Costco Finds That are Good Deals for Small Families

Bulk retailer Costco has plenty of items for smaller families looking for a good bargain.

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Updated July 11, 2024
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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? 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. 

But you may be surprised to learn that Costco can help you find smart ways to manage your paycheck, regardless of your house size. And to help you sort through what makes sense and what doesn’t, we’ve compiled a list of some great items you can buy at Costco that make smart purchases for smaller homes.

Editor's note: Prices are subject to change and may vary by location.

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Olive oil

Prostock-studio/Adobe  black woman cooking fresh vegetable salad in kitchen

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 $22 at Costco compared to close to $30 at other retailers. These oils often stay good for one to two years, so you’ll have plenty of time to use them.

Sponges

Dusko/Adobe young adult woman with yellow protective gloves

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 24 at the store for just above $18 and never find yourself sans-sponge again.

Sparkling drinks

Adriana/Adobe pile of assorted cases of La Croix brand fruit flavored sparkling water

Anyone who enjoys sparkling drinks like La Croix may be thrilled with Costco’s deal of $11.49 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.

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Frozen foods

trongnguyen/Adobe meat department and sample stand at Costco large aisle

A lot of us simply don’t have the time or energy to devote to cooking, meal planning, and cleaning up fresh meals every day. 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 20 at Costco for $18.59, while other places sell them for over $35.

Oatmeal

Adriana/Adobe Shoppers hand holding a box of Quaker Oats

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 $12.79.

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.

Trail mix

Ildi/Adobe healthy trail mix nuts on table

Though this item is perishable, the resealable bag guarantees you can keep this snack in your pantry for a long time once nuts and M&Ms can keep fresh at room temperature in your pantry.

Now, even with a small family, there's a big chance this delicious item won't last that long anyway. This chocolate and nuts combo is definitely a crowd pleasure for a good reason.

Peanut butter

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe father applying peanut butter on toast for son at kitchen

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 $13, 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.

K-Cups

ehrlif/Adobe variety of the popular Keurig K Cups

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 $44. If you love coffee, this is one way you could learn how to save money.

Deodorant

New Africa/Adobe man suffering from nausea on bed at home

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 $14.79 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.

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Breakfast bars

auremar/Adobe beautiful woman eating a cereal bar

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 12 count of Nature Valley bars for around $3, but Costco has a box of 49 for about $18.

Garbage bags

gopixa/Adobe woman standing in a kitchen carrying a bag with plastic waste

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 $20, 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.

Pet supplies

Reddogs/Adobe healthy cute happy pet dog puppy chewing stick treat

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 Kirkland Signature Dental Chews, which sells for $37 for 72 bones.

At other shops, you may be paying $40 for a 36-count. Costco also offers things like dog beds and cat trees to meet all your furry friend’s needs in one place.

Bottom line

andy/Adobe Costco wholesale warehouse shopping

These are just a few of the items that those who live alone or have small families can find at Costco to help tackle high grocery costs.

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.

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.

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Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.