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Advice for a Costco Newbie

doschicosdoschicos 21589 replies226 threads Senior Member
After reading on CC about the great deals on prescription glasses, I bought a Costco membership solely for that purpose. I am going to pick up my new glasses tomorrow. When I went to pick them out, I didn't have time to explore the store so will do so tomorrow.

So, what are some products I should check out? Any tips for a new member? I know a lot of you are big Costco fans.

Some caveats:
I don't live very close to the store so won't be shopping at it very often.
We're empty nesters so don't need/want to buy in bulk really. Maybe I'm not an ideal Costco customer...
We don't eat much processed or frozen food. I cook and bake from scratch mainly.
I don't need electronics. I am in the market for a new vacuum, however.
I'll be doing some entertaining around the holidays but not gobs of guests.

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Replies to: Advice for a Costco Newbie

  • STEMGirl19STEMGirl19 79 replies14 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2018
    Big ticket items such as a vacuum, are what we always buy at costco because of their great return policy. They have some really good appetizers, platters etc if you plan to entertain. Great place to buy milk, eggs, because those are in small enough portions for smaller households. We buy all our prescription glasses there - if you have any issues at all, simply go back to see them - excellent customer service.
    edited December 2018
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  • somemomsomemom 10881 replies325 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    According to my two year old grandson, look for the SAMPLES! He loves their food snacks ;)

    Butter, 1/2&1/2, dog food, cheese, meat (better quality for similar price as store), bakery, produce, kitchen doo-dads (watch for the monthly coupons); we love the 32 degree shirts (currently on sale); socks, jackets; photo lab has the best canvases of all the ones I've tried; rice; chicken stock; spices; coffee; pharmacy including shot; sheets; mattress pads; pillows.
    edited December 2018
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 1991 replies72 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    Get on their mailing list so you'll receive their discount coupons on a regular basis. Since you don't live near a store, that'd be a good way to visit only during their discount coupon period and shop all your needs then. You can also do online shopping with free shipping.

    During the Black Friday sales, I purchased an LG 55" Oled 4K TV, which came with 2-year warranty by purchasing at Costco, then they added another 2 years of warranty just for using their Costco Citi Visa Card, then if you purchase an extended warranty service at $99 along with a TV, they instantly discount $100, so I got 7 years of warranty basically for free. Sam's Club, just to give you a perspective, sells the exact same TV at exact same price but no additional warranty other than the LG's.

    I get approximately $350 in reward money back from Sam's Club and about $100 back from Costco at end of each year, so they pay for the memberships and more. The reason why I get more reward money back from Sam's is because that's where I purchase the gas for my cars since they give you 5% as opposed to Costco's 4%.

    One thing I DON'T do at Costco is purchasing anything that's contracted with the third-parties. For example, I don't purchase cars, travels, blinds, etc. I can do much better purchasing any of these without going through Costco.

    Of course, their return policy is fantastic. I just returned an ARC-abled Yamaha receiver. No questions asked except "anything's wrong with it?"

    edited December 2018
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  • oregon101oregon101 5557 replies136 threads Senior Member
    Take a cooler with you. Their organic grass fed ground beef is delicious. Also, USDA prime rib eye or New York Strip. We freeze steaks per meal. Their prawns and scallops are both fabulous abnd we separate into 1 lb. packages and freeze. Otherwise mailnly veggies, grapes, and their berries have been great all year. On the vine tomatoes are the best we can buy. Raviolis which we freeze. We have figured out that even if we toss parts of a package the price and quantity are worth it.
    We buy very little else on a regular basis.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1681 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    Fill your gas tank tomorrow at costco :))
    Organic fresh fruits: blueberries, apples, bananas, dates
    Organic chickens, eggs, milk, coffee beans
    We really like the feta cheese (Dodoni brand)
    Our store carries avocado oil and evoo in glass bottles
    Sunday will generally have a large crowd so be patient.
    Tire replacement and free rotation/6000 miles are great deals at Costco.
    Happy shopping.
    edited December 2018
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14921 replies1010 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    PUMPKIN PIE!!! Huge pie for $5.99.

    Jumbo Steamed Hot Dog and a large refillable soda for $1.50 at the snack bar.

