I’ve wasted money at Costco 3 times – and why I won’t make that mistake again

A woman loading groceries into a car looks carefully at her bill.

Image source: Getty Images

At least I can learn from my mistakes.

Key points

  • Shopping at Costco usually saves me money.
  • Sometimes I missed the mark and spent money instead.
  • I vowed to shop more carefully in the future so I wouldn’t regret my Costco purchases.

Some people sign up for a Costco membership and use it several times a year. But shopping at Costco is something my family does on a weekly basis.

I’ve done my share of comparison shopping and there’s no doubt about it – buying groceries and household items at Costco results in a much lower credit card bill for me compared to buying the same items at supermarkets and big box stores, even when they’re on sale . And it’s not just the food and paper towels I stock up on at Costco. I’ve also bought my share of affordable clothing (for myself and my kids), kitchen essentials, and even electronics.

My personal Costco record isn’t exactly flawless, though. There are certain Costco purchases I’ve made in the past that ended up being a waste of money. Here are three I’m not proud of.

1. Excessive consumption of painkillers

Many of us have to take ibuprofen from time to time. And as someone who gets my fair share of allergy attacks, sleep-deprived headaches, and racing soreness, I’m no stranger to the need to fall back on pain relievers. But maybe I overdid it by buying large quantities of both Ibuprofen and acetaminophen from costco.

These pills, as you can imagine, have an expiration date. And to be honest, when I bought them, that date was over a year old. At the same time, I bought approximately 500 doses of pain relievers, which is a lot for me and my husband to consume over 15 months. Going forward, it’s probably better to wait until these drugs are on sale at our local supermarket or pharmacy and buy the largest bottle available.

2. Take a chance on crackers

Having kids often means that things like crackers are a staple in your household, as kids tend to snack constantly. But a while back, I tried some delicious whole grain crackers at Costco and decided my kids would love them. They are not. And so I basically threw away half the package because I was the only one eating them, and once the package was opened, the freshness factor deteriorated pretty quickly.

3. Buying a massive tub of cream

I don’t use sour cream often, but occasionally I bake with it. I once decided to buy a huge tub of Costco sour cream because I had a specific recipe in mind that I needed it for and thought that other uses might come up that month. They are not. And so I threw most of it out. It would be much more beneficial, financially speaking, to just buy a regular size creamer on sale at my local grocery store.

Lessons learned

We all make mistakes – at Costco and in life. But after falling victim to these mistakes, I decided to shop more carefully at Costco. This means I don’t go overboard on items I don’t use regularly and I don’t buy snacks in bulk that have yet to get my kids’ stamp of approval.

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