Things To Buy Exclusively At Warehouse Stores

Warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club like to lull you into a false sense of security, sure that everything you see on shelves is cheaper there than elsewhere. But in many cases, warehouse prices are unbeatable.

Coupon Sherpa checks in with suggestions of items you should buy only at the biggest of big-box stores. Here are a few of the site’s suggestions:

*TVs — The prices are competitive and warehouses offer lax return policies to safeguard against breakage.

*AA Batteries — Far-off expiration dates mean you can buy in bulk, save and store them until the apocalypse.

*Pre-Ground Coffee — Beans from warehouse stores beat ritzy joints in taste-tests, and since coffee can keep for quite a while, it makes sense to buy a humongous tub.

*Tires — According to the site, Costco offers some tough-to-beat tire deals.

If you shop at Costco or Sam’s Club, what items do you believe you save the most money?

11 Products You Should Only Buy at Big Box Stores [Coupon Sherpa]

Comments

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  1. Mike says:

    Condoms. This is the only place I can buy them in the quantities I need.

  2. Murph1908 says:

    Diapers and formula. I had significant savings on these items.

    • rpm773 says:

      Indeed. I worked out that at around $0.07 savings per diaper, the annual membership is covered within a few months.

    • davebg5 says:

      Have you met Mike?

    • Snoofin says:

      You could save a lot more if you would breastfeed. It’s free and actually whats best for the baby. Also you could use cloth diapers like my Mom did when I was a baby. You only have to buy them once and then wash them over and over.

      • Mike says:

        To be fair there are plenty of reasons why many women are unable to breast feed.

      • AnthonyC says:

        It isn’t acually free. The mother needs to eat enough extra food to produce the milk, after all. It may be much cheaper, but not free.

      • AlxFherMana says:

        Actually, I think there’s valid arguments for and against both breast-feeding and formula. Breast-feeding is a good form of bonding but something about toxins the mother’s ingested one way or another throughout her life? With formula it’s something about not having the same nutrients as the breast milk, I believe.

        • Steve H. says:

          WTF? What studies show that enough “toxins” leach into breast milk enough to even suggest that breast feeding is NOT good idea?

      • formergr says:

        1) Some women can’t breastfeed

        2) Cloth diapers can be pretty difficult, and if you don’t have your own washer/dryer and have to pay to do laundry, then not cheaper.

        3) Like your mom did?? So you’re not even a parent yet feel qualified to comment on how much easier and cheaper these options are? I’m dying laughing here.

      • supergeorgina says:

        Some people can’t breastfeed. Please consider that some of us spent the first weeks of our children’s lives beating ourselves up over our inability to produce enough milk for them and when you come around like this and imply that we are doing something “not best” for our babies by feeding formula, it stings. A lot of ladies would have dead babies without formula.

        Just check your judgmental attitude at the door, please.

    • caradrake says:

      Hmmm, I actually find that Target’s diapers tend to be cheaper by 1 or 2 cents per diaper, and Target’s wipes are way cheaper. Costco has a larger box, but you’re paying $7 for about 100 extra wipes.

    • tvmitch says:

      I don’t buy diapers at Costco (Pampers only for our girl) but their wipes can’t be beat for the price and quality, especially when they have a $4 off coupon out there ($15 for 900 wipes after coupon). Their formula is also top-notch, although they recently introduced new packaging that bumped up the cost-per-ounce a bit. Still the best deal around on formula and it’s worked well for our daughter. Costco sells name-brand formula next to their brand for easily double the price.

  3. Torchwood says:

    I end up buyng my snack-size bag of chips and gum at the warehouse clubs. Much cheaper than the vendo machine at work

  4. daisu says:

    Cottage cheese. Giant tubs for the price of a regular container.

  5. Smiley Massacre says:

    +1 for the tires. We always get tires from BJ’s because of their warranty. You get a flat, the tire is replaced for free for as long as you have them. Just need to pay the charge to dispose of the old one.

    • KyleOrton says:

      I price checked my Costco the last time my wife needed tires and the dealership actually beat them by quite a bit. Exact same tires, of course. I was surprised.

      Fortunately they were on my wife’s car and she actually has the patience to wait at a dealership for them to change them. I would have paid more just to wander Costco for an hour.

      • Stubtify says:

        An hour? Our local Costco kept me father on the hook for 4 hours. For a Rotation.

        I can’t stand big warehouse club stores.

        • zaku2s274 says:

          Or you could rotate them yourself. The hardest part of changing a tires is to get the tire of the rim, which requires a machine. Most people have jack stands and a lift though.

        • Franklin Comes Alive! says:

          Drop off in morning, pick up after work. Works great if you have a spouse/friend/etc that can give you a ride or works at the same place.

      • jeepguy57 says:

        Depends when you go. If I can leave the office for an hour on a weekday at say, 3pm, I will only wait an hour. Try to go in the evening or on a Saturday and you’ll be there for hours.

        I shopped around a lot when I needed tires and nobody could touch Costco or BJ’s prices (which were exactly the same for my tires).

    • backbroken says:

      So when your tread is wearing out, you just ‘spill’ some nails all over the driveway, right?

      • ElBobulo says:

        The way that is handled is this: by the time your tread wears out, that model of tire is no longer available.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I’ve never heard of a tire warranty like that. Most places will fix flats for free or replace the tire based on a prorated amount.

    • LanMan04 says:

      Bah, use tirerack.com. Even with shipping they’re the best deals I can find. You get them shipped to a local tire place and the tire place charges like $10/tire to mount and balance them. I got 4 really nice SUV tires (all season) for less than $400 all told (shipping/mounting/etc).

      • Silverhawk says:

        Agreed, depending on the vehicle. I buy tires for the wife’s daily driver at Costco because they throw in free tire rotations. But otherwise, for my performance cars, I buy from tirerack.com or Discount Tire since they’ve got better prices and offer a greater selection.

    • akronharry says:

      Does Sams CLub still have the 60 minute guarantee regarding the installation of tires or the mounting/balancing is free?

  6. bitslammer says:

    Here are my staple Costco purchases.

    Paper Products – Paper Towels, TP, Tissues. You just need space to store them.

    Meat – Buy in bulk and portion out and freeze extras. Their whole chicken prices are fantastic. Again space can be an issue.

    Cleaning Products – Laundry Detergent, Dishwasher Powder, Bleach. Dirt cheap and Costco’s brands rate high.

    OTC Meds – as long as expirations are fine their Allergy and pain relivers are amazingly cheap.

    • jen says:

      agreed on pretty much all of this – the paper towels and toilet paper were always a good deal but hard for me to store when i lived in a 1-br apt. now that we’ve traded up i always get that stuff there. advil is a no-brainer, as is ny-quil. as long as you go through it in time to use it up before it expires, the prices can’t be beat. i also buy those clorox type disinfecting wipes there, as well as laundry detergent – usually kirkland brand.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        if you want to get the savings and don’t have room to store it, split it with friends? when i buy giant things of TP and paper towels at sams/bjs they are smaller packages wrapped together with larger ones. i buy the bulk pack, and invariably one of my friends wants to buy one of the individual 12 packs of TP from me at cost. saves her about $10 and she isn’t stuck a giant package of TP.

    • Hoot says:

      I love buying stuff in bulk and freezing it and I used to do that with Costco. That is until I started watching my weekly grocery store circulars and found chicken breasts and ground beef on sale two separate weeks for 99 cents a pound. If you need meat pronto, Costco is the way to go. But if you can wait, look around for those super local deals and buy a lot at your local Shaws, Big Y, Stop and Shop, etc.

