Favorite Things to Buy at Costco [summer 2012 edition]

Over the past few years, I've come to like Costco more and more.

The prices are good. The floors are clean. The aisles are wide. The grocery carts have side-by-side seating. The samples are free. The pizza is piping hot (10bucks for a HUGE one).

Lately, we've been enjoying these purchases.

Blueberries - You'd be surprised how fast we can finish one of these off. On our most recent trip, we paid $7.99 for a 32 ounce carton.

Favorite Things to Buy at Costco [summer 2012 edition] 1

Tilapia - The tortilla-crusted kind ($13.49 for 9 fillets) is my favorite, but it does have a bit of a "kick." Our girls prefer the basil-pesto, which is roughly the same price. Tim usually grills up the fish in our cast iron skillet. We eat it plain, rolled up with salsa in tortillas, or on top of a salad.

Favorite Things to Buy at Costco [summer 2012 edition] 2

Ancient Grains Granola ($6.99 for two 17.6 ounce bags) - We originally discovered this item via a "free sample"...and we've been buying it ever since. I eat a bowl of this sans milk about 5 out of every 7 mornings of the week.

Favorite Things to Buy at Costco [summer 2012 edition] 3

Butter - We seem to go through butter crazy-fast so buying in bulk makes sense. We usually don't buy organic (do you?), but there is that option as well.

Favorite Things to Buy at Costco [summer 2012 edition] 4

Peanut Butter - LOVE peanut butter. In fact, I sometimes get out a spoon and eat a heapingful as a late night snack. Don't worry; I never double dip. The Kirkland Brand is made with only two ingredients: Dry Roasted Valencia Peanuts and Sea Salt.

Favorite Things to Buy at Costco [summer 2012 edition] 5

Fruit Leathers - I like to throw a few of these in my backpack when we're out and about with the girls for "emergency snacks." When we buy at Costco, I think the price comes to roughly $.22 or $.23 a leather.

Favorite Things to Buy at Costco [summer 2012 edition] 6

We also like the H.K. Anderson peanut butter filled pretzels and the Philippine dried mangoes for a special treat. Sometimes we purchase Tropicana OJ or Ocean Spray's 100% Cranberry Juice too.

Do you shop at Costco? What are your favorite items to purchase there? Please share! We'd like to add some new foods to our menu.

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33 comments on “Favorite Things to Buy at Costco [summer 2012 edition]”

  1. My husband is a Costco pro, we are in there at least once a week. We also buy tilapia but we buy the fresh (not frozen) and bread it ourselves or just squeeze some lemon juice and bake. Big bags of brown rice are so cheap there. Frozen fruit chunks are perfect for smoothies and loads cheaper than the grocery. We always get a bag of romaine, two loaves of Orowheat bread (one to freeze) & Quaker Oats (which my husband eats every morning for breakfast). Just discovered their big bottles of agave, which is healthier than brown sugar and surprisingly good instead of syrup on pancakes! And you can't forget the rotisserie chicken...eat some the first day, leftovers in tacos, enchiladas, chicken salad sandwiches, etc and the boil the carcass for stock!

  2. The two big things I get at Costco are cheese and diapers/wipes. We usually get 2 kinds of Tillamook and a bag of shredded cheese and one other kind of block cheese - we try different kinds. So far our favorites are Dubliner (good cost too) and Jarlsberg. We also occasionally get dried craisins, natural peanut butter, Goldfish crackers, butter, frozen veggies (especially edemame), and tortillas. We might cancel our membership once we are out of diapers... but I'd really miss the cheese!

    We used to get the Hebrew National hot dogs from the food court if we were there during meal time, but they've changed to another brand that we don't like at all. Now if we are hungry we buy the rotisserie chicken and eat it when we get home, though it is a bit scary how big they are!

    We have been getting our kids swimsuits there for the past few years. They have these long-sleeve / shorts zip up suits that are awesome for the Tucson sun. Those suits + a good hat = no/very little sunscreen! I hate putting sunscreen on the kids, so it is worth it for me! Plus, the suit prices are less than $20 - hard to beat. Here is the website link (just noticed the prices there are higher...) - http://sunprotectionzone.com/index.html

    1. I can't believe I forgot about wipes! We love them.

      We sometimes buy diapers there as well, but we also enjoy the convenience of ordering through Amazon.com (plus, Amazon carries Pampers Swaddlers whereas Costco only stocks Huggies!).

