5 Things to Never Buy at Costco

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  • Be careful when buying items to cook and bake with in bulk.
  • You may want to steer clear of medications and personal care items in bulk as well.

The beauty of shopping at Costco is getting to scoop up loads of different items in bulk -- and spend less on them in the process. But you may want to steer clear of these items in the course of your Costco shopping. Buying them could mean throwing your money away.

1. Condiments

Condiments are a welcome addition to many meals. Because of this, it's common for condiments to sit out for longer periods of time. And that's apt to lead to spoilage.

That's why you're better off buying condiments in smaller quantities, as opposed to the larger bottles Costco sells. As an example, Costco sells a three-pack of Heinz ketchup in 44-ounce bottles. That could result in a lot of ketchup going to waste when it turns.

2. Flour

It's common to buy flour in five-pound increments. At Costco, you might need to commit to a 25-pound bag of flour. And that could prove problematic for a few reasons.

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First of all, flour doesn't last forever. And if you want yours to last, you'll need to put it into an airtight container. That's not an easy thing to do when you have to store 25 pounds' worth at once.

Of course, if you're a small business owner who runs a bakery, then by all means, get your flour from Costco. You might go through a 25-pound bag in a single day. But if you're a regular baker who only whips up the occasional batch of cookies or cake, then you're better off buying a smaller amount of flour at a time.

3. Olive oil

Like flour, olive oil doesn't last forever. Over time, it can start to turn. And if you want it at its freshest, you're best off using it within a few months after opening a bottle of it.

If you're looking to save money on olive oil by purchasing it at Costco, you may be inclined to scoop up Kirkland's version. But in doing so, you may be committing to a two-pack of three-liter bottles. That's a lot of olive oil to go through.

4. Pain relievers

You might get a headache from time to time, or need something to take the edge off when your muscles feel strained. Buying pain relief medication at Costco might seem like a good idea. But those pills don't last forever. And you may end up throwing out a large chunk of your haul if you buy them in bulk.

As an example, Costco sells a two-pack of Kirkland brand ibuprofen that contains 1,000 pills in total. A standard dose is two pills, which means you'd need to take 500 doses to use your bottles in full before they expire. Even if you get two years to do so, that's still a lot of medication to take.

5. Shampoo

Shampoo is the sort of thing you probably use often. But some hair care experts recommend changing your shampoo every few months. If you buy a massive bottle of shampoo at Costco, it could end up taking you a year to go through it, depending on how often you wash your hair and how much hair you have.

Case in point: Costco sells Kirkland shampoo in 33.8-ounce bottles. That's perhaps not a ton of shampoo for someone with long hair who washes it daily. But if you have short hair and only wash yours twice a week, it's a different story.

Shopping at Costco and taking advantage of bulk deals often allows you to rack up a lower credit card tab than what you'd pay by purchasing smaller quantities at a regular supermarket. But some items really shouldn't be purchased in bulk. And because all of these fall into that category, you probably shouldn't buy them at Costco.

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