Get The Most Bang For Your Buck At Costco

When people find out that I have a membership to Costco (cost is $55 or $110/year), they often ask me if I find it worth my money, and I always tell them yes, because it really is! I used to think that Costco was only for large families, with lots of mouths to feed, but I soon realized that this is simply not true at all.

Costco is for people who love to stock up on items that have a long shelf life, and pay the lowest price for it. Sure, there are many things that Costco sells (cereal, health & beauty items, etc.) that you could get for free when you shop with coupons, but there are a bunch of other things that are actually a better deal at Costco than any other store.

How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck at Costco

Save Money at Costco

Some of my favourite Costco buys:

These are the items we buy most often…

  • Whole Almonds @ $16.99 (1.36kg)
  • Walnuts @ $17.99 (1.36kg)
  • Coconut Oil @ $17.99 (1596mL)
  • Spices @ As low as $2.99 for a big container
  • Baby Spinach @ $3.89
  • Quinoa @ $12.99 (1.81kg)
  • Agave 2-Pack @ $10.99 (736mL each)
  • Vanilla @ $7.49 (473mL)
  • Lemon Juice 2-Pack @ $3.89 (945mL each)
  • Cocoa Powder, @ $7.79 (700g)
  • Baby/Toddler Clothing – Carters Brand ($9.99 for 3-pack sets)

I have never been able to find those items cheaper than the prices at Costco. These are things that we use a lot of, so I always stock up when we go there (usually buying enough for 1-2 months).

Costco Good Deals

Other great buys at Costco:

Some more deals you can find at Costco…

  • Milk
  • Olive & Vegetable Oil
  • Diapers & Wipes (Kirkland Brand is made by Huggies!)
  • Frozen Veggies
  • Bananas (unless there is a good deal to price match elsewhere)
  • Infant Formula
  • Postage Stamps
  • Mixed Greens
  • Frozen Berries
  • Photo Printing (usually)
  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Fresh Flowers
  • Campbell’s Broth 6-Pack (especially when on sale!)

Things that are over-priced at Costco:

Although Costco is a great place to buy many things, there are a bunch of bad deals, too. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, these are the things you want to avoid when shopping at Costco…

  • Cereal
  • Razors
  • Condiments
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Paper Products
  • Fresh Meat (other than rotisserie chicken)
  • Eggs (unless they’re on sale)
  • Cleaning Products
  • Movies & CDs

Deals at Costco Canada

What about the produce?

Many people say that fresh produce is way too much money at Costco, but I disagree. Sure, a lot of it is, but oftentimes I can find produce at Costco to not only be cheaper than grocery stores, but of better quality as well.

Of course, the best deals are when produce is in season, and most times, you won’t know about the sale until you wander through the produce section. So, make it a point to check out this section before you leave the store.

Produce at Costco

I usually buy strawberries, raspberries, salad greens, blueberries, lemons, and carrots from the produce section of Costco. Of course, I only buy these items if they’re on sale for a good price (which they usually are).

What about toys at Costco?

Starting around early November, you will often find your local Costco full of toys, as people start buying Christmas gifts for the children in their lives.

Are these toys a good buy at Costco? Well, yes and no. You really need to know your prices in order to score a great toy deal at Costco. I found most of the toys to be overpriced, but there were a few great deals that I stumbled upon, including this one (only $22.99):

Costco Play Food

Ways to save money at Costco

In addition to their great prices, Costco has other ways that you can save on your purchases made there (some that they don’t tell you, and some that they do!).

  • All prices that end in something other than $0.99 are on sale, so watch for those.
  • Look for the asterisk sign (*) on the price tags – that means the item is being discontinued (which means great savings for you!).
  • Check out the pharmacy – they offer amazing prices! Tip: You don’t need to be a member of Costco to take advantage of their pharmacy!
  • Check out the sales before you shop. The person who greets you at the door will likely hand you a print-out of the current sales.
  • Know your prices on the items you regularly buy. Keep a price book.
  • Always keep your receipt, no matter what you buy. Costco’s return policy is amazing!

So, yes, I think Costco is worth it. If you’re disciplined enough to only buy the things you will use before they expire, and you shop with a list and a budget, you will do fine at Costco.

I shop at Costco about once a month to stock up sale items and to buy items we are running low on. Since my savings on those items are often significant (compared to grocery stores), the yearly membership fee is worth it to me.

I honestly don’t know how I lived without my Costco membership in the past!

Do you shop at Costco? What are your thoughts on the membership?

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Comments
  1. Dona says:

    A few more cost saving products from Costco: I purchased a sectional sofa, guest bedroom queen suite of furniture, including mattress, master bedroom king bed frame, 2 HD televisions and one console, set of French chairs, online from Michigan for set-up and delivery in our vacation home in Florida. The furniture was “white-glove” service included in the price, which means they set up and placed all furniture to your specifications. Very cost effective compared to the local furniture stores. Also, I use the online floral delivery option to send bouquets as holiday presents, very healthy savings there as well. Travel packages and car rentals are a bargain, too. Always compare several travel sites, and Costco.com travel is great. My niece booked her honeymoon to Greece and said everything was flawless.

