Worst things to buy at Costco – plus the best deals

A new Gallup poll this month shows Americans still say inflation is their top financial concern.

To try and save, people love turning to stores like Costco to find a good deal. But even at the beloved bulk warehouse, shoppers say they’ve noticed the impact of inflation.

“We used to come in here for $250 a cart and now it’s $450,” said Joe Mazzi, a shopper at the Covington Costco.

So what are the items where you’re saving the most, and what is actually a bad deal at the bulk warehouse?

KIRO7 went through dozens of articles and did price comparisons with local stores to find out.

Everyone knows about Costco’s most famous deals – the $1.50 hotdog and drink combo, plus the $4.99 rotisserie chicken.

But there are other items that are excellent deals, beating out just about all other grocery stores in the area.


  • Kirkland nuts – particularly walnuts. The Kirkland brand walnuts work out to $2.66 per pound ($7.99 for a three-pound bag). The only place with a comparable per-pound price was at Winco, where the walnuts in the bulk section retailed $2.73 per pound. The cheapest walnuts KIRO7 found at Fred Meyer was the Kroger brand 2-pound bag, priced at $7.99 a pound (sold for $15.99 for a two-pound bag).
  • Frozen berries – particularly organic blueberries. Costco Covington sells the three-pound bag for $7.89, or $2.63 a pound for organic blueberries. Winco does sell a non-organic bag of blueberries at a better per-pound price - $9.98 for a four-pound bag, or $2.49 per pound.
  • Most staples: Mission 8-inch tortillas are currently on instant coupon (for the May 15 to June 9 coupon book) – priced at $4.99 for 40 tortillas (4lb 6 oz). That works out to 7 cents per ounce. The same tortillas sell for $2.99 for 10, or 17 cents per ounce at Fred Meyer.
  • Cottage cheese: A three-pound container of Darigold cottage cheese is priced at $5.99 at Costco. At other local grocery stores, the per pound price on Darigold cottage cheese was nearly double (sold at smaller volumes). However, buying the store brand helped bring the pricing closer.
  • Organic Kirkland honey: Three bottles of Kirkland honey sells for $12.49, or $4.16 per pound.
  • Kirkland mixed nut butter: The Costco exclusive nut butter is peanut free and primarily almond butter. It sells for $4 a pound.


However, some of the items worth skipping at Costco may surprise you.

  • Skip: Some meats – Costco’s chicken breast was priced at $2.99 per pound in mid-May, 2024 – not bad, but you can find better. Fred Meyer often has sales of $1.99 per pound for chicken breast. For the budget sensitive, pay close attention to sales at local grocery stores – that’s the time to stock up.
  • Skip: cases of soda – Costco’s Coke Classic was priced at $15.99 for 35 cans, or 46 cents per can. Fred Meyer and Safeway will both run deep discounts on soda that undersell Costco’s prices. Fred Meyer just ran a sale of $4.99 per 12 pack case on Pepsi and Coke products, which works out to 42 cents per can.
  • Think twice: canned food – The cases of canned goods at Costco often work out more per can than items at the grocery store. For example, if budget is your primary concern, you might want to skip the canned tomatoes. They priced out to $8.89 for eight cans, or $1.11. That’s actually a good deal for an organic item, but if your family doesn’t want to spring for the organic – you can find canned tomatoes for .79 cents a can on sale at other grocery stores.
  • Think twice: Cereal – Costco’s cereal prices are a reliable deal, but you can find grocery chains running steep sales. For example, a recent sale at Fred Meyer priced Honey Nut Cheerios at the same price – 18 cents per ounce, but without the commitment to Costco volumes.
  • Think twice: produce – Per pound, Costco prices on produce are often more expensive than other grocery stores. In May, Costco Covington’s pineapple was $3.99 each, outpricing both Fred Meyer and Winco’s recent deals. Peaches are currently $2.99 per pound – not bad, but you can find $1.99 per pound deals. Bananas were on par with many grocery stores, at 66 cents per pound. Plus, the volumes sold of Costco produce means there’s a bigger risk of your fruits and veggies spoiling before you use all of them.


  • Know your prices: When something your family uses goes on sale, stock up. It might feel unnecessary to buy 10 of something, but do the math – and if your family will be able to use the product before it goes bad, take advantage of the instant coupons.
  • Don’t shop hungry: Studies show people are more susceptible to buying more when you’re hungry, even items that are not food. Hit up the food court and eat that $1.50 hot dog before you shop.
  • Don’t let a good deal bust your budget: When an item is on an instant coupon, it can be tempting to buy it because it seems like a good deal. Set a plan, like an extra $20 to try one new item or unnecessary snack item per Costco trip (if your budget allows it), to keep those impulse purchases in check while still having a little fun.
  • Maximize savings at other grocery stores by using the store app: KIRO7 got insider tips from Fred Meyer on how to make the most of store coupons and sales, which also apply widely to other grocery stores
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