      Paper products I will completely agree with you on.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        get to know your store. the sams club near me does mark down meat the day before its best by date and that’s almost always on sundays right before closing. if i time it right i can get a great deal.
        i find that my local sams club has better deals on pork, bjs has better deals on beef. and the week after thanksgiving i can get mostly defrosted turkeys for as low as 29 cents a pound at bjs. then i cook them and freeze the meat.
        but i definitely don’t give up on my local grocery store either. i find the best savings on meat is found by just paying attention to both kinds of stores.

      • DerangedHermit says:

        LOL, Stop & Shop has sales?

  7. DJ Charlie says:

    Toilet paper, paper towels, coffee, french fries (30 lbs for $9! the girls love french fries!).

    • GameHen says:

      Make your french fries at home! (seriously). They’re easy, taste great, don’t take any more time than the bagged kind, and are much healthier.

      Pre-heat oven to 425
      1 baking potato
      Slice length-wise into fry-sized pieces
      Spray cooking spray on a cookie sheet
      lay out the fries in a single layer
      Spray the fries with cooking spray
      Bake in oven for 25 minutes (vary depending on how thick they are)
      For extra crispy, broil them for the last few minutes
      Salt to taste

      Try mixing it up…sweet potato fries are great too…toss in olive oil and salt and pepper before cooking

    • pinecone99 says:

      30# of french fries? I hope that’s like a year’s supply!

    • duncanblackthorne says:

      ..and I’m sure the french fries love them, too, love them long time.

  8. Matzoball says:

    I actually love the price on cheese especially non-traditional cheeses. I can get my manchego for a little over $8 a pound versus minimum of $14 a pound in the grocery store.

    And of course movie tickets and local restaurants which you might frequent offering $100 worth of food for $80 are good deals if you have the extra cash. And if you want to save pennies they discount postage for the government. Which I completely disagree with but whatever.

    • Hoot says:

      COMPLETELY agree on cheese, whether it’s sliced or specialty. You can almost always get double the amount for the same price as your grocery store, sometimes even more. And also sliced deli meat. Same thing.

    • AnthonyC says:

      Also, cheddar and monterey jack for $2.50/pound.
      I generally buy these in addition to the better, fancier cheeses. My mac & cheeses and nachos don’t care, after all.

    • FoxCMK says:

      Very good point. I’m definitely in the same boat – good “artisan” cheeses can be outrageously pricey at regular chain grocers, and considering the rate at which I go through cheese (and wine, for that matter, another good buy at warehouse retailers), the size to rate of consumption ratio is just right!

  9. mythago says:

    Their alcohol is darn cheap, but somehow I can’t bring myself to come home with a gallon-size container of vodka.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Really? If I don’t buy the 1.75L I feel like I wasted my money

      • craptastico says:

        me too. wine aside, most alcohol has a long shelf life even after it’s opened. smaller bottles often cost twice as much on a per quantity basis

      • Megalomania says:

        1.75L is a little under half a gallon

      • mistersmith says:

        We only buy handles of booze, when possible, and Costco is usually a bit cheaper than BevMo (who’s pretty darn cheap). But then again, me and my lady are heavy drinkers, bordering on “pretty close to dangerously ragingly alcoholic,” so there’s that.

        But go to BevMo and look at the bottles: each size up is like a dollar more for a significant difference in quantity. A 750 of Bacardi is like $17, it’s only a buck for 1L (33% more), and only another dollar for the handle (1.75 L, the two of those bottles combined). You’re a chump not to buy handles!

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      It would be great for a party!

      I wish the VA costcos could carry serious booze. Their wine selection is pretty spiffy though.

      • Platypi {Redacted} says:

        Agreed, the stupid Oregon Liquor Commission has us restricted out the wazoo, and we can’t buy our gallon o’ booze on the cheap at Costco. I used to buy it in CA/AZ and put it in my carryon to come back, well before they put the 3oz restrictions on it! It was worth well over $30 on two bottles back then to buy out of state and bring it back with me.

      • mythago says:

        Sadly, I’m old. When we had friends over for a housewarming, we bought “the level of booze we all drank in our 20s” quantities. It took us a year and a half to use it up.

        • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

          Armchair alkies always think they can just jump back into the game just because they were hotshots in college. It takes practice, people!

          • dangermike says:

            Being 30 is kinda cool. I can actually catch a buzz on a single pitcher these days. I truly don’t miss $100+ bar tabs. =D

      • TehLlama says:

        Yeah, I forgot about that, and the Crystal City Costco seemed depressed compared to my free state costos where you’re encouraged to leave with a liquor cabinet each visit.

    • Bohemian says:

      2 gallon bottles of Jack pays for our club membership at Sam’s. It is that much cheaper than buying at a liquor store around here.

    • MrEvil says:

      I was shocked that the Costcos here in Austin have Liquor stores. Texas prohibits sales of Liquor on Sunday and requires that the business bar entry to anyone under 21. Those restrictions are too much for Sam’s whom I’ve only see sell hard liquor in Missouri (where there are no distinctions between beer/wine and hard liquor).

      Usually whenever I go visit my mom in Missouri my friends give me some cash to buy a few bottles of booze to bring back to Texas since it’s so cheap.

  10. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I went to Costco for tires and the service in the tire center was not good. Very slow and inattentive. Left and went to America’s Tire Co. and got prompt and friendly service.

    I hate waiting in long lines and can usually find good deals elsewhere even if not quite as cheap as Costco.

    • RWD_V8 says:

      Agreed the tire center service has always been ultra-slow for me. Plus they are adamant about putting only OE-sized replacement tires on your ride… which is fine for the masses, but I just so happen to know that you can replicate the diameter of a 205-series tire by picking a different sidewall height on a 225-series tire. Then again, if I was running the place and had a lenient warranty, I would be pretty strict about customization too.

    • bitslammer says:

      As much as I love Costco I would agreee with you here. Last time we had a 4 hour wait getting new tires. They need to allow people to schedule tire service. That will be the last set of tires I buy there. My 4 hours is worth at least $50 of not sitting around forever.

    • Rhizobium says:

      Opposite experience for me, the last time I got tires. The guys at Costco were fast and friendly. I hadn’t even finished my hot dog by the time they called my cell to let me know my car was ready!

      • dangermike says:

        I haven’t gotten tires at costco yet but I would never go to America’s Tire again. They screwed up on the following:

        -Left the sticker on one tire (not a huge issue. It wore off within a day or two but did merit an impromptu roadside inspection half a mile out from their shop)
        -left the bead grease on the tires, which then splashed all over the side of my car (which was otherwise pretty clean at the time)
        -left two hubcaps not fully seated, and at risk of falling off.
        -damaged one rim and after several attempt to ‘get in touch with their guy’ never repaired it.
        -overtightened the lug bolts (yes, bolts. My car is weird)
        -left two of the tires well out of the recommend ranges (28-31 psi recommended, tires were at 26, 28, 29, and 35, with the high and low being at opposite corners)
        -STILL spam me like 2 years later about all the great offers and with frequent requests to come in for a tire rotation.

