6 Things You Should Never, Ever Buy at Costco

Updated: Jan. 16, 2024

Bigger isn't always better, and some items sell for way cheaper at the supermarket than the warehouse.



Many supermarkets use soda as a so-called loss leader, which is a product that’s sold below cost to draw people into the store,” writes Kiplinger’s. “The presumption is that the loss on the soda sale will be more than made up for by shoppers’ other purchases.” Instead of buying soda in bulk at Costco, buy it in bulk at the grocery store when it’s on sale. Expect deep sales around the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Superbowl Sunday. Additionally, check your local Sunday paper for coupons, and don’t miss any two-for-one deals happening in the store. Better yet? Kick the habit altogether.

Toilet paper


Many Costco shoppers might guess that stocking up on toilet paper is one of the best ways to save money. In fact, you might get a much better deal at your local supermarket or Target. A 45-count package of Cottonelle Ultra sells at Costco for around $28.99, while Reader’s Digest found a 36-count package of Cottonelle Ultra at Target for $16.99. Per roll, that’s a 17-cent savings at Target. Plus, you won’t have to reorganize your entire pantry to accommodate your loot.

Facial tissues


According to Consumer Reports, Costco’s Kirkland Signature facial tissues were just “so-so” compared to other tissues on the market. Their winner? Puffs Basic, which retails for the same price and was ranked higher in both strength and softness. Here’s how bad it is to reuse a tissue.

Brand-name clothing


Just because an item of clothing is made by a recognizable brand doesn’t mean it meets that brand’s typical quality standards. “Beware that whenever you see name brand clothing or shoes at Costco, they are often made specifically for the warehouse club and are of lesser quality,” Kyle James of Rather Be Shopping told the Cheat Sheet. However, many shoppers love Costco’s Kirkland-brand socks and underwear. And with prices like $9.99 for a pack of eight, who could blame them?

Gel dishwashing detergent


Again, Consumer Reports found you can get more bang for your buck elsewhere. “With an overall score of 34, the Kirkland Signature Gel is one of our lowest-rated detergents,” they wrote. “It struggled with dishes, pots and pans, and resistance to water spots.” Instead, they recommend the Kirkland Signature Dishwasher Pacs.

Fruits and veggies


Obviously, many families will struggle to eat 24 apples before they go bad. But another thing to think about is seasonal pricing—supermarkets and fruit stands are more likely to drop prices depending on what’s in season. Bulk stores, however, tend to offer the same prices year round.