Thursday, 21 March 2024

10 Amazing Costco Buys for Under $20

by BD Banks

10 Amazing Costco Buys for Under

Image source: Upsplash/The Motley Fool

Given its $60 annual membership fee, Costco has to have some great deals to make financial sense — and it does. Some of those deals are limited-time sales and promotions. But many of the most amazing Costco buys aren’t sales; they’re everyday essentials.

Specifically, they’re Kirkland Signature essentials. Costco’s house brand is more than just name-brand knock-offs. You can get some truly quality items for a fraction of the usual cost.

There’s a Kirkland Signature version of pretty much anything you need, from foods to paper goods and even liquors. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Nuts

Nuts, eaten in moderation, are a healthy and delicious snack. Unfortunately, they can easily break the budget when you pick them up at the grocery store. Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand has a wide variety of nuts and legumes, all at remarkably good prices.

For example, you can get a 3-pound bag of shelled walnuts for less than $9 (that’s what my old grocery store charged per pound!). Similarly, if you want shelled pistachios, you could pay more than $20 a pound at the grocery store — or about $11 a pound at Costco.

2. Vodka

Vodka is a staple in many home bars thanks to its versatility in drinks and cocktails. But while most of us end up mixing our vodka, that’s no excuse to cheap out. Even great mixers can’t hide the taste of cheap vodka.

The Kirkland Signature French Vodka is a good example that inexpensive doesn’t have to mean cheap. It’s often hailed by shoppers and professionals alike as a great quality vodka, especially for the price: $19.99 at my local warehouse.

3. Coffee

Is making coffee at home going to make you a millionaire? Of course not. Could skipping that $15-a-week drive-thru habit help your savings? Absolutely. That doesn’t mean you need to deal with crappy coffee, however — especially not when you’re shopping at Costco.

You can get a range of different Kirkland Signature coffees, from Colombian to French Roast, pre-ground or as beans. The specific price varies by type, but a 3-pound bag of Colombian Supremo will run you around $19 (or a bit over $6 a pound). Even from the bulk aisle, my local grocer would charge me more than double that!

4. Batteries

Even though most products these days seem to be USB rechargeable, we still manage to go through a shocking number of AA and AAA batteries. Instead of $5 for a pack of four at the big-box store, try buying Kirkland Signature packs in bulk. You can get 48 batteries for $16 (that’s about $0.33 per battery.)

Costco is also a great place to pick up hearing aid batteries. You can get them in packs of 48 for less than $0.20 a battery at most Costco locations. That’s cheaper than you can get in regular stores, or even on Amazon.

5. Facial tissue

As someone currently getting over a cold, this one hits home. The only thing worse than an abrasive tissue? Paying a fortune for them. That’s why we keep Kirkland Signature 3-ply Facial Tissues on hand.

My family tested these against Member’s Mark and Kleenex, and we unanimously agreed the Kirkland Signature tissues were the softest. While much more affordable than the name brand, the Costco tissues are actually a little bit more expensive than the Sam’s Club Member’s Mark 3-ply version. That said, we found them to be worth the extra $0.005 per tissue!

6. Filled pastas

Sure, there are some meals we eat more for convenience than flavor. But I like to mix them both when I can. A yummy filled pasta, an easy sauce, and a quick side, and you can put together a great meal in minutes. You can also do it on a budget when you’re getting your ingredients from Costco.

There are a variety of tasty filled (and layered) Kirkland Signature pastas, all for a very reasonable price. The tortelloni and/or ravioli two-packs get you dinner for less than $10 a meal, or go even heartier with a Kirkland Signature lasagna for about $6 a pound.

7. Party snacks

Feeding a crowd is what bulk buying is made for, and Costco is a great place to shop for party supplies, particularly those of the edible variety. You can get a ton of great Kirkland Signature snacks, from tasty tortilla chips (about half the price of Tostitos) to dips of every persuasion (try the chunky guac!). If you want something a bit more substantial for your guests, grab a charcuterie (less than $8 per pound) or veggie platter (less than $4 per pound) from the deli.

8. Grass-fed butter

The culinary hill I’d die on is that grass-fed butter is better than regular butter (and science actually backs me up on this one). But I’ll admit the price is a bit much for my beloved Kerrygold, even at Costco. You can get what’s probably the next best thing by buying Kirkland Signature grass-fed butter. You’ll save about $2.50 a pound over Kerrygold (from Costco, way more from the grocery store), letting you bake with grass-fed butter guilt free (or at least guilt-lite).

9. Organic free-range eggs

Eggs are versatile and durable, lasting weeks (if not months) in the fridge, so they can be a great staple to buy in bulk. The price of eggs has seen a lot of variation over the last few years, but Costco’s prices have been relatively steady — and affordable.

Costco has a few eggcellent options, but I prefer the Kirkland Signature organic free-range eggs, which run about $8 (or so) per two dozen. That’s about the same price my grocery store charges for regular sad-chickens-in-cages eggs, so I call it a win.

10. Over-the-counter medicines

Whether it’s actually curing me or just masking the symptoms, I’m grateful for my over-the-counter miracles whenever I need them. That gratitude doesn’t mean I want to drain my bank account to keep them in stock, however. Costco is a great place to pick up all kinds of pills, syrups, and sprays designed to help what ails ya. Kirkland Signature Allergy Medicine, for instance, will run you just $0.02 a pill; that’s a huge relief for your wallet (and your sinuses).

America’s favorite house brand

One of the biggest reasons so many folks are such rabid avid Costco fans is that the wholesaler takes its Kirkland Signature products seriously. You can typically expect name-brand quality at better-than-store-brand prices. So, while we only included 10 on this list, you can expect most Kirkland Signature items to be amazing buys.

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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Brittney Myers has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon and Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.