9 Reasons You Should Only Shop at Costco Once per Month

Making many trips to Costco might not be the smartest way to shop.

costco wholesale store during day time
Updated May 28, 2024
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Costco is a wonderful store if you’re trying to save on groceries and other goods by stocking up. But perhaps it is time to stop viewing the warehouse retailer as your home away from home.

Making fewer, better-planned visits to Costco might improve your bottom line. Following are some good reasons to cut back on Costco runs and only shop there once per month.

You won’t be tempted by impulse purchases

stokkete/Adobe woman standing with grocery at store reviewing grocery receipt in hand

Impulse purchases can add up when you go to Costco week after week. It can be tempting to try something new, and the retailer regularly introduces interesting items.

But impulse purchases are often a waste of money, especially if you don’t finish the item or it takes up extra storage space.

Pro tip: If you buy an item and realize later that you don’t want it, use a great Costco hack and return the product using the store’s generous return policy.

The store is often crowded

Erik González/Adobe cars parked outside costco wholesale store

Going to Costco on the weekend can leave you fighting crowds. And even if you shop during the week, you might pick a bad time when the store is packed.

Limiting the number of trips you make to Costco can keep you out of these crowds. After all, life is already hectic enough.

You might miss deals at local grocery stores

VTT Studio/Adobe grocery store with products on shelves having huge sale signs in red color

If you are going to Costco a lot, it leaves less time to check out the deals at local grocery stores. Costco often has great bulk prices, but that doesn’t mean you cannot sometimes get a better per-unit price at another store.

Remember, while it might seem like you’re getting a bigger bargain by buying in bulk, the cost might not be as friendly once you do the math and break things down to per-unit pricing.

You will have fewer chances to waste food

Pixel-Shot/Adobe woman wearing gloves throwing leftovers from plate using scrubber in trash bin

One of the great things about Costco is that you can buy items in bulk. But buying in bulk is no bargain if you don’t finish the item before it spoils or expires.

Carefully planning out your monthly visit to Costco can reduce the odds of ending up tossing much of your “savings” into the trash.

A single trip is enough to see all the monthly deals

Sarah Rypma/Adobe grocery cart inside kalamazoo costco store full of supplies and toilet papers

Costco deals change each month, so there is no need to go every week.

Check the Costco flyer when it arrives at your house and make a list of what you want to buy. Take advantage of all of your deals in one trip instead of returning over and over again.

You can avoid the Food Court

Eric BVD/Adobe costco food court menu with various dishes on paper at table

The Food Court is one of the more delicious places at Costco. It’s packed with amazing pizza, churros, and the hog dog deal with a drink for only $1.50.

But these foods can be fattening, and it’s probably not a great idea to enjoy them too often. Limiting your trips to Costco reduces the temptation to succumb to these tasty but less-than-nutritious treats.

Fewer trips saves money on gas

manusapon/Adobe man using gas pump to fuel car at gas station

When you drive out of your way to get to Costco many times during the month, you are burning fuel. Paying for expensive gas can offset some of the savings you get when shopping at Costco.

On the other hand, making a single trip to Costco each month should allow you to significantly cut down on the gas you waste.

You don’t have the storage space

New Africa/Adobe Woman putting away groceries

Some shoppers use Costco just like a grocery store, but there are items you may not need to buy in bulk.

So, plan out a single trip to Costco each month to make bulk purchases. During the rest of the month, mix in trips to your local grocery store or specialty shop to buy items in smaller quantities.

You don’t need to buy everything in bulk

ashtproductions/Adobe woman picking up vegetables at grocery store

Some shoppers use Costco just like a grocery store, but there are items you may not need to buy in bulk.

So, plan out a single trip to Costco each month to make bulk purchases. During the rest of the month, mix in trips to your local grocery store or specialty shop to buy items in smaller quantities.

Bottom line

Drazen/Adobe man standing inside grocery store with cart doing shopping using mobile and posing for picture

Costco can be a great option if you’re trying to save money and eliminate some money stress. But shopping intelligently is likely to earn you a bigger bang for your buck.

It’s also a good idea to take a list with you when you shop at Costco to avoid those impulse purchases that can wreck your budget.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.