Where to Find the Best Bang for Your Buck at Costco
Costco has a reputation for offering quality products at low prices but there are some departments that offer better deals than others. Costco is able to offer low prices because it marks up its products an average of 13 percent, providing just enough profit to cover its operating costs. Of course, you have to pay a $50 membership fee to get those deals but it’s those fees that allow Costco to keep its prices low, since they account for nearly all its net income in any given year.
But, as I outlined in a previous blog, that $50 membership fee doesn’t buy you bargains in every department but it does give you access to some truly great deals. Here are a few categories where you can find the best bargains at Costco.
Costco’s milk and butter selection is limited – it basically sells its Kirkland private label brand and a few others – but these are high quality products at a low price.
Its 4 pound package of butter sells for $9.49 (about $2.38 a pound) and a two gallon package of no-fat milk sell for $4.49 (about $2.25 a gallon). Compare that to Trader Joe’s, which sells its store brand butter for $2.99 a pound and its store brand milk for $2.99 a gallon.
Most over-the-counter medications at Costco offer good deals but vitamins are probably the best. A bottle of Centrum Silver (250-count), sells for $18.99 at Costco. Walgreens sells a smaller bottle (220-count) for a higher price at $20.49. That means you get 30 extra vitamins at Costco and spend $1.50 less.
A little known fact about Costco is that it’s the largest wine retailer in the United States and carries a huge selection. Costco’s wine prices are low across the board but the big savings are on pricier wines. You can buy a bottle of 2007 Lail J. Daniel Cuvee for $69.97. Look for the same bottle on winesearcher.com and the best price you’ll find is $99.97. Even low-priced wines are a bargain. A bottle of 2007 Turnbill Cabernet sells for $29.99 at Costco compared to $41.99 at Buy.com
If there’s any product category that makes sense to buy in bulk, its diapers and Costco can save new parents lots of money.
You can buy a 258-count package of Huggies Diapers (for 12 to 18 pound babies) for just $39.99 compared to $49.99 on Amazon.com. An even better deal is its Kirkland brand diapers. Costco sells a 216-count package (for babies up to 15 pounds) for just $25.99.
Prescription drugs aren’t top of mind when you think about Costco but their prices are among the best – if not the best – in the industry. And another perk is that you don’t have to be a member of Costco to buy prescriptions online (at least in most states) which saves you that pesky $50 membership fee.
A good example is a 100-count bottle of the blood pressure medicine Lisinopril (20mgs), which sells for just $10.94 at Costco compared to the best online price of $24.99 at Canada Drug Store.
This just a small sampling of the best bargains at Costco but there are plenty more out there. Feel free to share some of the best buys you found at Costco - or at its competitors Sam’s Club and BJ’s – with our readers.