Things You Should Not Buy at Costco

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Today, it’s all about things you should not buy at Costco. I love shopping at Costco, not only for the wonderful free samples that they offer each time I visit, but also because I can save a lot more money when I choose to shop with them. It’s a grocery shopping experience that goes above and beyond to cater to all of their customers and their needs, especially bigger families.

I’ve discovered a number of delicious snacks and meals that I can prepare that my family is completely hooked on. At times it’s almost as if my kitchen pantry literally screams Costco when I open the pantry door. In case you missed this post, 13 Things You Should Buy At Costco, or this post, 9 Things You Should Buy At Costco

Spice at Costco

Things You Should Not Buy at Costco

I want to be completely honest with you. Just like with any other grocery store, there are two sides to the coin, where they do sell items that you won’t ever catch me buying. Even Costco’s employees will tell you that there are certain items in their store that aren’t of top-notch quality or are simply too expensive to put into your grocery cart. 

Don’t get me wrong, Costco is an excellent grocery shopping destination to stock up on a majority of your family’s bulk item needs, but I’m here to help you make the most of your membership. These are things that you should never buy at Costco, that you’d be better off buying elsewhere.  

Bulk Fruits and Vegetables

Most of the fruits and veggies that you will come across at Costco are of great quality, but unless your family eats a lot of them, you’ll end up wasting more money because of what is being thrown in the trash. A majority of your favorite produce items only last for a couple of days, so you’d be both safer and wiser to buy them in smaller packages at one of your other favorite shopping destinations.   

Fruit at Costco

Flowers

Every time I shop at Costco, their section of floral arrangements never ceases to amaze me with their beautiful colors and wonderful fragrances. Unfortunately, flower bouquets only last you for about a week, and Costco’s prices are a bit steep when considering this purchase. You’d be better off sprucing up your home with flowers from Trader Joe’s or Kroger, where several of their bouquets will cost you right around $10 and sometimes even cheaper.    

Costco Flowers

Spices

The prices that you will find in Costco’s spice section are in fact quite competitive, but most families don’t use up that much seasoning within their recommended 6-month lifespan. Instead of wasting money by having to toss out your stale spices, stick with getting your spices in smaller containers elsewhere.  

Spices at Costco

Condiments

Costco sells an impressive 64 oz container of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, but honestly, who eats that much mayonnaise anyway? Once it’s been opened, a container of refrigerated mayonnaise will typically only last for another 2 months. By that time it will have gone to waste, or your family will be sick of even the thought of mayonnaise. I actually started buying the 16-ounce size jars of mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. Things change when the family shrinks, right?

Read More of My Articles  How To Save Money When Shopping

They also sell a 3 pack of Heinz ketchup that contains bottles that are 44 ounces each! Unless your family eats a ton of ketchup for every meal, you may not use it all up in a safe timeframe. So if you’re a smaller family like mine, you’d be best to shop for your condiments somewhere else.    

Mayonnaise

Books

I’ve been to a number of different Costco’s where all of them have a long table of books stacked high. You’ll notice right away that they don’t have that great of a selection and their prices aren’t stellar deals. Instead, get the newest and most popular reads off of your Kindle and also places like Amazon, where you are certain to pay less.  

Things You Should Not Buy at Costco

Milk

Unless you have a large family, buying two-gallons of milk may be a waste of money for you. Yes, you could pour some into a glass and freeze the rest in the jug, but do you really want to have gallons of milk in your freezer? I have found now that I’m older I prefer buying the 1/2 gallon size even though it may cost a little more.

Because I have arthritis in my hands, the smaller bottles are easier for me to handle. The nice thing about the 1/2 gallon size is they stay fresher because once you open that 1/2 gallon or any gallon of milk, it needs to be used within 5-7 days if refrigerated properly.

If unopened it’s good (quality wise per manufacturer) until the “best by date” which means the manufacturer will vouch for quality to that date.

Milk at Costco

Olive Oil

Here’s the deal with Kirkland’s Olive Oil, it’s really good in my humble opinion for baking bread and for salads within 2-3 months after opening. I don’t want to sound like an Olive Oil snob, but after working at fancy kitchen stores, I’m a bit spoiled. Plus, here in Southern Utah, we have a store called Redstone Olive Oil.

Read More of My Articles  How to Make a Small Grocery Budget Stretch + FREE Grocery List Printable

They have fresh olive oil and just about every flavor you would want. Plus, they have the best Balsamic vinegar flavors, just as fresh. Now, if you use up the half-gallon Kirkland Olive Oil within 6 months, you will be fine.

Olive Oil

Diapers

It’s not necessarily a bad decision to buy your diapers in bulk at Costco, but you can find them cheaper at other stores. For instance, a pack of Parent’s Choice 228 diapers costs only $33.00 (size 2) on Amazon, while Huggies brand (size 2) will run you about $40 for a 174-count pack at Costco.  

