7 Items You Should Never Buy at Costco


Let me start out by telling you that I really do like shopping at Costco. 


Don't believe me? Here's proof. 


However, as I walk through Costco watching shopping carts loaded down with way too many way too expensive items, it's all I can do to hold myself back before diving into a dissertation on how shoppers might just blindly be spending too much.


So, to keep myself from attacking an unsuspecting Costco shopper, I'll just go ahead and air out my frustrations right here.


(I might even just print this list off to politely hand to those poor Costco shoppers before they overspend. ‘Cause you know, I'm nothing but helpful.) 😉


If you love shopping Costco I totally understand, but really want you to know you're getting a good price before mindlessly purchasing everything on the shelves. For whatever reason, there's something in every Costco store that just makes you want to buy big and buy a lot while you walk up and down the aisles enjoying their free samples.


I'm determined to teach you what things you should buy there, and what things you should just pass on by (because you really do have stellar self control.) 


You can do this.


Okie dokie, here we go. 7 things you should never (ever, never) buy at Costco. 


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 1. Cereal.

This is by far my biggest frustration when shopping Costco or Sam's Club. The prices on cereal at these stores is  just high, and these items go on sale at least once a month (if not more frequently) at your local grocery store.

This week you can pick up a large 20 oz. box of Honey Nut Cheerios for $2 at Kroger after their e-coupons, making them $.10 per ounce compared to the Costco price of $.145 per ounce.  You'll pay 1/3 less just for clipping an e-coupon and waiting for a sale (which means that big box of Honey Nut Cheerios should be priced at just $5.32 at the grocery store!)



2. Smucker's Uncrustables.

Okay, honestly folks, you can make a pb&j sandwich for next to nothing (these pre-made sandwiches cost a whopping $.61 a piece even at Costco.) If you want a little extra convenience you can make them yourself for around 19¢ per sandwich, or if you just absolutely have to buy them, stock up when you find a better price on sale at your local grocery store.



3. Potato Chips.

Chips typically cost about $.21 per ounce at Costco, but a decent sale at your local grocery store will drop them down to around $.17 per ounce, and if you're lucky enough to have a coupon you can save even more.


4. Costco Ice Cream

When I first tried out Costco last September they gave me a few freebies including 2 half gallons ice cream which regularly cost $10.99. Folks, to me that price just seems nuts (it was for their regular vanilla) and comes out to $.08 per ounce.

To compare, Kroger sells their party pail ice cream with 128 ounces for $3.99 or $.03 per ounce, and ice cream frequently goes on sale at your regular grocery store for less than the Costco price.


5. Kirkland's Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast.

Right next to each other at Costco sit the Kirkland's brand boneless skinless chicken breast and the Perdue brand, and the Perdue price comes is much cheaper. Here's the price breakdown:

  • Kirkland's Brand $17.99 for 6.5 pounds = $2.76/lb.
  • Perdue Brand $23.99 for 10 pounds = $2.39/lb.

My stock up price on boneless skinless chicken breast is around $1.97/lb, but I don't think the Perdue price is all that unreasonable. However to pay almost 40¢ extra a pound for the Kirkland brand seems crazy to me!

(That being said, if you've tried the Kirkland brand and think it's way better than the Perdue brand, leave a comment to share.) 


6. Diapers.

Here’s the price breakdown on Huggies Diapers and Pull Ups at Costco, Sam’s Club and Amazon:

NOTE: if you love Kirkland brand diapers those are on sale this month for an extra $4 off, dropping them down to $25.99 for 174 size 2 diapers, or $.149 per diaper. Not a bad price while they're on sale, but definitely do the math and make sure they're worth it for you!




7. Copy Paper.

Staples, Office Max & Office Depot frequently put copy paper on sale, and you can often get it free after rebate. If you're a large business that wants to stock up picking it up at Costco may be worth it for you, but for the average user hang on and wait for a deal at the office supply stores.




And here's the one thing that actually surprised me and you maybe should pick up at Costco when you're there. (I figured it was worth including so you all know I really do like Costco!)

The small bags (6.6 ounce) of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish regularly go on sale for $1 at many grocery stores, but there are hardly ever coupons on these. This comes out to $.15 per ounce which is the exact same price Costco has them for everyday, and this month (ending 8/30/15) you can actually get them at Costco for $.112 per ounce while they're on sale.


My general rule of thumb when shopping Costco is to purchase primarily whole food items when I'm there (nothing processed), and you really can save on some things.  If you have time to really shop the sales ads and clip a few coupons, I still think your very best prices will always be the grocery store, but there are some deals to be at Costco too! Go HERE to see 15 items more you should buy at Costco.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on Costco prices ~ leave a comment to share! 


Be sure to print your free Aldi, Costco and Sam's Club price comparison chart before you shop!


Looking for more posts like this? Here you go!



