What To Buy At Costco: Top 15 Items To Help You Save Big

What to Buy at Costco

Curious what to buy at Costco? While I think some (many?) items can be overpriced at Costco compared to grocery store sale savings (especially after using coupons), there are some prices at Costco that you just can't beat.


My rule of thumb is to stick to whole foods while shopping Sam's and Costco – they're pre-packaged convenience foods tend to be very over-priced from as I've compared them to other stores. But, their regular prices on produce, meat, and dairy products are pretty reasonable, so if you can skip them temptation to buy too much while you're there the membership cost may be worth it. You'll likely find lower prices on even whole foods during a good sale ad at your local grocery store, but Costco's prices on these items are usually fairly competitive.  (And, they consistently offer good quality at those prices!)


Here are my top 15 deals  . . . 


1. Milk. At $2.45 a gallon, I haven't found another store that regularly carries milk anywhere near this price. Occasionally I've seen milk around that price at Aldi, but recently even Aldi's price has been closer to $3.  If your family drinks a lot of milk each week, a trip once every two weeks might be worth the Costco membership.


2. Bananas. At $1.39 for 3 pounds of bananas, your price comes out to 46¢ per pound. While I've seen prices a little lower than these at the grocery store, this is a pretty great price, and are always fresh enough to last quite awhile.


3. Water bottles. If you absolutely have to buy water bottles (we choose to use re-useable bottles when we can!), Sam's Club has a great price on these. These come out to 8¢ per bottle, which is so much less than you'd ever pay while you're out!


4. Gift cards. If you're planning to eat out anyways, you might as well enjoy some savings, right? Both Costco and Sam's Club offer gift card savings of up to 20% when you purchase gift cards in store. They include several great restaurants ~ PF Chang's, Smashburger, Texas Roadhouse and more, and some stores carry entertainment gift cards like Cinemark as well! The best part is you can combine these gift cards with restaurant coupons, which can save you a bundle while eating out.

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5. Salad Mix. 
Costco's big three pound bag of salad is just $2.79, which is a fantastic price. You can also get their Organic Spring Mix for $4.49, which beats the price that you'll regularly find at the grocery store, and is so nice to have on hand if you have a large family who eats a lot of salad.

6. Kirkland Brand Fabric Softener Sheets. These cost $.018 per sheet, and is the lowest price I've seen on fabric softener sheets without combining coupons and a sale. If you just need to stock up, this is a great price!


7. Kirkland Frozen Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast. Kirkland's Frozen Chicken comes out to $1.96 per pound, and while this isn't the best price I've ever seen, it is a really good basic every day price. Worth stocking up while you're there to make your life easier!


UPDATE: the Kirkland brand chicken is now up to $2.74 per pound, so I don't think it's a good buy any longer. However, the Perdue brand is priced at $2.24/lb and a decent price if you need to stock up!


8. BACON! This one kind of surprised me, but is so worth grabbing when you're there. Get 4 pounds of bacon for $10.99 or $2.74 per pound ~ we bought this recently and the quality was great (not fatty), so I would definitely recommend this one. (Don't forget you can freeze it too.)


9. Honey. Honey at Costco comes out to 17¢ per ounce, which is a great every day low price. If your family uses a lot of honey for baking or as a natural sweetener, this one's worth picking up.



10. Canned veggies. Canned veggies at Costco are priced between 43¢ and 46¢ per can, which is almost my stock up price even with coupons! You'll have a lot of veggies on hand, but you won't need more canned vegetables for quite awhile.


11. Sugar. Sugar is $4.39 for a 10 pound bag at Costco, which is a good price for sugar unless you watch for a great sale around the Holidays.


12. Butter. Butter at Costco comes out to $1.99 per pound, which you may be able to find during a good sale at the grocery store, but since it's their price every day it's worth stocking up on while you're there.


13. Eggs. Eggs are priced at $1.39/lb at Costco, however they're sold in as 7.5 dozen eggs, which is a lot of eggs! I haven't seen those prices on eggs here in the Columbus area in quite awhile, so why I normally think it's a little high egg prices have definitely gone up over the last few years.


14. Rotisserie Chicken. For $4.99 you can get one of Costco's huge Rotisserie Chickens, which is a fantastic price if you're in a hurry but need an easy meal. You'll skip paying too much for dinner out, and their rotisserie chickens are delicious. It won't be quite as penny pinched as cooking a whole chicken yourself, but on a busy night that convenience is sometimes worth it.


15. The Costco restaurant. 😉 Okie dokie, if you just want a chance to skip cooking, you can't beat Costco's $1.50 hot dog and drink. They also have pizza slices for $1.99 ~ my favorite way to easily feed my kids when we're running errands out and about!


