If You Really Want To Save Money, Don’t Buy These Items From Costco
For most people, getting to purchase pantry essentials at a lower price might seem like a huge blessing. However, this isn’t always the case. Buying things in bulk is great if you have a big family, if you run a business, or if you’re putting together a huge gathering. Otherwise, you might end up with more losses than savings.
The thing is, food can often expire before you manage to finish it all off. So, before you go stock up on the latest sale items at bulk foods superstore Costco, consider our list first. You’re trying to save money, not go into bankruptcy after all.
Freshly-made Baked Goods
Even if you’ve got quite the sweet-tooth, you might want to steer clear of the freshly baked cookies and other treats at Costco. Yes, they look enticing and for $18 a tray they’re also quite the steal. The question is, will you and the rest of your household be able to consume all of it before they lose their freshness and go stale? The healthy and cost-effective answer would be: NO.
Instead, put those investments towards your favorite local bakery! You’ll get something that’s freshly-baked and in the right amount. This way, you won’t end up wasting food as well.
Jerky Goes Bad Really Fast
If you think these are great to stock up on because it’s likely preserved due to all the spices, then read the packaging. Many jerky products will tell you to eat it within days after you open it up. Unless you plan on making investments towards a vacuum sealer to repack the uneaten jerky, then the meat will go bad within days even if you refrigerate it.
Experts recommend purchasing individually-packed ones and opting for smaller quantities at a time. Doing so would ensure a longer shelf-life since you can eat it one at a time and simply purchase more when needed.
Milk Goes Bad Too Quickly To Purchase In Bulk
If you’ve ever experienced accidentally drinking spoiled milk then you know there’s no saving it once it goes bad. The fact is, you can only consume milk a few days after its expiration date. Any more than that and you’ll be risking possible stomach upsets. So do think twice before purchasing one of those gallon packs unless you live in a household that can finish it off within days.
What about alternatives? You can opt for soy milk. Not only are these the greener investment, but they are also sold in multi-packs instead of in jugs, which allows for lower chances of contamination issues and a longer shelf-life.
Keep Your Morning Brew Flavorful And Fresh
Bulk coffee? Sounds like the jackpot, but before you purchase a stock that’s enough to last you months—pause for a moment. Did you know that the best coffee is brewed within two weeks of roasting the beans? The more time elapses, the more flavor your coffee loses. By the month and a half mark, you’re likely going to double your dose just to replicate the initial aroma and flavor it had. Our opinion? Not worth it.
Opt for bags that you can finish within a week or two. The tubs sold at Costco are very tempting but don’t make good investments.
Consider Your Daily Egg Consumption
Sounds a little funny, but if you’re planning on purchasing the 20 or 30 pack of eggs sold at the superstore then know that these have a 3- to 5-week expiration. Sure, if you live in a particularly large household then this makes for a wise investment. If you live by yourself or with one other person, then this amount might be more than what you’re going to consume before the expiration period.
Let’s do the math, shall we? If you go for the 30 eggs and want to maximize your purchase, you’d have to eat one with each meal. Ready for that commitment?
Any Type Of Oil Only Lasts For Three To Six Months
It isn’t uncommon for some consumers to believe that oil can last for a year, maybe even more. However, every variety of cooking oils can go bad within a few months of being opened. Even if you plan on using these every single day for culinary needs, the vats they sell at Costco are simply too big for the average household to use up.
Instead, settle for a smaller bottle that’s enough for a couple of months of use. The vats might seem a degree cheaper, but you’ll only end up with food waste and money loss once the expiration dates on those are up.
Spices Do Lose Their Flavor After A Period Of Time
No, spices do not last for years. This is especially true if you don’t keep them in air-tight containers. People tend to buy spices in bulk believing that since these were made from dry ingredients, they could be stored away for years without any issues. Unfortunately, if you want to keep their flavor potent, you’d have to top up every six months.