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  1. I always buy the Rice Krispie treats at Costco. When I did price comparisons they were only $.20/each and then they go on sale 2 times a year for $.14/each. Now, I’m not a coupon queen like you so you may see it cheaper, but I use 75 a month, so it is an awesome deal for us. The cereal surprises me, but we don’t eat a lot of cereal here, so of your list that was the only thing I’ve ever bought at Costco that you say is a bad buy. (but to me the $.03 difference on some of those is worth the convenience of large quantities and only one store visit)

    • There is definitely value in convenience Melody! And I actually bought Rice Krispies there yesterday because those hardly ever go on sale (and just about never have a coupon.) 🙂

  2. Our LOCAL Kroger is an hour away. Meijer ran them out years ago. I still shop at Kroger when I can. Costco ice cream is MUCH better than the stuff you get out of ANY pail here. If you are buying the pail to feed a bunch of kids, fine. I will buy the better quality yumminess. You just have to know your prices to compare. Most people do not know how! Maybe you can educate a few people!

    • The ice cream we got was vanilla Dee, and I just wasn’t as impressed as I’d hoped to be (I’d heard great reviews on their ice cream, but ti me it was just ice cream and nothing special!) If there’s a flavor there that’s really yummy though I’d love to know which one. 🙂

  3. Kellie Spiker says

    You pay for better ingredients with Costco ice cream. Kroger has high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavoring. They actually make Costco ice cream with the exact same ingredients at Haagen daz except they do add Caron bean gum and guar gum. But if you realize it’s the same ingredients then you are getting a better price per ounce 🙂

  4. I get the Kirkland chicken breasts because I thought they were cheaper than the Perdue. I guess I never noticed you get more with the Perdue. That being said, I work full time and hate grocery shopping so spending a little more to get it all at one place is worth it to me. I can’t imagine spending the time going to a bunch of different stores hunting the best prices.

  5. I agree with the other posters, Costco ice cream is way better quality than most other store brands. Your comparison would have been more believable for me if you had compared even Breyers ice cream, although I feel like the quality is more on par with Haagen Daz, as someone else mentioned. Otherwise I agree with the rest of your assessments! Thanks for sharing.

  6. oh, one more comment…. I think Kirkland diapers are the best hands down! But I would still only buy them on coupon.

  7. Barbara Spencer says

    If you have the time and the coupons and want too run all over too save a bit, even give up quality, then Give up Costco. But I rather buy quality at a good price and use my time more efficiently. It’s hard too beat Costco on quality and price for it. Now one needs too be on guard not too over buy while seeing so many temptations but, Costco is tops in my opinion. And I get back a % at the end of the year that I’ve spent at Costco. I’m not saying I don’t use coupons or shop other grocery stores as well, but I buy quality first, price second, and we don’t buy much of junk or processed pkgd foods. Costco is really focused on the consumer that wants quality, convenience, and good prices.

  8. So in this article it says NOT to buy Kirkland Boneless Chicken Breasts, yet in the other article (click the link it says you should. Which is it?

    • Hi Kim! The price went up on the Kirkland Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast from the post saying TO buy it and the one saying NOT to buy it – hope that helps (I need to update the post on what to buy – thank you for catching that!)

  9. Thanks! I’m always comparing these stores. I currently shop Sams club because I just haven’t seen the benefit for switching to costco for my family. I would love to see an updated Sam’s list! One of the main things I buy at Sam’s are the fresh boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.97lb! I have three growing boys so the convenience of buying a lot in one store is a huge draw for me.

    We go through A LOT of cereal. Honey Nut Cheerios Family size box at Meijer is 21.6 OZ, but at Sam’s they’re 24oz (each, so two boxes 48oz). So one box alone is bigger than the family size at Meijer. The sale on the family boxes at Meijer this week still only comes to .15oz, whereas Sam’s is .145oz. I realize I could use a coupon at Meijer, but I’m not great at coupons. So, I would love to see if it’s the truth/same items for Sam’s club. Especially since I tend to buy a lot of cereal there it worried me when cereal was top of the don’t buy list at Costco!

  10. I do buy the chicken at costco because usually it’s around 1.99 per pound here in Colorado. I did read somewhere or other that the chicken breast at costco are larger. I also purchase their tortilla chips which are a ridiculous deal it’s a 3lb bag for a little under $4.

  11. I actually prefer the Costco chicken breasts – they are individually wrapped & good quality meat. I don’t like to deal with separating a chunk of frozen meat if I only need to pull out 2 pieces.

  12. I don’t coupon and my time is valuable. The only thing I agree with you about is the PB&J sandwiches. Copy paper is far cheaper than Staples when it is run on sale. We don’t have Kroger here in the far north cost of California. I compared prices in 2010 for on sale at drugstores for several personal care items and Costco’s regular price is the same as other drug sale items.

    We shop at Costco and Winco.

  13. You always do better price-wise at Costco with the organic power greens, Kirkland organic chicken, and organic beef. Trader Joe’s gets close. For me it depends on which is most convenient. Of course, the trick for me at either place is sticking to what’s on the list!

  14. Christie Robson says

    In regards to the ice cream- you need to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Look at the ingredients. That is the difference between the Coscto brand ice cream and the other brands. Most ice cream has high fructose corn syrup or “fructose”. Whatever they are calling it these days. It is important to look at the ingredients.