    I am not a fan of their pizza though.
    edited December 2018
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1681 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Organic dried mango, with no added sugar. I am addicted to it.
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  • rockymtnhigh2rockymtnhigh2 300 replies3 threads Member
    edited December 2018
    Fish frozen individually, frozen Japanese food in individual packages, cheeses, liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner, tv's, sound bar for tv, hearing aides, veggies, samples and then buy the product. We also live a couple hours away so unable to take advantage of their appliances, but we do get our glasses and contacts there. Wines. YES, BRING A COOLER for what ever strikes you. It might even be the ice cream you sampled.
    edited December 2018
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  • great lakes momgreat lakes mom 3011 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Being single, I really don't need the bulk items. Sadly, as the prices can be great. Can be, as we have a fantastic local supermarket chain whose prices for some things are better. But, I buy toilet paper, dishwasher pods, and the organic olive oil is said to be one of the cheaper and better ones on the market. The Himalayan sea salt grinder is great. My son in law made their prime rib last Christmas and it was fantastic. I sometimes buy fish, and the individually wrapped chicken breasts are very good, as well as frozen ravioli. Clothing is often a very good deal.

    I keep my membership for the car rental rates, essentially. Two drivers are allowed, and the prices often are the best for any given trip.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23416 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I've recently been using Costco Travel (online) for rental cars and I compare the hotel rates. You register online with your membership number.

    At the store, the things we always seem to get are french bread, lox, roasted chicken ($5), chicken pot pie, potstickers, butter, salt/pepper in the grinders, case of canned tomatoes, 8 pack tuna, Eos eggs (for lips), Dubliners cheese.

    We really like the soup in the deli case (tomato, potato, lobster bisque). Well, we love most of the stuff in the deli aisles.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3990 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Costco is variable according to location too. Google the one you are heading too for details from google reviews. My local one is hipster and very organic, few clothes, lots of wine, sells single milks (new one to me). People go shopping in there without carts LOL.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6347 replies114 threads Senior Member
    A few tips...
    Be aware that the sizes of many items are much bigger than they appear in the store. That 32 oz. jar of mayonnaise will look petite next to the 128 oz. tub but once you get it home you'll realize your mistake. Likewise the 10 lb. bag of kiwis.

    Look for items that will hold sold as a grouping of small sizes, for instance a 6 pack of cans of tuna or a 3-pack of toothpaste. I do like to buy the paper items in bulk because it's not that hard to go through a 12 pack of paper towels or a 24 pack or TP. Likewise AAA batteries.

    Costco has some nice and inexpensive flowers and plants similar to or better than Trader Joe's pricing.

    Look around and see what strikes you. The quality of many items is surprisingly good. Luggage and salmon come to mind.
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  • snowballsnowball 2730 replies245 threads Senior Member
    While it is just my husband and I, I still buy toilet paper and paper towels when they are on sale. We buy plenty of fresh foods as well as crackers, and olive oil. The pharmacy area has many good buys; Costco brand Rogaine and Metamucil for my husband, and if you tell him I shared that information I will deny it! :)) Some items like batteries and office supplies are only purchased every so often.

    Walk around and see what fits your needs as you will absolutely find items you want or need, as well as many you never knew you needed! It will take time to walk the entire store, but should be worth your time.
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  • BelmontVABelmontVA 52 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Belgian/Swiss chocolate boxes for the holiday season. They are stocked seasonally only so just Q4.
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  • yourmommayourmomma 1323 replies1 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    Wine.
    King crab legs (for the holidays, usually New Years)
    Paper products
    Nuts, trail mix and other non perishable foods
    Flower baskets in the spring
    And I always stop at the cafe for a hot dog, soda, and frozen yogurt.
    edited December 2018
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  • doschicosdoschicos 21589 replies226 threads Senior Member
    No gas station at this Costco. :(
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  • youceeyoucee 1312 replies0 threads Senior Member
    We like some of their seasoned meats such as Santa Maria-style Tri-tip, pollo asada, and carne asada, but those are regional things so YMMV. Local craft beers can also have good prices. Coffee, milk, and eggs are good prices. We've found very good deals with Costco Travel and they were excellent in helping us get full refunds when we had a weather related cancellation. Sometimes electronics are a good deal and sometimes not. They are great with returns though, so factor that in for some purchases.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14921 replies1010 threads Senior Member
    Regarding fresh food: It depends on the size of your household. Some things look appetizing but with just the two of us we don't buy them. Their stuffed peppers look great but you have to buy 8.

    A few years ago I bought a desktop computer there for a good price. A few weeks later I was back and went down the computer aisle and noticed that it was on sale for $50 less. On the way out I stopped at the customer service desk and mentioned it to the clerk. I did not have the receipt with me of course. She took my card, looked up the purchase in her system, verified the sale price, had a supervisor approve the refund. 10 minutes later I was walking out with a $53 credit on my AmEx card!
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  • BelmontVABelmontVA 52 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Anyone know from whom Costco gasoline is sourced?
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