Keep in mind that you’ll only be using a few pinches of these each time you cook—with some ending up on the flooring at times. To maximize your purchase, buy these in smaller amounts and use it up before it goes stale.
Flour Needs To Be Stored Properly
Much like spices, flour only has a six-month period of usability. The good thing, however, is that you can extend that to a year by doing one simple trick. Flour actually attracts water so keeping it in the pantry, even if it’s in the original bag or zip-loc, will likely decrease its lifespan even further. The trick? Transfer it to an air-tight container before storing it in the fridge.
Unless you’re using cupfuls of it every day, you’ll only end up with a bag of unusable powder once the six months are over. Too bad you can’t use it to clean the flooring, unlike baking soda!
Baking Essentials Such As Yeast And Baking Powder
Like flour, baking powder also tends to soak in moisture. Instead of keeping it in the fridge, however, you can effectively increase its shelf-life by choosing an air-tight container and keeping it somewhere cool and dark. Because only a little of this product is required each time you use it, buying in bulk can only lead to food waste and investment losses on your part.
The same issue applies to dried yeast. This only has six months of shelf-life and there’s not much you can do in order to extend it. If you’re purchasing fresh yeast, its efficacy would fade even sooner.
Different Varieties Of Seeds And Nuts
One of the most commonly purchased products in bulk are seeds and nuts. Some people believe that they’d be able to snack on these long before they spoil. However, this isn’t always the case and that’s why many end up with wasted bags of it. Keep in mind that these products, though dried, are full of unsaturated fats and oils—two things that go bad quickly.
There are a couple of exceptions to this, however. If you find a bag of hazelnuts macadamias, then go ahead and get some. These are great pantry investments that can last a year if you freeze and store them appropriately.
Condiments Such As Mayo, Mustard, And Ketchup
Yes, common condiments such as mayo, mustard, and ketchup are all known to be shelf-stable. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t slowly going bad. A regular-sized bottle or even a family one gives you enough product to use up before it spoils. This is why experts will recommend purchasing your condiments from the grocery store instead of Costco.
The business-sized packs from the superstore are way more than the average family needs, even if you do use the condiments every single day. Ketchup loses much of its taste and color after the five-month mark, so do think twice about this investment.
Care Products Also Have An Expiration Date
Stocking up on various self-care items such as shampoos and lotions because they were on sale? Well, do think twice about doing so. The thing with these is that they begin to oxidize the moment you open them. Some people think that separating them in refillable bottles helps, but this isn’t the case. The contents are still going to go bad, once air hits the formula.
This is why buying a six-pack toothpaste is a good investment—you won’t open them all at the same time, so the product is preserved. So you should think twice before purchasing giant bottles of these products.
Only Buy What You Have Room For
Impulse buys are all too common when it comes to bulk stores like Costco. People get easily tempted by sales, purchasing items that they don’t really need or don’t have room for at home. Such is the case when it comes to paper towels or even water. Unless there’s a major emergency or you have a huge household, a cart-full of these items seems a bit much.
The general rule of thumb is to only purchase what you need. Unless you really need bottled water, why not opt for a Brita or a filter instead? These are great investments, financially and environmentally.
Laundry Detergent Loses Is Potency
Are you one of those people who thought laundry detergent can be kept for a year or more? Well, this might surprise you that its potency only lasts for a few months. It might still bubble up a bit and retain some of its scents, but a detergent’s cleaning powers are greatly reduced after the six-month mark. The same thing applies to bleach. Once you open them, the product begins to oxidize.
If you’re from a big family and you do laundry multiple times a day, then these bottles are definitely a great investment for you. Smaller households might fare better with retail-sized products, though.
There’s already an enormous issue when it comes to food waste, so the most an average household can do is avoid it from happening at home. One way of accomplishing this is by purchasing only what you need, especially when it comes to fresh produce. Whilst there are many tempting offers when it comes to fruits and vegetables in Costco, bulk buying can only result in losses for you.