  2. Jaimee says:

    Awesome tips! My cousin is expecting his first baby, and I didn’t ever think of Costco as a place to get baby stuff. Although I do love buying my meat at Costco. It can be pricier than some other grocery stores, but Costco often sells restaurant grade meats that are hard to find anywhere else. So you’re paying a premium for premium!

  3. Juniper says:

    I could be mistaken but, aren’t they the same price everywhere?

  4. Juniper says:

    Oops, I was talking about the postage stamps. LOL

  5. Erin says:

    love costco! Would also add the bakery as a plus. I was going to do my wedding cake out of the red velvet sheet cakes but last minute changed my mind. I still get party stuff or holiday items there and it’s a great deal. We also checked out costco travel and was $1200 thru Costco vs travel agent for the same line item. Costco even included room n some other upgrades! (Less options than an agent, but great deal if there is one you like thru Costco).

  6. Pora says:

    Love love love Costco..yea there are items that are priced to high but if you’re buying by the bulk you have to look at it in quantity so to me the price per pound..oz..etc is really worth it…especially with all the kids we have lol…bread…rice..toilet paper…paper towels…milk..bananas..kitchen towels…rugs…flour..sugar..all my go to’s super cheap n I’m so content with quality with costco it’s always abt the quality…detergent is also good I find…but the Kirkland pods aren’t as good stain fighters as the Tide but still you can’t get that price for Tide anywhere…as is for everywhere we shop it’s unfortunate we have to go here n there to get certain items but everywhere we can save a buck we usually do so..it’s basically to your liking n preference but we Love Cistco

    • Kamryn says:

      LOL! You are too funny…fold the living daylights out of it&2T#30;.hahaha.8he girls are going to LOVE the pencil case. So cute. I know I would! And oh my the shore behind them in the beach picture looks breathtaking.

  7. Viktor says:

    Costco, BJ, etc. are only for the rich and wealthy. I’d love to see your store receipts to see said savings. Sure you can get bargains….for USPS stamps. The rest of the store is overpriced. It is ridiculous to pay for shopping. You are not saving anything. You are not buying anything for no discounted amount. It’s all a phsycological game. You are paying the same amount for the same money, plus a membership.

  8. Justine says:

    I know you said cleaning products were not good deals. However I find the Lysol wipes to be a great deal. I also find Kraft Parmesan cheese to be a great deal because even when its not on sale it costs the same as a small container at the grocery store.

  9. Angela says:

    Costco is one of y favorite place to shop! Big family or not!

  10. Jamie says:

    Make sure you get the full benefits of your membership! They offer checks at remarkable prices, car rentals, vacation deals, business deals, and more! They have flyers on the front end and you can research other perks from your membership at Costco.com

  11. Jackie says:

    Check the medications too! The off-brand bottle of 250 for the same as a 32 blister pack in a normal store. I stock up on things I use a lot: Ibuprofen, allergy meds, and cold medicine.

  12. Maverick says:

    I am disabled and get social security. I am also a bachelor and I find Costco to be the best and most convenient place to get everything I need for the month. For $50 I buy a bag of pancake mix, syrup, popcorn, and chicken breast. In addition, I eat a hot dog and pop at the food court for $1.50. Since I switched to Costco I now have a savings account and a retirement fund. Cheers!!

  13. Alexandra D. says:

    I know a lot of times people think that fresh meat products are pricey at Costco, however if you play your cards right and check the store often you will get great deals on chicken, pork etc. Over the winter I bought the big pork loins for 10-20$ a piece, took it out of the packaging, portioned it and stocked the freezer up. We do the same with chicken thighs, we get the regular ones for 99 cents/lb, learned how to debone and skin them so instead of paying 2$/lb for boneless, skinless thighs we pay half and do it ourselves, portion them and stock the freezer up. I purchased some chicken one time from our local grocery store and it had a very bad smell not to mention the overall texture when we cooked it. I will always buy meat at Costco because I know it’s quality and most importantly it’s fresh! I have yet to find an issue with the meat I purchase here.
    Lunch meat is great and affordable, eggs are a great deal, yogurt, pineapples $3 for a big one, better than in most grocery stores, toilet paper when on sale, paper towels especially the Kirkland brand (find them to be even better and cheaper than Bounty) and the list can go on and on. We are also lucky that the store by us has a license to sell liquor inside so the Costco prices for wine, beer, liquor in general are great! I get the same bottle of wine that at the liquor store is 13$ for around 8-9$.
    Clothes, depending on what you’re looking for can be a great bargain too and they are high quality. I get my husband’s dress socks here and I paid 7$ for 4 pairs and they last for years. Even he was saying that the longest lasting socks have been the ones from Costco.
    My mom and I share a membership and we are currently on the executive plan. This last year we made 160$ back so it paid back and some.
    Another great thing we learned is booking vacations and car rentals using Costco. Great experience, affordable pricing and I am sure there’s some incentive going back to the membership as well.
    It’s not that I want to brag about the store but I have to say it’s a great deal for most items that we buy. And everyone that shops here need to be assertive too because yes you can go in and spend $100 on junk, or you can actually buy what you need, think it through and make a great deal.
    Good luck!

  14. Lianne says:

    I have to say you are wrong about the meat not being a good deal. it may be a bit more expensive or the same as other stores but the quality is superior. the cuts are thicker on their pork chops and steaks. You get what you pay for with meat and theirs nothing worse than trying to eat a steak full of gristle.

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