(Updated List!) Items I would NEVER buy at Costco…

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This is a photo series of items I’d NEVER shell out money for at Costco.  I’ll be doing several of these as well as posts on what I WOULD buy at Costco.  Most of the items I list today I’d never buy at Costco, because we can almost always get them FREE or even as Money Makers.  How? By using coupons and waiting for a sale.  If you follow blogs like this one you will realize that it’s not that hard. It’s a matter of having the right coupon + the right sale = the perfect storm (in a good way!)  :)

Here are a few other popular Costco posts here on The Frugal Find…

  1. (Updated List!) Items I WILL buy at Costco…
  2. How to find Clearance items at Costco
  3. Why we bought a Costco membership…
  4. You can shop at Costco WITHOUT a membership!

$4.25 per box of cereal – Ouch! I’d pay up to $1.50 for Frosted Mini Wheats max.

We see deals on feminine products on a regular basis, often times even FREE!

Here is a 5ct package of Degree Deodorant for $13.49 or $2.69 each.  This isn’t a deal at all, almost on a weekly basis you can get deodorant anywhere from free to $0.99 each. I’m telling you, those coupons come in handy !!

I’d expect to be PAID to take anymore toothpaste home, let alone pay over $2 per tube! Seriously, you can get brand name toothpaste for FREE more often than not. Again, coupons + sales is the answer to this one :)

My mouth dropped when I saw the price over these razors, did yours?  Yes it’s true, sadly people still pay for these things. (Did I already mention the coupons?)  ;)

Here’s one last item that we can get on sale, as low as $0.99 for a smaller bottle on a regular basis.


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  1. Joan Smith via Facebook says:

    how’s the price of string cheese?

  2. “My mouth dropped when I saw the price over these razors, did yours? Yes it’s true, sadly people still pay for these things.” So what are you saying?? Are you telling us that we should steal these things rather than pay for them? You’re picking on Gillette and the nerve that they have to sell a razor cartridge for about $3.30 each. I agree with you that it’s ridiculous, but what does this have to do with Costco?

    • Faris, razors are available free or nearly free all the time as samples and with coupons and sales – that’s what she meant by “Yes it’s true, sadly people still pay for these things.” We definitely don’t advocate stealing or being dishonest.

      • Finding Deals says:

        I don’t know where you find fusion razors free or nearly free. I sure don’t get coupons like that. I will have to ask. where do you find coupons with that kind of a discount? I check my newspapers a lot, but they don’t have those coupons. Are they online or where?

  3. you find the saving in quantity, and the size of boxes, compared to the grocery stores, It does save money, and saves added trips to the grocery store.

  4. You may be able to take advantage of promotions, beating them at their own game, but I bet most of the prices are cheaper than you would find at a regular retailer or online. The standard should be to get the item as close to the wholesale cost, and to have quality items available that I want, not just what the merchant or the manufacturer wants to sell me. I haven’t bought at Costco in years as I am a BJ’s member, but my impression is their prices are good on most items, probably slightly better than BJ’s. Sam’s Club seems to also be slightly less than BJ’s, but has the problem that they don’t want to compete with or undercut Walmart. I am a BJ’s customer because their stores are more convenient (to the point of saturation) than Costco or Sam’s, and gas is expensive. BJ’s also has more customer-friendly sizes; often they take two supermarket-size bottles and shrink wrap them together, so the secret is they aren’t really a wholesale club, but a retailer that looks like a wholesale club and has membership. I’ve gone into Costco by going into the liquor store then out into the store.

  5. You do realize you should be looking at the ounces on the cereal, not the number of bags. I doubt your local grocer carries 35 oz. boxes of Mini wheats let alone sells them for $1.50. 2 bags does not equal 2 boxes.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just bought an 18 oz. box of those mini wheats on sale for $1.99 a box at the local grocery store and if I bought 4 boxes that would be 72 oz for a total of $8.00 compared to the 70 oz. for $8.99 at Costco. So basically you are paying extra to buy in bulk if that’s what you’re after.

      • Anonymous says:

        However, Costco periodically has coupons on their cereal. The most recent coupon book shows $2 off for these Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats. So with the coupon, Costco still comes out cheaper than the sale at the local grocery store. The good thing about the coupons at Costco is that they automatically deduct at the register, so you don’t have to spend additional money buying newspapers for the coupons or spend additional time clipping and organizing coupons.