So there's my top fifteen! What would you add to the list? I'd love to hear your thoughts ~ leave a comment to share!

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Looking for more? See what to buy at Sam's Club and what to buy at the Dollar Tree too!



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

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  1. Elizabeth says

    Another way to look at the savings is that buying in bulk reduces the need for regular grocery shopping, which cuts down on impulse buying! That definitely works for me.

    • Same here. And gas money. If I don’t have to head to the store every other day for one or two things, but come home with another $40 worth, I’m saving lots of money.

  2. This was a wonderful article. When we lived in NJ Costco was my go to place for all the items you mentioned. Unfortunately, her in Tn, where we live, there are only Sam’s Clubs. I love Costco so much more than Sam’s. The one thing that I used to buy, not sure if they still sell them were the large package of mini pizzas. They were great for my kids for after school snacks as they were not allowed to use anything except the microwave when I was not home. Also a quick meal when we had Marching Band practice or swim practice. Thanks again for writing this post.

  3. i like buying their organic olive oil, avocado oil, coffee and the strawberries when they are in season. So good!

  4. It’s a great place to purchase real vanilla too!

  5. Grass fed ground beef used to be $4.25 last year but has gone up but I still buy it because I haven’t found it anywhere else yet cheaper. I think I paid $21.99 for 4 lbs. yesterday.
    Some things you already mentioned:
    Organic whole wheat bread 2/ /$7 I believe
    4 pack frozen cheese pizzas Kirkland brand 9.99 here
    albacore tuna
    rice in the big bags comes out to .50 or less a lb. I believe- haven’t checked the price in a while.
    pears are 6 lbs./ $6
    maple syrup (we get it cheaper in Amish country ($42.00 / gallon) but if you don’t live near Amish country then Costco’s price is pretty good.
    I just bought a big jug of Kirkland brand dish soap which I think was a good deal
    apple pies are $9.99 for quite a large pie
    daisy sour cream was $1.50 per 16 oz. I believe Aldi’s price is better, but if you don’t have one nearby and you are at Costco then that price for around here is not too bad.
    Some things mentioned Salad mix, choc. chips (even Nestles tollhouse around the holidays are just as cheap I believe?), real vanilla, bananas, their strawberries are always beautiful quality.
    cocoa powder but they only carry it closer to the holidays
    jarred fruit
    tyson pancko chicken nuggets in the big bag

  6. I buy both walnuts and and almonds at Costco and Sams as well as Coconut sugar, flour and almond flour. The prices and availability varies at each store.

  7. i can’t believe you forgot to mention their gas prices. Consistently .20/gallon cheaper than anywhere else, unless you use the gas points program at other grocery stores, like Kroger.

    • I thought about that Chris but the last time we got gas there it was more expensive than Kroger with just the card savings discount so I didn’t include it – I need to watch it more closely though to make sure! In areas where there aren’t fuel perks programs I’m betting you’re right that it’s always cheaper there. Thanks for adding it!

      • Around here, gas at the local grocery store, with points, is competitive with Costco gas prices, but nothing else really is. However, about 5 years ago, the grocery store disallowed you to use your discount on more than one car at a time (we used to tandem fill before that.) So I let my husband use the grocery store points to get cheap gas for his car, and I get mine at Costco for the same everyday price. (I have the Costco card.)

    • We figured it out and for our household we’re paying for our membership in 3 months just with getting gas there. So worth it.

    • “Gas prices” should have been at the top of the list. The gas prices at Costco are always 5 to 20 cents cheaper. Even as I travel thru Ga. and Al. it is priced cheaper. By using the monthly coupons, it is a win win situation…..with Dawn diswahing, oxi clean, baking soda, etc.

  8. The Rotisserie Chickens are a great price at $4.99. All the chickens must be a minimum of three pounds. Many are much heavier. I have priced raw whole chickens and even if they are around $5 they will cost much more once you add in the cost of cooking and sthe time spent. After picking the meat off, I make stock from the bones and fat. Great for soups or for adding to rice instead of water.

  9. Oh I love costco. Your list missed romain. It is one of the best places to buy romain or spinach. It’s so cheap! I also semi regularly buy cheddar cheese there. Cheese here in Montana is so high (compared to Washington and Idaho I think), so it regularly saves me a dollar a pound unless I get it at an awesome sale. The other item is baby fleece sleepers. I don’t normally buy them new but they definitely have the best price for Carter’s fleece sleepers even when other places go on sale. They are normally pretty close to 7.99. That like rock bottom prices at a Carter’s store. We also buy our bratwurst or sausages there. They are by far the best quality for price, especially since I don’t eat hot dogs. My husband will only eat their polish sausage.
    One last reason I love Costco: they are good to their employees. Before children and college I used to work there. The management was good and it pays a great living wage is benefits at a reasonable price.