Unless you live in a big household or plan on hosting a block party, then bulk produce isn’t a sound investment to make. You’ll only end up with a bin full of rotten produce.
Introduce More Variety To Your Canned Goods Stash
You might not realize this but purchasing a good variety of canned goods from your regular grocery store often comes out to the same price as a 10-pack of beans from Costco. The difference is you get more options, instead of settling for 10 cans of the same thing. Unless you’re a total aficionado, you will get tired of beans after a while.
Besides, there are typically daily deals and available coupons that would make grocery store canned goods even cheaper compared to the ones you can get from the bulk store. Always scope places out if you want better food investments.
Flowers At Costco Are Pricier
Little known fact: bouquets at the superstore are actually priced much steeper compared to other places. These can cost $30 or more at Costco but will cost about half of that if you get them from another grocery store. Your local florist might even have a similar arrangement for much less without compromising the quality.
Yes, getting the flowers in the same place you’re buying your groceries at is very convenient—but if you’re looking to lower your credit balance, the $10 to $20 savings you make is more important. Besides, a quick detour for more affordable flowers isn’t all that bad.
Do You Really Need All That Cheese?
No matter how much of a cheese lover you are, you’ll likely start feeling sick trying to finish the 50-gallon bags available at Costco. Even if you have it every single day and with every meal, it’ll expire long before you can finish it all off. Bigger households experience trouble with this as well. The last thing you want is needing to throw away half a bag of spoiled cheese—that’s wasted money and food.
Instead, opt for retail-sized products and simply get more once you have the need for it. Trust us, this is the better choice when it comes to your credit balance.
Five Pounds Of Butter?
The mere thought is already making us dizzy. Even if it’s the holidays and you’re on a baking spree to give out as gifts, five pounds of butter just seems a little bit much. There’s the fact that you likely won’t be able to use it up before expiration and also, where do you plan on keeping it? After all, the butter needs to be inside the fridge to prolong its shelf-life.
Avoid food waste and your money going right into the bin by buying just enough for what you need. Sure, it might cost a bit more but it’s the wiser investment.
Dried Pasta Is Often Cheaper Elsewhere
Sure, buying pasta in bulk will not push you into bankruptcy, but consider the fact that it is much cheaper in other places. Price comparisons between pasta from Costco, Walmart, and Trader Joe’s show that the chain stores often have lower prices for this particular pantry staple. It might mean that you’re making an extra trip, but it is worth the savings you’ll make.
This is especially so if you often stock up on these products. They are great for storing and won’t go bad easily, unlike other food items. Keep this in mind the next time you’re out shopping for your pantry essentials.
Mega-sized Tubs Of Hummus Won’t Stay Fresh For Long
We’ve already established the fact that the bulk packages available at Costco don’t make for great investments unless you live in a particularly large household or hosting a party. This is especially true when it comes to perishables such as hummus. Whilst these do contain preservatives, allowing it to stay fresh for a bit longer, it can still only last you a week or two.
Of course, all that added preservatives make it less healthy than the usual homemade stuff—which is what you should be having anyway. If that isn’t possible, normal-sized tubs from the grocery are your best bet.
Cereal Can Be Bought Elsewhere And For Much Cheaper, Too
Much like buying canned goods from Costco, you don’t get much variety when you buy cereal in bulk as well. The big boxes come with two bags inside, but for the same price or cheaper, you can get two different boxes of the same size at a grocery store. Keep in mind that you can get further discounts through coupons as well, making sure that you’re getting a much better deal.
If you want to avoid going into the red when it comes to your credit, shop for essentials wisely. Remember, Costco has great deals but there might be better ones at the grocery.
Get Your Rice From Local Markets And Grocers
While rice won’t go bad for quite a while, it doesn’t mean that buying it in bulk is the wisest investment to make. As such, you might want to skip the trip to Costco and opt to purchase your grains from local Asian markets. Not only do these places offer more variety, but they also tend to be more affordable, too.
