12 Best Costco Items You can Buy That Will Easily Pay for Your Membership

A Costco membership can save you money — but it’s even better if it pays for itself.

Costco Gold Star Membership card
Updated June 6, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

If you have a big household and want to get bulk items at a discount, Costco can help you fight inflation and the rising cost of groceries and free up room in your wallet for other purchases.

But to access those savings, you need a $60-a-year Costco membership card. If you’ve never shopped at Costco before, you might ask yourself if the upfront cost is really worth it.

According to most Costco shoppers, the answer is a definite yes. And you can make sure your membership pays for itself when you buy any of these Costco items.

Earn 2% cash rewards at grocery stores and Costco

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card(Rates and fees) is a powerful rewards card that allows you to earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases — including on groceries, even at warehouse stores like Costco.

New cardholders can also earn a one-time cash rewards bonus — $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months!

If you’re looking for a powerful rewards card that offers an extended intro APR period, look no further, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card checks that box too!

This card also offers an intro APR of 0% for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable). Which is great for someone who wants a break from high interest rates, while still earning rewards.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply for the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card now.

Gift cards

Kenishirotie/Adobe Gift card variety on the store's wall shelf

Do you often buy gift cards to celebrate special occasions? Gift cards aren’t exempt from the wholesaler's buy-in-bulk discounts, and it's a great way to save even more at Costco.

Depending on what your warehouse has in stock, you can score a five-pack of preloaded gift cards to your favorite restaurant or streaming site for the price of four. Along with saving money on this year’s gifts, planning can help you save money at your own favorite shops as well.

If you know you want to hit Olive Garden for your kid’s graduation party, stop by Costco to see if any discounted gift cards are in stock. Spending $80 at Costco for the equivalent of $100 worth of gift cards spells $20 off your next order of breadsticks, soup, and salad.

Big-ticket furniture items

Viktoriia/Adobe White living room with green plant and velvet blue sectional couch with silver throw pillows and throw blanket

If you typically head to Ikea or Ashley’s for your major furniture purchases, a Costco membership is a good reason to reconsider. 

Costco doesn’t have the massive inventory of furniture stores, but it’s worth browsing if you’ve been looking for the perfect sofa at the perfect price for too long.

Most notably, Costco’s frequent members-only discounts give you the chance to capitalize on great furniture deals the second one comes along.

Expensive electronics

Pixel-Shot/Adobe Electronic products

Like furniture, Costco doesn’t have the largest electronics inventory. It buys the products it can get in bulk during a certain period of time, then resells them at a lower price. 

So if you have a specific type of computer or phone in mind, Costco might not be the place for you.

On the other hand, if you’re fine simply getting the best bargain or if the model you’ve been wanting turns up at Costco, you’ll probably save a couple (or a couple hundred) bucks buying your electronic item at Costco instead of, say, the Apple Store. 

Plus, Costco electronics come with free tech support that lets you skip the phone trees and go straight to Costco’s team for expert help.

Stop overpaying when you shop online at Costco

Shopping online has its perks. It's super convenient, but it can be time consuming to find the best deals. Instead of hunting for coupon codes (that don't always work!) and opening tons of browser tabs comparing prices, you can try Capital One Shopping.

Capital One Shopping makes saving money effortless. Just add the browser extension and when you check out, it'll scour the internet for coupon codes to help you save cash. And before you check out at 25+ major retailers, Capital One Shopping will notify you with a friendly pop-up if the item you're buying is available cheaper somewhere else.

Capital One Shopping is free to use and won't show you ads. Add it today and stop overpaying!1

Get Capital One Shopping now

Kitchen appliances and utensils

wavebreak3/Adobe senior woman preparing food in kitchen

Why settle for a good set of pots and pans when you can have a great one for less?

One of the ways to quickly make that membership annual fee count is by finally getting rid of some old kitchen utensils and getting yourself some shiny new ones that look and work better.

Costco often has deals on high-quality items for your kitchen including cookware, airfyers, blenders, pressure cookers, or even dishwashers, ovens, refrigerators, and other big-ticket items for you to run your kitchen like a pro.

Meats & Seafood

trongnguyen/Adobe meat department at costco store

Meats tend to be the items that cost the most on our list when going grocery shopping. But you'll save a ton of money when buying frozen meats at Costco, which will quickly translate into paying off your membership fee.

