The superstore known as Costco is great for buying items in bulk, especially for those with big families or in the middle of massive holiday party preparation. The store can really be a lifesaver on both your mental state and wallet.
While some might find the retail giant to be a saving grace, others might find themselves spending too much money or tossing products out that have expired by the time they get to it. Keep reading to learn more about the products you can probably cross-off your Costco shopping list.
Oil Only Lasts A Few Months
Even if you’re someone who uses oil every day for cooking or making dressings, it’s unlikely you’ll go through the vats they sell at Costco before it goes bad. According to the USDA’s Foodkeeper application, any oil should be used within three to six months after it is opened.
And, unfortunately, it doesn’t matter which type of oil. Canola, vegetable, peanut, and even sesame all start to go bad around the same time. Settling for a smaller bottle is always a good option.
Spices Go Stale
Contrary to popular belief, spices, in fact, do go stale. Considering the whole point of spice is to make a dish more flavorful, it’d be sad to have to get rid of bags full of cumin or paprika just because it was bought in bulk.
Ground spices will start to lose their potency within six months! It may seem like a long time, but only a pinch of spice is used here and there. Most likely, you won’t be able to enjoy all of it.
Flour Absorbs Moisture
Flour of all different varieties have one thing in common: they attract water. So, the longer you have a bag sitting in the pantry, the more time it has to soak up moisture and go bad.
Even though flour is great for baking and thickening soups, if you’re not using it every day, it’s not worth buying in bulk. Although, you can extend the six-months to one-year lifespan of flour if you store it in the fridge.
Coffee Should Be Brewed Within Two Weeks Of The Beans Being Roasted
Buying coffee in bulk is a great way to lose the aroma and flavor of the wonderful drink. Any coffee enthusiast will tell you, the best cup of joe is brewed within two weeks of the beans being roasted.
That means go for bags that you’re able to get through within a week or two. Don’t be coerced into buying tubs of ground beans at Costco because of the price. All that will happen is the fragrance will be sucked into the air.
A 30 Count Of Eggs Isn’t Worth It
Unless you’re baking a lot or a huge egg advocate, there’s probably little to no reason for you to purchase the 20 to 30 count flat of eggs sold at Costco. If purchasing a flat for a large household, it would probably be a sound purchase.
But a home with two or so people would probably be throwing eggs away after the three to five-week expiration. So, if you made the 30 egg commitment, we’re going to assume you eat at least one with each meal.
Milk Goes Bad Too Fast
Aside from the fact that Costco’s huge containers of milk are nearly impossible to pour, there’s also little chance of it being finished ahead of the expiration date. According to Eat by Date, you’re able to consume milk only a few days after the printed expiration.
But there’s no reason to when there are alternative options. Try switching to soy or almond milk. Both variations last longer than regular milk. Also, Costco sells the cartons in multipacks instead of one huge jug, allowing for a longer shelf-life
Fresh Cookies And Other Baked Goods
Sure, that $18 tray of freshly baked cookies always tends to look very yummy, but ask yourself a few questions. Are you and your family really going to go through a huge Costco-sized tray of baked goods before they go stale?
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, you’re better off grabbing something at a local bakery. Your wallet, and sweet tooth, will thank you for not throwing away stale treats.
Baking Powder & Yeast
Much like flour, baking powder also attracts moisture. So, it’s probably for the best to take the product off your Costco shopping list. When stored properly in a cool, dark place, baking powder’s shelf-life can last up to a year.
Unless you’re baking a few times a day for a year, most of the product is going to go to waste. The same goes for dried yeast. It will last up to six months, but if you get a fresh variation, the potency will dilute much sooner.
Nuts & Seeds Will Spoil
When it comes to nuts and seeds, it’s better to buy them in smaller quantities than a huge bag at Costco. Even though they don’t get freezer burn or grow mold, nuts and seeds are full of oils and unsaturated fats that, unfortunately, tend to spoil quicker than we’d like.
But if you do happen to find yourself with a mountain of macadamia or hazelnuts, there is a solution. Stick them in an air-tight container and freeze them. They’ll last up to a year.
Unless you’re throwing a huge neighborhood-wide Fourth of July party with a lot of hotdogs and hamburgers, you should forgo buying condiments at Costco. Even though mustard, ketchup, and mayo are “shelf-stable,” they are still slowly going bad.
Jordan Page, a family finance and frugal living expert, advises people to go to regular grocery stores for their condiments. She says, “It almost always will go bad before you can go through it.” Ketchup, for example, starts to lose its color and taste after five months.