  10. I like to wait for the Costco coupons and then I buy my regular staples in bulk, such as Dove Soap, Kirkland brand laundry detergent (and yes, the dryer sheets), vitamins etc. Then the savings are unbeatable!

  11. MS.Mitchell says

    Cosco dogs and a pop after shopping is the best!

  12. Karen MacNeill says

    I noticed that this was based on American prices? Just curious if it still works here in Canada.

    • It is based on American pricing Karen – I’m not sure beyond the exchange rate how different the prices would be but would think the same general ideas would work!

  13. The bags of bulbs for flowers are GREAT deals…. and high quality bulbs. I’ve bought tulips, daffodils, and dahlias there many years – my dahlias are currently huge & happy, providing me a lot of flowers.

  14. My top buys at Costco are Kirkland toilet paper (awesome price on the best 2-ply ever!), 5 lb. block of mozzarella (which I cut down into 1 lb. chunks and freeze), organic coconut oil, raw nuts (in the baking aisle), fresh produce (romaine, celery, carrots, spinach, etc.), tortilla chips, and butter.

  15. I’m a big fan of Costco, we keep the Kirkland frozen chicken and frozen mixed vegetables on hand all the time. The take and bake pizzas are also a great option for a fast easy dinner for a group.

  16. I’m a big fan of the Wyman’s frozen wild maine blueberries. It is $10.99, but it is a 4 # bag. That is $2.25/pound. It is hard to find fresh Maine blueberries for less than $5/pound. The frozen blueberries are great for smoothies, scones, and muffins. And they are super healthy (lots of anti-oxidants).

  17. I always buy my kids PJ’s and winter coats at Costco! They have incredible prices, and the carter fuzzy or cotton PJ’s hold up better than any other ones I’ve ever got. I think between the article and the comments everyone nailed our regular purchases. I also always get toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, dish soap, garbage bags, Capri suns or honest kids, tomato soup, and cream of mushroom.

    Now if I really hunted I might be able to find better deals with coupons, and I might have to go to 2-4 different stores to get all the best deals… But who has that kind of time? So I buy everything possible from Costco and get the smaller stuff I don’t go through in bulk at the grocery store. But I’d bet that 60-70% of our normal food bill comes from Costco. And I LOVE that I always have canned veggies/fruit, canned tomatoes and paste, pasta, and seasonings on hand. It makes last minute Good dinners so much easier.

  18. We buy butter lettuce there! It comes in a big container and is STILL cheaper than Publix and kroger’s smallet container. (Wish Aldi still sold it…)

  19. Costco crab-stuffed salmon is $7.99 a pound — same price and sometimes lower not stuffed at other stores.

    Bacon has gone up (was there this week (13 Oct)

  20. Their Kirkland brand dog food is very high quality and less than $1 per pound. Unheard of for grain free salmon based dog food. I had been paying three times as much. Our dog does great on it.

  21. Cheryl Taylor says

    Butter is no longer $7.99 at my Costco in Lodi,Ca. It ‘s up to $10.97 witch is still cheaper than the grocery store,but I think you should update this price.

    • Hey Cheryl! We try to update this post once a year! And the prices at Costco are seasonal. So during the holiday season butter will go back down. But that still is a decent price!

  22. Garbage bags, t.p. and liquid dish soap! Laundry soap, etc!

  23. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. No Sam’s. No Adli’s. Grocery prices are high here especially for meats. Costco it is.

    • Anonymous says

      I think that grocery store prices are high in the Bay Area because of the grocery chains that are there – a good example would be Safeway. I have found that within all of Northern California, the prices on food at Safeway are typically way too high. The Safeway stores in the Sacramento area are also pretty overpriced.

      • I think there is a Sam’s Club near the San Francisco area, but Laurie (not the writer of this blog but the one who mentioned San Francisco in her comment she left about 8.5 months ago), the nearest one is in Concord, CA and that city looks to be not very close to San Francisco

  24. The Kirkland coffee is delicious!

  25. I do well buying my laundry detergent at Sam’s Club. We eat lots of peanut butter so Sam’s is a good place for peanut butter and the multigrain crackers that my husband likes are very expensive other places but I can get the big box for less than $8. Sadly we don’t have a Kroger in our town.

  26. Costco produce has changed. I throw out more produce since the quality has declined. Much to much trouble to return. I think this is very sad.

    I also hate the Pepsi they serve in the food court. Wish they would go back to Coke.

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