        It was pretty fun filling out the customer service email they sent me. Their manager called me a few days later to try to make things right, but ultimately failed in that his rim repair guy was a flake who wouldn’t follow up. (and the rim ended up getting replaced a few months later anyway, as a result of a traffic accident)

  11. GrandizerGo says:

    Really though I have kids and many of the items for kids are very well priced.
    In the last few weeks I have been on a Popsicle and Italian ice binge, I buy the Luigi’s and the Minute Maid and the Flavor-ice Italian Ices and then the Edy’s Popsicles in bulk. Also the one nearest me has the best prices on very good socks. Things would cost more then 3X the price in other stores…

  12. Gravitational Eddy says:

    Normal household consumables like toilet paper,
    (look for the Scott brand 24 pack, mfg has more sq foot per roll than anyone else)
    and trash bags, foods like canned goods and dried beans, sugar, salt. Some of the fresh meat packages but none of the frozen “convenience foods like precooked hamburgers or breakfast meals.
    I did find out that you can actually buy that big cheese wheel, if you desire 200 lbs of cheese that is. Normally, they got a guy in back that just keeps cutting off slabs of that cheddar wheel. to

    • FnkyTwn says:

      No thanks. I’d rather not sandpaper my bunghole. Kirkland brand is like wiping my butt with a cloud. Scott is designed for belt sanders.

  13. HollzStars says:

    Kitty litter is an excellent deal at Costco, if you have more then one cat. I have 3 indoor cats. Lots of litter! (also, it’s great for winter, use it for added traction in icy driveways)

    Some grocery items that are bigger but not excessive are a good deal as well. My roommate and I eat Jane’s chicken like it’s going out of style and can get a box twice as big then as at sobeys for a dollar less. Also TGIF’s potato skins, family sized(say, 20 pieces) vs individual size (3-4 pieces) for only a few bucks more.

    • SixOfOne says:

      Cat food as well.

      And gods, I love their angus cheeseburgers, muuuuch cheaper and yummier than anything you get at a fast food joint.

    • Niphil says:

      I just bought a huge package of kitty litter, plus the coupon Costco mailed me made it even cheaper than it already was. I love Costco.

  14. He says:

    I never find tires cheaper than tirerack anywhere. Costco was about $20/tire more for the everyday passenger car tires that I wanted including the installation/warranty fees from both.

    But their milk prices are the best every time.

    • vdragonmpc says:

      Oh please, I have bought tires for my supra and truck at tire rack. After pricing Michelins and BF Goodrich I found Sams to be waaaay cheaper.

      Matter of fact they were offering free installation on top of cheaper price this month its 60 off at the register on BFG.

    • Hoot says:

      I will go out of my way by a huge distance to buy our weekly 2 gallons of milk and eggs there. 2 gallons for the price of 1 at the grocery store, and triple the eggs for 1/2 the price as the grocery store.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I found the same. The Merchant’s chain in my area will order tires from Tire Rack for me at the Tire Rack cost and it was like $15/tire for the install. When all was said and done, the price was better than what Costco was offering for a similar tire.

      I had already used Tire Rack to get an idea of what I should buy thanks to the extensive feedback on there. Heck, I read about 20 reviews of this tire installed on the same car I have. As someone who has had tires that are down right scary in wet and winter driving, I wouldn’t buy another set without researching on Tire Rack first.

    • NotEd says:

      Costco tires have a 5 year warranty, though (as I recall), usually pretty fault free, too. I know that I had a tire go flat because I accidently ran over a small peice of metal from a road under contruction near my home and they replaced it, even though I had attempted to patch it with Fix-a-Flat. I had no receipt either, so the pulled i8t up using my Costco Account info.

  15. Michaela says:

    My family has always bought tires from Sam’s. They always seem to have the best price. However, I do not believe we have ever bought batteries from the store. Instead, we always seem to go to the dollar store.

  16. Gruppa says:

    I used to think the Jack In The Box commercial poking fun at warehouse stores with the “plasma tv two-pack” was in jest, not I’m not so sure

  17. Zeke_D says:

    I like to purchase my dog food at costco, their brand is also corn-free if your dog has corn allergies, or if you want to protest corn subsidies.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      I get Cat and Dog food at Costco, Kitty litter and doggie chews.
      Bully sticks are a steal at 10 for $20!

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      my sister’s diabetic cat does much better and needs less insulin on costco’s brand cat of dry cat food without all the extra grains.
      we test her blood sugar at home and she’s stabilized a lot since the food switch. also, she’s been on that food for two years and is coming up on 17 years old [been diabetic around 8 years now] the vet didn’t expect her to be in this good of shape at this time in her life

  18. kalaratri says:

    I’m a BJ’s shopper.
    Diapers and Wipes – I usually have a $3-$4 store coupon. If not, they’ll accept manufacturers coupons.
    Large cuts of meat – Pork shoulders, etc.

  19. tasselhoff76 says:

    Medications – generic antihistamine, contact lens cleaner, some vitamins, etc.

  20. humphrmi says:

    They mention gas – my local Sam’s is usually the same price for members as the Shell station across the street.

    • theblackdog says:

      That’s because that Shell station is trying to compete with Sams. My Costco is usually about .10 to .15 cheaper than area gas stations *except* for the BP that is on the corner where it is located. That BP regularly tries to match their regular unleaded price to the Costco price.

      Also I have noticed the savings can add up if you need premium gas. It’s usually 93 octane and it sells for the price most other gas stations charge for regular gas. If your car has to use premium then this can add up over time.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      My Sams is definitely 10-15 cents cheaper than the surrounding stations.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      The savings I get from the gas station at my nearest Costco basically pays for my membership. And there aren’t any other gas stations nearby, now that I think about it, so it’s convenient too.

  21. wickedpixel says:

    Capers. For some reason those little 4oz jars in the grocery store are ridiculously expensive – around $6. Costco has 24oz jars for $8.

  22. TheGreySpectre says:

    Juice is 50% the price of normal supermarkets. Cheese is a little cheaper and much better quality. Tortellini and Ravioli, much cheaper and better selection. Cream cheese is much cheaper. Sundried tomatoes (like 75% cheaper then the super market). TP is cheaper.

  23. Bativac says:

    I’d never buy coffee at Costco but I am a coffee snob.

    I am also a cheese snob, and I do buy cheese at Costco. High quality parmesan and Seaside English Cheddar at lower prices than Whole Foods.

    I also purchase Italian sausage, laundry detergent when I have a coupon, and disposable plates and utensils for when I get married (which so far I have only done once).

    • Powerlurker says:

      I don’t know what your particular standards are, but for what it’s worth, Costco’s Kirkland brand bulk coffee is made by Starbucks.

      • majortom1981 says:

        I would think its the other way around

      • twonewfs says:

        Another coffee snob here – ‘made by Starbucks’ is not a good thing. $bucks sued a New England company that sold a blend called ‘Charbucks’ cut a little too close!

  24. coffeeculture says:

    Mexican Coke!

    I’ll also get contact lens fluid, paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, cetirizine (generic zyrtec, 100ct for

    I’ll usually wait for their coupon book to come out, for the above items, usually i’ll see them 2x a year.

  25. asamtoy says:

    Also, Costco will rotate your tires and top up the pressure for free as long as you bought the tires from them. It’s pretty great.

    • CyGuy says:

      But as noted above, wait times for service can be excessive. They fill your tires with nitrogen, so I try not to just fill up at the free air pump at a gas station, but the alternative can be a 45 minute wait to just get the air checked – not to mention getting a rotation or rebalance for which I have been to told to expect wait times of up to FOUR HOURS!

  26. frank64 says:

    Costco’s Kirkland Tuna, they missed a few zaps of the shrink ray- they come in 7 oz cans. Higher quality than the name brands too. No mush.

    I went looking for electronics such as TV’s and Blu-ray players at Costco and found I could get better deals elsewhere, though I realize the warranty is much better there.

