(Updated List!) Items I WILL buy at Costco…

It’s been almost 2 years since I first posted my “Items I WILL buy at Costco post” and in that time we’ve switched servers more times than I can count. Thankfully each time it was to accomodate the growth that we weren’t anticipating, but sadly in one of the moves we lost a lot of images and this post was one of the main ones to suffer the loss.  It took me hours to put this post together the first time around so frankly I’ve been dreading it, but it’s finally happening!  Mr. Frugal and I spent quite a bit of time yesterday at Costco getting ready for this post, today I’ll be adding quite a bit of new content but there is MORE to come!  Also stay tuned for an updated “What we would NEVER buy at Costco” post as well.

It’s been 2 years now that we’ve had our Costco membership, you can read about Why We Bought a Costco Membership.  The following is a photo series of items I do buy and would suggest you buy at Costco – these items are rarely cheaper even with a good sale or coupon (if they even exist) and as of right now I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better deal.  Plus I think the $1.50 hotdog/drink combo alone may be worth the membership :)

Fruits & Veggies: In most cases, I prefer the Farmer’s Market but when the market is not open I’ll opt for Costco.  However not for all of our produce.  I always shop the grocery stores “loss leaders” first – the produce that they have marked down to $0.99/lb or less.  They do this to get you in the door and it works for me!  I buy in bulk and freeze my fruits and veggies when I can find them around $0.99/lb or less and I stockpile my freezer with seasonal produce.

Dairy (Milk, Eggs, Butter, Yogurt, and Cheese):

Milk: It really depends when it comes to milk, lately I’ve seen some great in-store promotions for free milk with the purchase of various breakfast items that I already have coupons for.  So at this point it time it’s been a while since I’ve purchased my milk at Costco, but this is a great place to start for a good base price.

Eggs, Butter, and Cheese: Again here, my buy it now price for eggs is $0.99/dozen and Costco is pretty close but a bit over.  So it depends on the store sales when I need to buy eggs.  Fred Meyer often has their brand of butter on sale for $1.66 so that is my stockpile price and Costco is a bit higher at $1.84/lb.  Cheese is almost always on sale somewhere, so unless you really need it in bulk or prefer a higher end brand.  We love Tillamook so we buy this occasionally at Costco but you can likely find a deal elsewhere.  We recently stocked up on Lucerne cheese at Safeway for $2/lb.

Yogurt: I can’t find a single deal on single serve yogurt that I would ever consider a good buy – my buy it now price for yogurt is $0.25 each.  However when it comes to the larger tubs of Greek Yogurt, Costco is almost always the best buy unless I find it clearanced somewhere.

Household Goods (Toilet Paper, Kitchen Trash Bags, etc)

Toilet Paper: For most household goods I prefer to buy the smaller packages, especially when it comes to household cleaners and laundry detergent.  You can find deals on these regularly or you can make your own laundry detergent from home and save a bundle!  However quite the opposite is true when it comes to toilet paper.  That is one item that rarely, if ever goes on sale for less than Costco sells it for.  I’ve found a deal once or twice and I was sure to post it on TFF, but for the most part I would send you to Costco for this purchase.

We’ve gone back and forth about how to determine what exactly is a good price for toilet paper.  This is the formula I use below.  I’d also say that anything roughly below $0.50/roll is a good deal.  With that said brands vary great by size/length/and ply.  That is why the formula below is a sure fire way to know if you’re getting a good deal or not.

This is the equation I use with Costco’s Kirkland Brand #s to as a gauge…

Square Footage = 1539 sq ft
Insert a decimal 2 places to the left = 15.39 ($15.39 or less is a good deal and Costco’s is $14.99)
= $0.01 per square foot SO if you have coupons or if the cost of the toilet paper is LESS than this, it’s a good deal.

Kitchen Trash Bags: The same goes for Kitchen Trash bags – deals to exist but the price you pay for 200 bags ($0.07 per bag) just isn’t worth the hassle of clipping coupons and hunting down a deal.  Plus the quality of these bags far surpasses most other brands, in my opinion.  I also love that 200 ct box lasts us several months.

Breakfast Staples (Oats, Maple Syrup, Honey, etc):

Steel Cut Oats: Costco now carries Bob’s Red Mill products which makes me so happy!  They have 4.5lb bag of Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats for just $4.75 that’s just over $1/lb and I’m not 100% certain but I am pretty sure that beats any grocery store price or bulk bin, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Maple Syrup:  We recently ditched regular syrup in favor of Maple Syrup, it’s much better for you and we think it tastes a lot better too!  It is however fairly pricey.  I’ve found great deals on VitaCost with the new member free $10 credit, however on a regular basis Costco’s price of  $0.37 per ounce is hard to beat.

Honey:  Costco’s prices are good, but the huge bottle deters me.  I’d much rather smaller more manageable bottles, so if you’re up to refilling them that is an option.  We however prefer the taste of the Great Lakes honey that we order on Amazon, it’s actually just a few cents cheaper right now too (prices can change at any time though!)

Almonds: I have yet to find a better price on almonds at $3.26/lb.  These are so fresh and tasty too!  We use them in a huge variety of ways – roasting, trail mix, baking, etc.

That’s it for today, but I’ll be adding more items that I will buy at Costco to this post as I have more time available. I hope you’ve enjoyed this update! What are some items you think are consistently the lowest price at Costco?


  1. Judith says

    Great post! Yes, jam, good coffee, and olive oil are hard to find good deals, so Costco prices are good.
    Nugget Markets had the Bonne Maman Preserves on sale this weekend at $2.50 each, which is the lower I have seen so far for my favorite jam (They are regularly priced at $5 or more). I know $2.50 is expensive for a little jar of jam, but it is the best, no other jam can even come closer…

  2. says

    We have a Sam’s Club membership (there isn’t a Costco in my area) and we buy our meat there often. It’s usually a lot less expensive and we just separate the packages and have it for months.

