The Quick Report

DO NOT Buy These Items at Costco

Stores like Costco can offer fantastic savings on some items by purchasing in bulk. However, you’ll be surprised to learn how many items have short life spans, even nonfood items. Don’t buy these 10 product categories at Costco.

10. Fresh Produce

boxes of raspberries are stacked on top of each other
Photo by Tacoma Jen

Even in small portions from the grocery store, and with proper storage, the expiration date of fruit and vegetables is limited. Therefore, buying in bulk at Costco isn’t a great idea. It only makes sense for large events or if you run a catering service. Otherwise, you won’t realize your savings due to waste.

9. Personal Care Items

bunch of cottons in jar
Photo by Jen Theodore

Like food and medications, many personal care items have expiration dates. Many of those may be a year or less. While they may not spoil like food does, they will lose their potency and effectiveness over time. They will also lose their scent and flavor. You won’t realize your savings buying in bulk as you will only create more waste.

8. Detergent

pink and green plastic container
Photo by engin akyurt

You might be surprised to learn that detergents have a shelf life. While they don’t spoil like food, over time they lose effectiveness. All detergent won’t clean as well as a fresh bottle. Unless you have a large family and do laundry daily, those giant jugs of detergent may break down before you use them.

7. Coffee

coffee beans on table
Photo by Mike Kenneally

Freshness matters when it comes to coffee. It only takes a matter of days for powder coffee to go stale. Even if you buy and grind your own beans, the shelf life is months at best. In actuality, coffee prices between grocery stores and Costco aren’t that far off. You’re not saving as much as you think buying in bulk.

6. Cooking Oil

fried food on black pan
Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary(Monty)

Many people don’t realize cooking oils expire within a few months. While the savings may be attractive, having to buy six quarts of cooking oil is way too much to consume before it spoils. The average family won’t use that much. And once you open the oil – its time is limited. Oil is fat, and fat goes rancid.

5. OTC Medications

woman putting her hand on her lips
Photo by danilo.alvesd

Over-the-counter (OTC) are expensive, even when they are discounted at Costco. While you might get a deal buying large containers or in bulk, medications typically have about a one-year expiration date. That means you may not use it all. You’re better off buying OTC meds as you need them from your pharmacy or grocery store.

4. Flour and Baking Powder

person standing and making dough
Photo by Theme Photos

In many cases, a standard bag of flour from the supermarket expires before the average person uses it all. Same story for baking powder, which is only good for a few months. Both these items are cheap enough at grocery stores that there is no need to buy in bulk and have most of it go to waste.

3. Condiments

person holding hotdog with bun
Photo by Peter Secan

Condiments are an appealing purchase because they can last for years if they remain unopened. But as soon as the protective foil is off, they have about a six-month lifespan. Therefore, unless you run a concession stand, a gallon jug of a condiment will go bad long before you use it all.

Read More: 10 Things Not to Buy at Walmart

2. Spices

brown powder on silver spoon
Photo by Tamanna Rumee

Except for salt, all seasonings and spices have a limited shelf life. They don’t mold or spoil per se, but they will lose their potency. Some whole spices, like peppercorns, can last longer. However, ground herbs fade in about a year. Many people may not deplete small bottles of certain spices within a year, let alone Costco’s giant containers.

Read More: 20 Grocery Store Rip-Offs You Should Never Buy

1. Sodas

clear drinking glass with black liquid and ice cubes

You might be surprised to learn that you can get the best deals on soda at your local grocery stores rather than at Costco. And really, what diehard soda-lover wants to buy and drink generic brand sodas? The only reason to buy soda at Costco is if they have a particular brand you can’t find at your local market.

Read More: 10 Best Things to Buy at Costco