There’s no question that you can get great deals at Costco on everything from food and toiletries to clothing and medicines and beyond.
The retailer can help you beat the rising cost of groceries by selling nearly everything in bulk and has a hard limit on how much it marks items up.
But that doesn’t mean that everything is cheaper at Costco, as many savvy shoppers have figured out. Note that prices may vary at your location.
Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus with this incredible card
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card(Rates and fees) is a powerful rewards card that offers an extended intro APR period. New cardholders can earn a one-time cash rewards bonus — $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months AND earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases!
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 both of those boxes!
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.
Unless you’re adept enough in the kitchen to make pasta from scratch, grabbing a box of the dry stuff is the way to go.
And while some pasta may be cheaper at Costco, you can score six 16-ounce packages of penne for $5.99 at Walmart. That’s compared to Costco's 17.6-ounce box for $10 which shakes out to 6 cents to 9 cents per ounce.
Milk: Aldi, Trader Joe's, and Walmart
Cow’s milk is a staple in many households thanks to its versatility and calcium content. But if you go through a lot of it at yours, Costco will set you back around $3.50 per gallon. However, one shopper found better deals on milk at Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart.
Frozen mixed veggies: Kroger
Kroger is a grocery store chain with headquarters in Ohio, but it’s also popular in the southeast region of the U.S. and beyond.
Most of the items you find there will cost you more than at Costco, but a few products stand out.
For example, frozen mixed vegetables are $7.49 for a five-pound bag at Costco, but $5.69 at Kroger for the same amount.
Chicken thighs: Trader Joe's
Trader Joe’s has a cult following thanks to items they sell that no one else does, like certain sweet treats and unique packaged salads.
But they also sell a few foods at a better price than Costco, including boneless skinless chicken thighs for $1.99 per pound. That’s compared to $2.29 at Costco, which is 30 cents more expensive.
White bread: Aldi
Aldi may be a no-frills shopping experience with no free samples, but if you’re just in it for the savings then head there for sliced white bread.
This household staple isn’t super expensive at Costco and will only set you back $2.84 for a loaf. But at Aldi, it’s markedly cheaper at $1.39 for the same size.
Chicken breasts: Walmart
One of the most popular cuts of meat in the U.S. is without question boneless skinless chicken breasts.
One shopper found this high-protein, low-fat option for $2.99 per pound at Costco, arguably a much better deal than you’ll find at a place like Publix. However, the same shopper noted that you’ll shell out 50 cents less at Walmart and Aldi.
Whether you like them sliced in sandwiches, pureed into a soup, or as a base for your sauce of choice, tomatoes on the vine are versatile fruit.
But if you’re planning to make some marinara for Sunday night dinner, you may do better buying them at Kroger for $1.59 a pound.
That’s because you’ll pay $5.00 for two pounds at Kroger, saving you 36.5%.
Pineapple prices can fluctuate pretty widely depending on your location, especially if you don’t live in a tropical area. So note that this intel comes from a shopper based in Rochester, NY.
They found this exotic fruit for $1.99 at Aldi and $2.14 at Walmart. As for the Costco price, they documented it at $2.49 – notably more expensive.
Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card
There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.
If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.
The best part? There's no annual fee.
Extra virgin olive oil: Walmart
If you’re especially picky about your olive oil, you can’t go wrong with Costco’s extra virgin option, which is $15.99 for a two-liter bottle. High-profile chefs like Samin Noosrat have personally endorsed this product, so you know it’s good.
If you’re not too concerned about taste and quality, Walmart’s store brand is cheaper at $10.98 for 51 ounces, though.
Peanut butter: Whole Foods
With a nickname like Whole Paycheck, it’s surprising that they sell anything for less than Costco — but they do!
One stealthy Seattle journalist found one item while doing price comparisons: peanut butter.
At Costco, you have to plunk down 14 cents per ounce for an 80-ounce jar. But at Whole Foods, you can get a 36-ounce jar for 11 cents an ounce.
Greek yogurt: Walmart
Unlike extra virgin olive oil, Walmart’s house brand of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt stands up fairly well to the competition, according to reviews. It’s also cheaper than the same option at Costco, albeit by just a hair.
At Costco, it costs 12.2 cents per ounce (for a 48-ounce container), and at Walmart, it’s 11.8 cents per ounce (for a 32-ounce container).
Ground beef: Grocery Outlet
Any way to save on ground beef is a game-changer since inflation has increased the price of this staple meat across the board.
So if you have a Grocery Outlet nearby (as they do in Seattle), that’s the best option; there they sell all-natural ground beef for $4.33 per pound (three-pound package).
That’s compared to $4.79 per pound (six-pound package) of the Kirkland Signature brand at Costco.
Pasta sauce: Kroger
If there’s anything that makes a weeknight dinner a breeze, it’s pasta sauce; warm it up, throw it over pasta, and voilà.
And while there’s a vast selection of the stuff at every grocery store out there, Kroger beats out Costco when it comes to the price of organic house brands.
Costco’s 32-ounce jar costs $9.59, and Kroger’s is $2.29 for a 25-ounce jar. That’s a savings of 7.1%.
Rice: Grocery Outlet
Healthy, versatile, and a crucial ingredient in cuisines from around the world, rice is guaranteed to get you the best bang for your buck.
As for who sells the cheapest rice, one Seattle journalist notes it’s not Costco, even though it’s only 54 cents per pound (25-pound bag).
Instead, Grocery Outlet edged the big box juggernaut out at 50 cents per pound (10-pound bag).
Kirkland Signature bacon is pretty well-known in grocery circles for being a top-notch product.
However, it’s not the cheapest out there, as Walmart’s low-sodium bacon is slightly more affordable. It costs $3.94 for a pound, while Costco’s is $4.25 per pound (four-pound package).
As for how Walmart’s bacon fared on the review front, it lagged behind Costco’s, though not by much.
There’s a reason Costco is so popular with a wide variety of shoppers: They sell high-quality products for less than most of the competition.
Still, not everything the retailer offers is less expensive than other stores. Prices can vary by location and may change depending on inflation, sales, and supply chain issues.
So your best bet is to always check prices at your local outlets before you grab your Costco credit card and hit the bulk retailer.