You may think you’re getting a good discount by bulk buying at Costco rather than you’re average grocery store, however, soda is usually the same price overall in bulk or small buy. So unless you’re having a huge party and will use all your cans up within a day, just stick to your grocery store.
Is it really the best place to buy books? Instead of making that impulse purchase on that one book you saw on social media, try supporting a small book business or library. Smaller places often carry different covers and extra editions too, meaning you can upgrade your book shelf with a more unique title.
3. Toilet Paper
Usually, if it’s cheaper, it’s not the best quality. And that goes for Costco toilet paper. Kirkland toilet paper came under fire during the Pandemic when customers complained that even though they bought bulk, it was still used up super fast due to it’s thin and cheap quality.
4. Over-the-counter medication
Medications like Advil and Ibuprofen have an expiration date, so buying in bulk may not be the best idea in case those dates sneak up on you before you’ve finished your bottles. It’s best for you and your family to buy when you need, to avoid expired medicine and also avoid having too much in the home at once.
5. Bread and Pastries
Fresh bread and pastries ideally need eating within a couple of days. Bulk buying, unless you’re catering for a lot of people, can lead to wasted food that didn’t manage to get eaten. It’s best to buy from your local grocery store in smaller quantities, or wait for sales that usually happen every three weeks if you want those bargain breads.
6. School and office supplies
According to avid shoppers, Costco isn’t actually the best place for cheap office or school supplies, and can get pretty pricey. Places like Target or Walmart often stock much more affordable stationary in smaller quantities, which are easier to store and manage. So ditch the bulk buy of pens and stick to somewhere closer to you.
Unless you’re planning on using up all your produce in 1-2 days in a big pot luck, Costco greens will not last very long. The average family will not eat bulk salad leaves consisting of 3 whole lettuces within a few days, so stick to grocery stores for your fresh greens to avoid wasted food.
A former Costco employee said that more often than not they’d see small families pick up crates of vegetables, purely because they seemed to be a good price. Again, unless you’re cooking for a large group of people, buying your vegetables from smaller grocery stores or markets will make sure they get used and stay fresh.
Like vegetables, fruit will expire quickly if just sat in bulk. Bananas especially ripen when in bunches, so make sure you only buy what is needed for your household, because too many will just be wasted food and wasted money. Try out a fruit market for smaller quantities and different varieties.
10. Name brand alcohol
Apparently, Grey Goose and Kirkland vodka has the exact same ingredients, so why buy the more expensive one? Costco isn’t really the place to be loyal to name brands, especially when Costco brands can offer you basically the same thing at a fraction of the price.
11. Liquid cleaning products
Liquid detergents can degrade over time, so buying that huge bottle of Tide may seem like a great deal but by the time you’ve finally reached the bottom, your product won’t be doing the best job cleaning your clothes. Just be wary of the sizes of liquids you buy and how often you actually will be using them.
If you’re a cost conscious shopper, you may want to take a second look when buying bulk from this aisle. Whilst it may seem great to buy huge boxes for breakfast, grocery store prices tend to be in line or cheaper than at Costco. Instead of making the trip to Costco, just visit your local grocery store.
13. Salty snacks
We all love to snack, and seeing huge boxes of salty foods will make us salivate. However, is it really wise to bring such a large quantity of the stuff home? It could just lead to you eating it when it’s eventually gone stale, or simply just bingeing on the stuff.
14. Personal care products
The general rule to self care products is to only buy sizes you will use pretty quickly. Suncreams, face serums and lotions do expire and you don’t want to be rubbing old product into your skin. Read expiry labels on big products and estimate how long it will actually take you to use the whole thing.
Spices are at their freshest within 6 months, will that giant box of cumin be used by then? Unless you’re running a cooking business, it’s not wise to get large quantities of spices, as they easily can lose their fragrancy and taste. Start your spice cupboard with smaller bottles and work from there.
16. Canned goods
Most people don’t need 20 cans of beans in one go. Often your grocery stores will be cheaper and more in line with what your household actually needs, with sales usually every three weeks. It’s best to stock up for the week rather than for the end of the world.
17. Candy bars
Everyone eats them, if you don’t you’re lying. But is it the best idea to have a crate of KitKats in your pantry just waiting to go stale or eaten in large amounts. There is a lot of sugar in a single serving, but having access to a lot more could mean eating multiple servings in one go.
Make sure the tech you’re looking at has every feature you actually wanted. A lot of the time, if electronics seem surprisingly low cost, it could be a partnership with the brands due to the electronics having less up to date features. Don’t buy something you’ll end up replacing sooner than you think.
19. Bulk frozen produce
Sure, it’s frozen so it will last longer. However, over time, the taste will still be affected. Opening and closing that bag of berries or veggies can cause freezer burn and impact the texture and flavours of your produce. Be mindful of how long it will take your home to eat a ten pound bag of frozen carrots.
20. Name brand when store brand is available
Don’t be overly loyal to your favourite brands. Most of the time, Costcos brands will trump your name brand faves in price and sometimes quality. Don’t be tricked by fancy packaging and instead always hunt for the bargain, especially with pricy items like coffee, alcohol and cheeses.
