What Not to Buy at Costco (or Sam’s)

Photo (cc) by brewbooks

Savvy shoppers can often save big bucks by making purchases at warehouse club stores like Costco, Sam’s Club or BJs Wholesale.

But while warehouse clubs may offer the best deals on items such as prescription drugs, wine, meats and batteries, there are things that cost less elsewhere and times when buying in bulk is not worth it.

According to shopping experts, here are five things you should avoid putting in your shopping cart during your next warehouse club visit:

  • Perishable food items (like condiments): Sure, the price may be tempting, but unless you’re running a restaurant or have a family of 20, chances are good that you won’t be able to use the entire 1-gallon tub of mayonnaise before it goes bad. The same goes for many sunscreens and beauty products. Buying in bulk isn’t a money-saving option if you end up throwing half of the item away because it expired before you could use all of it.
  • Canned goods: You can typically score a better deal on canned goods at your local grocery store than at a warehouse club, according to Kiplinger. You could save up to 40 percent per unit for canned goods if you buy them at your local grocery store, especially if you opt for store-branded canned food.
  • Olive oil (and other cooking oils): The shelf-life of most cooking oils is fairly short. So no matter how good its price tag looks at the warehouse club, buying a huge bottle of olive or vegetable oil that expires before you’ve used it all, and ends up in the trash, is not a smart shopping purchase. “Shoppers can find deals on cooking oils in smaller packages at their local grocery stores,” CouponCabin CEO Scott Kluth told Kiplinger.

  • Books, DVDs and CDs: Before you throw a DVD of the latest kids movie in your cart or pick up a book that has a particularly enticing storyline, know that you can usually find a better price for those items online, especially if you don’t mind a gently used book or movie. “It might be tempting to buy books or DVDs at these stores, but you’ll find much lower prices online (like on Amazon),” Erin Konrad, a spokesperson for CouponPal.com told MarketWatch. You may also be able to borrow the book, DVD or CD for free at your local public library.
  • Fruits and vegetables: I’ve scored many great deals on produce items at Costco, but it is not always a good deal. First, there’s the risk that some of the fruits and veggies you buy in bulk will go bad before you have the chance to eat them all. Second, there’s a good chance you could get those items for a better price at a grocery store, Kiplinger says. While prices on produce are typically static at warehouse clubs, supermarkets often offer significantly lower prices for fruits and vegetables when they are in season, Teri Gault, CEO of grocery savings site TheGroceryGame.com, explained to Kiplinger.

For more tips on shopping these stores, check out “6 Ways Warehouse Stores Get You to Spend Too Much.”

Do you shop at warehouse clubs to save money? What items do you buy and which products do you avoid? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing
3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing

Not using any of these methods for saving on laundry detergent? Then, you are washing money down the drain.

Not Asking About This in the Hospital Can Cost You Thousands
Not Asking About This in the Hospital Can Cost You Thousands

Medicare recipients who fail to clarify their hospital status can pay a high price.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

5 Home Improvements That Help You Age in Place
5 Home Improvements That Help You Age in Place

Are you planning to “age in place”? These safety-conscious home renovations can help.

Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security
Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security

Growing numbers of seniors are paying taxes on their Social Security benefits, but you might be able to avoid this fate.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease
Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them
15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already
11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already

Never keep these items past their prime.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

10 Surprising Foods You Can Freeze — and How I Freeze Them
10 Surprising Foods You Can Freeze — and How I Freeze Them

How many of the foods have you thought to put in the freezer?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.