If you’re part of a smaller family, or even shopping just for yourself, you may think there’s no reason to splurge on a Costco membership. After all, how could you possibly eat a pack of 40 hamburgers yourself? Is Costco only good for larger families because much of it is buying in bulk? Or is there some magic behind all those Costco shopping hacks?
You may be surprised to learn that Costco can be helpful for anyone looking for a smart way to manage their money, regardless of your house size. While there are some items that aren’t worth the trip to Costco, some bulk items last a long time and enable you to save more per item.
To help you sort through what makes sense and what doesn’t, we’ve compiled a list of 11 items you can buy at Costco that make smart purchases for smaller homes.
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If you love to cook at home, Costco is a great place to stock up on all your kitchen basics like olive oil (and other cooking oils). You can get a two-liter bottle of extra virgin olive oil for around $16 at Costco compared to over $20 at other retailers. These oils often stay good for one to two years, so you’ll have plenty of time to use it.
Oatmeal is another one of those items that can stay in your pantry for a long time. If you’re a fan of this breakfast staple, Costco sells a massive variety pack — 52 packs to be exact — of Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal for $10.99. The same item costs nearly $20 at other supermarkets. If you enjoy oatmeal or overnight oats every now and then, this pack might last you all year.
A lot of us simply don’t have the time or energy to devote to cooking, meal planning, and cleaning up fresh meals everyday. If this is the case for your small family, Costco’s frozen section is definitely worth checking out. For example, if you love Hot Pockets, you can get a box of 17 at Costco for $17.49, while other places sell them for over $35.
Even those who live alone can blow through trash bags pretty quickly, so why not stock up? A 200 count box of Flex-Tech tall kitchen garbage bags costs around $22, but are almost the same price at other retailers for half the amount of bags. This is one of those items that you may want to just buy once and not think about for months. Plus, it’s a great bargain for those who may be budgeting on household needs.
Peanut butter is an excellent pantry staple that you can keep in your cabinet for several months, even after it’s open. It’s worth it to go big if you’re a fan of the occasional PB&J; for lunch and a nice peanut butter on toast for breakfast. For just over $10, you can get two 48-ounce jars of Skippy brand peanut butter at Costco, which is a few bucks less than what’s offered at some grocery stores.
Anyone who enjoys sparkling drinks like La Croix may be thrilled with Costco’s deal of $8.99 for a case of 24. Other retailers offer the same beverage at $5.99 for 12 cans. This is another item that you can keep around for a while without having to worry about expiration dates.
If you use K-Cups to make your coffee, Costco could end up saving you a whole lot of money in the long run. The store offers bulk boxes of brands like Donut Shop, Tim Hortons, and even Starbucks. For a Starbucks box of 72 K-Cups, you’ll be paying just over $40. If you love coffee, this is one way you could learn how to save money — prices at other stores have been spotted to be around $32 for 44 pods.
You can pick up a pack of several deodorants for a shockingly low price at Costco, especially when you consider how much one stick costs at your typical convenience store. A pack of five sticks of Old Spice is just $10.99 at the retail chain, which is about half the price for the same amount at other stores. Shoppers may also score great deals on other brands like Dove, Secret, and Degree.
There’s nothing like a nice, fresh sponge — and let's be honest, if you buy them in bulk, you are going to use them. Rather than spending about a dollar a sponge, which is standard at many retailers, why not pick up a bulk pack at Costco and always have a backup? You can buy a pack of 21 at the store for just above $15, and never find yourself sans-sponge again.
Costco is in no short supply of massive boxes of snacks, and their breakfast bar selection is pretty extensive. If you’re the type to just grab whatever is nearby on your way out the door in the morning, Costco’s selection is definitely worth checking out. You could get your fix for the month — and beyond. Your local grocery store may sell a six count of Kashi chewy bars for around $3, but Costco has a box of 35 for under $15.
Every pet owner is familiar with how quickly you can run through their necessities, particularly their treats. Costco has some great deals in several categories when it comes to pets, from bulk bags of dog and cat food to a giant bag of Busy Bone Stix, which sells for $32 for 32 bones. At other shops, you may be paying $15 for a 10 count. Costco also offers things like dog beds and cat trees to meet all your furry friend’s needs in one place.
These are just a few of the items that those who live alone or have small families can find (and end up saving loads of money on) at Costco. There are plenty of other goods — think paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap — that won’t go bad and go for bargain prices at the retailer. If you’re learning how to manage your money, this could be really helpful.
Shoppers can save even more money — or reap even more rewards — if they take advantage of the best credit cards to use at Costco. Currently, the store offers an annual membership to new members for $60. Buying in bulk might sound a little scary to those who live with smaller families or in smaller homes, but bulk doesn’t always have to mean gigantic. Sometimes it’s just a giant deal.