Dave Ramsey Says It Could Make Sense to Buy These Items at Costco

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  • The cost of food has risen exponentially over the past year.
  • If you have a Costco membership, using it could result in a nice amount of savings.
  • Buying in bulk is something that needs to be done strategically for you to really reap the savings you want.

Should you add them to your list?

If your credit card bills are sky-high these days, you're in good company. Not only are living expenses generally elevated thanks to inflation, but food costs in particular are up 11.3% over the past year, according to January's Consumer Price Index.

The good news is that if you have a Costco membership, you have a prime opportunity to reap some savings by buying food and household essentials in bulk. But you'll need to be careful when going that route. And so you may want to heed the advice of financial guru Dave Ramsey when it comes to your Costco shopping.

The things you should buy at Costco, according to Ramsey

Generally speaking, for a bulk purchase to make sense, you need to satisfy two criteria. First, the item needs to be something you're familiar with and use regularly. Secondly, it needs to have staying power.

Ramsey cautions against buying bulk items with a limited shelf life, because in many cases, they'll go bad on you before you get a chance to use them -- even if you think that's not the case. For example, you might think buying a case of bulk strawberries is a good idea if you like them, your kids like them, and they're eaten pretty often in your household.

But when you buy any sort of produce, you can never really be sure how much time you'll have before it goes bad. In some cases, your produce might last four or five days. In other cases, it might only last a day or two before rotting. So even if you and your family members are big strawberry fans, you're taking an inherent risk by bulking them in bulk.

To be fair, Costco happens to have a very generous return policy. So chances are, if you were to buy strawberries in bulk only for them to spoil shortly thereafter, you could probably get a refund.

The point, however, is that buying perishables in bulk can be risky. That's why Ramsey insists that when it comes to bulk buying, these are the types of Costco items you may want to limit yourself to:

  1. Toiletries
  2. Dental care items, such as electric toothbrush heads and dental floss
  3. Paper products, such as toilet paper and paper towels
  4. Batteries
  5. Gum
  6. Cereal
  7. Canned goods
  8. Rice
  9. Dry beans

Granted, in some cases, buying these items in bulk might be a risk, too. If your family doesn't eat cereal very often, for example, then it's not a great idea to buy it in bulk, as it might go stale on you before you finish it. But in general, these are the items Ramsey recommends buying in bulk.

Don't throw your money away

Your goal in joining Costco was no doubt to save money, not lose money. So it's important to make sure you're buying in bulk strategically.

It's also a good idea to compare Costco's prices to those offered by your local supermarket, especially during periods when your nearby grocery store is running a sale. The cost of something like cereal might actually be cheaper at your neighborhood supermarket when it's heavily discounted, even though it might be perpetually discounted at Costco.

A lot of people are having trouble paying their bills and growing their savings account balances these days. Buying in bulk could be a great way to fight back against inflation, especially within the context of groceries and household supplies. But you'll need to make sure you choose your bulk purchases carefully.

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