  3. Jessica says

    Thanks for this! I was wondering about the syrup myself because we have pancakes a lot – good to know! I also like going with my Mom and splitting things in half to cut the up front cost. She only has 3 people at home and I have 4 (2 of them under 3) so it’s nice to not have to get so much at one time.

  4. says

    I have always wondered about some of the bulk staple items like flour and sugar. I know they can be found at times at the .99 store, but if you can’t find it there and need some is it cheaper to get it at Costco?

  5. Kristy says

    We took a year break from Sam’s Club but I think we’re about to head back there. I find the dog food & powdered sugar to be unbeatable. I make cakes and go through about 100 lbs. of powdered sugar a year so that really helps! They also have great deals on fruit snacks… better than anything I can match up with coupons. The giant bins of animal crackers & goldfish are great too :)

  6. chelsee says

    Kirkland brand dog food and baby formula! You could get cheaper dog food, with not so good ingrediants, but the kirkland brand has almost the same ingrediants as Iams and is half the price $22 for a 40lb bag. The baby formula is $18 for two 25oz cans, thats by far the best price I’ve found and my baby loves it!

    • Lyndi says

      Costco’s brand dog food has NO corn – which is the #1 ingredient/filler in all other brands of dog food, even the better brands like Iams and Pedigree. It’s hard on your dog’s stomach and is cheap for the companies to include. So – I’d have to agree – you can’t beat Kirkland Signature dog food quality or price!!

    • Angie says

      Walmart brand formula use to be about 12.50 for 24 oz. It has been several years since I needed it but it might be worth a price comparison. Also Target was about 13.75 for the 24oz can.

  7. Tara says

    Thank you so much for posting information on what is worth purchasing at Costco! These posts are extremely appreciated.

    • Angie says

      I to make my own jam! Until last year my kids had never had store bought! Looking forward to makeing it again this year. My plum tree is already starting to sprout!!

  8. Sharon Pickersgill says

    I’ve been a hard core Costco shopper for years and only recently discovered the power of combining coupons with great sales. But there are a few items at Costco that I think are hard to beat. We use real Maple Syrup and Honey a lot at home as I make my own whole wheat bread with the honey and lots of whole wheat pancakes/waffles for the kiddos. I also buy the generic laundry detergent that says for Institutions. It’s $13.99 for 200 loads or $0.07 a load. I haven’t been able to beat that price yet with coupons. And the Costco Baby Wipes. Although I am still trying to find a way to beat that price with coupons. Also, I have found that the frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (Kirkland brand) are very high quality and doesn’t have all that extra rib meat you need to cut away with supermarket meat. So even though ti’s more expensive I think it’s worth it. Great post!

  9. Anonymous says

    I know Sue Bee Honey sounds like a good deal, but Sue Bee Honey was found to contain the banned antibiotic chloramphenicol, an animal antibiotic. Some of the honey was imported from China, where they still use banned anti-biotics. The FDA banned chloramphenicol, an animal antibiotic, from any food product. A contaminated batch was found about once a month in Sue Bee Honey. 40% of Sue Bee Honey is imported from various places such as China and Vietnam. Most honey shipments are not inspected by the FDA. We have to think about the safety of our children versus saving a few cents. You can’t trust the labels on honey. It might say product of USA, but that means that only some of the ingredients come from the U.S.

    You can find honey that it grown locally at Farmer’s Markets. By law, they can’t use banned antibiotics here.


    • TeaTime4Me says

      Just an FYI, for those of us with allergies, you can’t beat local honey.
      It helps build an immunity to some seasonal allergies.

      Substitute a spoonful with your tea, coffee, toast, smoothies.
      The down side is that it’s not as economical as massive produced honey.

  10. chantell says

    We just got back from Costco and got romain lettuce (6 heads) for $3.49, tortillas 40 ct $3.49, doritos 50 ct $10. My hubby takes chips with lunch everyday and they are always $3.99 for 12 at the store….never on sale :( so $10 for 50 is a great deal! Some prices are great and some are horrible lol. I would never buy their cereal, razors, salad dressing etc

  11. Ryann says

    You don’t need a membership for the $1.50 hot dog/soda combo! haha I don’t ever drink the soda so I just give it to someone in line but their hot dogs are the BEST! I always get one when I’m picking up a RX…and sometimes just cuz.

    • Angie says

      Some Costco require a membership for the hot dog and soda. If the Costco has the snack shack inside, they wont let you in without showing your membership. Their might be a way around this, but my inlaws have yet to find one.

      • Heather says

        I let my Costso membership expire since I’ve been couponing, and just go with my mom when I really need something they have. But I kept my expired card, that way I can just flash it to get in, whenever I’m craving their $1.50 hot dog/soda deal. I must confess, it is one of my guilty pleasures. LOL

        • Cindy says

          Really?? You don’t have to have a membership to purchase something? I would only go once or twice a year so I hate to buy a card.

          • Terry says

            I read this and called to verify it with my local Costco. It’s true! I can buy my gift cards thru the Scrip program at our school and then go without buying a membership! Very cool!

        • lacey says

          I have a Costco gift card that has few cents left. I know i can enter costco showing that but what about paying. Will they ask for my costco ID before paying with cash ??? Thanks for the reply. I am trying to get few stuff from costco but since we moved I don’t have any friends who has the membership. I love their vinegar

  12. KathyG says

    Thx for the thread on Costco buys. I too buy all my oil there. I haven’t tried that coffee brand, but will do so. I also buy a lot of their hamburger because it’s so lean. You can find ground beef on sale other places, but not consistently for the really lean stuff.
    I bake a lot and find that their spices are the way to go.

    One of the best things about Costco is their return policy! It’s great!

