I have shopped at Costco for years. However when I started couponing 6 years ago I began to realize that not everything is a “good” deal at Costco. Don’t get me wrong there are some great deals at Costco…but there are definitely a few items that are on my NOT to buy list.
Now with this said….let me tell you, I LOVE Costco! I have had a Costco membership for 15+ years and will probably always have one. I have found there are just so many benefits of having a Costco membership. Especially when it comes to the convenience of menu planning. I prefer to shop as little as 2 times a month and purchase our groceries in bulk so that I don’t waste time constantly running to the store to pick up items here and there. I am a busy momma, and really don’t have time to waste constantly running around shopping.
What NOT to buy at Costco:
- Toiletries: While browsing the toiletries aisle at Costco you will quickly realize that the average cost per unit is well over $2-$3 per item. For instance, Schick Hydro 5 Blade Razor with 15 Refills are $33.99 at Costco! HOLY MOLY that is a lot of money! If you use coupons stacked with a great store deal you will find that Razors with 1-3 refills included will never cost you more than $1 each! In fact I don’t think I have actually PAID for razors in 5 years! In reality when stacked just right razors can actually make YOU money! The same goes for shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, body wash and the list goes on!
When to buy price guide:
* Razors: $1 or less
* Shampoo/Conditioner: $0.75 or less
* Body Wash: $0.75 or less
* Toothpaste: $0.50 or less
* Toothbrush: $0.50 or less
- Paper Goods: Toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and diapers are all on the no-no list. I recommend purchasing all your paper goods with coupons when stacked with an excellent deal or on Amazon when the price is at a STOCK UP price. So what is the stock up price you ask? I buy toilet paper when it is less than $0.20 per single roll. So for instance, Cottonelle 2 ply 36=98 roll toilet paper is $29.99 each….that comes out to $0.30 per roll. Right now on Amazon you can grab Quilted Northern Ultra Plush Bath Tissue, 48=96 Double Rolls for as low as $19.15 with subscribe & save and Amazon mom…making your total just $0.20 per roll!
When to buy price guide:
* Toilet Paper: $0.20 or less per roll
* Paper Towels: $0.50 or less per roll
* Diapers: $0.17 per diaper or less (Go HERE for a HOT deal for Huggies diapers just $0.14 per diaper on Amazon)
- Laundry Detergent: I have found laundry detergent, fabric softener, stain removers and dryer sheets are all 2-3x the cost at Costco than the average sale price at typical store even without coupons. I typically do not pay more than $2.00 for Laundry detergent (even for name brands) or less than $1 each for dryer sheets, stain removers, and fabric softeners.
- Household Cleaners: You can typically get household cleaners such as 409, Clorox, Lysol, Windex and others for around $1.25 or less at the grocery/big box stores. At Costco you will pay more than $2.50 a piece even with a Costco store coupon.
- Cereal: You can consistently get cereal for a $1.00 or less per box when you stack coupons with a store deal. Cereal is NEVER that cheap at Costco even with coupons.
What you SHOULD buy from Costco:
- Dairy: I have found that when yogurt is on coupon at Costco it is sometimes cheaper than the grocery store. But not all of the time. However, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs and other dairy products are in general a good buy at Costco.
- Specialty Items: Costco gets some fabulous products that are significantly cheaper than if you purchase from the manufacturer or elsewhere. For instance, I ALWAYS buy my kids footie pajamas from Costco. Around the holidays I will often times buy toys or holiday specific decor that is unique to Costco and cannot be found just anywhere. Or specialty items that only select retailers sale…Costco charges significantly less commission on items sold in store than most major retailers. So many times new or smaller companies will demo/promo their products at Costco in order to get their name and product out there without it costing them nearly 50% in store commission fees. (For instance, Walmart charges manufacturers 50% off the sale price of an item to be sold in their store…so for a start up or newly growing company that is completely unreasonable).
- Produce: Being a larger family of 6 we go through produce FAST. I recommend buying your fresh produce from Costco. Even when we were a smaller family we found that we spent less money per pound for produce at Costco even if half of it went bad or to waste than if we purchased at the grocery store. Now I know several coupon bloggers say not to buy produce at Costco but over the years I have simply found it to be more affordable for my family size.
Now for the exciting news! You can score a Costco Membership for practically FREE right now! Simply go HERE and purchase your Costco Membership for just $55 on LivingSocial. If you are new to LivingSocial go HERE first and sign up under me to receive a FREE $10 bonus making your Costco Membership only $45! Plus with your membership purchase you will receive a $20 Costco Cash Card and coupons valid for a FREE 72-pack of AA Batteries ($18.99 value), FREE Food Court Pizza ($9.95 value) and FREE Organic Tortilla Chips ($4.99 value)! Plus you will also get a unique code valid for $25 off a $250 order at Costco.com. That’s like getting your membership for FREE! You pay as low as $45 for your new Costco Membership and you will get back nearly $55 in awesome products!
PS. I absolutely love Costco’s pizzas, tortilla chips and Rotisserie Chickens! And another item that is a MUST BUY from Costco is their Kirkland Batteries! They are a great deal and fantastic batteries!