Top 8 Picks at Costco and 8 Items to Avoid

Ever found yourself wandering the vast aisles of Costco, wondering if that giant jar of pickles is truly the bargain it appears to be? Or perhaps you’ve pondered over the wisdom of buying tires from the same place you get your rotisserie chicken. Welcome to the definitive, somewhat cynical, and unexpectedly enlightening guide to Costco shopping—a journey that promises to save you money, spare you regrets, and possibly entertain you with the odd, quirky insight into the art of bulk buying.

#1. Buy: Kirkland Signature Products

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Kirkland Signature products are the unsung heroes of Costco. From olive oil that rivals top Italian brands to batteries that outlast the Energizer bunny, these products offer quality at unbeatable prices. Embrace the Kirkland, and watch your savings (and skepticism about generic brands) grow.

#2. Don’t Buy: Over-the-Counter Medications

Image Credit: Shutterstock / - Yuri A
Image Credit: Shutterstock / – Yuri A

While it might seem convenient to stock up on a two-year supply of ibuprofen, over-the-counter medications often have shorter expiration dates than you’d expect. Unless you’re running a small clinic from your pantry, you’re likely overestimating your need for 600 tablets of anything.

#3. Buy: Organic Produce

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For those who prioritize organic produce, Costco’s selection is both vast and reasonably priced. Whether you’re making smoothies or salads, buying in bulk can save you a pretty penny—just make sure you have the fridge space to match your ambitions.

#4. Don’t Buy: Books and DVDs

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In the age of digital streaming and e-readers, buying books and DVDs from Costco feels a bit like stepping back into 2005. You’re likely to find better selections and deals online, unless you’re collecting DVDs for nostalgic reasons (or as coasters).

#5. Buy: Meat and Poultry

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Costco’s meat and poultry section offers both quality and value, especially if you’re feeding a family or planning a BBQ that could rival a small festival. Their bulk packaging allows for savvy shoppers to portion and freeze, ensuring quality dinners without breaking the bank.

#6. Don’t Buy: Electronics

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While tempting, Costco’s electronics may not always offer the best deals or the latest models. With rapid tech advancements, buying electronics requires a bit more research and price comparison, something Costco’s return policy can’t always make up for.

#7. Buy: Wine and Liquor

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Costco’s selection of wine and liquor is surprisingly top-notch, often featuring premium brands at significantly lower prices. For those who enjoy a good glass without draining their wallets, Costco’s alcohol aisle is your secret weapon.

#8. Don’t Buy: Jewelry and Watches

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Costco’s jewelry and watches might catch your eye with their sparkle, but the markup on these items can be substantial. For such personal and high-value purchases, a specialized retailer will offer not only better prices but also a more tailored buying experience.

#9. Buy: Gasoline

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Filling up at Costco can save you cents per gallon, which adds up over time. Their gas stations typically offer some of the best prices in town, making the membership fee worth it for commuters and road trippers alike.

#10. Don’t Buy: Designer Clothes and Handbags

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The allure of finding designer brands at Costco is strong, but the selection is limited and often last season’s styles. Fashionistas looking for the latest trends will find more success (and possibly better deals) through online sales and outlets.

#11. Buy: Prescription Glasses

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Costco Optical provides a range of designer frames at prices that can significantly undercut those of independent optometrists. With competitive pricing on lenses and a solid warranty, your vision care needs can be met affordably.

#12. Don’t Buy: Fresh Baked Goods

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While tempting, Costco’s bakery items are often produced in such bulk that freshness can be hit or miss. For those special occasions, a local bakery will offer goods that are not only fresher but also more unique.

#13. Buy: Pet Supplies

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From dog food to cat litter, Costco offers great deals on pet supplies. Their quality and prices will have your furry friends wagging their tails without emptying your wallet.

#14. Don’t Buy: Spices

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Bulk buying spices seems like a good idea until you’re left with a lifetime supply of turmeric. Spices lose their potency over time, making this bulk buy a not-so-spicy deal after all.

#15. Buy: Tires

Image Credit: Shutterstock / kozirsky

With competitive pricing, free rotation and balancing services, and great warranties, Costco’s tire center offers undeniable value. Make sure to keep an eye out for their sales and coupons for even bigger savings.

#16. Don’t Buy: Seasonal Decor

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Costco’s seasonal decor may be convenient, but it’s often more expensive compared to what you’ll find post-season at specialty stores or online. For those who plan ahead, waiting for off-season sales elsewhere can lead to significant savings.

Shop Smart, Not Hard

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There you have it, the savvy shopper’s guide to navigating the warehouse aisles of Costco. Remember, the key to Costco shopping is not just in what you buy but also in what you wisely choose to skip. Armed with this guide, you’re now ready to tackle those gigantic carts with the confidence of a shopping ninja, ensuring that your membership pays off in savings, quality, and perhaps a few delightful surprises along the way.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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