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8 Items You Shouldn't Buy at Costco

Even avid Costco shoppers might be surprised to hear they may get better deals on certain products elsewhere.

Costco is an excellent money saver when you’re buying in bulk, but not so great for certain products. That’s why knowing about which items you shouldn’t buy at Costco comes in handy before your next shopping excursion.

1. Fruits and Veggies

Buying fruits and veggies in bulk isn’t always a good idea unless your family is huge or you eat fruit quickly before it goes bad. Many times you can get the same low price at your local grocery store, especially when you shop sale produce items. So if avoiding waste is your goal, you may want to pass on the produce at Costco.

2. Toilet Paper and Bath Tissue

While many people shop at Costco especially for toilet paper and facial tissue, don’t be too quick to do so. Consumer Reports says while these Costco products are middle-of-the-road when it comes to price, the strength of Costco toilet paper and facial tissue is sub-par and tears easily. So if tissue strength is on your must-have list, it may be best to nix Costco's facial tissue and toilet paper.

3. Diapers

While it doesn’t hurt to get diapers from Costco when you're there for other items, doing so may take a bigger hit on your wallet than you think. That's because you can get name brand diapers cheaper when you buy from — and have them delivered right to your doorstep!

4. Condiments

While condiments seem like the right food item to buy in bulk, it’s not always the case. Consumer Reports says with the exception of mustard and Worcestershire sauce, many poplar condiments have shelf lives of six months (or shorter in many cases) after being opened. These include ketchup, cocktail sauce, chutney, horseradish sauce, pickles, olives, mayonnaise, salad dressing, barbecue sauce, jams and jellies. So unless your family consumes condiments quickly, food waste may be an issue when buying them in bulk.

5. Books, CDs, and DVDs

While the books Costco sells are often good reads, you’ll likely see them cheaper in other stores. is where you’ll find book prices that are truly tough to beat. The same holds true for CDs and DVDs — so if you’re pinching pennies, is probably your best bet for these items.

6. Clothes

Costco clothes may be a cheaper bet than name brand alternatives. However, when you buy clothes at Costo, you might not see the same quality as you would at other stores -- which is why it’s best to nix Costco apparel when you want your clothes to last. Even name brand clothing sold at Costco can be of lesser quality than the higher-priced alternatives.

7. Canned Goods

While there’s nothing wrong with canned goods at Costco (assuming the cans aren’t leaking or dented), you may be able to find them cheaper at your local grocery store. This is especially true for store brand canned goods and those on sale.

8. Milk

You might not want to buy milk in bulk at Costco, as it has a fairly short shelf life. And you may be able to find milk cheaper at regular grocery stores, says Kiplinger. Unless your family drinks a ton of milk on a regular basis, price and waste are concerns when buying large quantities of Costco milk.

Items to Buy at Costco

There are several items you should purchase at Costco when you're trying to pinch pennies. For example, Costco meats, gasoline, frozen pizza, spices, other seasonings with long shelf lives, syrups, butter, popcorn, applesauce, cakes, cheeses, nut butters, cat litter, cooking spray, gift cards, prescription medications, batteries, office supplies, and laundry detergents are generally safe bets and cost effective selections.

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