What I don't buy at Costco

Earlier this week, I told you all why I hate Costco
Yesterday, I shared with you some of the things that I do think are a good value to buy at Costco.
Today, I am going to share with you the things I don't buy at Costco.
Some of them might surprise you.

It's not hard to make a meal out of the samples at Costco if you time it just right.
Most people stop and try the sample.  If you are shopping with kids, your kids will often try the sample too. I've been amazed at some of the samples my kids have willingly tried.

Samples at Costco are like casinos.  
They aren't losing money on them.
Costco provides samples because people buy what they sample.

It's happened to the best of us.
I've even been coerced by my kids to buy an item that has been sampled because they promise they will eat it.  They usually don't.
Most of the samples that are offered are convenience processed foods. These items rarely make it through my front door.

So while it's nice to try them once in awhile, I usually skip on the sample item.
If I really like the item I will make note of the price, compare the item at my regular grocery store, and if it seems like a better deal and I am still craving that item on my next Costco trip, I will pick it up.
Remember, Costco makes its money on your impulsivity.

2 gallons for $4.93
I don't know what genius engineer decided to make square milk but whoever it was should be shot.
I had a friend tell me that at her local Costco in the Midwest they offered lessons on how to pour milk from a Costco milk jug.
Really???  If you need lessons, the design is all wrong.
If I buy the milk from Costco, I would venture to guess on the conservative side that at least a quarter of the milk gets spilled while pouring.  While price per gallon it's comparative to our local grocery store, when you spill a good portion of it, it is no longer a good deal.
24 count for $2.98
Do a price comparison at your local grocery store.  This isn't a good deal for our family.

We rarely buy new electronics, but when we bought our first new TV (we have been married nearly 14 years!...who knew we could go that long without brand new electronics or even a flat screen?!), my husband did his homework.  He compared prices at Costco with those at other big box electronics stores and found the best deal on the highest quality TV in our price range to be had at Video Only.
The cereal selection is minimal and it is often times twice the price of what you would pay for cereal at your grocery store, even without a coupon.
Price compare, the shampoo and conditioner costs twice as much at Costco as it does at your local drug store.

Health and Beauty items
Do you really need a 6 month supply of toothpaste?
Or a years supply of soap?
And while you are at it, do you really want to spend twice as much on it, not to mention the cost of storing it in your home.

Paper Goods
While toilet paper and paper towels are usually a staple in Costco carts, I did the math for you and found that buying these items at Costco is not a better deal.

For 12 years my husband and I had the same plates and bowls that we had gotten for a wedding present. 
The plates were starting to get old and scratched, but overall were in good shape.
However, I started getting the itch to buy new dinnerware.
So when I saw some boxes of plates/bowls that I liked at Costco I bought them.
They are the worst!
Most of the dinnerware has ended chipped and broken and not lasting nearly as long as the plates we received for our wedding.

I don't know what they were made of, but they somehow seem so much more fragile than the dinnerware we had for over a decade.  Learn from our mistake.  Skip it!
Remember, the best way to save money while shopping at a big box warehouse is to know your prices.
Know what you spend on the items you regularly buy and quickly do the math to make sure you are getting a good deal, either at Costco or at your regular grocery store.
What do you think?
Did I miss anything?
What would you add to the list of items not to buy?


Mrs. S. said...

We shop very much a like at the two bulk stores. Except at Sam's you can buy milk by the gallon & it's shaped normally. For me most shopping comes down to sales & coupons. And I also have got fantastic deals on clothes at Sam's.

Liz @ Quirky Vistas said...

It's true, you really have to watch it there. There are some things that make it worthwhile (Dunkin Donuts Coffee, esp. if you have a coupon!) Thanks for the tips!

Shiloh said...

You know what's crazy? We're paying $3 and change for a gallon of milk. Eggs are more expensive here too. That's at Aldi, the "cheapest" place I go. Funny how it varies across the country.

Rhiannon said...

i never buy health and beauty products there either but 2 gallons of milk for $4 holy smokes batman!!! Milk here in the grocery store is $9! for ONE gallon I always buy milk at costco since its around 4.50 for a gallon.
and eggs too! wow its over $3 for 18 eggs at costco you dont even want to know how much its in the grocery store!

Beth said...

Yes! Don't buy brand name things that have a good reputation elsewhere. Example: Henkel knives. I love Henkel and I recommended a friend buy them and they had them at Costco....the quality was wayyyy inferior.

Jennifer Opsahl said...

Holy cow! $9 for a commenters gallon? Guessing Europe or Aus? I thought $5-$6 a gallon in Canada was the worst! Anyways, we bought milk at US Costco once, and even when the giddiness of the AMAZING price wore off, I still loved them and actually preferred their square shape! My only gripe is that no 1%! Is 1% not popular in the US?

Heather Benza said...

I've read your costco posts and it is so amazing to me how dramatically prices vary. We can't beat Costco for some of the items you found way cheaper elsewhere, but we haven't had any discount style grocery stores. Winco opened a few weeks ago, so I will have to check them out.
WHat's always in my cart and saves me big bucks at Costco? AIdell's meatballs, sausage and organic ground beef.

Anonymous said...

I know eggs are eggs, but I cannot bake with Costco eggs. That and the milk do not taste as good as from Fresh&Easy's and Trader Joes. I want to add that many bulk items do not store long! I had four huge bottles of Vaseline lotion turn rotten in six months. Never join their phone plans. Wait two or three weeks and Best Buy will offer hugely better phones at overall less two-year prices. Trust me, after four years and eight slow bulky phones, I learned my lesson. Impulse buying is definely costly.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the toilet paper and paper towels - the fact of whether those items ARE or are NOT a better deal at Costco depends on the brand you use. We buy the Kirkland brand of those items, and we like the quality of that brand.

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