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Costco was actually first known as Price Club, where they learned they could achieve better clout by buying in bulk. Costco’s primary operating philosophy is to keep it simple and give the consumer the discount.
While many people perceive them as huge warehouses, they only carry about 4,000 items at a time. Costco is known for buying carefully and choosing products that endear themselves to the consumer: like Kirkland Bacon, an enormous teddy bear, and vanilla extract.
That being said, not everything you"ll find in Costco is actually a bargain. Here are the things to avoid while shopping there!
If you love a good book, skip Costco for that purchase and head over to your local independent book store or even a mass retailer, like Walmart or Target.
You’ll save at least 20% and likely find the most recently published books by your favorite authors. The best deal would be your neighborhood library where you can borrow one for free!
Every good diet should include fruit as part of your overall health. However, a warehouse like Costco sells in such large quantities that it’s impossible to consume them all before they rot.
Your local farmers market is a great option for the freshest, in-season fruits at a great price, and you’ll be supporting local growers and family farms.
Vegetables, whether fresh or canned, can be transformed into amazing meals. However, you probably don’t need a gallon of green beans or 30 ears of fresh corn.
Your local supermarket will have in-season produce on sale weekly so you can buy in appropriate quantities. Unless you’re feeding a large quantity of rabbits, skip the carrots at Costco.
While the debate between cloth and plastic diapers still rages on, there"s one thing you can"t ignore--manufacturers issue large-value coupons that you can use at the mass market stores to net quite a good deal
Another great option is Amazon Family (where delivery, subscriptions, and 20% off saves you tons of money).
Costco is infamous for the square milk jug. This oddly shaped container is the bane of everyone"s existence--causing large spills when poured.
Also, there’s absolutely no discount between buying milk at Costco versus your local supermarket--milk is a commodity that’s carefully tied to supply and demand.
While the in-store Kirkland brand boasts quite a few favorites, like bacon and salsa, the protein bars leave something to be desired.
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, skip the bars at Costco in favor of a brand you will actually eat at Amazon, Trader Joe’s, or Walmart.
Everyone loves a great deal, but televisions aren’t that discounted at Costco. You will never get back the $20 you saved on an HTC with a $60 membership cost.
Walmart will beat them by 10-20% every time. And don"t forget the open box deals at Amazon or Best Buy.
While disposable razors have made life easier, they cost 1.5 times more at Costco. You can buy a .99 a razor at Dollar Tree or Dollar General or pay $1.43 per razor at Costco
Also, the Dollar Shave Club or Amazon Pantry is a great option that automatically delivers monthly. You’ll never have to worry about a fresh blade again.
Mom loves a pretty vase of flowers, but skip the blooms at Costco. They’re generally overpriced and poorly managed in terms of freshness and selection.
Instead, head on over to Trader Joe’s or your local nursery. They receive flowers a couple times a week, so they’re consistently fresher, lower in price, and better quality.
Whether you say soda or pop, we all know you mean fizzy drinks. And you’ll see people wheel crates of soda out of Costco every visit, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great deal.
All your local grocery stores and mass retailers will have them on sale every single weekend at a much cheaper rates and in better quantities.
Everyone loves rice--the versatility and low prices make it a viable option for family meals and potlucks.
I know this sounds crazy, but your local Asian market will have better prices on rice than any superstore or warehouse club every time. It will also be better quality at a better price, and you’re supporting small business.
One of the best sources of protein is also one of the most economical in the world. One egg provides 7 grams of protein. However, like other dairy case items, eggs have an expiration date, so it doesn"t always make sense to buy in bulk.
For the best deal on eggs, leave them at Costco and head over to a mass market retailer or look for farm fresh eggs in your neighborhood group!
Many people don’t realize that Tylenol and Advil have expiration dates, so buying 1,000 pills at once may not be your best option.
Your local drugstore brand will be will beat Costco in price and often offer incentives with bonus sizes or coupons and store points. Also, the dollar store trinity (Tree, General, Family) are the best bet around for pain relief.
Costco is great for certain things, but you should shop for bread elsewhere. Bread choices are pretty limited at Costco.
The best place to purchase bread is at your local bakery or grocery store, where you have better selections that are rotated daily. The bread will be cheaper, fresher, and better suited to your particular use.
Avocados are a fantastic source of healthy fats and make some excellent toast. But avocados are fickle veggies--one day they’re hard as rocks, and the next they’re soft as baby food.
Buying avocados in bulk at Costco is a terrible idea because they’re either baseballs or over ripened. Pick up a couple at the grocery store and save the pit for your own plant!
Skip the scissors and pencils at Costco. You’ll do better buying in July during the back-to-school season at Target or Walmart.
