There are many things I always buy at Costco. But there are also things I never buy there.
Not everything the beloved wholesale chain sells is a bulk bargain.
I’m not hating on Costco, though. I’m just using the retailer — which regularly outranks its competitors on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index — to underscore the potentially high cost of failing to comparison shop.
I’m talking about not just comparing the price of one brand with another sold by the same store, but comparing the prices of one retailer with another.
I don’t do this unit-based price research for everything I buy, but I do it for items my household uses routinely. It takes but a few minutes, and in return I get the peace of mind of being sure I’m getting the best price for something I buy frequently.
You’d be surprised by what you learn this way. To illustrate, I’ve examined three types of purchases. All of the following price comparisons:
- Exclude online prices. I have bought some of these items online at times, and you might find them cheapest there. But I still like to know which of my local brick-and-mortar stores sells a given product for the best price.
- Exclude sale prices. Costco puts all the items mentioned in this article on sale periodically, while retailers like Walmart and Aldi generally do not. But I’ve found other stores’ regular prices for these items still tend to beat Costco’s sale prices.
- Are from my local stores. So, prices may vary from what you see at your local stores.