    Although I bough tires there, I didn’t think I saved much, but some tire places are real sleazy and getting them at Costco avoided these dealings, things such as pushing alignments when they weren’t needed. Costco also fixed leaks in my two front tires when I bought the back tires for no charge, and I had bought them from somewhere else. I thought that was pretty good.

    As a single person, I find the membership costs questionable because many things come packaged too large for me. I did get the Amex Costco card which gives me 3% back on gas, and I think restaurants which should mitigate the membership costs.

    Has anyone looked into the furniture costs? I would think there would be potential for some good saving there.

    • markmark says:

      Furniture mark-up is huge. Your best bet for furniture is to find a factory outlet. You can easily find entire solid wood bedroom suites here on the east coast in small furniture towns for $800.

      • frank64 says:

        I was thinking that Costco doesn’t mark up their products much, so that would avoid the huge mark-ups?

        I live in MA, are you talking about Gardner, is there REAL savings there? I wasn’t sure if they used slight of hand, like outlet malls and car dealers when you bring in a trade in.

        • jason in boston says:

          Gardner is okay. I would do a prospecting trip just to see if there is anything you like. A lot of the manufacturing has re-started however since the economy tanked (apparently it is cheaper to build some things in the US).

      • AnthonyC says:

        YMMV, but I just furnished an apartment and bought a few pieces at Costco because they were good quality at a better price than any other store. King sized headboard for ~$150, really comfy office chair for $80, and a large bookshelf for $200.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i bought a printer at sams and saw the same one a week later at office max for less. but when the printer was defective right out of the box and HP said they could send me a refurbished one, sams exchanged it with no hassle at all at a different store [since my usual store was out of stock when i went back]
      anytime an exchange for a working model doesn’t involve a manager, three sheets of paper and an argument, i’m all for it. if that one hadn’t worked i could have taken it back for my money back or exchange within 90 days, no questions.
      and i went ahead and got the store warranty – for $5 if my printer fails for any reason in the next 2 years [from purchase] i call them and they send me a box to send it back and a check for the full value.
      that’s worth it to me.
      i asked the guy what the weirdest thing anyone returned was and he said a half eaten bag of dog food when the dog decided he didn’t like it anymore.

    • Hoot says:

      Their tuna is fantastic. Each can has about 1 and a half times the tuna as the cans from the regular grocery store and it’s more like a tuna steak rather than weirdly colored chunks floating in lots of water like at the grocery store. I won’t buy tuna anywhere else.

    • Dave Farquhar says:

      I’m in the market for a TV, and have a specific model in mind due to its energy efficiency. Costco’s price on it is about $30 lower than I can find anywhere else.

      Since the particular brand (Westinghouse Digital) has some reliability concerns, Costco’s policy of extending the warranty to 2 years seals the deal. I’m dragging my feet on the purchase because flat panel prices are dropping fast, and that’s supposed to continue into the Christmas shopping season.

      • Merricat says:

        The other thing to be aware of is Westinghouse is in the California version of bankruptcy right now and just lost a ‘major’ suit against it because it was violating the licensing agreement for the underlying software in it’s HDTV’s and technically has forfeited any made using that software.

        The only way I’d buy their stuff right now is if it was severely discounted (i.e. 50% or less than equivalent models from other brands) and I was willing to accept that if it broke, I might have to fix/replace it out of pocket.

    • dangermike says:

      When I started to read the “as a single person” line, I was going to recommend their card. How funny. I’m in the same boat. $40/year to stay current with costco and $200-300 per year in cashback bonuses. I usually use it to defray the costs of tires or electronics. And also as an excuse to pick up a giant bottle of Crown Royale.

  27. TJ_in_IL says:

    Sams Club Staples…
    Cat Food- Dry
    Cat Litter
    Fuel (now that my local club sells it)
    OTC meds
    Baking Supplies- especially during the holidays
    Bulk Meats- on occasion. Will break down the packages and freeze.

    I refuse to buy paper products there. The mark-ups are huge! Regular pricing I can get cheaper at the local grocery store, not on sale. But when on sale, nothing beats the local stores, especially with a coupon!

  28. AquaAmber says:

    Eggs. Butter. Beats even sale prices at grocery stores. Cheese, but only if you need a ton (most cheeses freeze really well).

  29. Xenotype51 says:

    I bought my king-sized mattress from Costco (online) for about $800. I figured it was a good way to get free delivery without having to deal with an aggressive salesperson. It’s about a year old now and seems to be holding up nicely.

  30. wetrat says:

    Flour, sugar, oil, basically any baking supply comes in small quantities that add up quickly if you have a baking habit. For about the same price you can buy a 25 lb sack of flour, 2 gallon jug of oil, etc.

    Over the counter medicine, Sam’s generic brand, FTW. I’ll never run out of my giant jug o’ Member’s Mark ibuprofen before it expires, and it only cost about as much as a regular 48ct Advil at the drug store.

  31. umbriago says:

    Gosh: cat food, cat litter, bread, meat, fresh fruit, fresh and frozen vegetables, pasta, spices, flour (and other baking supplies like nuts, raises, et al), cereal, milk, cheese, lawn and leaf bags, garbage bags, cooking utensils (pots and pans, dutch ovens – great quality and low prices), generic OTC medications (what CVS and Walgreens charge for something like allergy medicines is criminal), toilet paper, soap, toothpaste…..and of course beer, wine and liquor. Also, Kirkland Signature Bacon is second to none.

    So yeah I go to Costco occasionally.

  32. wryknow says:

    rice, beans, cheese, coffee, creamer, organic pasta, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, nuts, and the cases of canned tomatoes.

    • wryknow says:

      forgot to mention this is at Costco.

      oh! and I 2nd another poster on the Kirkland Signature Bacon – I get it in the low sodium version. Tasty low sodium bacon at $2.50 a lb (an actual 16oz instead of the 10 or 12oz pkg at the grocer) is hard to find.

  33. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i have to disagree on the toilet paper assessment in that article. I do find that I save a couple of bucks at sams on the mega pack over buying it regular retail. i think it depends on the brand/quality comparison. i tend to buy a mid range brand with high sheet count. if i was getting the store brand, member’s mark, i’d probably save more money but lose some skin.

    my sams club’s website says they currently carry charmin ultra soft mega roll, 36 count at $19.48
    the grocery store closest to my house has the same product in a 6 count for $8.59.
    do i want to pay $1.41 or $0.54 per roll?
    it’s a good thing i have big closets

  34. suez says:

    Protein bars. A single box that sells for over $40 at most places is $20 at BJ’s Club.

  35. mcs328 says:

    $1.50 for a hot dog and a drink.

  36. Starfury says:

    Heavy cream and half/half. I use this to make home-made Ice Cream and you can’t get it cheaper anywhere else.

    But the Costco Vanilla is REALLY good.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      a friend recently told me they paid $11 for a grocery store 2 oz bottle of vanilla extract. i about choked. i get mine at bjs, 8oz for $8. i forgot it even cost that much

  37. nova3930 says:

    Toilet paper, cleaning products, paper towels, dog food, cat food, cat litter, personal toiletries and pretty much anything else that won’t spoil….

  38. teatree says:

    bottled water, sodas (I save my membership fee annually on the soda savings alone), tp, paper towels, asprin, gasoline.

  39. selianth says:

    The biggest savings for hubby and I are pharmacy items/toiletries. Especially contact lens solution – it’s usually around $16 for a 2-pack of 16oz bottles as opposed to $8 for a single 12oz bottle at the grocery store or drug store.

  40. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Most everything that I would get in a normal grocery store. Milk alone pays for my Sams club membership $2.19 gal vs $3.39 even on sale at Safeway x 3-4 Gal per week.

