Costco is a magical place. A magical place filled with aisles and aisles of everything you could possibly need in bulk. That includes all of the things you didn’t know you needed until seeing it before you for so cheap – and samples. Don’t get me started on the samples.
Okay, you twisted my arm. I’ll talk about the samples for a hot minute.
True story: I mooched off my parent’s membership when I was interning in Atlanta for college one summer. As an unpaid intern, I’d like to publicly thank Costco for feeding me during that summer.
Long story short: their (free food) samples are where it’s at, people. My girls now get excited to see which new foods they’ll taste around every corner.
I know I don’t necessarily need to justify the following list, but for the sake of people’s eyes popping out with all that we buy from there, here are a few caveats:
1) We don’t buy all of these at the same time. Except for that one time we went out of town for a month and came home to a completely empty fridge and pantry. That was not a fun bill.
2) We’re a family of five, and I think our nine-month-old eats more than our two girls combined. Little bellies need to eat!
3) We eat at home around six days a week for almost every meal. Exceptions include Chick-fil-a for lunch, obviously.
Okay, here are our favorite things to get from Costco:
If alcohol isn’t your jam, then just skip to the next category. Our Costco’s food section starts with booze, so that’s where I’ll start. I know TJ’s (Trader Joe’s) has Two-Buck Chuck (which is really like $4 now #inflation), but you can snag a double bottle of wine for less than $8, and it’s good, too.
Talk about winning. You can also pick up cases of local beer for cheaper than you can get them at the grocery store.
If we’re having a party, or need some margs for Taco Tuesday, the Kirkland brand tequila is a great bang for your buck. Sometimes you’ll luck out and find a bottle of the brand name stuff for stupid cheap!
Here’s the thing, you can get a super fancy-schmancy cake (and I’m all for supporting local), but if your wallet doesn’t have room for dropping that kind of cash on cake, head over to Costco, because not only are they delicious (SO tasty), but you can also get them decorated in a variety of designs, and in different flavors. They always have some generic premade cakes in their fridge section just in case you plan everything for the party and forget the cake, and if you ask, they’ll write a name or a message on it super fast. (Been there, done that; thanks for saving the day, Costco!)
MEAT and FISH:
If you’re not already buying and freezing their meat, then stop reading this, and put it on your list for your next Costco run. We love getting their boneless chicken thighs and breasts, and then freezing them for later. They already come portioned, so just pop ’em in the freezer, and pull out a pack when you need it. They also have a whole slew of organic chicken, and it’s just a tad bit more expensive if that’s your cup of tea.
Whole chickens are awesome for roasting or grilling, and these are super cheap and delicious, and come in packs of two. We’ll typically roast a chicken for lunch on the weekend, and then I’ll make chicken salad with the leftovers for the week ahead.
Speaking of chicken, their premade rotisserie chickens are fantastic and so, so, so cheap—only $5! Not only can you feed a family at least twice with one chicken, but it’s inexpensive, juicy, fall-off-the-bone tender, and so, so, so flavorful.
Costco knows a thing or two about roasting their own chickens. In fact, check in the open-air fridge area where they have premade food, because they have shredded rotisserie chicken that they’ve already taken off the bones.
We also love getting our steaks (both skirt steak and top sirloin), and beef for roasts and stews. Their ribs are fantastic (they’re huge, so just cut and freeze for another use later), and their brisket has always been wonderful.
You’ll pretty much always find chicken, some sort of beef, and this salmon in our cart. It’s DELICIOUS. We soak a cedar plank and then plop it on the grill. My kids eat it, and everyone is happy. Definitely add this to your list if you haven’t tried it yet.
We go to town here. We’ll plan out our meals around what produce we need, and then stock up. It’s just more economical to buy it all here and then eat at home throughout the week.
On any given trip to Costco, we’ll pick up the following: onions, baby potatoes, grated cauliflower (to make cauliflower “rice”), tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, apples, clementines, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, bananas, and avocados.
Some of these things last us one week (like the fruit and some of the veggies), and other things will last up to a month (like the onions and potatoes), so it’s not like we’re buying the entire store when we go.
