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Grocery Shopping At Costco Canada: Items To Buy That Will Save You Money

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

The world is not looking very pretty for a middle class family when it comes to budgeting now a days. We have been going through high inflation and Fed's high interest rate on the top of that. For Canadians, prices of grocery items skyrocketed, but have family incomes been able to keep up? Not really.

Dollars
Canadian Dollars

According to statistics and surveys, many Canadians are uncomfortably close to going broke. High mortgage payment along with incessant increase in everyday necessities are just too much to bear. At the time of this writing, end of October 2023, grocery prices continued to increase at a high rate as Canadians are paying 5.8 percent more for groceries year over year. Even though the rate of inflation has slowed down a bit to 3.8 percent, there is no guarantee that it will hold.


So, just like other Canadians, we are also looking for ways to save money. We are looking for options where we can still get the quality of grocery items but at a cheaper price.

 

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For families with tight budgets, Costco may seem expensive. Well, it can be very expensive as it is very difficult to refrain yourself from buying things at Costco that you do not actually need. As Costco sells items in bulk, you have to ask yourself whether you are going to need such a big bag of a produce item (lettuce as an example) before they go bad.


Items that will save you money if you buy from Costco


Here we have compiled a list of necessary grocery items that you can buy at Costco and that will save you money compared to other popular grocery shops.


Baked goods such as sandwich breads

Costco sells sandwich breads in packets of 3. You will likely not finish all three before expiry, but you can easily store these in your freezer. A packet of 3 at Costco usually costs you around $7.50 dollars, whereas it will cost you $3.57 to buy a packet of one at Walmart.


Tortilla breads

Same as above. Each tortilla or roti bread is bigger and the packets contains more number of breads compared to other stores. You can keep these breads frozen.


Cheese and cured meats

Bigger and cheaper per gram at Costco. For example: we buy 500gm of Manchego Cheese at Costco at $14, and it costs around $7 for a 100gm piece at Walmart.

Cheese at market
Cheese at market

Instant coffee

We like Nestle's Tester's Choice line. A can at Costco costs us $13 for 475gm. The same coffee at Walmart costs $14 for 250gms! It costs almost double at Walmart!


Nuts

Costco sells nuts in bulk. Walmart also sells in a 1.13kg plastic jar. Costco is cheaper as long as you plan to consume it before expiry at a regular speed.


Paper towels and toilet paper

Costco's own brand Kirkland paper towels and tissues are good choices. Even if you want another brand of your choice, Costco will still be cheaper in bigger sizes.


Dairy

Be mindful that buying large quantities of dairy items for a small family may not be a good idea as they will go bad before consuming. For us, our two daughters drink 2% milk twice everyday and we also drink with coffee. Buying from Costco makes sense for us. Same goes with eggs. Although it does not taste as good afterwards, but you can freeze the milk in plastic packets though. You can use those to make desserts later.

 

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Peanut butter

Costco sells Kraft peanut butter in a jar of 2kgs whereas Walmart sells in jars of 500gm. Costco will save you money.


Tuna

Costco sells Rio Mare Tuna in a packet of 4. Costco is a better option.

Canned fish
Canned fish

Gas

Everybody knows about Costco Gas bar. When you shop, you fill up your car. Costco will be cheaper than any other place near you.

BBQ Gas

Filling up your BBQ tank with Costco is a steal compared to other places.


Dishwasher tablets or Washing machine liquids

Dishwasher tablets from Finish or washing machine detergent from Tide - same benefit of buying bulk. Way cheaper at Costco than other places as the quantity is large.


Apples

We buy Honey Crisp apples from Costco. It definitely costs less compared to other places.


Items that you can skip buying from Costco


Along with what we have experienced from the above list, as I said before, we need to be mindful when we are at Costco. Big box stores have the technology using statistics to understand consumer psychology and they will design their stores and isles in a way that fuels impulse buying mentality. Costco is not an exception.


If we are not careful, we will end up spending more than in fact saving money.


Spices

Spices lose their potency once expired. As Costco sells the spices in big packets, be mindful of whether you will really use it or end up throwing away.

Spices
Spices

Fresh produce

Same goes with fresh produce. Let's take lettuce, blueberries or strawberries as examples. In all likelihood, a small family with one or two children will not finish these by their use by time.


Apparel

You cannot really try these on at Costco before buying, but you can definitely return after trying at home. Catch here is though that once you go back to Costco to return, make sure you do not end up buying something else on impulse. For us, we buy snow jackets and pants from Costco, they are good quality at a cheaper price compared to other shops.


Books

Amazon will be a better bet.


Dairy products

Same issue with buying in bulk for a small family and you may not be finishing those by their expiry.


The best way to save money at Costco is to decide what you are going to buy before leaving for the store and set a budget. Stick to the items that you decided and stick to the budget you decided.


Without the discipline, Costco is just a bad idea for average consumers.

 

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