shouldn't buy at costco


Now that we all know what things you should buy at Costco from my post last week (if you missed it, find out what you SHOULD buy at Costco here), time to hash out things you shouldn’t buy at Costco. There’s a laundry list of items you shouldn’t buy at Costco (laundry detergent is one of them ha!) Costco can be both a great place to save money and a dangerous place where money goes to die. What I do to make sure I am saving money at Costco is check the unit price of the item I’m purchasing and compare it to the unit price of the same item at my local supermarket. The unit price can be found right underneath the price label, usually in fairly fine print. That’s the number you want to pay attention to when you’re grocery shopping. [Related: How to Save a Ton of Money on Groceries]



Cereal makes the list of things you shouldn’t buy cereal at Costco because with coupons and or cash back rebates, you almost certainly can get a better deal at your local supermarket. Supermarkets tend to frequently put cereal on sale. So, you stock up at your supermarket when it’s on sale and then use manufacture coupons (find them at places like and then stack that on top of cash back rebates from apps like Ibotta (where you simply upload your receipt and you get cash back). I never pay more than $1 for a box of cereal using this method, and that makes it far cheaper than what you get at Costco.


things you shouldn't buy at costco

For similar reasons as cereal, soda is something you shouldn’t buy at Costco. It’s constantly on sale at supermarkets for a lot cheaper than you can get it at Costco.


Costco’s produce always looks big and delicious, but it’s not always worth it. We get 99% of our produce from a local produce rescue (if you are in AZ, you can get 70 pounds of produce for $12!! Check it out here). Otherwise, when we need produce we rarely buy it from Costco for the simple reason that we can’t use it all since you have to buy it in bulk.


You shouldn’t buy some name brand clothing at Costco– the only exception to this is if it’s on sale. Otherwise, you can find better deals at different stores.


Another thing you shouldn’t buy at Costco is printer paper. It’s almost always a better decision to find it online or at an office supply store on sale.


Laundry detergent makes the list of things you shouldn’t buy at Costco even though it’s tempting to buy it in bulk. I found that even not on sale, laundry detergent is cheaper at Walmart than it is at Costco. Plus, you can frequently find it on sale at other supermarkets.


There are notoriously amazing deals on toothpaste at supermarkets with coupons and cash back rebates which makes it a no-brainer on the list of things you shouldn’t buy at Costco!


Certain condiments, in their giant form and after they’ve been opened, are almost certain to go bad before you and your family can get through them. For that reason, it’s best to grab condiments in smaller bottles from the supermarket.


If you are on the hunt for name brand diapers, Costco is not the place to buy them. Rather, try Amazon Family or use coupons at your local grocery store before you buy at Costco.


The price of eggs varies so much from state to state. But eggs are usually a better deal at your local supermarket if you can find them on sale, so be sure to check the unit price at Costco and compare it to prices at stores around town.


With Costco’s old return policy where you could return electronics anytime for any reason, it was a no-brainer to buy electronics at Costco. (Imagine all the ways this system was abused). But now that electronics returns are limited to 90 days, it’s a better idea to purchase them online and on sale.

The key takeaway here is to remember that just because something is at Costco, does not mean that you should buy it and that it is the best deal. Remember to always check the unit price of the item that you’re buying at Costco and at your local supermarket to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

What things do you think you shouldn’t buy at Costco? Drop a comment below! 

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shouldn't buy at costco


  1. FYI Costco frequently runs sales on their cereal , and if you look at the total ounces, the cost will be less than most supermarkets, even with coupons. Remember, at Costco, you ALWAYS have to look at unit prices. Sometimes it’s a great deal and sometimes it isn’t.

  2. Eggs are cheaper at Costco $3 for 24 organic eggs. Organic eggs in Chicago at most grocery stores are $5+ for 12! Even the regular ones are cheaper than at the grocery, $1.75 for 24 at Costco or $1.99 for 12 at the grocery store. I also always find detergent there way cheaper than at other stores and detergent doesn’t go bad

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