Care Products Are On A Clock
Bargain hunters say that shopping at a superstore like Costco isn’t the best for things like toiletries and other self-care items. Sure, buying a six-pack of toothpaste is fine, since you don’t open them all at once. But other items, such as large bottles of shampoo or lotion, are on an expiration clock.
During an interview with Good Housekeeping, Ni’Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist, said, “the clock starts once you bring a product home and open it. When air hits the formula, certain ingredients start to oxidize and degrade.”
Things You Don’t Need And You Have No Storage For
Costco is a great place to bulk-buy much-needed items, such as dry paper products. But when you’re cart starts to overflow, you should think twice about the storage space you have in your home. Maybe ask yourself if you really need five cases of water and three packages of paper towels.
Think about prioritizing your purchases because impulse buys are a real thing when it comes to stores like Costco. Here’s an idea, think about buying a Brita instead!
Who Knew That Liquid Laundry Detergent Goes Bad?
It might come as a shock to some, but liquid laundry detergent goes bad after a few months. According to About.com laundry expert, Mary Marlowe Leverette, detergent tends to lose its effect on clothing after six months. The same goes for bleach. Once it is open, the six-month period goes into effect.
Of course, Costco’s big detergent bottles are great for families who do multiple loads of laundry a day. For those who do laundry once a week, maybe opt for smaller containers from other outlets.
Fresh Produce For Obvious Reasons
It goes without saying, but fresh produce tends to go bad very fast, anywhere between a few days to a week or so. And while Costco tends to have really nice deals on produce, it’s not worth buying in bulk.
If you do, you’re probably going to have a trashcan full of rotten fruits and vegetables in a few days. So, unless you live in a house with a lot of people, we recommend going to a local farmers market for your produce.
Vary Your Canned Goods Buying Them At Grocery Stores
Ironically, canned goods are probably not the best thing to buy at a superstore such as Costco. The reasoning is simple. It’s because you’re better off purchasing a variety of canned items at a grocery store, and not settling for a 10-pack of black beans, for practically the same price.
Some days it might even be cheaper to scope-out the grocery store selection because of all of the deals and coupons available for canned products.
Flowers Are overly Pricey
If you happen to be in Costco and remember it’s you’re anniversary and need to buy flowers, think about waiting until you pass by a Trader Joe’s or another grocery store on the way home. Unfortunately for the superstore, their bouquets can be priced upwards to $30.
Instead, try a different shop. You’ll purchase a similarly styled flower arrangement for half the price. And the quality will be just as good!
The 50-Gallon Bag Of Shredded Cheese
Even if you have mac and cheese, quesadillas, cheesy eggs, or anything else that can use shredded cheese all day every day, it’s unlikely you’re going to get through Costco’s gigantic bag. Seriously, the thing is enormous!
If you’re able to get through the cheese before the expiration date hits, more power to you, we just don’t recommend that much cheese in one’s diet. But, if you do have one of these bags, feel free to throw it in the freezer.
There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Butter
Unless you’re on a baking spree during the holidays, there really is no reason to buy a bulk-size package of butter. Not to mention where are you planning on storing it all! Butter shelves in the fridge are not too big, folks.
The last thing you’re going to want is five pounds of butter taking up space, only to be used sparingly. Then, it’s all in the trash after a few months. Take it from us, buy a tinier quantity at a local grocery store.
Meat Isn’t Cheaper at Costco
While you’re making your Costco run, you might be tempted to pick up some fresh meat. If you do, you should know that you won’t be getting the most bang for your buck. Meat and poultry at your local grocery store is often cheaper (by about a dollar a pound) than Costco while offering the same quality.
Also, do you really need all of that fresh meat? Unless its cooked in the next 3-5 days or properly frozen and stored, you’ll end up losing money by buying more meat than you can consume, before it goes bad.
Rotisserie Chicken Is Full Of Sodium
While Costco’s rotisserie chicken may be a tempting purchase, you might want to pass. Rotisserie chicken is high in sodium, and since you’re buying the entire chicken already-cooked and ready to eat, you’ll need to eat more servings in a shorter amount of time.
One chicken has 460 milligrams of sodium, as they’re injected with a saline solution to boost flavor. Eating rotisserie chicken for two meals a day can greatly increase your sodium intake.
Jerky Will Go Bad In Days
You’d think jerky would stay fresh due to all of the spices it’s dried in, right? Well, actually, whether it’s turkey, beef, or chicken, the meat snack has to be refrigerated after its vacuum seal is opened.
In fact, most packaging usually says to eat the jerky within a few days. So, unless you want to get super fancy re-vacuum the seal of the bag, we recommend buying the snack in smaller quantities and not in bulk.