You absolutely cannot beat $.50 scissors or $.25 crayons. Dollar Tree even gives Costco and the mass retailers a run for their money. Head over to an office supply for the best color variety of folders and binders.
Costco sells large quantities of canned vegetables and soups--either by the gallon or by the case. And if you’re working for a food service company, that’s fantastic.
However, the ordinary shopper should skip the canned veggies/soup aisle and head to their local supermarket. You’ll find your favorite canned veg or soup on sale and usually have a coupon to save even more.
Cooking oil has a shelf life of about 6 months or less before it goes rancid. And truthfully, you should not save used cooking oil due to the bacteria that spawns when it cools.
Instead of buying a gallon at Costco, stick to smaller quantities at your local dollar discount store. Your family will be thankful for the fresh sizzle on those doughnuts or chicken.
Those big trays of mixed cookies look fantastic on display at Costco, but let’s be serious. The oatmeal raisin ones won’t get eaten, even by the kids in your life.
Instead of plopping down $20, whip up a batch of fresh chocolate chip cookies at home. The smell will rouse even the most antisocial teen, who will emerge from their cave room looking for a snack.
Artisan-baked bread is the latest trend, and almost all recipes call for yeast. The trouble with purchasing at Costco is that active yeast will only stay fresh about four to six months if you store it properly (cool and dry storage).
If you’re a proficient bread maker, consider Amazon Pantry for your yeasty needs. You get to choose the frequency of your delivery, ensuring your delicious bread is always the freshest it can be. The thought alone makes me long for smellovision.
Pasta is best eaten with sauce. It doesn’t matter if you call it red sauce, marinara, or red gravy, it’s best to skip the Kirkland Signature Marinara at Costco. Many shoppers (and employees) liken it to Spaghetti-os sauce without the pasta or meatballs.
Wow yourself and save your family from indigestion with a simple recipe of tomato sauce, fresh herbs, parmesan and garlic. And top it off with a chef’s kiss!
The Costco food court is a modern day wonder just like IKEA"s famed Swedish meatballs. With a $1.50 hot dog meal available, you’ll want to forgo the chicken bake.
Weighing in at a hefty 800 calories and 2300 grams of sodium, this $2.99 snack has serious flaws. Throw those nutrition values away on a Costco pizza instead and you’ll be happy as a pig in slop.
One of the biggest values at Costco is their dazzling array of spirits. Everyone loves a reasonably priced bottle of wine or vodka.
However, don’t pick up the Grey Goose vodka. Not only is it priced high, but you can also get Kirkland’s vodka instead. The reason one is more bougie than the other? It’s purely a marketing tactic--they’re both it’s the same thing.
Linens are another item to ignore at Costco, and here’s why: they’re not competitively priced and the inventory, colors, and thread counts are limited.
Instead, mosey on over to your local Target, where Fieldcrest sheets are all the rage and get softer with every wash. Your tired body will thank you for that gift, and you’ll feel uptown in your downtown bedding.
Many don’t realize that Costco offers travel services--and for good reason. They"re a more expensive and restrictive option with little benefit.
Instead, work with a locally trusted agent or book directly. You’ll have much better options, accommodations, and a better travel experience with a little leftover for some Mickey ears or a great meal.
To be perfectly honest, buying mayonnaise in bulk seems like a bad experience no matter where you shop. Those large jars take up a ton of room in your refrigerator where you could be storing your Costco wine.
Again, your best deal for all condiments reside at the local dollar affiliates, where you’ll find appropriately sized containers to fit your budget and your fridge.
Spring and summer mean a backyard full of charcoal smoke with a hint of lighter fluid. Don’t let Costco get the best of you on that fancy grill.
The mass market home improvement stores have plenty in stock ASSEMBLED, which makes your life a whole lot easier. Swing on by the Costco meat department for that rack of ribs instead.
Our society is obsessed with chips--tortilla, potato, corn, or those wacky variety packs. The trouble is the freshness. Will you eat a garbage bag full of tortilla chips?
Or 52 tiny bags of multipack chips? Your local grocery offers store brands that are 40% cheaper and rotated daily. Get your crunch on with those.
Kirkland Light Beer--one reviewer likened it to battery acid. And it’s a hard can (or 48) to swallow if your purchase this specific item.
If it’s cheap beer you seek, the BEAST (Milwaukee’s Best Light) is for you. If you feel a little adventurous, hustle on down to your local microbrewery and pick up a growler or two of their IPA.
Costco is a great place for prescriptions--but not hearing aids. Customers complain that they’re not adjusted properly and have horrible service when it comes to them.
You should see a licensed audiologist, where your medical insurance kicks in and experts fit your ear extenders. If your hearing aid doesn’t work, then you’re not getting a deal.