  6. Are you saying you are able to get the SAME brands for those low prices/ free that you are mentioning? Because I had been under the impression that for a Pantene of that size, Colgate of that size, etc those are pretty decent deals. I would not want to use generic brands; I want to use Colgate, Always, and Pantene… Where are you shopping to get these brands so freaking cheap because I guess I’ve been shopping at the wrong places?

  7. wow!! you have some harsh readers! ’cause i too thought those were ridiculous prices and i agreed with you on each statement. i get pantene free-.99 at walgreens/drugstores… shavers at target/walgreens/cvs/rite-aid … colgate at walgreens/drugstores/sometimes target … deodorant at walmart/walgreens/target… you just need to know when and where to shop and often times these things are MUCH cheaper… if not free.

    • Jennie, these aren’t our readers – most likely they’ve come via a google search for Costco. Our readers are the sweetest ever, like you! :)

      • Your website, and your “readers” as you say, are on that next level of savings and being frugal so I don’t think it is quite fair to compare this level of savings with standard shopping at Costco. To compare Costco’s prices with something that is free because you spend an inordinate amount of time researching coupons is like comparing apples and oranges. Some things just aren’t worth buying at Costco, but on average it is good for those items you may wish to buy in bulk; albeit without entering the “extreme frugal zone”.

        • Greg46815 says:

          It doesn’t take hours to use coupons to save. I spend about 30-35 minutes a week cutting out and organizing my coupons, and another 20-30 minutes matching coupons to sale items at my favorite stores. I consistently save 25-40% and often save 60-75%. So for a total of 1 hour per week, I save anywhere from $5-$50. It averages out to more than $20 an hour, and I stretch my dollars to afford things I normally wouldn’t buy.

          If you think 30 minutes is an inordinate amount of time, then you must consider your time to valuable to spend time writing on sites like this. ~wink~

          • You are correct that I consider my time “too” valuable writing on these types of sites and for clipping coupons, although my wife does some. But I do have a passion for addressing incorrect information, which is probably why I typically need to stay away from political blogs. ~wink~

            I just do not feel that the cereal and deodorant comparisons above are presented fairly, which was also pointed out by others. And it seems is if they were purposely presented in that fashion. Not comparing prices by size or ounces and generally comparing a 35 oz. box with a $1.50 box that is actually only 15 oz. seems a bit misleading. And while you probably can buy deodorant for $0.99 with a coupon, is it the same (Degree Adrenalin) as Costco sales which costs $3.99 at Giant Eagle? Sure, not everything is a good price at Costco (I don’t buy cereal unless it is on sale at $5.99), but I just didn’t understand why the site needed to make comparisons in this fashion.

  8. i should also add… you may need to use coupons or take advantage of store promos on those items, but they’re still close to free!

  9. Thanks for this article! I have been wondering to myself what really is a good buy at Costco and I absolutely agree with everything on this list.

    To the other readers above – when she is talking about getting things for free/almost free/very cheap, she is referring to the SAME products!! I regularly get full-size (not Costco size, but regular ones you get at the store) Colgate, Always, Pantene, etc. for less than $1 which is still WAY cheaper than Costco’s price.

  10. Thanks for this post! We just bought our first Costco membership 4 days ago. I too was very pleased wih most prices but something’s I laughed and said “uh nope I KNOW I can get that for free!” Lol! I love the post about Costco clearance too. I was looking for a “section” when I was there.

  11. I do like the idea about not necesary has to have a costco membership card, but is the cash card/gift card will be accepted??with out buying a membership, Washington DC just open a brand new store and they are not letting no one come in to shop, with out the membership, :(((

  12. Phyllis Mikula says:

    The canned goods are not cheap. We love the meat. Cheese is a very good deal. The Poise Pads are expensive,wait till the coupon comes out. I think the produce is great. I love the prices on most items. You have to know what prices are before you can get the best deals. We are so fortunate to have a Costco here. I shop every week.Purchase just about everything.Mattress, TV ,vacuum,spices,sheets,rugs. I really love Costco
    .

  13. I would have liked this blog post MORE if you would have been honest about how you get items for free.

    Don’t get snarky about people who “google costco” and find your site. How in Hades do you think people find you in the first place?