If you don’t have time to shop at another store besides Costco, you could always order them from Amazon and have them delivered straight to your door. They also offer you diapers and other baby products up to 20% off if you shop with their Amazon Family portion at their website.     

Diapers

Electronics 

I believe that it’s safe to argue that when it comes to comparing prices, Costco typically beats other grocery retailers a majority of the time, but when it comes to electronics, I’d be a bit more hesitant with that claim.

While Costco does in fact have a wonderful return policy for their unsatisfied customers, you can save yourself the trip by shopping online with places like Amazon, where there are sure to be hotter deals and hundreds of more quality items to choose from. Be sure and look at the current return policy on certain electronics.

It’s no secret that electronics tend to be a much bigger purchase and one that families plan on having around for a long time, so take the time to do your research, because you’ll probably be kinder to your wallet by shopping online.  

Electronics

Tires

Before you commit to purchasing your vehicle’s tires from Costco, make sure that you shop around for pricing and warranties beforehand. You’re likely to discover that there are better and plenty more options, along with lower prices when you go elsewhere. 

Tires at Costco

Things You Should Not Buy at Costco

Final Word

My intention in this post is not to badmouth Costco by any means, but to help save you money and waste less. What are some things you think you should not buy at Costco? Leave your opinion in the comments below. May God Bless this world, Linda.

30 thoughts on “Things You Should Not Buy at Costco

  • January 7, 2021 at 5:21 am
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    Oh boy we are about to disagree Linda lol
    Look knuckleheads aka men out there you buy that spontaneous bouquet of flowers and take it on home after you pick up the right brand of TP for her. Don’t worry bout why or what you did cause you did even if you don’t know it and even IF that’s not true then do it anyway just because.

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    • January 7, 2021 at 5:47 am
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      Hi Matt, LOL LOL LOL! Oh my gosh, we all needed this today! Oh my gosh, I will now look at men picking up those bouquets in a way different way. Of course, you had to add in the right brand of TP! I have the giggles so bad right now! Which is the best EVER thing for all of us right now! You made my day! Linda

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  • January 7, 2021 at 7:25 am
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    We don’t have Costco here. We have a Sams club, but we don’t go there either. Sams is about 25-30 miles away. We don’t even go to Walmart anymore. We just shop in our little podunk town. LOL We have one grocery store, a Dollar General and a Family Dollar. We do shop online at Walmart. It’s about 20 miles away. And we shop at Amazon.

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    • January 7, 2021 at 10:13 am
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      Hi Deborah, I’m glad we had Costco here, no Sam’s Club but at least we have one of them. I like hometown stores! Linda

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      • January 7, 2021 at 10:18 am
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        Linda, I like hometown stores, too. I don’t want to travel to a bigger town/city. With the Coronavirus numbers going up, I can’t take the chance on bringing anything home or getting sick myself. I used to go to Walmart once every couple of months. I’ve been once since last March. Really haven’t missed it, other than buying craft supplies, but hubby’s been ordering them for me.

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        • January 8, 2021 at 4:27 am
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          Our Wal-Marts here in Washington say “masks recommended” on the front doors although it is a state mandate to wear them. Both I and a friend went to Wal-Mart on separate trips at the beginning of December and BOTH got Covid. We are both diabetic and while he is younger (less than 50), and I am a cancer survivor and 69, I have gotten over it while he is still sick. People there wear a mask over their mouth but not nose if they wear one at all and no one social distances! I complained to one guy who was too close and not wearing a mask. He leaned over me and deliberately coughed in my face even though I tried to hold my hand up and block him. I was in a motorized cart and could not get away from him. When I complained to staff they said there was nothing they could do and I should call corporate. Yeah, you just try that. All they care about is the money people are bringing in! I would rather spend more and shop elsewhere!

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          • January 8, 2021 at 4:54 am
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            Hi Marce, wow, that is terrible. It sure is crazy how people treat others right now. I personally have been shocked by how people have treated others in the last several months. I do not go out much but when I see other people shopping some are so nice but there are a few bullies out there. What’s sad is workers at the stores are not trained to break up fights over toilet paper. Plus, why should they be trained. Who are these people who cough in in your face??? Good grief, there are no words. I’m sorry this happened to you. Stay safe, stay well!! Linda

          • January 8, 2021 at 7:41 am
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            Hi, Marce. Ours has the same thing on the door. I stay out of big stores like Walmart. People are so rude. And there are so many people. I always wear a mask when I go out to as store. My husband and I both have health issues that put us at risk. You know, I don’t even miss Walmart.