    Produce is the only marginal item. Still trying to convince my wife that the 6 pack of avocados is not a great deal when you have to throw 2 or 3 away. But if you eat the quantities they have, it is a great deal.

  41. Sammich says:

    North of the border, Costco tires are overpriced.

    Currently, milk (not really in bulk) is a big savings vs the grocery stores. Produce that we go through fast enough as well.

    You can get some fantastic deals on kitchen items (cookware, small appliances) – but only some of them. Same for DVDs and video games – some are the same, some are crazy cheap.

  42. Aeirlys says:

    Paper products, cleaning products, frozen meats, coffee, and peanut butter. Basically, anything that won’t spoil and just requires space to store it.

  43. f86sabre says:

    Stacy’s Pita Chips from Costco. A little 2-3 serving bag at the grocery store is $5. You get a huge eat on it for a week bag from Costco for $5.

  44. bishophicks says:

    Milk: 2.30/gal vs. 3.59 in the supermarket
    Eggs: under $1.50 per dozen, must buy 2 dozen. Obviously more fresh than supermarket eggs.
    Butter: 2.67/lb vs 3.99 and butter freezes great
    Bread: 2.79 per loaf vs. 3.99
    Whole chicken: .99/lb vs 1.59/lb, must buy 2
    Hamburger, steak, pork, etc. is $1/lb less
    TP, paper towels, chips and more.

    There’s more, but this is the stuff we consume constantly. There’s a lot of prepared food we don’t buy because we like to cook. We make back our membership charge on milk alone, so the rest is gravy. I once figured that we save over $250/year on just the 10 things we buy there most often.

    Add the fact that the place is 5 minutes from the house and in the same shopping plaza as our regular supermarket (convenient, no separate trip required), and it works out great.

  45. RoamingNomi says:

    #1 Milk. I have 4 kids and we go through a gallon a day. Costco is significantly cheaper that the grocery for milk.
    We also buy cheese and freeze in smaller bags, and do the same with meat.
    Costco’s all-American chocolate cake is to die for; if you can’t eat it all, it can be frozen in pieces very well and enjoyed later.
    And I have to say that the book section is a good deal if you are wanting a newer book that might have a gazillion-person waiting list at your library. Sometimes I just don’t want to wait 6 months or more to read a book, or if the book is my book group’s monthly selection.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      ah, well that’s why i tend to be the person who sends the library a ‘please buy this book request’ well in advance. my library has an online system for it. so even if they are planning to buy it and haven’t yet, if i check the “if purchased, please hold for me” box then i get to be near or at the front of the waiting list.

  46. Not Again says:

    hot dog and a soda

    • snowmentality says:

      Hahaha totally. Cheap lunch is the best deal at Costco. $1.50 for a footlong hot dog/Polish dog (with sauerkraut!) and a soda.

  47. theblackdog says:

    I buy cheddar cheese from Costco all the time. The trick I discovered was to skip the stuff at the cheese section in the back and look for the block of Kirkland Sharp Cheddar over in the freezer cases near the bacon and shredded cheeses. It’s always cheaper than my supermarket for the quantity I get.

    I also regularly buy oatmeal, and Splenda when I have a coupon.

  48. delicatedisarray says:

    My list of Sam’s club items:
    -Toiler paper
    -Cat food/litter
    -Juice
    -dry goods/canned goods
    -condiments
    -Meat (chicken, ground beef, ground turkey)
    -Cleaning products (dish soap, detergent)
    -Personal hygiene products
    -OTC meds
    -Gas
    -Batteries

    We bought our plasma tv at Wal-Mart, it was cheaper than Sam’s by about $100- the exact same tv. I’ve never looked at tires, but I will now.

  49. oddnoc says:

    -1 for coffee. Pre-ground big-brand coffee is crap; I’d rather go without. Yes, I’m a coffee snob.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      I have no idea why they advocated pre-ground… I like the Columbia Supremo whole beans Costco sells, and grind them myself (in a burr grinder, of course) just before brewing.

  50. Hoot says:

    Paper towels + toilet paper
    Milk
    Eggs
    Bread
    Tuna
    Cheese + Deli meat
    Onions
    Berries
    Baby carrots
    Lettuce
    Frozen veggies
    Salt + Pepper
    Bisquick
    Dog food

    And probably other stuff I can’t remember.

  51. ap0 says:

    Their private label diet green tea drink is like liquid crack. I can’t stop buying it. It’s only like $10 for 35 bottles.

    I also buy their sliced deli meat (honey-smoked turkey, mmm) — the price and the quality are too good to compete with elsewhere (it puts grocery store deli meat to shame). Turkey burgers and veggie burgers as well.

    I actually stopped buying paper towels/toilet paper from because I don’t have enough room in my new apartment to store that much stuff.

  52. jennesy says:

    Clearly the person who wrote the original post doesn’t know what good coffee should taste like. Even if you drink pre-ground coffee don’t buy it in bulk. Coffee is like any other type of produce and should be treated as such!

  53. snowmentality says:

    Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios. This is probably the best-kept secret in terms of great deals at Costco. Significantly cheaper than the cost of the much smaller packages at the grocery store.

    Frozen chicken breasts in a big bag. Keep an eye out because the price changes often, but it’s pretty much always a good deal. And because they’re frozen, it doesn’t matter if it takes you two months to go through them.

    Gift cards. They sell them in multipacks for significantly under the face value. I’ve seen Starbucks, iTunes, and various restaurant gift cards sold this way at Costco.

    Photo printing. Just way cheaper than anywhere else. And I’ve always gotten great customer service from the Costco photo center.

    Laundry detergent, as long as you don’t have to carry your detergent to a faraway laundromat (or have a smaller container you can use to carry small portions).

    Jarred pesto sauce. For real.

    Alcohol isn’t really that much cheaper at Costco where I live. They only sell wine and beer, and you’ll likely save a couple bucks on two cases of Newcastle, but that’s about it. It’s worthwhile if you’re buying a lot of beer for a party or something (or I suppose if you are a raging alcoholic). They’ve recently come out with Kirkland branded beer, which I haven’t tried.

    As for gas, I find that Costco is usually a few cents cheaper than the immediately surrounding gas stations, but it is not always the cheapest in the area. It’s worth checking gas prices online before making a special trip to Costco to get gas. OTOH, in Kona (Hawaii), Costco gas was substantially cheaper than anywhere else, like 30 cents/gallon cheaper. So I think it depends on where you are and how expensive gas is.

  54. oldgraygeek says:

    We have the $100 membership at Costco, which gives us 2% back on our purchases… and our friends’ purchases, since several of them prefer using our membership to paying $45 for their own. We don’t mind. Our annual “rewards check” (actually a Costco gift certificate) is always well over the $100 we pay to belong.

    We bought our flat-panel TV there. The price was unbeatable, they doubled the warranty to 2 years, and AmEx added another year.
    We put their tires on all of our cars, and on our relatives’ cars, and so on, and so on…

    Oh, and the Costco business membership gives my company lower rates on credit card processing, and takes ten bucks a month of Web & Email hosting. The latter comes to $120 per year, so that membership saves us money even if we didn’t shop there.

    We also have a regular BJ’s membership, which costs $45 per year. We save more than that just on their deli meats and cheeses, which are two-thirds the sale prices of the exact same products in the local supermarkets. BJ’s has a bigger selection than Costco, so we buy stuff there that Costco doesn’t stock.

  55. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    I buy things at Sam’s Club that I wouldn’t be tempted to use more often than usual if I had lots of it around.

