How Parents Save Money at Costco
Many of our friends are big Costco shoppers and for years talked about how much money they saved at Costco. They couldn't believe that we weren't members and encouraged us to join. I wasn’t convinced it was worth it, but once I discovered a few different Costco membership discounts, I decided to give it a try.
One of the first things I did when we became members was ask around and see what kind of purchases saved people the most money. After all, our friends were the ones encouraging us to join, so I figured they should have some pretty good tips. We have two young kids and many of our friends are also parents of little ones, so I got a decent list of how parents save money at Costco.
I took all their suggestions and categorized them into the different areas below:
These were probably the most commonly mentioned purchases; parents like to save money on the store brands. Three people said that they could actually buy napkins and paper towels a little cheaper than the Kirkland brand (Costco's store brand) elsewhere, but they got them at Costco for convenience. On top of that, with hordes of little kids running around, you can go through a lot of napkins and paper towels, so it helps to buy these items in bulk:
- Kirkland paper towels
- Kirkland toilet paper
- Kirkland laundry detergent
- Kirkland dryer sheets
- Kirkland dish detergent
- Kirkland dish soap
(See also: 30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace)
We don’t buy as much from Costco as the rest of the parents I talked to, but the thing we do buy the most of is food. We have a few food items that we know for sure we’ll save money on that we get every time.
One of our friends mentioned an interesting thing I hadn’t realized. Apparently Costco has started to carry a lot more organic food. She didn’t go into detail on what specific organic food she buys there, but I know buying organic can be pretty expensive, so it’s nice to have a cheaper option. Here are the types of food parents save money on at Costco:
- Olive oil
- A-1 sauce
- Steak and ribs
- Cheese blocks
- Kirkland waffles
Every week we buy three different kinds of milk: whole for our youngest, 2% for our four-year-old, and skim for us. Buying all that milk adds up, but the prices are considerably lower at Costco, so I definitely agree with the following list. We don’t drink much bottled water, but the money we save on milk could almost pay for the cost of membership.
Here are the types of drinks that our friends buy for themselves and their kids at Costco (hopefully the Coke's not for the kids):
- Bottled water
- Diet Coke
We're friends with one couple who had twins in addition to a two-year-old, so they’ve saved a ton of money buying baby supplies at Costco. Of course, not every parent likes the same brand of diapers...I know we could have saved a lot on diapers at Costco with the generic brand, but my wife really liked a different brand they didn’t carry.
When the babies were eating and sleeping their way through the first few months of their lives, these are the items parents bought from Costco to help save money:
- Kirkland diapers
- Kirkland wipes
- Kirkland formula
Several of our friends always check prices at Costco first when buying toys for their kids. One lady recently found the same Star Wars Lego set for $10 cheaper at Costco than it was at Target. My wife recently bought a kid’s book for our daughter for $8 at Costco, compared to the $15 it costs at the big chain bookstores. Saving $10 here and $7 there can add up, especially during the holidays.
So parents, what did I miss? What else do you save money on at Costco?