Costco’s warehouse is overwhelming, to say the least. With an average of 146,000 square feet of household essentials, furniture, groceries, and business supplies, you can get lost in there. So what should a first-time Costco shopper look to purchase first? 

We looked to some of the most popular items as well as Costco-exclusive items to help you find some of the best Costco finds for those new to the retailer. And to keep track of new finds along your new Costco journey, keep checking back here for everything there is to know about ways to save. 

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Related: Costco vs. Sam’s Club: Which Wholesaler Is Best?

15. Tires

Costco Tire Sale, tire center air pressure tire vehicle
Deposit Photos

Never stress about tires again. This is the perfect opportunity to swap out your tires for the new season or year for a first-time Costco shopper. Not only do you get amazing savings on name-brand tires compared to other retailers, but you also get free installation when you go through Costco’s tire center.

You can find a set of four tires for around $780 at Costco, while other retailers have the same set for closer to $820. Check out our in-depth post on tire sales for everything there is to know about Costco’s tire center. 

14. Bakery Items


Some of the best items to grab at Costco for the first time are in the bakery section. From their cinnamon pull-apart rolls to their peanut butter chocolate cake, Costco’s bakery section is elite and very popular among its customers. 

This high-quality wholesaler makes some of the most decadent bakes that are perfect for breakfast and dessert alike. 

13. Authentic Italian Ingredients 

GoGo Quinoa Organic Macaroni Pasta - 1048347

Costco is the perfect place if you want to try some authentic Italian ingredients at an affordable rate. This includes their extra virgin olive oil from Italy, organic pasta, pesto, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

If you want to experience true Italian cuisine for your next dinner, you don’t have to try and find an authentic store near you, just head to the nearest Costco. Without hopping on a plane, you can access the authentic ingredients to make caprese salads, pizzas, or even a true marinara sauce.

12. Cheeses


Speaking of Parmigiano Reggiano, Costco is the one-stop shop for cheeses, the perfect store for charcuterie boards. If you need sliced meats and cheeses that will inspire and wow guests, then head over to this wholesaler.

You can grab their snacking cubed cheddar cheese, a block of gruyere, or imported French Brie. Stock up on your favorites thanks to their affordable prices. Even shredded parmesan is more affordable at Costco, with a 4.5-pound container being $26.99, which would cost a little over $33 at other retailers. 

Read More: Is There a Costco Guest Pass?

11. Kirkland Signature Products

Kirkland Signature Diapers Kimberly-Clark Corp., Costco First-Time Costco Shoppers

Kirkland Signature is Costco’s private label. While Costco also sells name-brand products, a large chunk of its stock comes from Kirkland Signature.

Thankfully, Kirkland Signature has a wide range of products. You can purchase everything from clothes to dog food to cleaning supplies to snacks. But don’t worry — Costco pays close attention to their private label so they can ensure customers are getting the highest quality products without paying extra. For example, you can purchase premium half-gallon vanilla ice cream for only $12.99, but for most other retailers, it would cost nearly $18. 

10. Frozen Food

First-Time Costco Shoppers Three Berry Blend Townsend Farms Kirkland Signature, Costco

Costco is all about bulk purchases with great savings, and there’s nothing like stocking up on products other than frozen food.

Their frozen berries are a favorite for long-time Costco shoppers and a must for first-time customers, but you can also grab some of the pre-made frozen meals to feed your family on busy weeknights. 

9. Rotisserie Chicken

Deposit Photos, First-Time Costco Shoppers, Rotisserie Chicken
Deposit Photos

Rotisserie chicken is one of the best items to get for first-time Costco shoppers and is one thing that will have you going back every week. Not only does this help you with dinner so you can avoid cooking the protein, but it’s an amazing snack.

The famous bird has been $4.99 since it first arrived at the store in 1994 and will stay that price despite inflation. Customers say that if you hear a bell near the deli, that means a fresh batch is ready to go. 

8. Discounted Gift Cards

Deposit Photos, First-Time Costco Shoppers, Gift Cards
Deposit Photos

Not only does Costco have discounted rates on services and groceries, but you can get amazing deals with gift cards. And you don’t have to give these cards away! Save up on your next outing to a restaurant, or save on games with these discounted gift cards.

Some of the current discounts include $79.99 for a $100 E-Gift card at Fogo de Chao and Nutrisystem. Or the Universal Studios Season Pass for $169, which is normally over $200. Check here to see which gift cards will work for you! 

Check Out: Does Costco Take Cash? Here’s Why It Might Be Worth Asking

7. Protein


The biggest expense with every grocery run is the protein. Whether animal or plant-based, protein is a necessity for every meal to keep your family satisfied and full. If you want to use your Costco membership fully, bulk-purchasing your protein is the way to go.

You can save quickly a big chunk of change, and time, by purchasing your protein at this wholesaler that will last you weeks. 

6. Pantry Snacks


Pantry items are perfect for bigger families or snackers. Don’t let the busy day prevent you from getting the nutrients you need.

Costco pantry snacks can be found in a large section and have anything from granola and protein bars to chocolate. They’re perfect to bring on the go or satiate your next mid-afternoon craving. 

5. Baking Supplies


Like authentic Italian products, Costco has a slue of high-quality baking supplies that you can buy in bulk. Home bakers never have to worry about running out of flour or paying extra for last-minute ingredients. If you enjoy dishing out some of your newest bakes every weekend, their baking supplies are a must for any first-time Costco shopper

4. Cleaning Supplies


Cleaning supplies might not be used every day, but they are crucial to keep around the house — just in case.

Don’t wait to stock up on more cleaning supplies for spring cleaning. Head to Costco and grab the necessities without breaking the bank. For example, a 32-ounce bottle of Clorox with a refill bottle is only $19.19. This is a great deal compared to other retailers that charge the same price for only the refill bottle. 

Also Read: Top Costco Baby Items for Families with Newborns

3. Over-the-Counter Medicine

Costco Pharmacy, credit Depositphotos
Deposit Photos

Like the tire center, Costco has a Pharmacy that can help in a pinch. You can get check-ups and prescription medication, but stocking up on over-the-counter medication is a lifesaver. And compared to other retailers like Walmart or CVS, you can save big. 

2. Costco Hot Dogs

Deposit Photos, First-Time Costco Shoppers, Hot Dog
Deposit Photos

The food courts at Costco are incredibly well-known thanks to their famous hot dogs. You can purchase a hot dog and soda for only $1.50. The price has stayed the same since it was first introduced in 1984.

This is one of the best purchases after a long day shopping at this wholesaler. The quarter-pound hot dog has gained a cult following, and in 2018 Costco shared that they sell an average of 135 million hot dogs a year. 

1. Gasoline

First-Time Costco Shoppers Costco Tire Sale, costco gasoline vehicles car tires
Deposit Photos

That’s right. For a first-time Costco shopper, you should look outside the warehouse. Costco gas is incredibly low compared to other gas stations like Cenex, Kwik Trip, or Casey’s.

And for those lucky enough to live next to a gas station and car wash, you’re in for a treat. 

Read More: How Much Is a Costco Membership?

Have more recommendations for first-time customers? Drop some of your best finds in the comments to help your fellow shoppers become savvy savers!

Don’t forget to keep checking back at Costco97’s blog to stay in the know with the latest finds, deals, and specials. And don’t forget to keep an eye open for those elusive .97 deals and other hidden price tag deals.