    So, for me, that means no food at Sam’s Club – I often find myself snacking on things if I have chips or treats lying around the house. On the other hand, though, contact lens solution is something that I absolutely only use on a regular, consistent, yet limited basis (once daily), and at Sam’s Club, their contact lens solution is the cheapest per ounce, so I’m getting the best deal.

  56. EarlNowak says:

    I’ve had good luck buying batteries at Radio Shack. They discount them to $10 for a 40 pack every few months, and their house brand (Enercell) seems to work just as well as Duracell or Energizer. (I believe they’re made by Rayovac.)

  57. Dieflatermous says:

    Costco’s pet food is surprisingly good in terms of ingredients, much better than you’ll find in a grocery store and even some pet store brand pet foods. I was really surprised by this, I expected it to be Alpo level, and instead it came out up there with a lot of premium foods.

  58. Outrun1986 says:

    Paper products, and stuff that generally doesn’t expire, or has very long expiration dates. Paper products like toilet paper and paper towels also run out fast, which means you will be making emergency trips to the store to buy it, costing you time and money and perhaps you will be paying more than you desire for the product cause you need it now. Warehouse clubs often have pretty low prices on these items. These items also run out fast at retail stores especially if you are trying to buy on sale. Buying at a warehouse club gets you a large package so you won’t run out of TP when you need it most, and prevents you from making those impromptu stops which tend to add up in terms of cost and wasted time.

    It just makes sense to stock up on these items, they aren’t perishable and you will always need them, unless of course you have absolutely no place to store them, which is rare.

  59. chucklebuck says:

    Garbage bags. Huge box of Kirkland garbage bags is like $11 for 200 bags.

  60. DWMILLER says:

    Pork-ribs, shoulders, bacon, loins and ham. Our family eats everything but the oink!

  61. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t like Sam’s. I shop there for work. I wish we had a Costco here. :P

  62. evilcharity says:

    The main thing we go to Costco for is the meat and seafood. When the one near us has lobster tails we are always sure to stop by and the meat is fresh and the steaks are cut thick. Like others have said, buy it and portion is out in the freezer and you’re good to go. The chicken breasts come already sealed in portions of two and the chicken thighs are similarly portioned.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Caveat emptor with the lobster tails. At least at my store anyway. It is one bad experience I’ve had with Costco.

      They sell warm water tails and apparently warm water tails can taste poorly way more often than cold water, which is why most good resturaunts only offer “Maine lobster tails”. Anyway, I got a bad one, which of course you don’t know until you cook it. When I inquired about a refund under their “guarantee”, they said they don’t guarantee the “Seafood Road Show” or whatever they call the stand they set up in the store on weekends. Also apparently since I had already cooked the tail and threw it out, I hurt my case even more. I had waited in line too long at that point and my mind wasn’t sharp enough to call them out on their guarantee. I just told myself I would buy my lobster tails at Wegmans from now on.

  63. bfwebster says:

    I do most of the grocery/incidental shopping in the family, and Costco is one of my regular stops. I agree that not everything is cheaper there, but since I do all the grocery shopping and since I’m decent at math, I can pretty much pick and choose what to get and what not to get.

    Costco has the best flowers (vs. Sam’s Club and grocery stores), and inexpensive, too. I buy my wife a bouquet or two every three weeks; doesn’t cost that much, and she absolutely loves it.

    Frankly, I like the fresh produce better at Costco/Sam’s Club than at the local grocery stores, but I have to be careful only to buy that which we can actually get through. I typically buy onions, potatoes, and tomatoes there, as well as certain fruits.

    Sam’s club has the best beef brisket (particularly the 6-8 lb cuts), which is important to me twice a year when my wife and I hold our very large scale BBQs (I smoked nearly 70 lbs of brisket last August); Costco, on the other hand, has better and larger legs of lamb (I smoked them, too).

    Both Costco and Sam’s Club carry Mexican Coca Cola in glass bottles, though as others noted on an earlier Consumerist post on the subject, look carefully to be sure you’re getting cane sugar.

    Beyond that, I use Costco (and, on occasion, Sam’s Club) for the same reasons as most other people:

    – to buy items in bulk that I actually go through (flour, sugar, Splenda, ground beef, cheese, sour cream, certain frozen items and, yes, batteries)

    – to buy multi-packs of items at a cost lower than (or at lest competitive with) grocery stores: tuna, mac-n-cheese, soup (though watch this one carefully), spaghetti sauce, canned fruit & veggies, etc.

    – buy one-off items that appear to be cheaper or competitive (just bought a new rice cooker/steamer and a new base+4-handset phone set a few days ago).

    Note that I have an executive membership at Costco ($100/year), but I spent enough there that the annual 2% cash back rebate is always enough to pay for the membership and give me an additional $50-$100 to boot.

    .

  64. bfwebster says:

    Oh, and three more things:

    – It’s where we get most of our over-the-counter stuff (pain relievers, mouthwash, razor blades, vitamin pills, supplements, etc.).

    – 5-Hour Energy, the elixir of life.

    – Back when we lived in DC, I always bought my hamburger patties at BJ’s. They have the best fresh (not frozen) 1/4-lb hamburger patties. It’s been five years since we moved from DC to Colorado, but I still miss those patties whenever we have a BBQ.

  65. Fight Back Against David Horowitz! says:

    I buy Jose’s Colombian coffee in a 48oz bag for $11.99 at CostCo, and it is very good indeed.

    Also, roast chicken. There’s no way I’m making the trip to CostCo and not coming home with a chicken!

    Other good deals are premium mixed nuts, beef jerky, canned/jarred food if you can handle the quantity…

    My girlfriend and I call it the $200.00 store, because we can’t seem to spend less than that no matter what we go there to get. So…maybe it’s not such a great deal after all!

  66. Ce J says:

    I love Costco. It is a very tempting place. Now that I’ve had my membership for awhile, I’ve learned how to watch for coupons and how to get more bang for my buck.

    My husband, daughter, and I all take Zyrtec and/or Claritin. I can get a year’s supply of the Costco generic brand of the adult Zyrtec for something like $15. The Claritin is similar in price, if not a tad cheaper. The kids’ generic Zyrtec isn’t quite as cheap, but it beats anything else I have found. The savings on my meds alone pays for my membership.

    I like to bake and I can get about a years’ supply of yeast at Costco for less than $4. The bag stays well in the freezer.

    I buy large 2 pound bags of great coffee beans from a local company for $13, I think? The grocery stores sell 1 pound bags for $9.

    The laundry detergent is great and is significantly cheaper than anything else I found. I recently finished a bottle of ECOS that I bought for something like $10 after a coupon. It lasted six months for my family of four.

    Toilet paper and other similar products tend to be good deals with the Costco coupons. An extreme couponer could probably do better, but I don’t have the time or inclination to do that.

    The price for organic milk is great. I don’t buy all my kids’ milk there because I don’t want to go to Costco more than I have to and be tempted by all the other wonderful things there that I don’t need. I buy butter there around the holidays.

    Batteries are a great deal with the coupons. So are the Kirkland brand baby wipes. We love those.

  67. jimstoic says:

    Whole pecans, walnuts, and almonds, and big batches of blueberries, for baking. San Pellegrino water. Salad mix, though it seems their mix is tougher than what I get at grocery stores.

    Electronics are a little more expensive than at Best Buy, but like it says above, the return policy is fantastic.