    • Carrie says

      I recently learned something from our local butcher at one of our local supermarkets that was quite shocking about buying hamburger. Have you ever noticed that when you buy your hamburger pkgs most of the times you will find a discoloration(pink on the outside and blah on the inside) it is because they mix the old hamburger with the new meat that they are grinding so that none goes to waste. So my advisement is to buy the meat whole(ground chuck, sirloin or whatever you desire) and then ask your butcher/or meat dept whatever the case may be and have them grind your meat fresh, you are less likely to get a bad batch of burgers. Also alot of times lately the ground chuck and other meats have been cheaper than the burger, so check your prices first.

      • Paula says

        The red color is due to the air getting to the outside meat (where the darker color has not been exposed to the air). Costco has a 12% or less fat content policy (each batch of burger is tested, must have to have 2 signatures and paperwork kept on file for 3 months).

        When purchasing meat at a local supermarket make sure you check the cleanliness of the cutting area. Costco has the meat department enclosed in glass so you can see everything (my husband is a meat cutter at Costco and has said it is like working in a fish tank). I often wonder what they are hiding when you can not see where the meat is being cut and wrapped.

        • Lydia M. says

          No , the red on the outside is added to sell the meat. Would you buy the hamburger if it were all the same brown color as the inside?

          • Zeke says

            Paula is correct. ‘Red’ meat turns red from exposure to oxygen, just like blood. The plastic wrap used to wrap meat is permeable to oxygen on purpose. If you kill a cow properly (drain its blood) and cut it open, it will find the meat is brown, like the inside of your ground beef.

    • Paula says

      My husband said if you purchase the 10lb tube of burger (just ask for it) it is very lean and cheaper.

  13. Judith says

    Kirkland Pure Olive Oil costs $6.29 per liter.
    Nugget Markets has a great deal coming up next week on their De Cecco Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1 Liter bottle) for $7.99 each. and we are talking De Cecco, and Extra Virgin, not Pure Olive Oil wich is a blend of virgin and refined olive oil and it lacks flavor…

  14. Lyndi says

    Thanks for the post! I’m employee family of Costco and appreciate all the support other people provide of the great values and low prices – especially after becoming a coupon shopper and seeing that you just can’t beat prices on some of their items!

    • Lyndi says

      Another insider tip – if you want to be sure you’re saving even more – use the Executive Member coupons (Exec Membership required) to save on the essential items, stock up, and only buy them when they’re on coupon – the essential items usually show up on coupon at least twice a year. Also, if you EVER see ANYTHING with a price that ends in .97, it is a MARKDOWN/CLEARANCE item!! They don’t usually highlight the signs or tell their shoppers this, but it’s a little secret we employees know about :) Costco never profits more than 10% above their cost on any of their items, so when you get a mark-down or use the coupons, you are probably buying your item at Costco’s buy price or lower!!

      • Kimberly says

        Yes, I was just at Costco last night and their giant Lindt chocolate bunnies were down to $19.97. We love Costco clearance! (Although i did pass on the bunny…..)

  15. Linda Hahn says

    Garbage bags! Just bought some yesterday. A pack of 200 (!!) 13 gallon bags for $12, or $.06 each. I RARELY see high value coupons for Hefty or Glad and these Kirkland ones look just like the Glad ones with the diamond pattern on them. Great buy!!

  16. SueBee says

    Yes- I second the garbage bags!! I’ve never found them cheaper, coupons, store brand or otherwise. And they are good quality bags, too. Also agree on the jam and Log Cabin syrup. I buy a bag of frozen chicken breasts every time I go to Costco (did you know you can throw them on the grill and cook them frozen?), and they usually have the best deal going on pork chops, too!

  17. says

    Spices: for example Saigon cinnamon is 2.69 for 10.7 oz at Costco. At my local mega-mart, the McCormick brand is 4.29 for 1.87. That is 9 times the price by weight!!!

    Nutella is also a bargain there.

    Most cheeses-the fresh mozzarella is half the price per pound at Costco. Their prices on provolone, feta and jarlsberg, among others, are great.

    The Jack’s salsa is also a great price.

    And so many others.

    While not every item is that much of a bargain, the list is pretty impressive.

    And I agree with the dog food comments. The local rescue we got our dog from uses Costco dog food and we stuck with it when we brought our dog home.

    And she is healthy, happy, active and her coat is just beautiful.

  18. lil dee says

    I’ve been a regular shopper at Costco. I hate shopping there because I don’t like buying by bulk and I don’t have the storage space at home. Plus I got tired of spending $150. every week at Costco so it pushed me to clipping coupons and now I’m sooo happy to be saving money. Costco was my convenience market…and I feel horrible for throwing away money all this time! Between CVS, Walgreens, Lucky’s and Safeway……..I love saving 30-65% on groceries!

    Things I must buy there: Ground Beef, Cheese (fresh mozzarella, provolone, marscapone, goat, bleu) all WONDERFUL, Sugar, Garlic Bread, Romaine Hearts, Brownie Bites, Olive Oil, Garlic Bread (kirkland brand), Spices, Heavy Cream, English Muffins, Generic Claritin/Zyrtec, Premium Gas at their gas station, Christmas Photo Cards.

    One thing we do have is their American Express Credit Card – we usually get back about $800 CASH a year because we charge everything to it (and pay our balance off every month).

  19. Deb says

    Costco is unique compared to other retail stores for two reasons – they have a standard markup on all products and require a minimum weekly sales volume with the option of making the manufacturer take back their unsold merchandise if weekly minimum sales are not generated.

    This is why some items are extremely well priced while others are not. Traditional retailers don’t have a standard markup that applies to all products sold.

  20. Alicia says

    We love Costco for meat & produce! Apples & berries are sooo expensive at the grocery store & I often feel like I am getting a “steal” on these at Costco! They do vary in price, so sometimes we pass them up, but for the most part, these prices can’t be beat!!!

