10 Costco Items That Won’t Save You Money

5 min read

While you can find some amazing deals at Costco, not every purchase is a good deal. That being said, here are 10 items at Costco you think will save you money but won’t.

10. Bulk Produce

Fruits Veggies
Source: Pixabay

While you can certainly save money at Costco by buying in bulk, not everything should be purchased that way. Produce, for example, is a terrible thing to buy in bulk. I mean, think about it. Unless you own a restaurant, there’s no way you’d go through that big bag of lettuce or lemons before it expires.

Not only will you be throwing food away, but you’ll also be throwing away your money. Here’s another thing: supermarkets can lower prices on produce in season, but Costco may not always be able to do so.

9. Cold Cuts and Meat

Cold Cuts Meat
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Believe it or not, you can get cold cuts such as ham and turkey and meat such as chicken and beef cheaper at the grocery store than what you would pay for them at Costco.

“You may have to look at a few grocery store circulars, but I’ve seen similar products for $2 per pound less when on sale,” Mark Charnet told Reader’s Digest.

“Taking a few extra minutes to read the flyer before you shop can really save you big,” Charnet added.

8. Books

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When it comes to books, Amazon has the best prices — especially on newer and popular books. eBay is another option if you’re looking for inexpensive books. And who could forget the local library? You can check out books free of charge!

If, however, you’d rather purchase one to add to your collection, then it’s best to buy it online. Buying books at Costco won’t save you any money. Not only that but their selection of books is quite limited.

7. Diapers


You might think buying diapers in bulk is a smart move, but you might want to think again. Yes, I’m sure your little one goes through diapers like there’s no tomorrow, but they’re probably also growing like a weed.

And, if that’s the case, the last thing you want to do is buy a bunch of diapers that your child will outgrow before you’re even able to use all of them. That being said, your best bet is to go diaper shopping at Walmart, Target, or Amazon.

6. Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper
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Buying toilet paper from Costco would be a good idea if their toilet paper wasn’t so cheap — and by cheap, we mean its quality, not its price.

“From my time working there, I learned a lot about the company and some of the best and worst products,” Tess Robison told BestLifeOnline.com.

“One of the worst products, in my opinion, as a former Costco employee, was the Costco Kirkland brand toilet paper. It is one of the cheapest toilet papers out there. Even though it seems like it’s priced cheaper than other brands, you will end up using it much much faster than better-quality brands, which makes it not worth the money. I would strongly recommend people pay a few dollars more for the better quality stuff,” said Robinson

5. Laundry Detergent

Laundry Detergent
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Everything has an expiration date — yes, even laundry detergent. According to an article published by USA Today, laundry detergent typically loses some of its effectiveness after six months.

So, unless you’ve got a really large family, purchasing a jumbo-sized container of detergent is a waste of money. You would never be able to use it all before it went bad. That being said, you’d be much better off getting a normal-sized container of your favorite laundry detergent from Walmart.

4. Canned Goods

Canned Goods
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Non-perishables are good items to buy in bulk, right? Absolutely! But, the thing is, you could actually get them much cheaper from Amazon or the grocery store than you would at Costco. Canned food is often cheaper at dollar stores, too. Heck, even Walmart sells some store brand (Great Value) canned goods for less than 40 cents a pop!

And, even though they are non-perishables, they will still eventually expire. That being said, you don’t want to end up buying too many canned goods and not being able to consume them all by the expiration date — which could likely happen if you purchase them from Costco.

3. Fresh Flowers

Fresh Flowers
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You can get a good deal on fresh flowers at Costco, but you can get an even better deal at Trader Joe’s. In fact, an article published by USA Today says that Trader Joe’s is actually the best place to buy flowers. A bouquet there will cost you about $10, compared to $40 at Costco.

You could even get a better selection, nicer arrangements, and discounts from online retailers like 1-800-flowers or FTD.com. After all, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on an arrangement that won’t last more than a week.

2. Clothing

Clothing Racks
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While Costco frequently offers a few hugely discounted clothing items, you’d fare better getting your items at clothing stores or online retailers. You’ll also want to skip the name-brand clothing purchases at Costco too.

“When a piece of clothing comes to Costco with a designer label, beware. It’s likely to be lower quality than what the label sells in its stores. Chances are the manufacturer cut corners for its Costco offering,” Business Insider wrote in an article published on its website.

If name-brand bargains are what you’re looking for, it’s best to shop at a store like Marshalls.

1. Electronics

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There are a few things to keep in mind when considering shopping for electronics at Costco. For starters, the prices you see are what you’ll have to pay. At an electronics store, however, you may be able to negotiate a better price.

Second, Costco’s selection of TVs is much smaller than you’d find elsewhere, so even if you do go there, there’s a chance you might not find what you’re looking for. And, even if you do, you could find the same TV for a lower price from other retailers. For example, a TV that’s “on-sale” at Costco could be $15 cheaper on Amazon.

“With Internet shopping being what it is today, there are an unbelievable amount of hot deals going on at any given time in every major category of electronics,” Costco manager Jeremy Falletta said on Quora.

“On a day to day basis, I stand by the statement that no one will beat Costco’s price in a direct comparison, but for electronics, I will allow that one might get lucky to the tune of a few bucks here or there,” Falletta added.