Dried Pasta Can Be Bought For Less Elsewhere
Even though buying dried pasta in bulk isn’t going to bankrupt you or have you throwing out a soiled product, there are better places to buy the pantry staple. The Kitchen went ahead and made a price comparison between Costco’s pasta and that of Trader Joe’s and Walmart.
Would you believe that both of the chain stores have lower pasta prices than Costco at any given time? All of the deals and coupons offered by both Wally World and Trader Joe’s make taking pasta off the shopping list a no brainer.
A Tub Of Hummus Is Good For Parties
Unless you’re having a big party, the mega-sized tub of hummus you can find at Costco probably isn’t worth it. Store-bought hummus tends to have added preservatives, allowing it to stay fresh for a bit longer than the all-natural, homemade stuff.
Even so, the product will only stay fresh for a week or so. So, unless you plan on adding a nice sized dollop to every meal, maybe think about sticking to the normal-sized tubs found in grocery stores.
Cereal Can Be Found In Cheaper Locations
Yes, the big boxes of cereal do come with two sealed bags. But that doesn’t mean you should be buying it. On the contrary, you should be grabbing your cereals at local grocery stores.
Unlike the bulk cereal found at Costco, local stores will most likely have discounts or coupons available. Instead of buying virtually two boxes of the same cereal at the superstore, buy two different ones for around the same price at a grocery store.
It’s Better To Buy Rice At Local Markets
Yes, rice won’t go bad over the long run, but that doesn’t mean Costco is the best place to buy the product. According to some shopping experts on Bestlife, there are cheaper options when it comes to buying rice in bulk.
One Costco shopper, Flo Lum, even compared Costco’s price to that of her local Asian market. After doing some calculations, Flo realized that Costco sold rice for up to 35 percent more than her local shop. Plus, it’s always good to support local businesses!
There Are Better Deals On Office Supplies Elsewhere
While it’s always nice to have printer paper, notebooks, and other office supplies on hand, especially during the school year and for work, Costco doesn’t give great deals. Office supply stores such as Staples tend to have deals, sales, and coupons, particularly when back-to-school shopping is happening.
Even Target has low prices for supplies such as pens, pencils, and notebooks. So, before you start bulk-buying, definitely think about looking at some of the deals happening in various stores in your town.
Books Are Better Off Bought Somewhere Else
Unless you’re in desperate need of a beach book or birthday present, experts recommend purchasing books at other stores. This is because warehouses only supply Costco with the best-seller titles, never reaching for the indie authors or other lesser-known people.
Going to a retail bookstore or even a used indie bookstore will give you a wider range of titles and authors at a far better price. Or, there is always the public library! Which, gasp, is free.
Look For Other Deals On Soda
According to Moms Need to Know, stocking up on Coke and Pepsi products in Costco might not be the most money-saving move, especially during the summer months. That’s because, during the fun-in-the-sun months, a lot of grocery stores will put soda products on sale.
Tack on some coupons and membership deals with stores such as Vons, and you’re looking at buying a two-liter bottle for practically a dollar and fifty cents. Just something to keep in the back of your mind!
Costco Is Not The Place To Buy Unfamiliar Brands
Trying new things is always a good idea. But when you have no choice but to bulk-buy a new lotion or food, it’s probably for the best that you think twice. What happens if you don’t like the new brand of lotion? Or if the food wasn’t what you were expecting?
Now, you’re stuck with a lot of products that are going to go to waste. Maybe stick to smaller adventurous purchases first, just to make sure you like what you’re buying.
Find A Better Online Deal For Diapers
Diapers might seem like a great bulk purchase. But before you put a box in your cart, think about this: coupons and deals. Parents might be able to find diapers for better deals at various other stores, including Amazon!
According to Rather Be Shopping, “Amazon’s subscribe-and-save deals can be a particular bargain.” So, before you buy that lifetime supply of diapers at the superstore, look at other avenues. You might be surprised by the savings you find.
The Clothing Is Cheap For A Reason
If you’re like us, then you’ve been curious as to how Costco gets away will selling their clothing for so cheap. According to Kiplinger, it’s because the superstore’s Kirkland branded sweatshirts, socks, and undergarments, are made with cheaper, inexpensive material.
When it comes to clothing, you get what you paid for. And if you’re paying $15 for a sweater, you better believe that it’ll most likely only last a few months or so.
DVDs Are Best Bought Online
For those of you still out there purchasing DVDs, don’t look to Costco for the next addition to your ever-growing collection. While the superstore is reasonably priced, nothing really beats Amazon or the five dollar bin at Walmart.
Give your wallet a bit of a breather and think about looking at different stores and online options before rushing into buying a DVD at Costco. Plus, if you buy one off Amazon, it will be delivered directly to your door!