  21. Carolsue says

    Their roasted chickens are wonderful! $4.99 vs $6.99 at Safeway, etc. and bigger! And much tastier. They have make-your-own Chinese Chicken Salad that is great, too. Includes everything but the lettuce. It has two separate servings and I love it! Their meat is excellent as well.
    As for the rest…it depends. With coupons, I often do better at Luckys or Safeways. And since there are only two of us, I don’t need giant sizes of most items–except toilet paper and paper towels and cat litter. But I always manager to find about $75 of items there that I can’t live without everytime I go! Wish there had been a Costco near us when my kids were living at home!

  22. says

    Gas and milk are my Costco staples. Gas is at least $.10 cheaper per gallon than anywhere else in the area, and milk is consistently often 30% or more cheaper than the grocery store, with no added hormones.

  23. Cheryl says

    Wanted to let you know that about every 6 weeks Walgreens has there brand of Honey (32 oz.) for $3.99. If you purchased 3 you would pay $11.97 for 96 oz. vs. 80 oz at Costco for $11.49.

  24. Dana says

    My absolute favorite items at Costco are:

    1.) Organic Spanich 3.99 per pound.
    My 2 1/2 year old daughter loves my spanich, banana, apple and hemp seed smoothie.

    2.) Ultragrain Flour…comes out to .30 cents a pound (10lbs for $5.99)…awesome deal and my bread/crepes/pancakes!

  25. Becky says

    Thanks so much for posting this info. We don’t have a COSTCO near us, but we do have a SAM’S CLUB. I love Sam’s but I never have time to figure prices when I’m there. This gives me a few items my family uses to check prices on. Thanks a bunch!

  26. Cindy says

    I’ve heard there is a way around buying the costco membership. All you need to do is go in and buy a Costco gift card with the amount you plan to spend and then go through the line and pay with that. I haven’t tried it but a co-worker said it worked for him. It’s worth looking into. The next time I go I think I’ll give it a shot.

    • Kimberly says

      You can also buy the gift card online with a visa card. The only in-store payment options are cash/debit/check/amex, so if you want to use a visa card buy online.

  27. says

    Hmmm..about the gift card idea..sounds like a great idea to have a friend with a membership to get you a gift card for amount you would want to spend. Otherwise, I would think they would charge you a percentage fee for the total amount (which would be the same amount if you bought items outright!) But hey, let us know if it works!!!

  28. Stephanie says

    I am a Costco addict for their milk and butter. I love real butter and I rarely (maybe occasionally when there is some sort of crazy super sale) can find it cheaper than at Costco. Their produce is usually priced well and is of very good quality. Almost weekly we purchase our spinach for salads, bananas, onions, and usually tomatoes (as the ones at the grocery store unless really on sale are usually much lower quality) while shopping at Costco. I agree with the previous posters on the Kirkland pet food, one can find it cheaper elsewhere, but for a similar quality the price is unbeatable.

  29. Tammi says

    Just a quick comment on the gift card idea. I don’t know if you can purchase one without a membership, but I would be surprised if you could. You could have a friend with a membership buy your Cash Card for you. However, I know you can use one without having a membership. I was just at Costco and couldn’t find my membership card, but I had a Costco Cash card from something that I had returned, so they rang me up anyway.

    On another similar note, if you are the type who likes to use their visa or mc to earn miles, which they don’t accept at Costco stores, you can buy yourself a Costco Cash Card on Costco.com using a visa or mc then spend it at your local Costco. I have done this also, you just need to estimate how much you plan to spend. Of course, since it’s Costco, I always go over my Cash Card amount. =)

  30. Emily says

    Thanks for this post. We just let our membership expire b/c we were so busy moving and we weren’t sure if we really needed it.

    Now, I have read the posts, there are a few things I really do like from there and think it will be worth the membership to go back.

    1. Generic Zyrtec—around $7 for a year’s worth. We just ran out…darn!
    2. Diapers–not that we need them now, as he is potty training, but WAY cheaper for the 2 years he was. Pull-ups are also a great deal. We do like the wipes there too.
    3. Contact solution–can’t remember the price, but it’s like 3 bottles for less than $10…lasts me the whole year. (unless the two yr old decides to get into it. LOL)
    4. They have the tortillas you have to cook there for twice as much for the same price as the grocery stores. A must have for our house!
    5. The rotisserie chicken! Awesome! I get several meals out of one.

    We’ll be going back this week for our membership. :)

  31. Angie says

    Just reading your Costco section, and one thing I always purchase from costco is their meet chubs. It is in the frozen section, next to the ready made hamberger patties. It is only 9%fat, and since I do not like ground turkey it is a good way for us to eat a little healther. It comes frozen in 1lb tubes and that makes it easier. It USE to be about 2.39 lb, but when I purchaced it last week it had gone up to 3.11! I am looking for it cheaper, but have not found it.
    Also sometimes if your carefull you can find pretty good deals when their coupons are out. Note I said some items, not all. I also get the contact salution their. It’s about 7.80 for 3 16oz bottles. I have noticed that sometimes you find coupon match ups for the salution a lot cheaper, but cant seem to stock up on it so Costco is my back up.

  32. Ren says

    I will buy their bagels. I don’t have any decent bakery outlets where I live. I don’t care for the refrigerator ones, that you might be able to get much cheaper.

  33. says

    Great list. We buy many of the things others have mentioned. A BJs recently opened that is much closer, but I prefer Costco for their prices and their return policy.

    I appreciate that you took photos – I tend to do that as well. A friendly tip on the photo front — try turning off the flash and turning on the macro setting.

    thanks for your list!

  34. Jessica says

    The dog food they sell there pays for the membership. My dogs have food allergies. Costco sells a GREAT dog food that is made by blue buffalo and is the exact same food but you will pay double for it elsewhere. There snack shop is a great deal too imo.

  35. Sharmin says

    NUTELLA! Can’t beat the price.
    Used to buy milk there, but it skyrocketed (here in FL) the past 6 months. Hopefully it will go back down. I can now beat the price of milk at Aldi.
    Gas, of course.
    Sometimes meat.

