Some days when I at home bored, I jump in the car and drive to Costco. I don't know exactly why, but it has become one of my favorite places to just meander and look around. Maybe it is the diversity of products offered on the shelves, or the great job they do in rotating new merchandise in and out. Whatever it might be, I get excited with each visit.
There are a few items that I consider Costco staples that I purchase on nearly every trip. These are products I have found to deliver the best value for the price compared to anywhere else.
Costco is the biggest wine retailer in the United States. Their selection ranges from good quality low-end wines (under $10) to the more rare, hard to find luxury items (such as Dom Perignon vintage Champagnes). In general, I have found Costco to be the best place to purchase wines in the $10-$20 range. Their selection is great and their prices are better than most places. My second choice for wine shopping is Trader Joe's, which I believe has a slightly better sub-$10 selection.
Another plus for Costco wine shopping is their Kirkland label. My wife and I love the Kirkland Champagne and Prosecco wines, both are great values and high quality. They partner with wine makers across the world to either create a unique wine for Costco or to sell their surplus, and then they slap the Kirkland label on top. This is also true for their liquors (I have heard that Kirkland Bourbon is Jim Beam). This is my go-to for wine shopping.
Costco coffee prices are also way better than anywhere else. I prefer the Kirkland label Espresso Roast, which is roasted by Starbucks. For less than $12.00 I get a two pound bag of high quality whole beans, roasted by Starbucks! At the cafes these sell for anywhere from $12-$15 per pound, meaning I saving approximately 50 percent. I use the Espresso Roast in my espresso machine, as hot brewed coffee and in a delicious cold brew recipe I use at home. It has just the right amount of bold flavor that I prefer, and for a great price!
I also have started using the Kirkland Pacific Bold K-Cups at my office. I used to buy the Starbucks brand K-Cups, but for half the price and a decent brew I can get the Kirkland version. They come in a box of 100 for around $35. To me, they do not taste quite as good as some of the Starbucks brews, but they are decent and provide the mid-afternoon cup of coffee that I drink everyday.
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(price as of Sep 20, 2015)
Kirkland Canned Chicken
This has become a staple in our pantry. We end up purchasing a pack of these cans on almost every trip. The canned chicken is extremely convenient for lunches and dinners (and sometimes for breakfast mixed with eggs). Six cans sell for less than $12.00 at our Costco and will last us about two weeks. It is not quite as good as the frozen chicken, but the convenience makes it worth having on hand.
Stacy's Pita Chips
I am not sure if this is an item carried nationwide, but my wife and I have become utterly addicted to the delicious pita chips made by Stacy's. I never plan to buy another bag, but with each trip to Costco I end up picking one up on impulse. Costco carries a large sized bag that I have not found in any other store. The price is good, but there is often a monthly coupon that makes the price much better and cheaper than anywhere else.
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(price as of Sep 20, 2015)
Urban Star Jeans
I like shopping for clothes in general at Costco, but I have recently fallen in love with their Urban Star Jeans. I like the dark denim color and their slightly flexible waist (no, not adjustable and not elastic like your grandpa wears). These sell for around $15.00 per pair, which for a decent pair of jeans is an extremely low price. These are great for people like me that tend to be rough on their jeans and wear them out quickly. I once owned a pair of Seven jeans that were very comfortable, but once I wore them out I could not stomach paying another $150+ for a replacement pair. I am very happy with my Costco jeans.
Big Ticket Items
We are a fairly budget conscious family, so we do not purchase big ticket items very often. But soon we will be in the market for a new television. Costco tends to have competitive prices on these types of items - televisions, computers and other expensive electronics. A few months ago we splurged and bought a Vitamix blender for about 25 percent less than what it was selling on Amazon.
I usually buy my big ticket items at Costco for two reasons: 1) they tend to have the best prices, or are very close to anything discounted you might find; 2) they have the best return policy imaginable. If anything goes wrong with my purchase, I have the peace of mind knowing I can return the item to Costco with or without my receipt and will get a cash refund, no questions asked. Even if the item is slightly more expensive at Costco than other retailers, I will still choose to buy from Costco knowing that I have a safety net in their return policy, should anything happen to the item. This is much easier than trying to deal with manufacturer warranties.