Things You Should Never Buy at Costco

The mega-store is full of bargains, but these 10 things aren’t worth the price

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Less-expensive electronics can usually be found elsewhere. 

Costco is one of those stores that really seem to have everything. You walk into the sprawling warehouse, and the world is your oyster: Want a flat screen television? Right this way! How about a whole beef tenderloin? Just around that corner, sir! Need a new pair of glasses? No? Well, they’re there if you change your mind. And while it may seem like there’s no better store to get great value for your money, there are some items that you’d be better off purchasing elsewhere.

Things You Should Never Buy at Costco (Slideshow)

When it comes to big box stores like Costco, certain items are no-brainers in the value department. Just about everything bought in bulk will save you money in the long run if you don’t let any of it go to waste, which is why non-perishables (like sugar) and foods that can be frozen (like chicken breasts and steaks, including Wagyu beef, apparently) are always good buys. Just don’t forget that some items, like condiments and spices, have shorter shelf lives than you may think. Plus, prices on kitchen appliances, housewares, over-the-counter drugs, and automotive equipment are all very competitive.

However, there are plenty of items sold at Costco that you’d be better off purchasing elsewhere, for a variety of reasons. Some are simply more expensive at Costco than at other stores, others are of poorer quality than the competition's brands, and still others are so perishable that the odds of your not having to throw some away are slim.

Costco is one of those places where we just believe that we’re getting a bargain, so while shopping there we tend to go a little bit more overboard than we would otherwise. There’s actually a name for being seduced into making impulse buys by the prospect of getting a deal, and either regretting the purchase or being forced to throw it out when it expires: The Costco Effect. It’s all a part of Costco’s strategy, and it ends up costing you more money than you originally set out to spend. So be a bit more judicious the next time you head over to Costco, and realize that just because it’s sold there doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good deal. Read on for 10 items that you’d be better off buying elsewhere.


Books are one department where Amazon has Costco beat. The online retailer often has the best book prices around, above all if you’re okay with buying a used book.

CDs and DVDs

You’d also be better off shopping for CDs and DVDs on Amazon. The prices you’ll find at Costco may be slightly cheaper than at other stores, but you’ll still get a better deal if you shop online, and Amazon offers free shipping for qualifying orders of $35 or more. 

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