  36. Angie says

    I gave up my Sams Club membership a few years ago and love not paying big $ there evey month. I originally went there primarily for diapers but found that each trip cost well over $100. I find that between dollar stores, rite aid (with my 10% discount for milk), my local grocery store with coupons and amazon mom for diapers (along with using cloth) I am saving tons. My husband hunts and I am a vegetarian so our meat bill is negligable. I also recommend trying to make dog food if you have a cheap meant supply. Since I began making my dog’s food out of deer meat, beans, veggies and grains she has been a million times healthier, thinner, acts younger, and has less vet visits. I whip it together in my pressure cooker once a week. I like to share this with people, I am in shock at how healthy she is now and how cheap it is for us to make it.

  37. JNM says

    The Kirkland dog food is made by Diamond. Blue Buffalo is also co-packed, although at this time I am not sure by who. Blue buffalo doesn’t make their own dog food, very few dog food companies have their own plants.

    I’m not a Costco fan, at all. I have a membership because it was paid for by a client. I price match everything we buy weekly and get much better deals. We have started buying a dog food from there, but it isn’t the Kirkland brand.

    Diapers are cheaper on Amazon. I use their pharmacy if I have to , if Walmart won’t price match it. I can’t figure out what the draw of Costco is and I’ve tried hard.

  38. Maile says

    just a question … any way you could tell us what is in all the photos ? Please – no pix are showing up and I’ve refreshed the page. Hard to tell what you’re posting about with only photos that don’t show up.

    Thanks in advance – other than that, your post is greatly appreciated by our large family who frequents Costco for a multitude of items you simply cannot get for a better price elsewhere. Kirkland dog food, organic sugar, honey (though we also buy locally), agave nectar, and some of the cereals are much healthier, too.

  39. Kathy F says

    The Maranatha Almond Butter and the bulk Quinoa are the best prices I have seen for these items. The Quinoa at the grocery store is 4x the price and you can’t get coupons for quinoa.

  40. Nicole says

    I used to have a Costco membership but we have a BJs near us and it is great. The best part of BJs is they accept coupons which no other bulk stores do. Also you can pay for your order however you want no restrictions on using debit only. We eat a lot of organics and are happy with the selection and prices they provide.

  41. lisa says

    Gas! I live in Norcal and my Costco is always .20 cents cheaper! I just started buying milk there and always but Laughing Cow Cheese. Breathe Rights and kirkland brand zyrtec are huge savers!My last trip in I only spent $40.00 I taught my son the math to do to see if the item was cheaper than what I can get on sale at other stores :)

  42. says

    I have to say that a certain brand of organic oats (slipping my mind right now) frequently runs coupons and I got 2.5# for $.99 by using the store’s and manufacturer’s coupons. Whole Foods is the place I see it run in the store coupons most. But the BRM is a great second place when there are no coupons!

  43. Chantell Fithian via Facebook says

    I buy most of my fruits and veggies there. Since switching to all organic, costco has the best prices by far. They also have the best price on grass fed ground beef and cliff kids products, and organic eggs!

  44. Sarah Case Lee via Facebook says

    not sure if someone mentioned it in the comments already, but we buy a 25 lb bag of oatmeal for about $15 at Winco. Much cheaper than Costco’s over $1 a pound

  45. lacey says

    What about vinegar. Once I went their with my friend who has the membership i got the vinegar and it lasted me around 1.5 yrs. I use it for make cleaning solution etc. Can anyone tell how much Nutella costs at costco?

    • Pamela says

      Last time we bought Nutella at Costco it was around $8/9 for TWO of the bigger jars. Very good price.

    • Sara says

      At my Costco (in NorCal) Nutella is $0.11/oz ($6.29 for two 26.2 oz jars) when it’s a coupon item and $0.165/oz ($8.79 for two) regular price.

  46. says

    My organic baby spinach, broccoli, fruits (close to .99 a lb), toilet paper (Kirkland), yogurt, almonds, cheese, lunch meat, the unsliced kind ($3 something a lb vs the high cost grocery store, even with coupons and sales). Pretty much the stuff you listed. :)

  47. Michelle Corder via Facebook says

    I don’t know which Costco you go to but prices differ at each location. I have seen this first hand from the Federal Way one to things being more expensive at the Tukwilla one. When asked they said each one has the right to price things as they wish. So I choose to shop at Federal way. Also at both locations for K-Cups the San Francisco brand 80 count for $25. Great deal by far!! And its great coffee. Sure hope they don’t stop selling it.

  48. Rachel Bell says

    I buy medicine there. Some stuff will always be a better deal. Like kid vitamins and ibuprofen. I bake alot so flour and sugar too.

  49. vivian cross says

    The kikomen soy sauce is a great deal. We also regularly buy the wonder bread there for our daughter. She really likes the texture and they give you larger loaves for a much better deal. The only time winco can beat the per loaf price is when they are selling it too close to the expiration date, and even then you get 1/3 less product.

  50. Samantha says

    LOVE IT!!
    You have to stick to a list and I would add:
    Baking soda
    Ground beef—b/c of quality

    Also once you hit size 4+ diapers Kirkland w/coupon is a great price

  51. Jennifer Bush LaRocque via Facebook says

    So thankful you updated! I was starting to beat myself up for all my buys at Costco but they are all on your list! :) thank you! :)

  52. Susanna Burke says

    I consistently buy 25 or 50 lb bags of flour, butter & milk (because around here in the bay area they have the best price, hands down) vanilla extract (awesome and CHEAP), and spices like cinnamon or garlic powder. But I bake a lot, and I also have room for bulk sizes of these items. Another family favorite is the uncooked Tortilla Land tortillas, in the refrigerator section. Also the 5 lb bags of frozen veggies are great quality and an excellent deal at just over $1/lb.

    I’m happy to hear you say that Costco generally has the best deal on toilet paper and garbage bags! I have thought that for awhile now and I’m glad you validated it for me. Also I wonder about dishwasher detergent- it seems like their price on Finish tabs is pretty good, too. And if I am desperate for diapers, their everyday price is ok.