    I can agree that some things are priced oddly at Costco, BUT, I think it has more to do with the manufacturer of the goods and what people demand Costco stock rather than Costco price setting policy.

    Again, if you amended your blog post to include that fact that you can only get items for cheap or free by using couponing strategies – well, I think it would make it a better post, more like a real journalist rather than the sensationalist opinews that’s infecting what was formerly journalism.

    • I very much agree with you. As one of those people who came across this blog through the magic of Google, I basically felt attacked for still buying some of these things. My interest in a Coscto membership stems from the ability to buy organic items in bulk where I can’t do that at Sam’s but I’m also not a person that spends the time looking for sales and coupons. Of course, that’s my own decision but coming across this post and reading “”Yes, it’s true. Sadly people still pay for these things” gives the impression that the writer truly wants to say “idiots still spend money on these things”.

      Regardless, I’m still glad I came across this post because it helped open my eyes and remind me to stop and really think about where my money is going but I certainly could’ve done without the snobby remarks.
      Seeing as the last comment was left over 2 months ago…maybe this post should be edited to firstly say “You can get these things for free by couponing” and taking out those remarks; it makes the writer look better. (Insert passive-aggressive smiley face here.)

      • Hi! Thank you for your comments. FYI, this blog post on what NOT to buy was written almost 2 years ago by the previous owner of this blog. Since then, The Frugal Find has changed hands. We now have a weekly post called “Oh yes … It’s FREE!” which showcases what items you can get for free using coupons and supermarket inserts. I apologize if the tone of this post sounded a bit harsh. And thanks for the advice about changing the introduction. I am going to update it so it doesn’t sound so off-putting. And please follow my blog so you can see how to use coupons and save money!
        I post deals AND the coupons that go with them, so saving money (or getting things for free) is easy to do! :)

  14. Lorena Hunter says:

    For the last five years, my daughter has gone to Costco to get a gift card to give to her brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. She is not a member. Today, Costco refused to sell her a gift card. She had $200.00 cash to pay for it. They said, they could sell a gift card, if she wanted to become a member. She said no. They would not sell her a gift card.

  15. Don’t really buy many of the other items, but I would absolutely have to disagree with the bit on feminine products. I only use Always Infinity because it’s the only thing that has ever really worked with my endometriosis, and I’ve never been able to get it cheaper than at Costco. They usually have coupons every other little coupon booklet, leaving the price around 14 cents a pad and around 19 cents without a coupon. Granted, definitely more expensive than regular pads, but with the average price being around 26 cents a pad, I’m paying about $6.50 less for a pack of 54 with the coupon.

  16. Liz says: June 29, 2013 at 6:46 am You won’t necessarily find them free, but, I do have mfg coupons from fusion razors that are buy one get one 1/2 off (can be the razors and/or the refill cartridges) and if the store has their own sale, then jackpot!

    No one has pointed out that although Liz suggests her way of doing things yields things ‘almost’ free, buying something at full price (even if it is the sale price), and getting a second at half off is really only saving 1/4 on each. If you buy something for $1 and get the second (forcing you to buy the second) at 50 cents, you are paying $1.50 for two, or 75 cents each. That might be a reasonable or even a good sale, but questionable whether it is the “jackpot” if you add in a sale price, and certainly not free or close to it.

    Also, the shopper who wrote thie original post and those defending it seem to suggest that you can get alternate brands or even varieities within the same manufacturer of things like razors or deoderants more inexpensively elsewhere. They don’t seem to address the issue of quality, such as number of blades (which makes the product more expensive) or a certain variety of Degree as opposed to another, which for whatever reason costs more everywhere. Buying store name razors or deoderant is not necessarily equivalent to buying the equivalent name brand. It might be, but it might not be equivalent.

    Just as when you go to the supermarket, or anything else, you must know your prices.

    • Hi, Raga! Thank you for you comments. You make some valid points. One thing I want to point out is that there are certain items that regularly go on sale in supermarkets or drugstores, and many times you will find coupons that you can use on these sale items that will make your item free. The most common products we see is toothpaste, toothbrushes, makeup, shampoo, etc. And the brands are well-known ones like Colgate, Crest, Pantene, etc. I publish a weekly post called Oh Yes … It’s Free! and there you will find the complete list of what you can find for free every week. I hope you find this information useful :)

Trackbacks

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