Every Costco member has a favorite thing to buy at the warehouse giant because of its great value or uniqueness. Ask around and you'll get a variety of answers -- paper towels, muffins, doggie treats, furniture, and of course, the store's famous rotisserie chicken.
But what are some things to always buy at Costco? Here are five items to put in your shopping cart on a consistent basis.
While gift cards are easily acquired at drug stores, gas stations and even the post office, you'll pay full price at those places. Not at Costco.
"Costco will have a variety of gift cards to choose from for both retailers and restaurants and they'll all come at discounted rates," said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com. "You can expect to save anywhere from $20 to $50 on gift cards, depending on which retailers or restaurants you're looking at. For instance, you may be able to get $200 worth of gift cards for around $155, or $100 worth of cards for $75 to $80."
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"If you use a ton of foil or even if you don't, Costco's prices on this staple are hard to beat," Ramhold said. "If you do use a lot of it, you'll be able to breathe easy knowing you're getting quality foil at a great price, and if you don't use it often, you'll still get those perks but with the added benefit that you may not need to buy more aluminum foil for literal years."
Just how good is the deal? If you're accustomed to buying your Reynolds Wrap foil in 25-square foot rolls, those cost $2.28 at Walmart. You'd need to buy 20 of those to equal the package that contains 500 square feet at Costco and is priced around $25.
"Similar to the foil, Costco has food-safe plastic wrap at excellent prices that'll be a fraction of the cost you'd pay at other grocery stores," Ramhold said. "And if it's something you rarely use, it's another item that you can buy once and then potentially be well-stocked for years, so you can avoid buying any more for a significant period of time.
If you're an allergy sufferer, you know how costly over-the-counter allergy medications can be. To Ramhold, the Kirkland Signature allergy meds are the answer to saving you a lot of money.
"They're just as good as name-brand but significantly cheaper," she said. "Aller-Tec, which is Costco's equivalent of Zyrtec, comes in a bottle of 365 pills -- literally will get you through a year, and costs around $15, although you can find them on sale during high allergy times like spring and fall as well."
The Aller-Tec 24-hour tablets are 10 milligrams each and cost about 4 cents each. At CVS, you'll pay $17.79 for a box of 14 similar tablets. That's $1.27 each. The 90-count box at Walmart costs $42.47, or 47.1 cents apiece.
"There are also Kirkland Signature versions of all the other major allergy meds, including Claritin, Benadryl, Allegra and even nasal sprays like Flonase. If you really want to buy name-brand, Costco has those too, but they're still at a better price than what you'll find in other stores, so it still pays to shop there."
"Hands down, you can't beat the price for maple syrup at Costco," Ramhold said. "Not only is it a better price per ounce than what you'll find at big-box stores or grocery stores, but it's also organic, so if you care about buying organic when you can, it makes it even better. It's also great quality and one of the items I refuse to buy anywhere else personally."
The Kirkland organic maple syrup is about $14 for a 33.8-ounce jug. A 32-ounce container of the Whole Foods house brand costs a bit more than $18.
Costco stocks about 4,000 items. If you're a frequent shopper, you undoubtedly will come up with your own list of things to always buy at Costco -- but don't miss out on these five.
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