The 3 Strangest Things I've Ever Purchased at Costco

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KEY POINTS

  • Many people rely on Costco for bulk grocery items and household essentials.
  • While those are the things I usually buy there, occasionally, I end up branching out.
  • You may be surprised to learn that Costco also sells toilets and chainsaws.


Have you ever strayed from your usual shopping list?

Although shopping at Costco on a weekly basis ends up saving my family money, things could easily go the other way. The reason? Costco's warehouses are loaded with products that range from outerwear to toys to seasonal decor. And so it's really easy to run up a massive credit card tab in the course of doing your shopping.

Now for the most part, I'm pretty disciplined when it comes to shopping at Costco. I'll commonly make a list of the grocery items we need and stick to it. And that means that most weeks, I'm limiting myself to things like produce, milk and dairy products, and cases of snacks (which might seem like a needless buy, but are actually a necessity for my perpetually snacky kids and their perpetually hungry friends).

From time to time, I'll add other items to my Costco list to satisfy a specific need -- such as getting Halloween costumes for my kids (almost always your cheapest option, provided your kids aren't picky) or stocking up on things like food storage containers. Those purchases might seem pretty run-of-the-mill. But in my day, I've actually bought some pretty odd things at Costco. Here are a few that stand out.

1. An inflatable kayak

My family is pretty outdoorsy, and my husband and I have rented kayaks many times and enjoyed fun outings on the water. A few years ago, we decided to invest in our own inflatable kayak, which, admittedly, we bought as an impulse purchase when Costco had one on sale.

Unfortunately, we didn't end up liking that kayak and wound up returning it (and were thankful Costco took it back). But in a way, that was a good thing, because given the amount of time we spend kayaking, it probably makes sense for us to just save up a little and invest in a better one than we'd get to use by renting.

2. A toilet

Although my husband and I bought a new construction home 13 years ago, since then, we've had to make some updates. And that included replacing our perpetually leaky toilets. We learned a few years ago that Costco's great prices aren't limited to fruit, cheese, and deli meat -- you can also score a toilet at a discount if you happen to have that need.

3. A chainsaw

I'm probably the least handy person I know, but thankfully, my husband is pretty good at fixing things around the house and doing home improvements. A while back, he needed a chainsaw for a project he was working on. And not surprisingly, he wound up buying one at Costco because the price was right.

Granted, I wasn't heavily involved in that purchase, simply because I couldn't tell you what makes one chainsaw better than another. But I'm counting it nonetheless.

A host of options

Limiting myself to purchases like food items and household products helps me avoid busting my budget at Costco. But occasionally, I'll venture outside of my normal shopping list and buy something a little less mainstream. And if the price point works, I figure there's nothing wrong with that.

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