The quality is there and the practicality too since they have options of individually packed chicken and salmon filet for example. There are many options to choose from and it won't go to waste as it was already professionally packed and sealed for you to put it directly in your freezer. 

Party snacks

Jenifoto/Adobe Variety of snack foods like pizza, chips, cookies, burgers, pretzels, for football party

Costco’s buy-in-bulk savings become especially clear when you’re planning a huge gathering like a work party or family reunion. 

Costco’s 54-pack box of chips for $23.99 can tide over a crowd while they mix and mingle or wait for the main course. If charcuterie is more your style, bulk deli meats, cheese, vegetables, savory dips, and club crackers at Costco can help you feed your guests for less. 

And if you need to please a large group in a hurry, swing by the Costco food court to grab some 18-inch pizzas for under $10 each.

Party decorations

luckybusiness/Adobe Birthday cake with candles and people around with party hats, celebrating, with present in hand, hugging and smiling

While we’re on the subject of partying, snacks aren’t the only party essential to get at Costco. A pack of 100 party-themed plates and 100 party-themed napkins is only $23.99. 

Depending on the deal of the month, you can also find party favors like Pokémon cards or superhero notebooks at a deep discount. 

And a six-person inflatable unicorn party island (yes, you read that right) costs at least $100 less at Costco than at Amazon, Wayfair, Best Buy, and other big-box retailers.

Wine

trongnguyen/Adobe wine in wooden boxes at costco store

Whether you’re looking to restock your wine cabinet or you’re shopping for a friend’s celebration, getting your wine at Costco helps you save without sacrificing quality. 

While wine stores often mark their prices up 50% or more, Costco limits its wine markups to 14%, then passes those savings on to you. Even the most avid wine enthusiast would be hard-pressed to find a better bargain.

Whisky

If you're a whisky lover you'll love the great deals Costco offers on both name brands such as Jack Daniel's (1.75L for roughly $39) and Johnnie Walker (Ultimate 18yr - 750m for roughly $79), as well as their in house brand Kirkland Signature.

Kirkland Signature bourbon, whiskey, and scotch selections are known to be of extremely high quality as well as very gentle on your bank account.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote

Tires

Adriana/Adobe pile of michelin tyres for sale in display at costco wholesale store in sacramento

Need to upgrade your tires? Now is the perfect time for a Costco membership. 

After you purchase high-quality, lower-cost tires at Costco, you can have them installed and balanced at a Costco Tire Center for $15 apiece. Even better, your purchase comes with free lifetime tire repairs, rotation, and refills.

Costco also fills its tires with nitrogen instead of air, which can help your tires maintain air pressure longer. And for more savings, stop by the Costco gas pump once your new tires are installed. 

Costco gas is usually (though not always) priced lower than other local gas stations, so you can keep raking in the savings after you roll out of the Costco Tire Center.

Eyeglasses

Vadim/Adobe stand with glasses in the store of optics

If you’re tired of getting mediocre eyeglasses at top-notch prices even with your insurance, try Costco. Most sources report that Costco eye exams cost between $50 and $100, even without insurance.

While anyone can make a Costco eye appointment, only members get discounts on contacts and frames, including brand-name sunglasses like Ray-Bans. 

The average amount you’ll pay for Costco frames and lenses depends on which brand of glasses you buy, what your insurance covers, and where in the country you live. 

On average, though, single-vision lenses from Costco usually start at $60, and a pair of frames can cost as little as $40.

Outdoors furniture and structure

From gazebos to pergolas, to the most comfortable and durable patio furniture you can ever imagine, Costco makes it easy and affordable for you to create an oasis in your backyard.

When Summer time is here, avoid wasting money on cheap patio structures and furniture that won't withstand the heat or even hurricane season depending on where you're located.

A Costco membership can make it worth you a while when building the backyard of your dreams.

Bottom line

trongnguyen/Adobe inside view of alaska costco store

If you plan ahead and buy these eight items at Costco, the savings you’ll get can pay for your membership in no time. 

Then, once you’ve earned back your $60 membership fee, all the other perks you get from shopping at Costco — with the best credit cards to use at Costco of course — are just pure savings.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards

5.0

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Current Offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.