bottled water delivery. The service starts at $6.49 per bottle for Costco members.

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Your Costco membership can help you get cloud based telephone service for your business. Costco works with Intermedia Unite to provide business phone services. Members get special pricing from Intermedia Unite, as well as a free business phone for every user you activate.

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Costco partners with Elavon to provide payment processing services for its business members. Whether you run a retail business or a restaurant, Costco members could save an average of $738 per year by using Elavon’s payment processing services.

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Do you need logos for your business? Use your Costco membership to get custom logos from Harland Clarke. You can order products featuring your logo, including apparel, bags, cups and mugs, pens and more.

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If you need a new car, look no further than your Costco membership. Find savings on autos by browsing new or pre-owned vehicles, motorcycles, powersports and RVs through Costco.

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Or maybe you just need to rent a truck for the day. Costco can help there, too. Rent a truck through Budget Truck Rental and use your Costco membership for savings of up to 25%.

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Your Costco membership can help you book and save money on your next vacation. Costco offers a travel website with deals on vacation packages, hotels, cruises and rental cars. If you happen to have a Costco executive member card, you can also earn rewards for travel.

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Looking for a jolt of adrenaline? Find motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft and even snowmobiles through Costco’s auto program.

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Get a discount on vehicles you already own. Costco members get a 15% discount off most parts, services and accessories. Use Costco’s website to find participating dealerships and service centers.

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