14 Smart Things for Singles and Couples to Buy From Costco

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customers shop at Costco on March 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California
Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/Staff/Getty Images

BIG DISCOUNTS FOR SMALL HOUSEHOLDS

Shopping at Costco and other warehouse stores often seems best for large families and businesses. A package of a dozen giant muffins calls for many mouths, or at least lots of freezer space. But there are Costco purchases that make sense for single people and couples, even after taking the annual membership fee into consideration. Here are some examples of the savings (prices vary by location).

Related: I Shopped at Costco for the First Time and This Is What I Learned

spoon with a slide sprinkled raw oatmeal
Photo credit: Sanny11/istockphoto

FOOD ITEMS WITH A LONG SHELF LIFE

Uncooked rice, dried beans, dry pasta, oatmeal, and canned goods come in bulk quantities, but all have a long shelf life and are pantry staples that will help reduce weekly grocery costs.

clothing for sale at Costco
Photo credit: Michael Gordon/shutterstock

CLOTHES

Costco has a reliable supply of clothing staples and sometimes even carries brand names. Sorel brand boots and other brands that are normally $140 and up at retailers can sometimes be found for around $80 at Costco. Matty M leggings, a high-end line sold at stores such as Nordstrom, sell for $15 at Costco. Price cuts can be deep enough to cover a $60 Costco membership fee in one shopping trip.

Related: 15 Things to Splurge on at Costco and Sam's Club

plant section at Costco
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PLANTS

Spruce up the yard or porch with Costco plants, which are often large and well-established. Large mums have been known to sell for less than $20 each — what a garden center might charge for a container half the size.

liquor aisle at Costco
Photo credit: David B./yelp.com

ALCOHOL

Alcohol is cheap at Costco — really cheap. Its Kirkland Signature brand vodka, gin, whiskey, and other hard liquors cost $15 to $20 less than name brands. Likewise, don't dismiss brands you don't recognize. Insiders say wines and spirits at Costco are pricey remaindered goods from other producers. A bottle that would cost $50 under another label at a liquor or grocery store might average $12 to $16 at Costco. Costco's low profit margins also keep alcohol prices low, regardless of the brand. Don't have a membership? Check state laws, as some allow alcohol purchases at Costco without one.

movie gift cards at Costco
Photo credit: Richard L./yelp.com

GIFT CARDS

Costco sells gift cards for less than their face value — for example, $100 in gift cards to MovieTickets.com for $75. Gift cards for restaurants, gym memberships, movie tickets, weight loss programs, and more are available.

electronics aisle at Costco
Photo credit: Alastair Wallace/shutterstock

ELECTRONICS

A Cheapism comparison found Costco significantly cheaper for some TVs, Blu-ray players, and other electronics than conventional retail stores. When it's time to buy, consider putting down the money for a membership, which can pay for itself with one big-ticket purchase.

small appliance aisle at Costco and a Dyson vac in cart
Photo credit: a katz/shutterstock

SMALL APPLIANCES

Even with a limited selection, Costco has some impressive deals on appliances, including a top-of-the-line Shark Navigator vacuum for $170, compared with $200 at Bed Bath & Beyond for the same model.

Life Fitness F1 Smart Folding Treadmill
Photo credit: Courtesy of costco.com

EXERCISE EQUIPMENT

Singletons and couples can find good prices on big-ticket workout equipment at Costco. A folding treadmill that costs $2,000 at Costco is significantly more expensive at some other stores — including $2,220 at Sears.

Crest 3D White Advanced Whitening Toothpaste 6oz 5-pack
Photo credit: Courtesy of costco.com

BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Lotions, hair care products, soaps, toothpaste, and more can all befound at bargain prices in large quantities at Costco — and don't take up much space, even in large containers. A pack of five 6-ounce tubes of Crest 3D White Advanced Whitening Toothpaste can get as lot as $19.50 at Costco, or 65 cents an ounce. You can't buy a multipack at CVS, but the same toothpaste there will cost $1.06 an ounce.

Costco Vision Center
Photo credit: Costco Optical Vision Center/yelp.com

PHARMACY PRODUCTS

Health products, including allergy pills and over-the-counter medicines, can be good buys at Costco (but be sure to check the expiration date to calculate whether a supersize quantity will get used in time). Two 16-ounce bottles of contact lens solution cost $21 at Costco, or 66 cents an ounce, while two 12-ounce bottles are $17 at Walmart, or 71 cents an ounce, for the same brand.

cleaning supplies aisle at Costco
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CLEANING SUPPLIES

Cleaning wipes, toilet bowl cleaner, dish detergent, laundry detergent, dusting spray, and mop refills can be found in bulk for less at Costco. Because these items don't expire, shoppers can save a bundle — as long as they have the storage space. Take Windex Original Glass Cleaner: a 32-ounce spray bottle and 176-ounce refill is $13 at Costco, while Home Depot will sell a sprayer and refill of only 128 ounces for a combined $12.75 — that's 48 fewer ounces of cleaner for saving a quarter. Even in a small house or apartment, storing a Windex refill shouldn't be too much of a challenge.

Dixie Ultra Paper Plates, 6 7/8" Size, 300 Count
Photo credit: Courtesy of costco.com

PAPER GOODS

Tissues, paper towels, toilet paper, and paper plates are a bargain at Costco. A pack of 300 Dixie Ultra paper plates costs just $15 at Costco. Amazon sells 300 Dixie Ultras of the same size for more than $26. Try splitting these necessities with another single friend or small family.

men's hand presses on the car key and remote in front of rental car
Photo credit: Kekyalyaynen/shutterstock

RENTAL CARS

The Costco travel department helps members find rental cars for less than other travel services by scanning the market for money-saving coupons, discounts, and deals. It's not only a budget boost but a time saver, and some rental car companies waive their additional-driver fees for Costco members.

Costco Copy Paper
Photo credit: Courtesy of costco.com

OFFICE SUPPLIES

Printer paper, pens, labels, and notepads eventually run out, and they never go out of style. Buying office supplies in bulk is cheap and all but guarantees they will be available when needed. Grabbing some simple copy paper along with your groceries, for example, will cost $40 for 5,000 sheets at Costco but $43 for 5,000 sheets at Walmart.

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