21. Sour candy
Perfect for halloween but maybe not for the average day. Whilst it’s true that Costco sells huge bags of kids favourites – who actually needs that much sugar in their homes at once? Stick to buying fun-size or share packs at your grocery store if you think you wouldn’t be able to resist eating them all in one sitting.
The standard bag of flour from grocery stores tends to expire before it’s all been used, so instead of buying that 25 pound bag of flour just for the price, work out how much will actually be used before buying. Unless you’re a baker who uses full bags daily, it needs to be stored in an airtight container to avoid moisture.
23. Cooking oils
Oils can expire, which a lot of people forget when buying them in huge bottles. Huge quantities can sit in its bottles for months and, whilst it might not make you sick after eating, it will definitely have a funky smell and taste that will ruin your dishes. Opt for a more manageable size bottle than the huge ones.
Condiments can last for a few years unopened and sealed away in your pantry, but as soon as the foil is removed it will have up to 6 months before it should be thrown away. Unless you’re running a hot dog stand, that gallon bottle of ketchup will not be used in time before most of it is wasted.
25. Baking Powder
Baking powder is generally inexpensive at the grocery store, so buying bulk is unnecessary unless you’re a baker. Also, over time and exposure, baking powder loses its effectiveness, meaning flat and crispy baked goods for you. Once opened, baking powder is only good for a couple months when stored correctly.
If you LOVE coffee, buying bulk from Costco really isn’t the best idea. Coffee when exposed to moisture and temperature changes can go stale or sour depending on the roast. It’s best to buy smaller bags to make at home, especially beans as they can last a little longer than already ground.
You’d think buying these in bulk would be the only way to go. However, in terms of cost, Costco isn’t actually the most affordable. Amazon has a diaper subscription service that ends up being cheaper than buying huge boxes inside Costco. Also, babies grow super fast, so buying 500 diapers in one size may not be wise.
28. Printer paper
Does the average person need 5,000 sheets of paper? Where would you store that much paper in your home when it’s not needed? Instead of buying huge amounts for your home printer, it’s cheaper to buy online in smaller quantities that will actually get used up.
You spend most of your life in bed, do you really want to go down the cheap route? Mattresses can be expensive, but a good night’s sleep is super important for health and productivity. Costco mattresses may seem like a great money saver, but they will have skimped on the quality and comfort.
Summer calls for barbecues and they can cost a lot to buy. However, Costco barbecues aren’t necessarily the best buy due to cheaper materials being harder to maintain. It’s better to invest in a grill that will last you for years than need to replace a cheaper one in less time.
31. New to you products
You’ve never tried Kombucha before, so why buy a crate of 30 bottles? New and exclusive things can draw us in, and there may not be a sample table set up. Don’t fall for the advertising and buy something you may not like, then end up taking a whole crate of it home with you.
Costco are not bicycle specialists. You may see a bargain and think it’s too good to pass up, but even spending a couple hundred dollars on something that isn’t great will ruin your day. Stick to specialists and outdoor shops for your bigger purchases and do your research on styles and features you like.
33. Running shoes
Cheap isn’t always best. Running shoes are made specifically to help the impact and posture of your feet, so shoes made from cheap material are not going to do the job. Instead, find a specialist online or in a sports store to get the best value for your money and to protect your feet.
34. Paper towels
Paper towels are just paper towels, who wants to spend money on those? If you’re opting for the cheapest Costco brand, then you may just end up using more product anyway. Thinner paper that can’t hold or absorb liquid, will just tear and you’ll need to use more of the roll to begin with.
Nuts make a great snack and are easy to just grab, but the oil in them can go rancid easily. Huge tubs of nuts just won’t be able to be enjoyed before they either go stale or expire. Stick to buying smaller tubs or make sure you have enough people eating them to make your money worth it.
36. Sour cream
Even the world’s best burrito enjoyer won’t be able to finish a huge tub of sour cream, and the dairy in it will spoil easily. Unless you’re cooking for a large group it’s best avoid bulk dairy. Sour cream does not freeze well either, so you need to eat it quickly whilst it’s fresh.
Breadcrumbs go stale just like normal bread and need to be used kinda fast to avoid going completely stale. You also can’t freeze breadcrumbs unlike bread as it ruins the texture. Opt for smaller amounts for cooking and add your own seasonings, or making your own.
38. Pre-peeled garlic
It can be a chore to peel garlic; however, bulk buying it is generally a huge waste of money. Once it’s peeled and stored in a huge bag, it’s flavour is significantly reduced. Once the bag is opened, bacteria can get in within a matter of days. Even big garlic lovers and those with the stinkiest breath can’t use a pound of it within a week.
39. Whole grains
Whole grains actually contain oil, and this oil can go bad. Other grains, like white rice, can last for years if stored in your pantry, but whole grains not so much. Buying sacks of whole grains for the average household will eventually be a waste of money due to the amount that will be left over.
40. Shredded cheese
Cheese lovers will tell you this isn’t a problem for them, but some bags of cheese at Costco are just TOO big. Once opened, shredded cheese needs to be used within 5 days, sometimes even before, or it will start to mould. The huge bags at Costco can contain way too many servings for the average household to get through before it expires.