Costco actually prices up grains for up to 35% compared to smaller local businesses—that’s quite a significant amount of money, even if you’re purchasing rice from the superstore out of convenience. Besides, you’ll be helping out the local economy by doing this, too!
Office Supplies Are Also Cheaper In Other Smaller Stores
Whilst it might be easier for you to shop for your office and school needs while you’re on your grocery run, do consider the fact that Costco doesn’t always offer the best deals when it comes to these items. Unlike office supply stores where back-to-school deals or coupons are usually available, Costco maintains pretty consistent pricing on these essentials.
Target is another great place to get to school and work supplies. You’d be able to complete your kid’s requirement list without going into bankruptcy in the process. You can try small stores as well! These may not be “brand name” items, but they’ll work just fine.
Purchase Books At Specialty Stores
Fact is: places like Costco only sells best-seller titles, which means the selection is very limited. Unless you’re looking for a quick gift or something to bring with you while traveling, then you’re definitely better off getting books at specialty stores. This includes local retailers, as well as secondhand bookstores!
The primary reason is that you’ll get more variety and you’ll be able to discover new titles in the process. Of course, if you’re really on a budget, you can always go to the public library. With a library card, you get access to an entire building of books—no credit card needed.
Beverages Like Soda And Juices
Though it might seem like it, buying beverages such as Pepsi and Coke from Costco isn’t the best investment to make. According to Moms Need to Know, this is especially true during the summer months when many grocery stores put their soda products on sale. That’s not all, however. Some stores even let customers tack on coupons and membership deals on top of the sale price, effectively lowering the price even more.
A two-liter bottle for $1.50? That’s definitely a good deal, considering all the outdoor activities you’ll be needing these ice-cold beverages for. So check your local groceries before heading off to Costco!
Unfamiliar Or Foreign Brands
Seeing unfamiliar products can be exciting, but before you grab these items in bulk make sure you think twice. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with trying out new things, if you’re unsure of the quality or taste then you might end up wasting your money instead. Just picture this: what if the product isn’t as good as you expected or the food isn’t quite to your preference? You’ll likely throw these in the bin or store them away—never to be used again.
For first time purchases, opt for smaller sizes first. This should allow you to test whether they’d be a good investment or not.
There Might Be Better Diaper Deals Online
Given the number of diapers that babies can go through, it is certainly tempting to purchase these essentials in bulk instead. However, you might not be getting the best deal by doing so. Keep in mind that various online stores often have promos on diapers—even websites such as Amazon offer moms a subscribe-and-save deal that’ll help make sure you pocket extra savings with every purchase.
There are even apps that’ll do the tedious process of searching for coupons online on your behalf. Do take advantage of these, to make sure you don’t end up in debt because of diapers.
You Get What You Pay For When It Comes To Clothes
Think you’re getting a great deal on that $15-cardigan? Whilst it might wear great the first few times, it won’t last as long as a properly made one. It’s no secret that Costco’s Kirkland brand socks, undergarments, shirts, and other clothing items are made with inexpensive material. If you add the numbers up, you end up wasting money on purchasing cheap garments again and again.
Instead, choose the wiser investment. Whilst higher quality items do cost more upfront, you’ll end up saving money in the long run because it’ll be awhile before you need to buy the same item again.
Get Your DVD’s Online
If you’re still purchasing DVDs out of nostalgia, for your collection, or because some movies are only available in this format, opt-out of getting them at Costco. The prices at the superstore for these items aren’t bad, but you’ll save more if you check out the $5 bin at Walmart stores or if you peruse through Amazon’s extensive collection.
It might only be a few dollars, but that’s savings you shouldn’t overlook. Besides, these DVDs aren’t exactly long-term investments so getting them for cheap is the smart thing to do. You might even luck out and spot a great deal on Amazon!