What NOT to buy at Costco

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Yesterday, I gave you a list of some of the best things to buy at Costco.

Today, I want to warn you by telling you what NOT to buy at Costco. Some of these things seem like a great deal, but compared to the grocery or drugstore, they aren’t.

What not to buy at Costco


1. The produce – It looks good. There’s a lot of it. What a deal, right? Nope. The produce that you find at Costco is just the same that you would find at the grocery, but usually more expensive. (Spinach is an exception for me, as I shared yesterday) Look at the price per pound in the corner of the Costco price tag, and you will see what I mean. Bananas for 52 cents a pound? We can get them here normally for 46 cents and on sale for as low as 33 cents.

2. Shampoo and Conditioner – I usually get both of these products at the drugstore for free or almost free. Unless there is a brand you like that isn’t found at the drugstore, then pass.

3. Razors and Shaving cream – Same as above, these are products I get for free or almost at CVS. Pass on these while at Costco.

4. Books I see people perusing the books every time I go. I just want to go over there and say, “Don’t you realize you can get these SO much cheaper online?” It’s true. Check out Amazon, Half Price Books, even eBay has great deals on books.

For example, this book by one of my favorite authors is $8.99 on Kindle at Amazon

5. Cereal – With sales and coupons, you can buy cereal for much cheaper in the grocery store. I can usually get a box of cereal at the grocery store for around a dollar. Compared to Costco’s prices, you should just stick with the grocery.

6. Condiments – Unless you are hosting a mondo humongous party, you probably don’t need twenty pounds of mayo (slight exaggeration, I’m not sure the exact size Costco sells). It may be cheaper than what you find at the grocery, but if you only use a small amount before it expires…it ends up being more expensive in the long run.

7. Water – Water bottles go on sale all the time (especially around the start of school), don’t overspend on these unless you absolutely need to. For that matter, buy some good water bottles and reuse them. That’s even better.

8. Meat – This one is very controversial. Costco has very high quality products, so you will definitely enjoy the meat you buy there. However, you can and will find better prices elsewhere. You may not want to trade quality for the price point, but if you are solely focused on saving money, then skip the meat.

making pasta

9. Pasta – Boxes of pasta go on sale all the time. As much as it sounds easy and cheaper to buy in bulk, it is actually much easier to stock up on pasta when it goes on sale. It’s even CHEAPER and way more fun to make your pasta at home!

What would you add to this list? Anything that we should absolutely not purchase from Costco?

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  1. Thrifty Frugal Mom says:

    What a great list! I’m not a Costco shopper but I’m pinning this because it’s so very helpful.

  2. juliebavi says:

    We buy a lot of our paper products there – but our grocery store brand of paper plate is high quality and costs less.
    Razors – we are picky about, so we do buy them at Costco.
    I usually don’t buy produce because of the amount. I would be the only one eating it and I just can’t eat that much fruit before it goes bad. However, I have noticed the prices on produce there to be equal or less than the grocery Currently our grocery has bananas for 69 cents/lb.

    • Beauty for ashes says:

      I agree that sometimes purchases are SO worth it because you want to get a better quality (like razors). Yuck on your banana prices! This week, ours are at 39 cents a pound at the grocery. I guess we just are lucky in bananas!

  3. Mary says:

    I shop at Costco because they offer so many varieties of Gluten free crackers, cereals , granola bars, tortilla type chips, bread, salmon burgers, awesome soup, and so much more. For me, price can not be an issue because gluten free food is a must. You are very lucky that you can count pennies when buying your groceries! Good luck with your endeavors!

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