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
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).
Other great buys at Costco:
Some more deals you can find at Costco…
- 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…
- Laundry Detergent
- Paper Products
- Fresh Meat (other than rotisserie chicken)
- Eggs (unless they’re on sale)
- Cleaning Products
- Movies & CDs
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.
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):
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!