When we think of shopping wholesale for our groceries and household items, there is one name that instantly comes to mind: Costco. There’s no doubt that Costco is the undisputed mother of bulk-buying heaven. And as the mother of two hungry and messy children, I can confidently say I am a proud member of the Costco cult. I even have a membership card to prove it. That’s why when folks are wondering what to buy at Costco, you better believe I’m happy (and perhaps unexpectedly thrilled) to show them the way.
Yes, I’ll admit that bougier side of me once preferred a strict grocery shopping experience at Whole Foods or even Trader Joe’s. But after having kids, that’s a concept I had to put to bed—at least for the items that need to be bought in bulk. For things like spices, sauces, and high-quality veggies, I tend to do my shopping at smaller, local stores. However, for big things like meat and snacks for my family, Costco is practical and substantially more affordable than the leading grocery store. Sounds like a win-win!
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
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What to Buy at Costco: My Ultimate No-Fail Shopping List
It’s clear that many other parents agree, too. Before putting together this piece, I asked my community on Instagram if they were avid Costco shoppers like me and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. The only common downside to Costco is how overwhelming it can be sometimes. With that in mind, I thought I’d round up my what-to-buy-at-Costco faves. Below are all the items that make the shopping list before I head out. Who knows, they might just inspire your own Costco journey. Let’s get into it!
The Best Costco Food Items
Naturally, food and beverage are the staples of Costco’s wholesale catalog. Who doesn’t love to stock their fridge and freezer with goodies after just one shopping trip? From family favorites to kid pleasers, Costco has it all. Based on my followers’ responses and my personal shopping list, here are a few items you should definitely add to yours.
Costco has some delicious options for pizza, both frozen and already baked. It’s definitely a must-have that will please the whole family (and is a great option when you have zero dinner plans).
Skip the trip to the deli and load up on chicken, pork, beef, and more in the meat section. Perfect for freezing in case you have a big dinner coming up. Plus, at $4.99, the brand’s rotisserie chicken is totally inflation-proof—and serves as the perfect base for a halfway-homemade meal.
Dried Unsweeted Mangos
One of my favorite snacks that my kids also can’t get enough of. Mango makes a regular appearance in their lunch boxes.
… and when I say bagels, I mean tons of them! If you’re someone who loves venturing out for your weekend bagel and coffee, I totally feel you. It’s a little luxury that I could always do with more in my life. But if you’re looking for a quick-and-easy option—whose price you can’t beat—Costco reigns supreme. I love that the bagels are water-boiled, making each nice and chewy on the inside while the exterior gets a crispy, golden-brown texture. I’d even go as far to say that their plain bagel is a treat—but the parmesan is my true fave.
For a fancier take on a morning pasty, stock up on some delicious, buttery croissants. They’re excellent from the bakery, but the Camille Styles team has even raved about our mutual love of the brand’s frozen croissants. While Costco’s in-house Kirkland brand offers them, my favorite are those from Au Pain Doré (a Montreal-based bakery). Hot tip: Bake yours in the air fryer and brush on a little egg wash before popping them in. You’ll get the perfect golden-brown croissant.
Protein Shakes, Bars, and Powders
Maintaining a protein-heavy diet can be expensive. However, at Costco, you’ll find tons of affordable options for protein powder and pre-mixed shakes. Vital Proteins are one of my favorite clean protein options, and you can find almost any variety of the popular brand’s protein blends (from marine collagen to collagen peptides and its standard protein powders).
And while I like to prioritize getting protein from whole-food sources, bars and shakes work perfectly in a pinch. Orgain has great options for clean, grass-fed protein and I love the light, wafer-y texture of Power Crunch bars.
A personal favorite of mine. They’re great for quesadilla night or a simple lunchtime wrap. We’re obsessed with everything the famed Austin-based brand puts out. And while these tortillas taste purely authentic, they’re also friendly on your digestive system and keep you from feeling weighed down post-meal.
Your favorite brands of kombucha in bulk? Yes, please! You can find Bend, Oregon-based Humm Organic Probiotic Kombucha on your local Costco shelves. Personally, even the Kirkland brand’s raw Ginger-Lemonade kombucha is a gut-friendly fave.
The Best Costco Home Items
At Costco, you can fill your fridge and furnish your home in one trip. In fact, they have a full home section where you can find tons of affordable pillows, blankets, and more. While I don’t personally take advantage of many of their household selections, some items that I do love to buy while on a Costco run include the following.
No matter what your vibe is at home, Pendleton blankets are the perfect way to cozy up your space. If you’re familiar with Pendleton, then you’ll be as blown away as I was to find it on sale at Costco. Perfect for you or as a gift.
It’s not furniture, but it’s a household staple nonetheless. Arguably one of my favorite items to get at Costco is toilet paper in bulk. It usually lasts several months and yes, is unbelievably soft. If you were also traumatized by TP Gate 2020, you’ll never miss an opportunity to stock up at Costco.
… same goes for paper towels. When it comes to Costco, the brand excels in both the little things that make life a luxury (see Pendleton blanket and croissants above) as well as the staples every day requires.
The Best Costco Self-Care Items
Much like household items, I still prefer to get lots of my makeup, body care, and skin care from other brands. However, Costco has some great options that you might find surprising. Here are a few I always add to my cart.
Everyone’s getting on the retinol train. PSA: While some of the pricey options do work like magic, budget buys can be just as effective. Below is my fave that delivers results, minus the harsh side effects.
We all know well that once you enter the supplements game, things can start getting expensive, fast. But if you shop at Costco, don’t pass up the opportunity to get solid picks at a fraction of the price of other brands. I take this Vitamin C every day to keep my cells healthy and happy and my body loves the results.
Lastly, one of the most surprising brands I have found at Costco is La Mer. Think what you will of Kim K, but her skin is flawless—and La Mer skin cream is her fave. So, of course, I’m going to jump at the opportunity to buy it in bulk. Costco really is the greatest.
Some Surprising Favorites
You may or may not know this, but Costco also sells some incredible activewear. (Gen Z is already way ahead of the trend.) But when I first found this out, I was in awe. Now, I can get a variety of different gym outfits to swap for different days of the week without having to spend a ton of money on the big athleisure brands. Game changer.
And of course, a Costco list for parents wouldn’t be complete without one last item: diapers. It seems like a no-brainer, but before I started shopping at Costco, it never registered that I could buy bulk diapers there. You’re welcome!
Happy bulk shopping, friends!
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