  53. Stacie says

    I try to always buy my milk there because it is undoubtedly the cheapest in this area- ours is only $2.50 at Costco! Everywhere else is about $4! I also usually buy our laundry detergent- we use the Arm and Hammer and it’s usually a better price there then anywhere else. And lemons! At our Safeway they’re usually 2 for $1 or even 99cents each, while I can get 5 lbs at Costco for under $5. I was surprised to see Toilet Paper on your list, I always thought it was a little high, but I’ll have to pay better attention to the square footage and see if your formula helps. Thanks!

  54. Elizabeth A. Maher Purdum via Facebook says

    Thanks! I was honestly a little worried to click on this as I LOVE Costco ( I even went there in labor) and didn’t want to hear that I was blowing it by going there. However, I am happy to report that my Costco list looks pretty identical to yours. Yeah!!
    Can’t wait for what not to buy @ Costco…

  55. says

    We just discovered the Tree Top Unsweetened Applesauce. It’s such a great deal for four big jars! Our son loves to eat it all the time. And we bake with it too. I would add that to your list for sure!

    This also reminds me that it’s time to renew our membership! :) Thanks for the great work you do!

    • Jen W says

      Totally agree – the rotosserie chicken is a great deal, and can be used for tons of stuff… I always buy two when I go – one for dinner, and one to shred and freeze for later meals :)

  56. Suzy says

    We get our milk, eggs, cheese, tortillas, tp, garbage bags, olive oil… And a few other things too.. Plus I totally agree about the hot dog and a drink :)

  57. Ellen Engles Couch via Facebook says

    Hamburger, toilet paper, their brand of prilosec, mixed nuts, brown eggs, and much more.

  58. Kim says

    I recently price-checked dog food and the Kirkland brand was the cheapest, especially for the quality. Let me know if you know of a better deal.

  59. Lianne Vipond via Facebook says

    Funny story – my frien’d son came to her the other day to tell her his girlfriend was pregnant. Things to NEVER buy at COSTCO? – Condoms!!!

  60. Julia Guinter Chandler via Facebook says

    Awesome thank you! I’m the same way about their milk, toilet paper, trash bags and some produce. I’m curious about the maple syrup now and the honey!

  61. Jackie W. says

    These are the things we can’t beat the price on elsewhere:
    Generic over the counter medicine (allergy, etc.), Artichoke hearts, Vanilla extract, Fancy Feast cat food, and Finish dishwasher tablets.

  62. LeAnna McAllister says

    Nutella!! Nutella is less that $8.00 for TWO LARGE jars!! They are about $7.00 EACH at the grocery store for the same size jar. Practically a buy one get one free every time you shop!

  63. lisa says

    I love Costco, usually buy eggs, milk, trash bags and the finish tabs, last time I bought these they had a bonus pack with an extra 100 tabs and a coupon for 3.50 off, also don’t forget about gas. I have the executive membership and I usually spend just enough every year for my membership to pay for itself.

  64. Holly says

    I started making my own yogurt instead of buying. I get to control what’s in it and it’s about $3 to make 1/2 gallon of greek style. Just a thought. As for the honey, we started getting it at our farmers market. It’s raw, so the good stuff in it isn’t destroyed, and it’s about the same price as costco. The bee keepers tend to have different flavors, whatever the bees pollinated is what the honey will taste like. Most let you taste the different ones that they have. My family really didn’t like honey until we tasted different flavors. We’s always thought that clover was all there was. None of like clover honey, but we love black raspberry and blackberry mix. It runs about $15 a quart. Our costco run $14.79 per quart. Just a thought

  65. Cindy says

    Kirkland brand dog food is a good deal. For a 40 lb bag it is usually $23.00. That’s .58 cents/lb. And for the quality, it’s great!

  66. nichole says

    We buy our dog food from Costco. Our dog has severe allergies and before our frugal lifestyle we were paying $46 or more for a 40 lb bag and at Costco we get it for $27 (Northern California price). However, I have been think of making her food to reduce that cost even more.

  67. Anonymous says

    Yep yep your Costco shopping list looks like mine. plus I use the coupons i get in the mail every month and save even more! (I don’t know if they are included with all memberships or the Executive which I have). I opted for the membership because the rebates I receive at the end of the year pays the differrence between the Executive and regular plus I like the expanded hours it offers.

  68. Calendar Girl says

    OMG! I always buy the TP, the organic salad mix, and the Kirkland drawstring kitchen bags. I’m glad I’m getting the best price around for them. Thanks!

  69. Cory says

    I found the price on sliced almonds to also be very good at roughly $3.50/lb. Quinoa is less than $2/lb.

    Speaking of yogurt. For those going primal, or following the paleo diet, CostCo has the organic, *whole* fat yogurt made by Strauss dairies in Sonoma, for $2.50/tub. Not only is it a fantastic price, but whole fat yogurt is difficult to find at the grocery store or Trader Joe’s.

    Bread Flour is about $2.25/lb, considerably cheaper than Safeway’s $4.75/lb or Lucky’s $3.50/lb (Gold brand bread flour).

    Ground Pleasant Hill coffee is $5/lb, and the quality compares to the Trader Joe’s wake up and other blends.

    This week they have boneless/skinless organic chicken thighs for $2.99/lb, which is very reasonable compared to most stores and isn’t all that much more than the non-organic price. The difference in quality and water content makes it worth the extra $.

    As for honey, I started buying it at Walnut Creek Produce. Local honeys are running about $6/lb which is great for raw, unfiltered honey.

  70. Jennifer says

    I’m curious if you buy organic eggs and if you think it’s necessary to buy organic milk? It’s so much more expensive. And for those that bake a lot do you ever buy organic sugar, eggs, butter? If so what’s the best price?