  68. balderdashed says:

    “Warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club like to lull you into a false sense of security, sure that everything you see on shelves is cheaper there than elsewhere.” Really? I don’t pay much attention to Sam’s Club, but I am a fan of Costco, and I frankly can’t recall Costco (or any Costco employee, for that matter) ever claiming that everything on its shelves was cheaper than elsewhere. Aren’t we being a bit sloppy and/or lazy with our facts here? That said, I agree that warehouse stores offer an especially good deal on certain items, and my last set of Michelin tires came from Costco. For electronics, the appeal is price (my Samsung TV was $100 cheaper than Best Buy’s best deal), return policy, and the fact that Costco typically extends the manufacturer’s warranty on many items. In fact, I frequently buy electronics and other items at Costco, even when the prices are slightly higher than the lowest price available. (I could have saved at least ten bucks on my new IPod Touch by ordering it online, but Costco’s price was better than any local brick-and-mortar dealer, and its consumer-friendly policies, as usual, tipped the balance in Costco’s favor.)

  69. ned4spd8874 says:

    I just bought tires earlier this year and Costco’s prices couldn’t compare to a local, big name shop. I can’t remember the exact price difference, but it was enough for me to go to the other place and not Costco.

  70. TacomaRogue says:

    Inn Keeper’s bread, Trio bars, tp, laundry soap, canned items like soup, and misc. hygene items are what I buy at Costco. Sometimes I’ll buy butter and milk there if I’m doing a lot of baking. For non canned foods I usually go to WinCo. Their bacon and deli meats are less expensive and their bulk selection is good.

  71. LastError says:

    I dunno about Kirkland AA batteries from Costco. Got a big 48-pack of them last Christmas and found that I was replacing them much more often in every device from remote controls to clocks to flashlights to toys and even a Carbon Monoxide detector. Everything seemed to eat those batteries like candy.

    For example, a set of batteries for a Tivo remote would last three months before dropping too low to operate the Tivo. Normally, I could get a year out of a set of Energizers or Duracells.

    The supply of Kirkland batteries lasted only about six months before it was depleted from constant need to use a new battery in everything. Went with Duracell next and the usage rate is back to what I would call normal, or at least twice as long as the Kirkland. FWIW. YMMV.

    Costco is awesome for trash bags, both the yard waste type and black plastic bags -they are both good quality and very affordable. I get Kirkland paper towels because I like them, even if they are a bit rough textured. Costco is also excellent for plastic cups.

    BJs warehouse is great for bog-standard paper plates (yes I have been shopping for picnics). Everybody else only wants to carry Chinet. Sometimes you only need generic paper plates.

    Agree totally on the TVs and tires, but as always shop around. Any of the warehouse clubs will usually do very well on tires, but you are usually stuck with name brands that tend to cost more inherently. Some of the national auto chains advertise cheaper tires but they are also noname brands. Probably OK tires and definitely cheaper than the warehouse clubs. Choose carefully.

    Walmart is also usually a good place for tire deals, perhaps only slightly more expensive than Sams without the need for a membership. Really need to shop around to be sure.

    • Dave Farquhar says:

      I agree on the tires. I tend to buy lower mid-range tires, and Costco doesn’t have anything for me in that range. If I were buying Michelins, it would be another story.

  72. LastError says:

    I gotta disagree on the Milk. It’s typically 50 to 60 cents MORE at our local Costco than at the local Kroger, Walmart or Publix.

    I.e. the grocery chains are at $1.99 and Costco is at $2.50 for the same kind of milk. The problem seems to be that the chains fight each other over the milk while Costco just put its out there and here’s the price, take it or leave it. The Costco milk jugs are also an odd shape. Not bad, just … square.

  73. tbiscuit360 says:

    In some states, milk prices are regulated so it doesn’t matter where you buy it.

  74. twonewfs says:

    Cat food at Costco, cheaper than even my Amazon subscription. But the big deal for us is the huge dog beds for $17.99 as opposed to the $50 or $60 at LL Bean. We have three Newfs who like to lounge, and the size is perfect.

  75. mcmunchkin says:

    Meat. I have a chest freezer. They have some relatively sustainable choices too. I’ve taken the Sea Watch list to the freezer section and found a couple types of seafood. (But farmed Atlantic salmon in bulk = ew.)

    Kirkland Signature alcohol is really good. So far 2 thumbs up on the anejo tequila and the vodka.

  76. Yeah Right says:

    Tires are not cheaper at Costco. I got a much better deal at Discount Tire and I love Costco.

  77. AnthonyC says:

    In college I ran a grille in my dorm- we sold comfort food 78 nights a week, and bought everything from costco. Paper goods, condiments, utensils, cleaning supplies, and foods of all sorts.
    Today, I go there for just about anything that is frozen/dozen go bad/I use a lot of.

  78. AnthonyC says:

    Ooh, I forgot: Costco is a great place to have digital photos printed. You upload them, and pick up in store. Much cheaper than Snapfish for anything larger than 4×6.

  79. olivetree says:

    Prescription is the cheapest. If your prescription is not paid by insurance company, Costco has a program to give you additional discount. Their eye examination is also cheaper than other optometrists. I buy DVD and Bluray from them especially after discount from their coupon book.
    I live in Southern California. Costco has fantastic deals on tickets to Disneyland and Universal Studio. Check it out.

  80. pyehac says:

    With 3 different families living in my house, we buy 3 packs of toilet paper… and hamburger patties, milk, ketchup and meat.

  81. pinecone99 says:

    AA batteries – I’ve switched to LSD NiMH rechargeables for the most part and only buy disposables for things where the batteries last forever, like clocks and remote controllers.

    I’ve been to Costco and Sam’s Club and maybe I’m weird but I just can’t really find much to buy. The produce looks good but doesn’t have any taste. I don’t eat factory meat or convenience foods. The price comparisons I’ve done on cleaning products haven’t shown much savings. Amazon prices on most electronics are at least as good and they ship to my door for free.

  82. Marsupial says:

    OTC meds like Costco’s version of Benadryl. 400 pills for $3. No one can come close to deals like that.

  83. Andy S. says:

    Kleenex. I go through 2 or three boxes a month. The large quantities of boxes shrink wrapped into one package is far less expensive than any other source.

    Jif peanut butter.

  84. caradrake says:

    Water. We drink a lot of bottled water (I know tap is cheaper, but it has a nasty taste even with a PUR filter). At costco, you can get 36 bottles for $3.45.

    It especially comes in handy for reselling at yard sales/fundraisers for $1.

  85. Admiral_John says:

    My wife and I have a list of things that we buy at Sam’s every two weeks… dog food, dog biscuits, rawhide chews, toilet paper, bottled water, coffee, coffee creamer, frozen pizzas and some other frozen items for meals.

  86. Tongsy says:

    Regarding tires: You can often get better tires for cheaper at a local, small tire shop, or tirerack.com

    I found this out when costco said they wouldn’t work on my car because it has a size they don’t carry, which is total BS.

  87. psychometrician says:

    Even though she can’t use our vision coverage there, my wife still saves a ton at Costco on eyeglasses. We also save a lot on baby formula.

    People seem to think that they’re saving money on paper products and diapers at Costco, but I consistently get much better deals with sales/extra bucks/coupons at CVS.

  88. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    NEVER EVER BY TIRES AT SAM’S CLUB.

    The warranty is only valid if you pay the membership fee annually. If this is the only thing you buy at Sam’s club, this is like paying an extra 50 dollars a year for service. Also their warranty is terrible and doesn’t cover most road hazards.

