Costco is certainly a magical fairytale when it comes to successful grocery shopping, given that their prices (and food) are almost incomparable to some of those other larger supermarket brands. There are tons of Costco shopping tips that can help save you money, and we just found another that you're going to love: Buy your cakes at Costco.
It's as simple as that, given that Costco's cake prices are significantly cheaper compared to brands like Walmart and BJ's. Turns out, you can actually buy a half-sheet cake at Costco for $18.99, which can serve up to 48 people per cake! This is cheap already, but it's even cheaper when you look at the prices for other brands. At Walmart and BJ's, you can the same amount of cake for $25, or half the amount for around $17. That's right—a quarter-sheet cake will cost you almost the same as a half-sheet cake at Costco, and even more if you want to feed the same amount of people. Don't miss these other Costco secrets employees won't tell you.
RELATED: Kirkland items you should always buy
10 Kirkland items you should always buy at Costco
10 Kirkland items you should always buy at Costco
Health experts can’t stop raving about the benefits of nuts, but man, are they expensive—and Costco agrees. The warehouse store reportedly stopped selling other brands almost entirely when they couldn’t justify how high their prices had gotten. Now you can get a massive three-pound bag of Kirkland Signature almonds for just $13, which isn’t much more than you’d normally pay for a Blue Diamond bag almost half its size. Stock up on these other 15 foods nutritionists always buy at Costco.
When Consumer Reports put different bacon brands to the test several years ago, Kirkland Signature soared above the rest, thanks to its crispy texture and smoky-sweet flavor—which is even more impressive considering its low price. Make room in the freezer, because this bulk buy is no joke: Four pounds for $13.69. Plus, learn the secrets behind Costco’s famous $4.99 rotisserie chicken.
Across the board, Costco’s value-sized bottles of booze get rave reviews. Its vodka in particular has garnered a cult following, with rumors swirling that it shares the same water source as Grey Goose. The luxury vodka brand denies those claims, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing—the cheap Kirkland version actually outshines Grey Goose in taste tests. Just $25 for 1.75 liters of high-quality liquor? Can’t beat that.
No matter how tasty they are, it can be hard to justify the price of pistachios—unless you’re at Costco. At face value, a $15 bag seems like a lot, but you’ll change your mind when you see the three-pound package you get. For comparison, a two-pound bag of Wonderful pistachios costs $13 on Amazon. Really, you can’t go wrong with any Kirkland nuts, so stock up on walnuts and mixed nuts too.
Kirkland’s food wrap gets high marks for its durability, so the low price is just the icing on the cake. Paying less than $10 for two 750-square-foot rolls, you won’t need to stock up on plastic wrap again for a long time. You should also always stock up if you see this symbol on a Costco price tag.
With more protein and fiber than white rice, quinoa has unsurprisingly gone from food fad to kitchen staple. Unfortunately, that hasn’t convinced most companies to lower their prices. At Target, you’ll get three pounds for $12 (not bad), but Costco offers 4.5 pounds for $9. It’s still not as cheap as rice, but it’s definitely a healthier option.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A 2010 report found that most EVOO on U.S. store shelves wasn’t extra virgin like their labels claimed. One notable exception: Kirkland’s organic version. So not only are you paying less per serving than you would at the supermarket, but you can guarantee good quality. How’s that for a solid deal?
If you think everything tastes better when covered in cheese, Costco is the place to be. From goat cheese and Brie to Parmesan and Pecorino Romano, its cheeses are cheesemonger-quality with warehouse prices. The value-sized hunks of cheese might be excessive for a dinner for two, but Kirkland should be your go-to if you’re planning a party. Just steer clear of these things you should never buy at Costco.
When you have an infant in tow, the last thing you want to worry about is overpriced baby formula. The FDA has strict nutrition requirements for baby formula, and Costco’s version is no exception. The non-GMO Kirkland baby formula’s ingredient list is nearly identical to Similac Advance’s, but it costs about half as much per ounce. Make sure you know these 15 secrets Costco employees won’t tell you.
The Costco sheet cake can come with nearly 30 designs, along with a selection of seasonal ones. You can keep it classic with balloons and roses, or order something a bit more festive. Looking for a dinosaur, race car, or a party owl for that Harry Potter lover? There's a cake for that. You can either order a vanilla sheet cake filled with a vanilla cheesecake mousse topped with white buttercream, or a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and chocolate buttercream.
Walmart, however, does have a few more selections when it comes to the cake flavors, but the filling choices are limited. They offer five flavors (white, chocolate, yellow, marble, and Tres Leches) and even give an option for you to suggest a different flavor. For filling, they offer strawberry or Bavarian.