    • Anonymous says

      We stick to organic for eggs, milk and beef/chicken, veggies/fruit about %80 of the time. We started slowly and realize that with smart shopping and freezing it was cheaper. Mind you we don’t buy processed stuff so it’s way less expensive , healthier and better for the environment. 😀

    • Daniel says

      I also discovered that the glass jarred olive oil is 100% from Italy. If you buy in the plastic container it is a mixture from Italy, Morocco, and I believe Spain. The best tasting is from Italy, the soil there gives the best tasting oil. I use the good stuff (glass bottle 100% Italy) for dressing salad and the plastic jug for pan frying.

  71. Ruth Arellano via Facebook says

    Our Costco sells organic chicken for 2.99/lbs I’ve seen it at whole foods for 3.99/lbs. I haven’t bought any at Costco yet because I bought 10 when Whole foods had their chicken on sale for 1.99/lbs

  72. Mara Sharpes Maxwell via Facebook says

    Hi Julia~ I was looking at this post and was wondering what county of CA are you in?

  73. Kimberly Nguyen via Facebook says

    Thanks for posting this :) I usually get the Toilet Paper, Kitchen Paper Towels, Fruits and Veggies at Costco. My favorite buy are the Bosco Pears and Yoplait Yogurt :)

  74. heather says

    I shop at the Turlock, ca or Modesto, ca Costco. Im kind of surprised that toilet paper is on your list. In fact I have always heard that paper goods at a wholesale club are overpriced, so I will have to check it out. Some of our common buys are the tortillas, hamburger buns, Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, batteries, bread, eggs, syrup, cleaning household wipes(whichever ones have the coupon that month), the whole pizza in the food court. Curious to hear what you think about the batteries and the wipes????

  75. Janel says

    No one mentioned gas. In our area Costco is always the cheapest gas, that reason alone is a great deal. Also their photo center is cheap and travel center is great too. I hunt for travel deals often I find Costco is a better deal than AAA (not for everything but alot of times it is).

    I also buy some meats there too. Last few months I’ve bought pork loin and cut it myself into pork chops. For $16, I was able to make 10 meals for my family of 4 that works out to be 40 cents a chop.

  76. Carolyn M says

    Tuna – they actually have 7 oz cans and it is great quality, Taco Seasoning, we get the Marathon TP (among many of the above listed items!) Costco is so great for a large family.
    We do have the executive membership and often find it a great place to get big ticket items (appliances, mattresses) Annual check more than pays for a general membership

  77. Erin says

    WinCo’s old fashioned oats is $.61 or $.65 per ounce. Bob’s Red Mill 5 grain mix with flax is $.68 per ounce. I’m almost positive that the steel cut oats were less than a dollar, as was the organic oats. During this last shopping trip, I noticed that many of the bulk items were Bob’s Red Mill brand. :)

    I often buy our frequently used spices and vanilla at Costco. We love the McCormick Taco mix. It was $3.99 for a 24 ounce container and contains no MSG and a short list of common (not chemical/processed) ingredients. After three years of couponing, we are about ready to not renew our Costco subscription. There are some deals, but it isn’t worth the $40 and drive for our family anymore…

  78. Kelly says

    I joined to buy my 24 HR fitness membership – $300 for two years, and my Vitamix. Now I buy Tp, cereal, tofu, almond milk, grey poupon mustard, organic sugar, spinach, grape tomatoes. I love Costco but I wish the membership was less expensive!

  79. says

    I just bought gift cards there to use for end-of-the-year teacher gifts. I got a 4pk of Cold Stone GCs (so $40 worth) for just $27.99. Great deal! They have a lot of variety on the cards, too.

  80. Heather E. says

    We have had a membership for about 15 years! But this year we upgraded our membership with an American Express card. We buy all of our gas at Costco, so with the AmEx card, we get 3% back on our gas purchases & 1% back on everything else. At the very least, it pays for our membership!

  81. Adela says

    I don’t pay for my Costco membership because it pays for itself. I have the executive membership and that gives you I believe 2% back on purchases. We don’t do massive amounts of shopping at Costco so we usually get just the amount of our membership back each year. But to me that’s worth it. It’s not cash in your pocket but it’s Costco cash and since we are there buying anyway it’s worth it.

      • says

        Costco’s Executive Membership is $110 a year, so you have to be spending $5,500 to get your membership cost back. That’s a lot of toilet paper.

        • Jen says

          $5500 spread out over 52 weeks a year is only $106 a week and for a large family buying in bulk, this wouldn’t be difficult to achieve. Especially if you purchased other things like prescriptions, gifts or higher-ticket items like electronics or furniture. We actually buy clothes at Costco because they often have good quality, name brand kid’s clothes that are very durable. We buy outerwear, pj’s and socks especially.

          • Lisa says

            Completely agree with Jen. We’ve had our membership for over 15 years and upgraded about ten years ago when we noticed we were spending over 5k per year in diapers, food, clothing, furniture, electronics, prescriptions etc. I often joke with my hubby that we cannot make a costco trip without spending less than 100 dollars but in the end we pay way less for the products we buy often and in bulk. I love getting the little check in the mail with the rebate as it pays off the membership price.

        • Wendy says

          You can also split the executive membership with someone else and both of your purchase totals go towards the rebate check. When renewal comes around you can split the difference after your membership is paid. I pay for the membership and mom has the second card on the account so I redeem all of her purchase points. This is what Costco advised and it works beautifully.

    • Elizabeth says

      FYI: If you don’t make up your membership fee with the 2% back, take your check to member services and they’ll pay you the additional amount in cash. For example, if you get a $30 check, you’d get the additional $25, plus the value of the check, for $55 total.

      • Felix says

        Hey Elizabeth, this sounds very interesting as I had never heard that. But what would prompt them to cover the additional amount, any more information you can give on this?


        • Anonymous says

          They’ll do it to honor their money back guarantee, I think they expect most people wont bother to ask for it.

