Along with other big-box grocers like Sam’s Club and BJ’s, Costco holds a special place in the hearts of Americans. There’s something about the prospect of flashing a membership card and having access to thousands of items, usually sold in bulk at discounted prices, that makes us undeniably giddy. Not every food item for sale is actually a good deal, but certain items will cost you far less than what you can expect to pay at the supermarket.
Costco’s primary schtick in the food department is the fact that it sells food in mass quantities, including some beloved cult favorites. This makes shopping at Costco a little bit more tricky than you might realize, because making the decision to buy something requires some mental gymnastics: Do I actually need this 27-pound bucket of mac and cheese, or this 6.6-pount tub of Nutella? No, you probably don't need enough mac and cheese to survive a zombie apocalypse. As for the Nutella — yes, you always need that much Nutella.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed at Costco, but make sure you ask yourself if you really need something before you buy it. And always be wary of buying perishable food items in bulk; those peaches and raw chicken breasts might spoil long before you’re able to use them, and then you’ve wasted money. But if you don’t buy what you don’t need — and if you keep these 18 great deals tracked down with help from sites like The Krazy Koupon Lady and My Frugal Adventures in mind — then you can end up saving hundreds of dollars per year.
Costco’s baby spinach costs about $0.25 per ounce, about a third of the price at Wal-Mart.
Everything from gourmet artisanal cheese to blocks of part-skim mozzarella is cheaper, ounce for ounce, at Costco than at the supermarket. Just make sure you’re going to use it before it expires; there's always a reason to eat more cheese!
Two big bottles of cooking spray (which happens to have plenty of household uses besides the obvious), enough to last you a year, will cost you less than five bucks.
The EVOO at Costco is both cheaper and better tasting than the mass-market stuff you’ll find at your grocery store.
Kirkland Signature introduced their own hazelnut spread last year, and the ingredients (and flavor) are essentially identical to Nutella. Costco’s prices, however, are much less expensive than Nutella: $7.99 for two full kilograms of the stuff, or $9.99 online, compared to $13.92 for slightly less Nutella at Walmart.
Ounce for ounce, the bottled herbs and spices you find at Costco are much cheaper than at the supermarket. They tend to be sold in bulk, however, so make sure you’re going to use them up within a couple years so they don't get stale.
Yelp/ Harvey C.
The food sold at the Costco food court is always a pretty amazing value, but nothing beats the hot dog/soda combo. You’ll receive a jumbo hot dog or Polish sausage with your choice of toppings and a 20-ounce soda for just $1.50, a price that hasn’t gone up in more than 30 years. It’s an insane deal.
If you’re tired of shelling out for 100 percent pure maple syrup at the supermarket, Costco sells the cheapest maple syrup around.
Kirkland’s mayonnaise is basically identical to Hellmann’s, but it costs half as much.
The pure vanilla extract at Costco costs less than most supermarkets are charging for the imitation stuff.
A package of 60 sticks of string cheese will cost just $9.99, or less than 17 cents per stick. That’s a huge savings from supermarket prices. It's okay to bite it!
Vanilla ice cream is another example of a Kirkland product that tastes better than the competition (according to Consumer Reports) and is also less expensive.
Yelp/ Corine M.
Costco tends to have some pretty decent bottles available in the six-to-nine-dollar range; they’re of a much higher quality than the cheapest bottles at your local wine shop, and it's a great way to sample wine from some surprising places.
Yelp/ Angel H.
The three-pound (minimum) rotisserie chicken at Costco is always $4.99 across the board, which makes it the cheapest you’ll find anywhere. The closest competitor, Wal-Mart, sells theirs for a dollar more, and the chickens they use are smaller! Costco would rake in 30 to 40 million more dollars annually if they raised the price by a buck -- just one of many things we bet you didn't know about this famed bird.
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