  15. Regarding the two kinds of frozen chicken breast–you get way more actual chicken per pound from the Costco brand. It says up to 8% water added while the other says up to 15% added, but when I cook the two it seems like far more than a 7% difference in cooked meat volume, enough to justify the added price to me. Perdue cooks down more like the Aldi brand frozen chicken, while the Kirkland covers nearly as much of the pan as when it was raw.

  16. Anonymous says

    We like having good ingredients in our ice cream too. The Costco brand of it used to be a good deal for our family, but it isn’t any longer. Back in April, our Costco switched to the Humboldt brand vanilla ice cream, which is $12.49 for two 2-qt tubs ($3.12/qt). The Kirkland brand was just $9.99 for the same size last year at our Costco, and in February, the Kirkland brand was $11.99. Our local grocer, WinCo Foods, has Tillamook brand ice cream (it has good ingredients) in a 1.75 qt tub for $3.68 (only $2.10/qt). These prices were found in Folsom, CA.

  17. Renae Waugh says

    This is hard for me to compare or Kroger as I don’t have a Kroger. We have Walmart, target, Hy-Vee, Aldi, and Fairway for just groceries. I have never been in one to see how Kroger might compare to something I have. It

  18. For me personally I havent jumped into Costco or Sams, because I have to drive for an hour to get to one. However, I am going to buy a Costco membership because of their quality ingredients and their business model of taking care of their employees. So, if a few things are more expensive I know those pennies are going to something worth while.

  19. I beg to differ on kirkland chicken. I saw a show on netflix perdue doesnt properly care for their chickens. Kirkland is natural grass fed. When you cook tgem they do not shrink. One bag is 3 to 4 meals for my family of five.

  20. I have to disagree with you on cereals… your calculations must be wrong, the lbs. oz. on the regular grocery store is way much smaller, and if the person is feeding a large family they will pay much more at the standard regular grocery store than buying that big box at Costco.

  21. I love Haagen Dazs ice cream bars.. but agree it is a bit pricey when there is no coupons.. the trick is that you have to browse the coupon book first before grabbing things at Costco..

  22. Hi. Nearest Costco Harrisonburg, VA 30 min from where I live by highway. Just bought double pack Kirkland frozen whole body chicken. Took from freezer and popped in refrigerator 3 days after purchase. Just slit bag –wings are black, nasty. How does this happen. The quality of the chickens is not good. They dont look fresh and clean. I can get an organic chicken in a wrapper at Martins Grocery Store that is clean and good. Never have gotten a discolored chicken before. They usually have too much fat around the cavity. I am never buying the Kirklland aChicken again Wish I could attach a picture –downright frightening.
    Ice Cream -the vanilla two pack I think it is way way too sweet –dont like the quality.
    However I saw they started carrying Talenti Italian Gelato Excellent too bad they only had pumpkin flavor. Most major grocers including Winco carry the Talenti –small containers , a zillion flavors, simple ingredients, no hfc. Pricer but the tasts and ingredients cant be beat.
    Costco Pine Nuts – outrageously expensive Now down to 19.00 a bag. The shorter pine nut is from China. Why have they tripled in price these last couple years?

  23. Costco meat prices have really jumped last 18 months. Used to get strips of steak
    Lots of flavor terrific. But they have gone up several dollars so I just stopped buying them.
    Also notice that bags of potatoes and onions always a number of rotten ones in the bag. I stopped buying. Buy individually at grocery store.
    Baked goods –do not buy any. The list of ingredients or should I say chemicals is a mile long.
    Dont taste bad but I am not eating that string of chemicals on their cakes, muffins, pies, cookies you name it.
    Loved Costco big coffee table books, history and art books at the holidays. Now the selection is paltry. Very disappointing.
    After reading the posts on here I am really beginning to wonder if it is worth the Membership anymore. Stores start out discount, then offer more, then offer coupons and before you know it there is no advantage to buying this kind of volume
    Still buy toilet paper and papertowels and Tide on coupon. Really reconsidering whether I will renew my membership.

  24. I paid the extra for the Kirkland brand of chicken breast because they are individually wrapped and frozen. I’ll miss that since I don’t have a costco anywhere near me anymore.

  25. You compare Costco Ice Cream to a Kroger party pail. Really? Don’t quality and taste matter? You might as well compare USDA Prime Ribeyes to tubes of 75/25 ground beef because, after all, they are both beef. Costco’s ice cream has been rated the best you can find in numerous ratings. Personally, it is the best I have ever had. Compared to something close in quality like Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s, it’s a screaming bargain.

  26. The assumption here that penny pinching is literally the only reason anyone would ever shop at Costco is a flawed one. Not everyone considers couponing a job, and some people value their time. I’d rather spend an extra 50 cents on a bag of chips than sort through mail, keep up with clipped coupons, and drag my kids to eight different stores to save a few bucks a week. I’d spend a lot of money to have that time back.

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