If you have a membership at Costco or another wholesale big-box store, chances are you love getting a deal. However, since there’s usually a membership fee that comes along with it, you might be tempted to make that membership worthwhile and potentially overbuy. While most items at Costco are well-priced, not everything is a stellar deal. Here are my absolute favorite items to pick up at Costco, along with some things that are better off leaving at the store.
1) Rotisserie chicken – Priced at only $4.99 for a whole chicken, this is by far the best deal. I’m fairly sure Costco is taking a loss on this one, in the hopes that I wander around the store and impulse buy (which is hard to avoid, I’ll admit). But, back to the chicken. It’s not only delicious but extremely inexpensive to feed your family a quick, healthy meal. Add a salad or some simple sides, and you’re done.
2) Organic baby spinach – Only $3.99 for a full 16 oz tub of spinach is a great deal. The only thing to be wary of is watching the Best By Date on the package. If the spinach is close to the expiration date, and your household is smaller, you may end up tossing some of it. However, this is still an amazing deal; you can also sauté a good amount of the spinach for a quick side if you need to use it up quickly.
3) Pure organic maple syrup – I have yet to find as great of a deal on maple syrup as this one from Costco. I don’t often see coupons for maple syrup at other stores, and this is far cheaper compared to other brands of organic maple syrup you might find.
4) Olive oil – Costco is my go-to place for olive oil. The container lasts me quite a while, and I love not having to buy smaller, more expensive jars of it at other grocery stores.
5) Eggs – Not only is there a great variety of eggs to choose from, but the price is right too. You can get conventional or free-range eggs, all at a lower cost than most other stores. Liquid egg whites are also available and make eating healthy scrambled eggs in the morning a snap.
6) String cheese – I dare you to find a better price on this giant pack of string cheese! Perfect for lunches or a quick snack, and cheaper than I’ve found them anywhere else. Costco also has a great variety of cheeses in its deli section. And their Parmesan is very, very cheap. This one is worth picking up and has a longer shelf life than most cheeses.
7) Kirkland brand organic peanut butter or Almond butter – Both of these products are of great quality, a good sources of healthy protein, and the price is right. I especially like the almond butter. Almond butter can be expensive for the small jar you get at other stores.
8) Frozen fruit – If you have the room in your freezer, stock up on frozen fruit. I’ve found the quality to be excellent, and there are more uses beyond just adding berries to a smoothie. Top cereal or oatmeal with defrosted berries, or they’re great in a cobbler or dessert.
9) Gift cards– When I first began my Costco membership, I never paid much attention to the gift cards they had available. They are definitely worth looking at since many are 20% less than face value. Spa Finder and restaurant gift cards also make great gifts around the holidays.
10) Gasoline – Costco has always been less than any other local gas station I’ve checked. The only downside is, you may have to wait. There’s almost always a line at peak times. To avoid this, try stopping for gas during the day or at times when the store isn’t likely to be as busy. Avoid weekends if possible.
Now, for the stuff you can skip.
1) Fresh fruits and veggies – I haven’t found the prices on fresh fruit and veggies to be all that competitive, and usually the quantities are just way too much to use. Do you really need 16 almost-ripe peaches? Not really. Unless you’re feeding a crowd or hosting a holiday meal, chances are you probably won’t make it through all of the product before having to toss it.
2) Condiments – same reason as above. You might think ketchup and mustard will last just fine. But consider if you’ll really go through 2 giant bottles of mustard before the expiration date before you purchase. Items like these have a long-ish shelf life, but maybe not quite long enough for the quantity you have to buy.
3) Prepared foods (fresh or frozen) – I’m going to level with you. There have been times where these items are an absolute lifesaver. Prepared meals are convenient and can save time, but they can still be high in sodium and other things you may not consider. Cost-wise, you’re probably better off making it yourself. The value of the purchase, for me, is the convenience factor.
Hopefully, you found this guide helpful! Please let us know any and all of your favorite Costco tips and tricks in the comments.