Costco Best Buys

Published on February 15, 2021 by Lauren

If you’ve been trying to budget some of your household and grocery spending, you may have started shopping at warehouse stores like Costco. There is such a variety, from baked goods to engagement rings to tires! So have you ever wondered what are some of the Costco best buys?

costco best buys

 

Over the past several years I have become a pro learning my way around my local warehouse stores like Costco, discount stores like Walmart, and my favorite grocery stores like Aldi. I have even shared my findings about which is cheaper between Walmart and Aldi.  For certain things, I love to spend some time shopping at Costco. If you aren’t familiar with it, Costco is a membership warehouse club that offers a variety of merchandise in bulk at discounted prices.

What are the best things to buy at Costco?

Aside from low prices, Costco seems to have developed a following based on their general atmosphere, their food court, and their free samples (they are really good!), and their Kirkland-brand products. While I don’t purchase everything I need at this store, I’m sharing some of my Costco best buys here along with some ins and outs about shopping there.

Are Costco products good quality?

There really isn’t a quick and easy answer to this. Overall, yes. I find Costco offers good quality products. Some are national name brands you would quickly recognize, and obviously, these would be uniformly the same no matter where you buy them.

The Kirkland products, Costco’s in-house brand, varies.  A lot of times the generic or store-brand products are believed to be of inferior quality. Surprisingly, sometimes these are made in the same factory alongside the actual name brand products! Consumer Reports places Kirkland’s brand sixth overall nationwide.

What are the best Kirkland products?

    • ice cream I’m talking about Kirkland’s super-premium vanilla ice cream here (though I’m sure all of their flavors are good). This is the stuff you hide from the kids and eat out of the carton with a spoon by yourself while you binge on Netflix! IT’S. THAT. GOOD! This ice cream was ranked “super-premium” by the dairy industry and has outranked national brands like Bryers and Baskin Robbins with its rich, dense, creamy texture.
    • olive oil Finding a quality olive oil can be a challenge, but this article from Business Insider assures Kirkland’s Signature Olive Oil is recommended for its texture, finish, and affordability in everyday use.
    • bacon People rave about Kirkland’s bacon for its perfect balance of meat and fat which allows it to crisp up during cooking. It has a slightly sweet-smoky flavor making a great compliment on your breakfast table. Although I have been known to eat bacon any time of day!
    • peanut butter If you don’t have any nut allergies, you have to add this one to your shopping list! It’s organic and natural meaning it doesn’t have any added sugars, etc. If you have tried organic, natural nut butters, they can be kind of, well, gross. But Kirkland’s has a great creamy texture and rich peanut flavor. My kids like that they don’t have to keep stirring it each time due to the oil separation that occurs with a lot of natural nut butters.
    • rotisserie chicken These are so good! And they are convenient to have on hand. I use rotisserie chickens a lot like in my list of 121 Easy Meals for Dinner I suggest using the meat from a rotisserie chicken for things like quesadillas or even added to soups or tossed in with salads for extra protein. Plus they are fabulous as a main feature on their own!
    • Kirkland’s brand liquor I don’t recommend buying name brand liquor from Costco; you can do better with that elsewhere. But their Kirkland’s brand alcohol is great-tasting and affordable. Their vodka is an internet favorite, but many of their spirits and wines are recommended as Costco best buys.

What is the #1 selling item at Costco?

While Kirkland’s toilet paper isn’t rated among the highest quality by national testers such as Consumer Reports or The Good Housekeeping Institute, surprisingly, it’s the #1 selling item at Costco. A bulk-pack of 30 rolls costs only $19.99! On average they report selling over a billion rolls of toilet paper a year.

Gasoline was another favorite among Costco shoppers.

What you should never buy at Costco?

    • diapers While Kirkland diapers are eco-friendly and well reviewed and it’s certainly tempting to stock up on those HUGE boxes of diapers if you know good prices for diapers and wipes you aren’t really getting your money’s worth. There are cheaper places to buy diapers like Amazon’s Subscribe-and-Save plus they deliver right to your door (they bought out Diapers.com years ago) or you can look into ways to get diapers for free or low cost.
    • laundry detergent I struggled to put this one on the “never-buy” list. The New York Times rated Kirkland’s laundry detergent as really good for stains, odors, and price. The truth is commercial laundry detergent loses its cleaning power within about six months. Having stockpiles isn’t necessary. Most stores have great prices and coupons on laundry detergent all the time. Or you can make your own laundry detergent for about $30 a year.
    • disposable razors These aren’t that inexpensive compared to places like Walmart and the quality isn’t really that good. My favorite place for razors has become Harry’s Razors. Not discount, but these are AH-MAZ-ING German razors and shave accessories and well-priced.
    • breakfast cereal Prices for breakfast cereal at Costco are about the same as prices in the grocery stores. But grocery stores often run sales and you can use coupons, so it pays to get them there.
    • ground spices Again this seems like a great idea, but a lot of time recipes only call for a small amount of spice. Ground spices lose their flavor and freshness after about a year, so buying in bulk doesn’t make sense here.
    • perishable products like milk, eggs, and produce I don’t believe in bulk shopping for anything perishable. It spoils much too quickly before my family can eat it. It’s just a waste of money and product.

How can I get free Costco membership?

Like I mentioned above, Costco is a membership. At the time this article is published, an annual Costco membership is $60 plus tax. There is a Gold Star level which is $120 annually but comes with perks such as 2% cashback on eligible purchases and additional discounts.

There is no trial pass to see if you like Costco before investing in a membership. I suggest you go with a friend who has a membership and ask them to purchase for you. Technically, you could purchase a membership, shop for your items, and then later return your membership (they do have a 100% money-back guarantee stating they will cancel your membership and refund your fee if you are dissatisfied at any time), but to be honest, you can probably only do this once.

Summary

Shopping at Costco might be one of those kid-in-a-candy-store type moments. But not everything in a big box is worth buying. You could end up wasting more money if you aren’t careful about what you’re buying.  There are some Costco best buys, and some Costco duds.

It will be tempting to stray from your list in a place like Costco, especially once you try some of the samples they have placed around the store. My best advice before any shopping trip is to know your grocery budget and also know your list of what you need.

Other Helpful Resources: 

19 Best Foods to Buy at Wholesale Clubs

Top 12 Organic Foods to Buy at Costco

Costco vs Sams vs BJs: Wholesale Club Price Comparison

11 Top Secret Savings Strategies for Costco Shopping

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