      "Sun protective" swimwear like that is wonderful. Our girls have worn that kind exclusively over the past five years. Kayla just got her first "normal" swimsuit this year. ;)

  3. We're big fans of Costco's natural peanut butter and organic berries, too. Other Costco staples for us include: organic eggs, organic butter, pineapple, lemons, limes, organic chicken, wine, TP, paper towels, laundry detergent and green olives. We spend a decent amount of money there each and every week (which is both good and bad).

    Have you ever tried making your own granola? It couldn't be easier and I bet it's healthier, cheaper and more tasty than the boxed stuff. I have a great recipe, if you're interested.

  4. I love Costco too! We got at least 1x/month. In addition to what others have said, we like the Annie's Organic Fruit Bunnies for our 3 year old when we need an emergency snack. Also, we like their fresh take n bake pizzas - they are $5 on sale for a HUGE pizza (2 meals for our family).

    We've also gotten good deals on wrinkle-free dress shirts for my husband, workout clothes, and underwear and socks for our 3 year old.

  5. I've heard great things about Costco but they've always been to far away. Now we finally live somewhat close to one and I've become addicted to the organic apples I can buy at Sams Club - currently Costco only sells sliced organic apples. What organic produce, meats can I purchase at Costco? Maybe two warehouse stores would be worthwhile...

  6. I dont know what we would do without Costco. We buy just about everything there. I've just started buying the restaurant-size flour and brown sugar too...lasts FOREVER. I like their unsalted butter and paper towels too. And my kids have come to be Costco milk "snobs". To them, its the very best. ;)

      1. I usually buy one box of 2% and one box of 1%. I like Skim, but no one else in my family does so I feel like its a bit of a waste. Im not a big organic girl...Im fine with the regular ol' "non-organic"...

  7. we don't have a membership...but I found I usually spent way too much money every time I went to Costco, and because its currently just Andy and I...buying in bulk just hasn't made the most sense financially.

  8. We love Costco and shop there at least a few times a month. We regularly buy their butter (non organic just to keep the cost down), Organic Rice milk, fresh roasted garlic bread (yum), uncooked tortillas, cat litter, agave nectar (we use it to sweeten oatmeal and it can be a sugar substitute in just about anything), white vinegar (which I use for laundry and other cleaning, it's a steal at Costco), baking soda (see vinegar), a lot of our vitamins, kirkland frozen cheese pizzas (like everyone else said, they are great), Tillamook cheese and cheese in general, organic fruit and vegetables, my husband's coffee beans, food storage bags, parchment paper (again a steal) and toilet paper and cetaphil lotion.

    I hate to see our total when we leave, but I know that in general we are getting a great deal. Always be sure and check out the coupon books that they send out because I saved like $8 without really trying yesterday on things I needed anyway. I'm sure if I was an extreme couponer I could have done much better, but since I don't usually even use coupons anywhere that's not Costco I was pretty happy. I

      1. Thanks for the link Steph. I saw this article linked to on facebook the other day, but forgot to to go back later and read it and then couldn't find it again.

  9. I love these. Costco is not my favorite store choice, but given that we have three children and a limited supply of money, it certainly helps cut costs. And our strategy is to look for their little green signs above the food which indicate "organic." I think really hard about an item before putting it in my cart if it's not organic.
    Anyhow our current (sad to see some of our other favorites disappear from time to time) favorites are:
    organic fruit, when in season
    organic vegetables, when in season, though in our area it's seriously lacking options
    organic butter (decided a few years ago to finally switch over since we'd switched over to organic milk only previous to that)
    organic frozen berries
    fresh loaves of bread, bagels
    organic tortilla chips
    English muffins (because I just can't help myself and haven't tested out making them myself)
    Tillamook cheese and other types
    Frozen tortillas (which are absolutely a splurge we tested once and are hooked to now)
    Kirkland frozen pizzas (because we have no restaurants nearby and it's our fancy-it-up-you'd-almost-never-guess-it-was-frozen quick dinner)

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. I wish ours sold organic whipping cream. We used to have organic yogurt but it disappeared last year, along with the organic peanut butter. Sigh.