  89. BurtReynolds says:

    I buy a lot of products at Costco simply due to the piece of mind the return policy offers. For example I bought a paper shredder there because I know if it breaks in 3 months (which is a definite possiblity with some of the crap sold in stores these days), Costco has my back. Staples would tell me to kick sand after 14 days unless I bought a warranty. This also protects me against product claims that aren’t true.

    I also try to always buy electronics there due to the warranty extensions (1 year Costco, and another year with the Costco Amex). Not to mention the Amex cashback, plus the Costco Executive cashback on your TV purchase.

  90. MrEvil says:

    I definitely want to get a Costco membership I’ve seen some of the prices on their stuff. If they have tires significantly cheaper than Discount Tire Co. I’ll be pleased.

  91. shammer says:

    Although I’m a big fan of their deli selection, with the time we waste waiting in line at costco, we could easily afford to work more and pay regular priced items at everyday grocery stores. Overall terrible service and who needs a 3lb jar of mayonnaise, seriously?

  92. erratapage says:

    Milk, cream and butter. Sometimes eggs.

  93. damageddude says:

    We used to go to Sams, which was the only one close to our house, but stopped when I realized their deals were not much better than those I could find in the brand new WalMart they opened next door — at least for what I was buying. I found alcohol to be a little cheaper, but not much, than my local liquor store (bottle of rum was 50 cents cheaper). I did use to buy bulk meat and fish I could divide and freeze. Half and half was a lot cheaper too, so I’d get 5 or 6 (depending on exp date). We used to get diapers there, until our youngest needed a special kind that we had to get at a nature store.

    Other than that, not much was better at Sams, especially once local supermarkets started offering their own club packages. We’re finally getting a Costco’s a few miles from my house next year so I’ll check them out.

  94. PhilFR says:

    Um, who ever told you that coffee “can keep for quite a while”?

    And why would anyone buy pre-ground coffee?!?!

  95. yagisencho says:

    We buy all our staple items from Costco: diapers, wipes, vitamins, tissue paper, plastic wrap, batteries, coffee, sugar, etc. It’s tougher for us to actualize the value of bulk foods, as some of it nearly always goes bad before we can finish it.

  96. ArizonaGeek says:

    Costco tires aren’t cheaper than Discount Tire deals. I went looking for new tires for both my car and my girlfriends and Discount was about $120 cheaper for my 07 Mustang and about $150 for my girlfriends 05 Honda Pilot.

  97. Dave Farquhar says:

    Bread. Costco’s plain sandwich bread has no HFCS in it, so there’s nothing comparable at a regular grocery store. And their premium breads are slighly cheaper than premium breads at a grocery store, and, again, no HFCS in it. Some premium brands at the grocery store have HFCS and others don’t.

  98. thepassenger says:

    Generic OTC allergy meds: approx $15 for 300 tabs

  99. megafly says:

    We purchase staples: Sugar, rice, flour, oil etc.

  100. b612markt says:

    I buy everything I can at Costco. If I can’t get it at Costco, I pout and then buy it at Jewel or online after price scouring. Costco makes it so easy! After shopping there for years, I now have put trust in them to always have quality merchandise at very competitive prices.

  101. giax says:

    Not coffee. I get my not-ground coffee usually from Sprouts – when ever they have a $ 5.99/lb sale. Not bad for Kona or Kenyan.

  102. wezelboy says:

    I call BS on tires and pre-ground coffee.

    When you factor in installation costs, Costco does not have good deals on tires. Tire Rack is superior and has a much better selection.

    Pre-ground coffee begins to lose flavor gradually once you open the tub. The bigger the tub the longer it takes to get through it and more flavor lost.

  103. keepntabs says:

    I buy the Kirkland brand dog food at Costco, because it is made by Science Diet, and the price is almost half the price. I also buy the dry chicken and duck strips dog snacks. I and my friends that have dogs call it “dog-crack”, because our pets just go crazy for it.

    For the food items, I buy the three-pack of Silk soy milk and the two-pack of Noah’s bagels exclusively at Costco. I buy other food items regularly, but that more out of convenience and not because I think it’s the best price.

    I find that printer is less expensive than even at online stores. We recently redid our bathroom, and Costco had unbeatable prices on marble and travertine tile, low-flow toilets, and brushed nickel bathroom fixtures.

    The Kirkland brand of non-stick cookware has consistently gotten high ratings, and is fantastically priced. I always buy my eyeglass lenses and get Claritan-D at Costco.

    Lastly, I buy gas there too, and with the cash back for using an AmEx card, the price is the best in town.

  104. meechybee says:

    The organic milk at Costco is amazing. It’s ultra-pasturized, which means the dates on the three-pack cartons are usually two months out. I don’t know about price, but never having to throw out spoiled milk again is worth every penny.

  105. Fiftyville says:

    I love Costco, but the range of tire brands they offer is limited. For new tires for my truck, I went with tirerack.com because they had the tires that Consumer Reports recommended for small trucks as being the overall best buy. Costco did not, although they did have some good ones and at a higher price than tirerack.com. To compare prices, I found a tire that Costco did carry for my truck and checked it in tirerack. Big difference!

    Disclaimer – I am permanently ticked off at Costco because the last time I got tires there, the tire technician went to lunch with my keys in his pocket, and it was an hour and a half lunch. The real tickoffedness comes from the tire center manager’s response of “meh” to the whole situation and suggestion I go back in the store and shop some more to kill time.

    Best tire purchase method (IMHO):

    1) Consumer Reports – find the tire you like
    2) tirerack.com – order them, and they will find you an installer in your neighborhood ($15 a tire, in my case) and ship directly to the installer.
    3) Local installer gets them in a couple of days and puts them on for you. My local installer also offers free rotations!

    I saved about $35 a tire.

  106. gman863 says:

    Sam’s Club Deals & Don’ts:

    Generic OTC Meds – YES! You’ll pay about the same for a bottle of 300-500 tablets as what a 50-100 count is at CVS or Walgreens

    Nicotine Gum/Patches – WAY LOWER! Both the “Member’s Mark” nicotine gum and Nicorette are made in Denmark by the same company. 240 pieces of Members Mark gum is about $36, 110 pieces of CVS brand is $42.

    Cat Litter – FAIL! Based on cost per pound, #20 bags of Tidy Cat at Kroger are about equal to the #40 bags at Sams and ten times less likely to cause a hernia when changing the catbox.

    Soft Drinks – FAIL! Shopping around Labor Day, Coke was $6.98 a case at Sams; next door at Wally-World it was $5. Save more, live better, no card required.

    Tires – PASS. Sam’s road hazard warranty is excellent with no bulls–t. Due to potholes in Houston I have become an expert on having tires replaced under the road hazard warranty.

    PC/Computer Equipment – FAIL! Pick any item in their PC department and I can find a similar or identical model locally (Fry’s, MicroCenter) or online (Amazon, Newegg, etc) for at least 20% less. Having purchased over $50,000 of hardware for clients over the past few years Sam’s is not a player.

  107. anduin says:

    Mm yup 3/4 things in your list I’ve bought at Costco – TV. The tires weren’t way cheaper than most places but it came out to be like $600 on a set of 4 higher end tires that were about $70-100 more in other places. Batteries you’ll literally pay like half price.

  108. massageon says:

    Bottled water. My Husband and I buy our water at Sam’s Club and no other store can ever beat the prices they have on that.

  109. StevePierce says:

    I buy my stamps at Costco. Cheaper than buying them at the post office.

  110. FoxCMK says:

    Amazon’s pricing for televisions – as well as their generous return policy and shipping options – is far better than the warehouse retailers.

    And if you’re a Prime member, which you should be if you buy from them with any frequency, it’s even better.