  • January 7, 2021 at 7:53 am
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    I really have to agree about fruits & vegetables – the prices are much cheaper in a regular grocery store and you don’t have buy such a large quantity. But I also have to disagree on an item. I love Costco spices! They are much higher quality and much cheaper. Their cinnamon is awesome! I don’t know anyone who tosses spices after 6 months despite reading that advice everywhere. I’m considered a food snob (also former food writer) and don’t toss my spices that quick. Much of what is at Costco is larger sizes for those who can use it in a timely fashion.

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    • January 7, 2021 at 10:16 am
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      Hi Arlene, I love the Kirkland Cinnamon that’s for sure. I used to teach cooking classes at a fancy kitchen store so I hear you on the food snob, I’m one as well. I really think it also depends on how many people we are cooking for on a daily basis. Linda

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  • January 7, 2021 at 7:55 am
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    I forgot to add – don’t buy Kirtland toilet paper. It’s one ply and very thin.

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  • January 7, 2021 at 8:00 am
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    My only comment is about electronics. The reason I always buy them at Costco is because if the concierge technical support they offer. You can call and get tech support for anything they sell at no cost (for at least the first couple years) and the support comes from US-based, English speaking technicians. That’s been incredibly helpful to me over the years.

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    • January 7, 2021 at 10:21 am
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      Hi Laura, that’s really good to know. I always check Costco prices and Best Buy Prices when we are looking for a TV for instance. Best Buy usually beats the price. Maybe it’s because we are buying last year’s model. I also like my TV delivered and set up. I can’t do it. You are probably way more techy than me. Great tip on the tech support. Linda

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    • January 7, 2021 at 12:03 pm
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      My husband is a big big Costco electronics fan. We usually get all our electronics there for the same reasons – return policy and the concierge service. We have noticed that whatever we buy there, it has “just a little extra something-something” that the other stores don’t have. We never, never, ever buy anything electronic at WalMart! Nuh-uh! It’s Costco or Best Buy, all the way.

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  • January 7, 2021 at 8:08 am
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    I buy Costco olive oil for cooking (it is real olive oil by the way) and when opened, I put some in a small glass bottle for using, then put the remainder in the fridge. Yes it needs a bit of time to come to room temperature when more is needed, but it also keeps fresh longer after opening, by refrigerating it.
    We buy Healthy Traditions olive oil (when on a really good sale) for salads and dipping, non-cook uses. (Found them a few years ago when I wanted to buy a good coconut oil).

    Most oils store for only 1 year.
    Olive oil will store 2 years unopened.
    As far as an oil for storage: solid coconut oil can be stored for years, so it’s a great choice for our longer term food storage plans.

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    • January 7, 2021 at 10:22 am
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      Hi Janet, great comment with wonderful tips, thank you! now I want some crusty bread to dip in olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. LOL! Linda

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  • January 7, 2021 at 9:17 am
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    I agree with Laura– we have found Costco to be a good source for electronics, offers excellent concierge services (frequently faster and much better than the manufacturer), also offers to set up (altho for a fee, like mounting TVs on the wall). And they frequently have specials that are very good values.

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    • January 7, 2021 at 10:24 am
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      Hi Monica, I did not know they set up TV’s from Costco, thanks for the tip. We will have to look at that in the future. I love hearing that! Thank you, Linda

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  • January 7, 2021 at 12:09 pm
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    Linda, I agree about Costco, as good as they are, not being everyone. My husband and I buy quite a bit of stuff at Costco but we’re selective. I hate milk, can’t stand it, but have to cook with it occasionally. Kelly is lactose intolerant so he never uses it. Thus, no milk buying at Costco, ever. We do however, use alot of cheese (me, not him) and buy the bulk shredded cheese. We buy bulk hamburger, pork chops, etc. We repackage everything into quart sized freezer bags and freeze it all, bringing out what we need, when we need it. No waste there. I’m fortunate enough to have a large pantry so that’s where alot of things go, plus my basement food storage. I will never-ever go without TP so I’ve got plenty, plus the space to store it. :o)
    Costco isn’t for everyone. You have to know what you can use up in a timely manner or be able to repackage it and freeze/store it.
    One last comment…I love the flowers at Costco. I love looking at them, smelling them but I don’t buy them. They’ve really shot up in price, and I don’t feel they’re worth the price. Our closest Costco doesn’t have the turnover of product that the Reno store has and the flowers are dead within 2-3 days! That in itself is enough for me to not buy the flowers.

