There are countless hidden gems and essentials at Costco that everyone should stock up on. From pantry items to pet supplies, the wholesaler has you covered on discounted items that will have you prepared for anything. But have you ever wondered what not to buy at Costco? 

There is always so much love going around for these wholesalers, but especially lately, with the grocery prices increasing. So what items should you be avoiding as you shop through the aisles? Some of the following items may not be recommended by customers like you, or may not be worth it to purchase at stores like Costco anymore. It always comes down to your personal preferences, but check out these shopping considerations below.

Related: 15 Things Every First-Time Costco Shopper Should Buy

1. Deli Meat

deli meat

Deli meat is one example of what not to buy at Costco due to its price range. Deli meats can be expensive, but ham and turkey often go on sale at your local grocery stores so it’s worth checking there before heading to the wholesaler. 

If Costco does end up having a cheaper deal, it may not be worth buying a ton of product because it has a shorter expiration window in the fridge. However, if you want to stick some in the freezer and save for a later date, this could be a way to avoid any deli meat going to waste. 

2. Fruits and Veggies

While fruits and veggies might be cheaper at Costco, they do expire very quickly, and buying them in bulk might not be worth it, depending on your family’s needs. If you have a big family that loves berries, then buying in bulk might be smart. Plus, you can always freeze the extra for smoothies or baked goods. 

However, some customers have mentioned that they don’t always enjoy the produce at Costco, especially the avocados, as they’re not the highest quality. Be sure to take a closer look at the produce in-store before you decide if it’s a purchase you’ll make at Costco every time. 

3. Books


Books at Costco might be one of the selling reasons you got a membership. You can find some great hidden gems there and small authors. But, they’re only worth it if you are looking for a brand-new book. In this case, they are cheaper than Amazon or other booksellers and can make great gifts or mementos on your bookshelves. 

On the other hand, if you want to save money and support your city, you can opt for thrifted bookstores, lending libraries, or grab a city library card instead. This can offer used books in tons of genres, so depending on your reading interests, this option could replace shopping for Costco books. 

4. Dairy Products

As mentioned previously, it’s hard to get through all your perishable products before they expire. If you’re purchasing dairy products from Costco, it might be a waste of money, especially if you’re throwing away most of it at the end of the week. 

When shopping at this wholesaler, it’s best to stock up on items that can last a long time rather than items with close expiration dates like milk, sour cream, or yogurt. Although, it always comes down to your family size and how much dairy you realistically eat each week.

5. Clothing

Grayers-Men's-Heavyweight-Shirt-1717070-Citrus Heights, CA

You can find a wide array of clothing at Costco, with frequent sales. But sometimes, with low prices comes low quality. When we’re shopping for discounted clothes, we aren’t expecting much. That’s not to say you can’t find the perfect item in a pinch.

Costco customers have complained about the comfortability and selection offered by the clothes in-store, but others don’t have a bad word to say, especially if you’re on a tight budget. It’s a debate that’s ongoing, so just keep in mind that not all Costco clothes are worth the investment — it often comes down to what you need and what is on sale. 

6. Soda

When looking at what not to buy at Costco, another item that comes to mind is soda. Surprisingly, you can get better deals at your local grocery store. Soda is considered a “loss leader” for grocery stores, which means that they’re usually sold at a lower price than what they’re purchased for to supply the store. 

You’ll often see these items on sale throughout the year, especially close to the holidays. If you want to buy soda in bulk, you may not need to head to Costco to achieve the best sale price. It’s all about keeping an eye on the price tags for this one. 

Check out: Is a Costco Membership Worth It? –

7. Personal Care Products


It’s okay to be picky about personal care products (we are too). If Costco has items that you love and bought for years, then keep shopping.

However, keep in mind that new products you have not tried before will come in bulk or large sizes at Costco. As a result, you may want to try out a smaller size or sample before you purchase the whole thing. You can always return the product to Costco if it’s not your favorite, but that does add another errand to your to-do list. 

Also, consider potency when shopping for personal care products. Larger bottles start to lose their efficiency after a while. If you haven’t found your favorite lotion or shampoo at Costco yet, it may be best to purchase smaller containers somewhere else. 

8. Grills

You might not think of grills when you think of Costco, and that’s okay. Costco’s grills are not typically worth the price, as you can find a better quality barbeque at other hardware stores. 

For instance, Costco has an exclusive brand, Urban Islands, with various grills. One is a 5-burner drop-in grill for $1,649.99, which is a bit much for a midsize grill. 

According to Consumer Reports, this grill is mid-range and does not maintain steady heat at high temperatures. You can purchase a classic Weber electric grill on Amazon for $329 which does a much better job. Or, try your hand at the Traeger grills for half the price of an Urban Islands grill.  

9. TVs


Electronics are an investment, so it’s important to find a TV that works well with your budget and screen quality. For TVs, Costco might not be the best choice if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line model. However, if you are okay with mid-range quality, they have excellent prices that are hard to beat. Costco also offers a two-year warranty and a forgiving return policy. 

Be sure to research TV brands and models thoroughly before making your final decision. Customers have said that Costco TVs are “middle-of-the-road quality”, but again, it comes down to your technology preferences. Or, if you’re an Executive Member, you have access to perks like free delivery and installation, which might make this purchase worthwhile. 

10. Be Wary: Spices

Another item customers don’t recommend buying is spices. Unless you cook multiple times a day and use a hefty hand, your bulk purchases will expire before you have the chance to use them up. Most people don’t realize how quickly spices expire. At Costco, they offer 40-ounce spices, but it might be too much per jar to be cost-effective over time. 

Read more: What Are the Main Costco Benefits That Come with a Membership? –

There are several amazing finds at Costco, but these are a few items that you might want to avoid. Whether they’re cheaper at your local grocery store or they’re not up to customer standards, you can decide what would be a better purchase elsewhere. Our goal is to give guidance on the best products and sales Costco has to offer, but of course, it always comes down to you: the customer. 

To stay in the know of the latest deals and sales at Costco, keep checking back to Costco97. And to keep track of the hidden .97 deals at your local Costco, head to our database to find secret savings near you.