Costco is a gold mine for bargains. But some deals are better than others.
There are great bargains at Costco — say the retailer offers some of the best deals in the industry. However, to cash in on the deals, you need to know a few secrets.
Here are items that Costco members shouldn’t even think about purchasing outside of the discount chain.
And, if you’re considering becoming a member, these are the discount items that make shopping at Costco worth the cost of membership.
Consumer Reports claims Costco’s house brand, Kirkland bacon, actually tastes betterthan any name-brand bacon testers reviewed. It’s also much more inexpensive, costing between $10 and $16 for a 4-pound pack — about $1.50 less a pound than the leading name-brand bacon options.
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The Krazy Coupon Lady — experts on Costco deals — reports Costco’s pure maple syrup costs half of what you would pay at Amazon. House brand Kirkland’s maple syrup costs just $0.32 an ounce, compared to $0.67 at Trader Joe’s or nearly $0.56 for Walmart’s non-organic option.
A number of experts, including My Frugal Adventures and Consumer Reports, say Costco is the best place to stock up on such things as extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.
Kirkland detergents are proven to be just as effective as name-brand detergents that cost two or three times more, according to Consumer Reports tests. Kirkland’s Signature Free & Clear liquid detergent is just $0.11 a load, and nearly as successful in cleaning stains as Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release, which costs more than twice as much.
At Costco, Kirkland’s canola oil cooking spray is just under $0.15 an ounce. That’s almost half of Walmart’s $0.27, and way less than a four-pack of Pam, which sells for about $0.46 an ounce on Amazon, reports the Krazy Coupon Lady.
Costco’s bulk batteries are a famously good deal — especially since this is a category where buying in bulk makes sense, as batteries are unlikely to expire.
You can buy 3 pounds of Costco spinach for the price of a pound at Walmart, reports the Krazy Coupon Lady. At Costco, it costs just $0.25 an ounce for Earthbound Farm’s organic baby spinach.
While Kirkland brands are reportedly pretty tasty, you can also save big by buying name-brand booze at Costco. Plus, thanks to local liquor laws, in much of the US you can buy alcohol from Costco with no membership card.
The Kirkland vanilla ice cream won Consumer Reports testers over with its “big dairy flavor and complex vanilla-extract flavor.” Plus, it’s just $0.30 a serving, compared to top-rated Ben & Jerry’s, which costs a dollar a serving.
At Costco, vanilla extract costs just $0.62 an ounce, reports the Krazy Coupon Lady. At Walmart, it’s $1.84. Plus, it’s not imitation vanilla — it’s the real deal.
According to Consumer Reports, Costco sells the most inexpensive pharmacy prescription drugs, with other pharmacies charging up to 447% more for the same drugs.
Even better, you don’t need to be a Costco member to use the pharmacy.
A hot lunch
While you can buy plenty of items in bulk, some of Costco’s best deals are in the food court.
One of the best deals, a hot dog and drink, costs just $1.50. According to Business Insider taste testers, the hot dog is “very flavorful,” with “a slight smokiness … similar to kielbasa.”