I’m throwing eggs into this category, because it’s in the same freezer section as the milk. Seriously, take a jacket with you, because the produce fridge and the dairy section are always so chilly! (The girls stay “outside” otherwise we hear them whine about how cold it is. Even from there, my oldest on the right is “freezing.”)
But back to eggs. Brown, white, and even egg whites: they’ve got it all, and for a great price.
We also go through milk like crazy over here, so we buy their two-gallon packs and it lasts us a week. If you’re a make-your-own-ice-cream family, then pick up their heavy whipping cream while you’re there, too.
Also dairy, but not in the same section as the things above: we get yogurt (whenever one of them is on sale), string cheese, regular cheese (Tillamook, to be exact, because it’s delicious and so much cheaper than getting it from the regular store), and if you’re a fan of brie, you can get that there, too.
(Actually, if you’re a fan of brie, make this sooner than later. I’ve been making it for parties lately and it’s gone in the blink of an eye. You’re welcome.)
If you have kids (or just like chicken nuggets), get the Dino Nuggets. The price is unbeatable, and they actually taste pretty good.
In the same area, we always get Hillshire Farm’s Low Sodium Turkey and Ham, and Low Sodium Bacon (when they have it). Every few months we’ll pick up kielbasa (so delicious, grilled with peppers, onions, and potatoes).
I love having flautas and these chicken meatballs in my freezer for fast meals. And go figure: my kids actually eat them. It’s a nice break from PB&J and nuggets! You can find these two in the open fridge area.
Shrimp and tilapia are always in our freezer—again, a great price for how many you get. And we also like the Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwiches for a quick breakfast on the go.
BREADS AND SNACKS:
You can get two loaves of bread for pennies, and you can mix and match, which is always fun. They also have Dave’s bread, Hawaiian Rolls, and more in this section. And if you’re not sure if you can go through that much bread: freeze a loaf for later!
In the same area, we also pick up Skippy Peanut Butter—basically essential if you have kids (without a nut allergy), because the jar is ginormous, and it comes in a two-pack. I even got this awesome Scoop and Spread so I can get to the very bottom of the PB jars to scoop all of the deliciousness out. Costco sells double packs of jelly (right next to the peanut butter); we’ve been loving their lower-sugar mixed berry option. It’s delicious, and hooray for less sugar. (They also have nut-free butters in the same area!)
Squeezable applesauce pouches (Kirkland brand), granola bars (whatever’s on sale), cereal, and whole coffee beans are other staples in our house from Costco. Our nine-month-old loves the Rice Roller snacks, and our girls chow down on packs of Cheeze-Its and Goldfish.
Also sort of in the “snack” category: sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts in oil, spices (like cinnamon, garlic, ground pepper, etc.), grilled vegetables in oil (outstanding, and we seem to go through one a week) and lentils.
So many great things around every corner!
Mamas, there is an entire AISLE devoted to diapers, y’all! If you’re brand-loyal to Huggies, get your diapers from Costco. If you don’t care about brand names, there’s the Kirkland brand for all sizes of diapers from newborn to pull-ups. They also sell bulk wipes.
And mamas, if you scoff at the price of feminine pads from the regular store, start getting them at Costco! They’re just opposite from the pull-ups in most stores.
Get them all at Costco. I can’t even remember the last time we bought toilet paper, Kleenex, or paper towels anywhere else. Oh, and the Kirkland brand has been fine and dandy for all of those things. We also get their paper plates and paper bowls for the days when we have zero desire to wash yet another dish.
I saved the best for last. If you only have a membership to save on gas, then more power to you. I love knowing that Costco gas is always cheaper than anywhere else. And, did you know that some locations (like the one in Poway) even have a car wash?!
Okay, I could literally talk about Costco and all the things we get from there all day, but now I want to hear from you. What are your favorite things to get from Costco? I didn’t even touch on the gift cards (such a great deal), clothes, books, seasonal stuff, or medicine. Oh, Costco, we love you so much. See more Costco favorites here!