Thanksgiving brings the true value of a Costco membership into focus. That club card lets families get everything they need for the festivities all in one place, while keeping more of their money for themselves to carry over into the winter holidays.
Here's a look at the best things to buy for Thanksgiving at Costco, along with some tips for getting the most out of your membership while you shop for anything else you might need for the biggest feast of the year.
All Things Kirkland
No matter what you buy from Costco, your wallet will almost always be best served by opting for the in-house brand -- for Thanksgiving and beyond.
"Buy Kirkland Signature products to save even more," said Tiara Rea-Palmer, director of partnerships at CouponFollow.
According to CNN, Costco has been more successful with Kirkland than any other retailer in unifying all of its private brands under one label. Walmart, for example, has dozens.
It is now America's biggest consumer brand by sales and accounts for a quarter of Costco's total revenue. The reason behind the success is simple.
"These items are usually of the same caliber as name brands and half the price," Rea-Palmer said.
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The Famous Costco Pumpkin Pie
Costco's pumpkin pie just might be the warehouse club's most celebrated Thanksgiving fare. Despite the year's inflation, the price for one remains $5.99, same as last year -- that's less than most people would spend to make their own, according to Mashed.
The good news is that you can buy one now and freeze it until Thanksgiving, which you'd be wise to do because they fly off the shelves fast -- and it's not hard to understand why.
They've been using the same tried-and-true recipe since 1987 -- the brainchild of Sue McConnaha, Costco's vice president of Bakery Operations -- and the famous crust is made fresh in-house. The pumpkins are farmed in Illinois and each pie tops the scales at 3.8 pounds of sweet and savory goodness.
Macaroni and Cheese
Mac and cheese is one of the greatest and most underrated Thanksgiving sides on the table -- and Costco offers quality at an amazing value.
"Costco sells its mac and cheese in approximately four-pound containers for only $3.49 a pound," said Greg Larkin, managing editor of Costco Food Database. "The mac and cheese is basic, but tasty. It can even be spruced up with some simple seasonings. Most grocery stores sell their premade macaroni and cheese for at least $4.99 a pound, if not more."
La Terra Fina Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip
On Oct. 1, an offering unlike any other joined Costco's already impressive collection of dips and spreads -- a limited-edition pumpkin spice dessert dip from La Terra Fina.
It has no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives, and the company says you can use it as a flavor booster in a recipe or dig into it with pretzels, veggies, crackers or pita, just as you would with any other dip.
Costco says the price varies by location, but Kitchn quotes the cost as $7.79 for 24 ounces. You'd pay more for standard classic hummus from Sabra at Acme.
Fruits and Vegetables
From snacking and salads to recipes and side dishes, veggies are one of the unsung heroes of Thanksgiving. However, thanks to inflation, they're more expensive than ever.
But produce is another area where a Costco membership comes in handy.
"I usually buy all of my fruits and vegetables from Costco because they're much cheaper than in other stores," said Kader Meroni, founder of Atlas Tea Club. "For example, I can get a five-pound bag of carrots for about $3.50 at Costco, but if I went to another grocery store, it would cost me about $7. That's a huge difference."
Decipher Costco's Pricing To Find the Best Thanksgiving Deals
Understanding the meaning behind the price tags is the single best way to maximize your savings at Costco. "Look at the last two digits on prices," said Rea-Palmer.
"Prices that are .99 indicate it's probably not on sale and it's regular price. Prices ending in .97 are recent markdowns. Non-round numbers like .49 are used for massive clearance items or manufacture discounted pricing."
She continued, "And if you're really lucky, you'll spot items ending in .88 or .00, which are manager specials, which means those items are priced as low as can be to sell quickly. Finally, if you see an asterisk next to a price, like $12.50*, that means the item is discontinued, so if it's something you need, buy as many as you can before they're gone for good."
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Best Things To Buy at Costco for Thanksgiving 2022