Read this before you head to the wholesale supermarket famous for its incredible low prices.
Costco carts
Credit: Getty / Mario Tama / Staff

For those with a Costco membership, you know what a difference it can make in your grocery budget. And not to mention the overall efficiency in restocking your pantry and refrigerator. (Hello rotisserie chickens and olive oil!)

But not every item is worth putting into your cart at Costco, or any wholesale club for that matter.

For these five items, traditional grocery, global food stores, or even farmers markets will provide you with a better deal than Costco. 


Sure, those pallets of Pink Lady apples look appealing. But fresh fruits and veggies aren't the smartest purchase at Costco.

Employees themselves share that it has nothing to do with the quality of the items, but more so the sheer quantity. Unless you've got one heck of a piña colada happy hour planned, you're probably not going to get through a bulk order of pineapples (or have room in your freezer to store them all). Instead, opt for your local grocery store or farmers market and stick to purchasing what you'll go through within the week. 


The popular bulk wholesaler does stock a variety of dried spices. But similar to fresh produce, you risk a loss in quality before you get the chance to use the entire container.

Spices don't exactly go bad, but they lose their potency (and thus their impact in your dish) over time. How much time? For ground spices, they'll start to get dull after just six months, while whole spices will maintain flavor for about a year. 

Resist the temptation to grab a 16-ounce jar of nutmeg and stick with the McCormick containers at the grocery store or the whole spice aisle at your neighborhood international market.  


If your fridge looks anything like mine, your sauce and condiment shelves are always packed like sardines. So bulk condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise, which may seem like a good deal in terms of price per ounce, aren't a smart addition to your Costco purchase. 

Beyond just not fitting in the door shelf, you're also losing money. Essentially, if you're not getting through the container before it expires—within two months for mayonnaise, for example—you just end up overspending. 


Even if you've upped your baking game these past few years, it probably isn't enough to justify purchasing a 25-pound bag of flour.

All varieties of flour soak up moisture in the air. So, the longer you keep it, the more time it has to attract water—and turn rancid. You can tell this has occurred if it gives off a stale, musky, or sour smell. 

This won't happen for quite some time (all-purpose flour lasts about a year, nut flours a couple of months) and you can extend its lifetime by refrigerating it. But it's still something to keep in mind while perusing the Costco baking aisle.

Avoid wasting money on the commodity and taking up valuable fridge space and stick to the grocery or global store. Alternatively, if you're interested in sourcing freshly milled flour from smaller producers, start here.


This tip comes from YouTuber Flo Lum, an avid Costco shopper and chef. She used to buy her bulk rice alongside other bargain-worthy ingredients but found better deals at Asian markets. 

Consider making a trip to the closest international or global foods store for a better deal on bulk rice, not to mention a wider variety of rice.