          • Julie says

            yes, I just had my first trip to Costco recently. They explained to be that the difference between the $55 membership and the $110 membership. The $110 has more “perks” and if I remember correctly, you earn back a 2% reward on all purchases. So, at the end of the year, you get a check for that 2%. If your check is less than $55, you take it up the desk and they will adjust it to $55 for you. Either way, you are never going to lose money with the $110 membership…there’s a good chance you will make some money, if you make a lot of purchases!

  82. Gloria says

    I resist shopping as long as possible, so Costco’s large quantities are great for me. With 2 freezers I stock up on their multi-grain bread, yummy hoaggy rolls (for hot dogs, subs, garlic bread with spaghetti), tortilla chips, grated cheddar and parmesan, organic sugar, walnuts, old-fashioned oats, soy sauce, Adams peanut butter, honey; bananas, romaine, head lettuce, bulk carrots, spinach, broccoli; TP, napkins (serviettes), kleenex; butter (rarely cheaper in our area); office supplies – their 3 ring notebooks, especially the large ones, are cheaper than even the current back to school office store ads. I also like the chicken thighs and legs packaged into meal size portions. Fruits and meats I compare with the weekly ads. Our return on the Executive card more than covers it’s yearly cost – not to mention the gas savings.

  83. Chris Hunger says

    I agree wholeheartedly with garbage bags- the kitchen boxed ones are a steal there.
    But, I do not agree with toilet paper. By me, you can find toilet paper for 3.99 for 24 rolls if you are patient and the sq. footage is usually comparable – although it is hard to figure out exactly how much you are getting.
    Bags of yeast are an awesome price if you do a lot of baking – much, much, much cheaper than individual packets at the store.
    Mozzarella cheese is pretty good too – usually less than .99/8oz.

  84. Sonia says

    My Sam’s Club membership just expired and was debating whether or not to try Costco. Think I will based on all your posts here about Costco. Thanks for all the tips!

    • Robert says

      Price may important but I did not renew my COSTCO membership because our local store sells expired foods, food not keep cold , and just employees do not care.

      • sharon stone says

        Gosh that’s really too bad. I wish you had access to the store where I shop! Just the opposite experience.

      • Namma says

        I sure wish people would report these things when they happen instead of just writing the store off.

        The store has a bad general manager or it would be in decent shape.

        Corporations cannot know that their policies are not being adhered to if people do not report the bad conditions.

        If the employees do not care it’s probably because the local management is twisting the policies against the employees and they aren’t being taken care of as promised.

        Until it gets reported it’s a slim chance it will be found out in a timely manner to stop the degradation there before it’s too late.

        Or, is that what you want?

  85. Tamara Thompson says

    I buy all the items you have pictured except for the steel cut oats and agree they are good deals. I also buy softener salt there and think it’s a good deal. I like their 3 lb loaf of Inn Keepers Bread and think it’s a good price as well. I have bought their organic 2 loaf bag of bread and it’s a good price but doesn’t keep as long though healthier. I freeze some too. I get almost all my gas at Costco too. I like that they get new items sometimes so I like to try some of those and of course I like their samples!

  86. Tracey says

    Howdy! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the fantastic work!

  87. Anne says

    Don’t forget to check Home Depot/Lowe’s for trashbags and cleaning supplies when you’re there. They offer good plain jane bags and concentrated soaps and cleaners at prices that are hard to beat.

  88. Nitin says

    I buy the seaweed salad. In the DC area it seems to always be in stock. It is a good deal for me. It is very different from the food I make and so I love having it prepared by others. Restaurants of course charge many times the price we get it for at Costco. BTW,
    it has use within a week after opening, but we keep it for a month without problems.

  89. Rosanne says

    Intersting formula for TP that I will keep in mind next time I need it. I resisted Costco for the longest time but once we had kids, that was it! The kitchen trash bags are great as are most Kirkland brand items. One thing I greatly appreciate is that Costco items apprear to be curated. They offer a select amount of goods and they are chosen carefully. I have never purchaed a bottle wine that was not delicious from a Costco run dept – personal purchases ranges from $5 – 45. I cant say the same for Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or any other wine outlet.

    Part of the Costco experience is the faith the store carries item only worth my while and dollars. Once they started carrying organic produce and meats, i could totally justify the cost of membership.

    And at the holidays, their toy selection is great! Kid and family friendly!

    Now if only they carried organic whole milk and organic yogurt…a girl can dream!

  90. Ellen says

    We didn’t renew our Costco membership this year, for the first time in many years. Too many processed, prepackaged, high fat, high sodium foods. It seems like the vast majority of food there is junky and geared toward kids. All those chips, cookies, frozen chicken fingers, candy, high calorie granolas – yuk. What is healthful, is same price/more expensive than at the grocery. Apples $1.99/lb, salmon $8.99/lb, grapes $2.99/lb., cheese $8.99/lb and it goes bad before you can work your way through that $14 hunk. And I keep seeing the prices rise.

    I used to like the bananas, lemons, feta, rotisserie chicken, bread, wine, organic milk, Tide, but I can find easily find this elsewhere. And of course I loved the samples but there were always hoardes of rude people waiting and grabbing two – uck. Maybe that’s because I’m in Chicago.

    • says

      Yes, there is junk but no one is forcing it on you. Start the day with Quaker Oats, a big box weighs 5llb and is split in to 2 bags inside. On a regular basis I buy Colombian supreme whole bean coffee, walnuts, almonds, blueberries, pineapples, multigrain loaves in packs of two, NZ lamb chops, us rib eye steak, steelhead trout fillets (better than salmon IMHO) plenty of good offers on many cleaning and laundry products etc.
      Every year I find nice Calvin Klein or Hilfiger shorts and Pima cotton sweaters, their bath towels are amazing as are the sheets sets. Oh and the staff at Willowbrook are great.


  1. […] Membership and the Items I would NEVER buy at Costco.  You can also read my first post about Items I WILL buy at Costco.  Today we’re going to talk about their gift […]

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