So for a cheaper price, and potentially a better cake all around, Costco seems like your best stop. They are a much better deal for a birthday cake.
A runny nose deserves some quality tissue, but you may not find that at Costco. Consumer Reports found that the Kirkland Signature facial tissue, at $1.23, has so-so strength, ranking in the middle of their pack of facial tissue ratings.
For the same price, you can get Puffs Basic, which has a dream combo of "superb softness with very good strength."
Dogs may be worth every penny you spend, but know there are a lot of pennies involved — theminimum annual cost of owning a dog is $1,001 and can be as high as $1,448. If you buy your pup's food at Costco, it may be even higher.
The Krazy Coupon Lady switched from Kirkland Signature Nature's Domain dry dog food to Diamond Naturals dry dog food when she realized that Costco sold the former at $0.97 per pound and Amazon sold the latter for $0.82 per pound. That saves you both 15% and the hassle of lugging a 40-pound bag of dog food on a flat bed Costco cart.
No one does pasta like Italy, but sometimes purchasing it from the store will have to make do — just make sure it's not from Costco.
Blogger The Many Little Joys has had better experience stocking up on pasta when it's on sale at the normal grocery store than when buying it at Costco. "I usually only pay $0.50 to $1 per pound for pasta, which Costco can't beat," she writes.
While you're tending to personal care, don't neglect caring for your wallet. Whether lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, conditioner, or the like is on your shopping list, Costco may not be your best bet to check those items off.
"If you are a coupon and deal shopper, supermarkets and drugstores feature these types of items with coupons frequently, so you can stock up on multiple quantities of smaller sizes for pennies," Stephanie Nelson, founder of The Coupon Mom, told Bankrate.
If you don't believe her, consider The Krazy Coupon Lady's incredible find: a deal where razors were $0.99 each at Target, compared to $1.43 at Costco.
Sleep well at night knowing you didn't overspend on your sheets at Costco.
According to Kyle James of Rather-Be-Shopping, shoppers can typically save 30% to 40% more by purchasing bed sheets, comforters, and towels at off-price retail chains such as TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls. Sales and coupons for department stores, such as JCPenney and Macy's, can also be the ticket to a better deal.
Canned goods have a long shelf life, but their price at Costco isn't as promising. Teri Gault, founder of TheGroceryGame.com, tells Kiplinger that you can score better deals on canned goods when they're on sale at the supermarket — expect them to be 20% to 40% less per unit.
The Many Little Joys points out that buying generic brand canned goods is your best bet when saving pennies — even better when they're on sale, too.
Name brand cereal
Bargain hunters alike agree that America's favorite sugar morning fix is better bought on sale at the grocery store. A two-pack of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal can cost $7.99 at Costco, but with the right coupons, you can bring this price way down elsewhere.
"Don't let the bigger boxes at Costco fool you," writes James. "They're almost always more expensive per serving than what you can find at the cheapest grocery store in your town."
Author and frugal living expert Jeff Yeager told Kiplinger that you can always find soda on sale for less than you'd spend at a place like Costco.
A $7 to $8 24-pack at the wholesaler can run a hole in your wallet twice as big as paying for two discounted 12-packs at the grocery store — Coke products go on sale every other week for $2 to $2.50 per 12-pack.
Black printer ink
Don't let the large size of the packaging of printer ink at Costco trick you, warns The Krazy Coupon Lady.
Amazon actually sells the same ink, only cheaper — it's just $22.04 per cartridge compared to Costco's $29.50 per cartridge. Bonus: it comes without the giant packaging.
Feminine hygiene products
Women's periods cost more than just painful cramps — they also cost a good chunk of their paycheck. The Huffington Post revealed that the average woman spends $1,773.33 on tampons throughout her lifetime. Ouch.
That number is high enough without overspending at Costco, where prices for feminine hygiene products are almost 50% more than the base sale price at other stores.
And that doesn't exclude online retailers — Amazon has a history of selling pantyliners for a couple dollars cheaper than those at Costco. You can also snag a lower price buying from drugstores with printable coupons.
Housekeeping demands can get expensive. Save the dollar signs for home maintenance instead by cutting costs on household cleaners.
Costco's household cleaner prices are almost 50% more than the bottom line deal at other stores, says The Krazy Coupon Lady. "The smaller the quantity of an item, the larger the savings when using store sales and coupons," she writes.
The blogger behind Root of Good compared the price of a 16-ounce jar of generic peanut butter among five grocery stores — Aldi ($1.08), Walmart ($1.16), Target ($1.20), Costco ($1.67), and Trader Joe's ($1.99).
Notably, Costco is the fourth most expensive on the list. You'd be nuts to pay for that price.