    1. Have you tried the rosemary bread? We've been getting that and warming it up on the grill as a side dish. Scrumptious with a little butter spread on top!

  10. We've grown to love Costco too now that we have three boys to keep up with. We buy the 2.5lb bag of fresh spinach, frozen strawberries (6lbs for $8 which is an amazing price when berries aren't in season), frozen chicken breasts, 93%lean ground beef (frozen), mixed nuts, peanuts, Nature Valley Granola bars, walnuts, old fashioned oats,Kirkland's peanut butter, and agave nectar. We love the free samples too and have tried so many wonderful things there!

    1. I forgot frozen berries! We try to keep one bag of strawberries and one bag of blueberries in our freezer at all times for smoothie-making.

      What do use the agave nectar for?

      1. Instead of using white or brown sugar (like in oatmeal, home made granola, granola bars, or sometimes in bitter green smoothies) I like to use agave nectar and cut the amount by half since it's sweeter.

  11. I like to buy their big container of strawberries and a half-gallon of organic whipping cream. Their cream is cents on the dollar compared to a grocery store, and our family eats cut up fruit with homemade whipped cream for dessert three or four times a week in the summer. It only needs a few tablespoons of sugar to taste delicious.

    I also like their chocolate-covered almonds and organic tortilla chips. And the butter. I buy like 10 lbs at a time and freeze it so we never run out!

    1. REAL whipping cream is the only way to go. It's delicious, healthier, and so easy to make. We discovered its merits several year ago and have stopped buying "spray cans" altogether. :)

  12. we don't b/c our nearest Costco is a HUGE drive away. I shop at BJs Wholesale instead, but I do think Costco seems to have better brands/prices. I am curious how much butter is per pound out there? Ours is at least $2.99 if you hit a SALE! Usually about $3.99 for Land O Lakes (which until you go into the organic brands is about the most expensive brand for us).
    I am always curious about people's butter prices! LOL :)

    1. I threw away our receipt before I had time to write down the cost of the butter. Next time, I'll make a note and update this post.

  13. I don't think our Costco carries the fruit leathers, I have to buy mine off Amazon to get a good deal.
    We like Pirate's Booty, Veggie Crisps, the Kirkland Trail Mix, Kirkland tortilla chips, and the Nature's Path cereal that's gluten free. All of these are gluten free so it's nice to be able to buy regularly priced snacks that my boys can eat - they are crazy expensive in the regular grocery store. We don't actually buy much produce at Costco because we live in produce country and it's usually better other places. One exception is the organic tomatoes in the winter.

    1. I bet we'd really like the trail mix! Costco has the BEST snacks, but they also make our total bill creep up fast! All of those $10 and $12 bags add up. ;)

  14. Quinoa, Kirkland organic 1% milk, Organic Ground beef, Organic chicken, Morey's Wild Salmon... just a few of the food items we purchase there regularly. I must try that peanut butter! Sounds great. I've been using Smart Balance PB for the last couple of years. I also love to peruse the children's books there and always manage to come away with at least 1 or 2 great finds. I've bought nearly every Kumon workbook there. It's an addiction.

    1. We have some of that organic ground beef in our freezer right now! We only eat ground beef about once a month (if that), but - when we do - we opt for organic.

      I agree that Costco's salmon is so good. We had salmon on my birthday this past January - it's one of my favorite meals!

  15. I love to freeze those blueberries so I can make muffins! The fruit at Costco is always such a great deal.

    We just went yesterday, and the items that are always on our list are fresh artichokes, organic chicken, Kirkland brand frozen cheese pizza (it's great for a last minute lunch or dinner), apples, and their organic eggs.

    1. How do you serve your fresh artichokes?

      We sometimes buy organic chicken there as well. We have found meat to be much higher quality at Costco than at most grocery stores.

      Thanks for the tip about the Kirkland brand pizzas! We try not to eat too many pre-made frozen meals, but...there are days when "quick & convenient" wins. :)

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