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    • January 7, 2021 at 3:14 pm
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      HI Robbie, I remember buying flowers at Costco and they were full, lush, and beautiful. Then I bought some at Trader Joe’s in California for next to nothing and wow, they lasted over a week. But, here in Southern Utah, we do not have great places to buy flowers. So, I wait until my own flowers sprout. Life is good, Linda

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  • January 7, 2021 at 2:29 pm
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    I agree that there are certainly things one shouldn’t buy at Costco or other places that have bulk items (my favorite is Smart Food Service – restaurant supply). Fortunately, within a 20 mile radius from where I live, there are 3 Costcos and 3 Smart Food Services. So, I don’t have to drive very far to hit any one of them. BUT, pretty much the only things I do buy at Costco: my coffee pods; garbage bags, and supplements; oh and also my dermatolgist recommended hand/body lotion and cleanser – WAY cheaper at Costco.

    I do know that canned fruits and vegetables are most times a great deal cheaper at the local grocery store. As for books, I was just at Costco the other day and there was a book that I wanted – Amazon price was $24.99 (no kindle version) and the Costco price was $12.99. SO, bottom line, a person needs to KNOW what things cost no matter where they shop. I have a store about a mile from me that is more expensive in general than Safeway or Fred Meyer (Kroger) but the advantage is that I don’t have to drive nearly as far to get groceries – saving time and gas money.

    When comparing something like diapers – need to compare like with like (brand) at both Costco and Amazon. If one compares Huggies at both suppliers, Costco wins. Also, the olive oil, Kirkland brand has been tested against many of the olive oils found at the grocery stores. There are several brands at the grocery store that are adulterated with other oils and are most often rancid. So, with that, I prefer the Kirkland brand. But as a single person, I simply cannot justify buying olive oil in bulk so when my daughter comes to see me, she will bring me a smaller bottle from her big bottles – I have 2 small bottles and she swaps them out! We also do that with some other things that I want but cannot justify the bulk (use as well as storage).

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    • January 7, 2021 at 3:18 pm
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      Hi Leanne, oh I love the daughter story and the olive oil idea! Good one! It really does go back to what the prices are and if we are saving money at really ANY store. It pays to compare and know the prices before we buy anything, big or small. Linda

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  • January 7, 2021 at 7:02 pm
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    Well, I have to disagree on some things. The ones I don’t mention is because we don’t use them. I can’t agree with spices, electronics or tires. And maybe bulk veggies and fruits.
    I’ve never had a problem with “stale spices”, so the spices we use from Costco are the best deal around.
    Tires. I’ve NEVER found better prices anywhere, and that includes the big ‘discount tire stores’. The only problem I’ve had with Costco is their lack of selection. I ran Yokohama tires on my Spyder which I couldn’t get at Costco. Those I got at America’s Discount Tires.
    Electronics. Again the only problem with Costco is lack of wide selection. Prices? I’ve never found better than Costco. Selection is awful though. As an example, I recently needed to replace my inkjet printer. Costco only carries about 6 different printers. When I lived near a Best Buy a few years ago, they had 4 aisles of printers – easily over 50. But, cost-wise, for the same printer at Costco as anywhere else I checked, Costco beat them hands down.
    Plus, have you ever tried to return an item like that from mail order. A real pain, even though I am an Amazon Prime member. What a pain in the behind.
    I’ve never had a problem with veggies or fruit bought at Costco. And they certainly last a lot longer than a ‘couple of days’.
    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth.

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    • January 8, 2021 at 4:46 am
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      Hi Darrell, I love Costco, just so you know. I wrote two articles on the BEST things to buy at Costco. But, I love hearing you have saved money on tires at Costco. I always buy last year’s models on laser printers at Best Buy or even Staples. My real point of this post was to compare prices before buying. You have made me aware of the small selection at Costco. That works if one of those printers or the tires are exactly what you want. I will never stop shopping at Costco because they have awesome products! Linda

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  • January 8, 2021 at 8:35 am
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    Don’t agree on the olive oil. I store our oil in the fridge & it lasts a long time.
    And they have good quality if you read the label. Also good price on avocado oil & coconut oil Here is SoCal we have a variety to choose from.
    And its a great place to get milk. I am an empty nester
    now but kids go thru so much milk. And I only had 2. I would buy my milk there when they were home. My husband buys me flowers @ costco all the time. We also split the flower 2 doz. & give them to 2 different people & you can also take them back if they don’t last.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 7:00 am
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    While I have bought 21″ and smaller monitors/TVs through the Internet, anything larger I like buying in person to avoid the nightmares of receiving a damaged TV and having to get it replaced while shipping back the damaged unit. Last 3 large TVs I got were all purchased at BJs Wholesale Club, a competitor to Costco in this area.

    And I will freely admit that some spices I buy at BJs, but some I just get in smaller containers at the supermarket. Bulk spices I buy are salt, whole peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. My wife likes her food spicier than I do, so I always try to have a good supply of red pepper flakes and siracha to keep her happy. 🙂

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    • January 11, 2021 at 8:57 am
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      Hi DmWalsh, oh I love red pepper flakes and Siracha. Yeah, I buy the red flakes in the Costco container!! Life is good! Linda

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