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  1. Gwen B. says

    I was a bit disappointed by how processed some items on the list are- but I understand that is up to each family and not judging at all. Since I work full time there are lots of homemade items that I cannot make, there aren’t enough hours in the day! Still, bottled lemon juice has lost it’s nutritional value, their Vanilla has sugar (probably GMO beet sugar, yikes!) AP flour is toxic, Quaker Oats are GMO, The nuts have been roasted at a high temperature making them now unhealthy and full of free radicals, unlike raw nuts. The Fage yogurt at 0% fat means your family isn’t getting the healthy fat yogurt offers too. Just Saying. I do purchase Organic Coconut Oil, Kerrygold Butter, Organic Eggs (If I cannot get pastured), Raw, local honey, Organic Maple Syrup, and seasonal Organic Fruit when they have it. Lot’s of cooking gadgets. the occasional clothing item, yard items and so much more.. It’s fun there! Certainly more real food opportunities than Sam’s club. Thanks for the list it was a good read.

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks for your comment Gwen. You make good mention of a few things, but I do have questions. Do you have a link to support the claim that AP flour is toxic, and the oats being GMO? Where do you get your nuts from?

      I cannot find whole milk yogurt, for an affordable price, anywhere in my area – so I make my own whole milk yogurt using the Greek yogurt as a starter. I’ve never seen raw honey at my Costco!

      • debbie says

        I like your response and was wondering about her sources as well. Just fyi I get raw local honey at my Costco and its $8.97 for a 3lb bottle – so not too bad.

        • Tiffany says

          Thanks Debbie. :) I’m always watching for good deals at Costco, so hopefully mine will have raw honey. $9 for 3lb is a STEAL! The lowest I can get it is $10 for 1 pound at the local farmers market.

      • says

        There is no such thing as GMO oats. There may be research into the crop, but as of now, there are NO commercially released GMO oat varieties.

        Please, please, please – check your sources. There are actually very few GMO crops in commercial production, and the easiest way to avoid them is to avoid processed food and buy organic sources for foods like meat and sugar.

        • Tiffany says

          Thanks for chiming in Kelly! I didn’t think oats were GMO either, and have read a really great book on the topic just recently. :)

      • Kim says

        I agree that oats are not GMO but maybe the previous writer was relating GMOs with Quaker because Quaker is listed as a company that supports Monsanto. This is the reason we stopped buying them.

    • Jennifer Stoddard says

      There’s no such thing as GMO oats. Good grief. And all purpose flour toxic? Sheesh.

      We don’t buy the oats because we just buy whole oat groats from Azure standard, but we do buy that exact AP flour. My husband uses it for his sourdough starter and makes mixed whole wheat and white wheat breads.

      This was really helpful! We also buy organic valley cheddar at our Costco. We used to buy organic jarred tomatoes there, too, but they stopped having them at the end of last summer. They had a really great price, too, so that was sad.

      • Tiffany says

        I’d like to look into Azure a bit more this year, but my fear is that there aren’t enough locals to warrant a drop. They’re schedule for my area just once a month, and if there isn’t enough, it’s cancelled… that would be bad news if I was counting on that shipment! Oh yes, cheese too! Did I mention that? I’ll have to go back and look…. You mention jarred tomatoes, and I could have sworn I saw those there too in the past. At least I’m not going crazy!!

        • says

          Tiffany and Jennifer y’all would love the place I work! It is called Bread Beckers (,com) in Woodstock, Ga. They sell and teach people about real foods and freshly milled flours. There are free videos online of classes that they teach. Enjoy! 😀 Juli

          • Tiffany says

            Hi Juli May! I’ve had readers in the past send me articles from the Beckers – incredibly informative and right on with my own thinking too. You guys aren’t hiring by chance, are you? Maybe make room for a contributor to your blog and an IT guy? 😉

  2. says

    Great list! I buy big bag of chia seeds from Costco which is way cheaper than I found anywhere else, will start buying quinoa as well. I did not know they carry Kerrygold butter! Olive oil, maple syrup I always get from Costco too.

  3. says

    Thanks so much for taking the time to give so much detail to this post! I’ve never shopped at Costco before, but with out new journey into more natural and traditional foods, I’m considering it, and this post was very helpful.

    One question after reading is, Where do you buy your milk? How would you know if it is UHT or not?

    • Tiffany says

      You’re most welcome Kali! I buy my milk from Savemart, a local grocery store. It’s organic, grass-fed and HTST pasteurized. Most milks in cardboard boxes are UHT, but it should be labeled as such. BTW, it helps to read several packages for “about” information. I only know it’s grass-fed because it says so on the UHT half-gallon size. I bought it once (w/o realizing it was UHT), read the container and saw that the entire line of their dairy was from grass-fed cows!

      • Samatha says

        Hi Tiffany, we also buy our organic milk at SaveMart (we’re in Central Cali). I’m curious which brand you purchase (I don’t know I’ve looked that closely to notice one being grass-fed, but I definitely don’t go for the Ultra-Pasteurized).

        • Tiffany says

          Hi Samantha! I buy Sunnyside Farms. The mention of grass-fed is on the UHT half-gallon in the cardboard container, but we buy the whole gallon that’s just HTST. Big wave to you neighbor!!

      • Samantha says

        Our regular costco trip (once a month, since our closest is 45 minutes away) includes Organic coconut water (my husband uses it in his post-workout smoothies), many of the other organic items you mentioned above, and because my stock-up trip seems to always end up during my monthly ‘visitor’, the organic dark chocolate-covered pretzels (nom nom nom!).

        • Tiffany says

          LOL! I don’t think I’ve seen those pretzels at my local Costco… but it sounds like that’s good thing! 😉 We used to buy coconut water as well, but at the rate at which we were going through it, I started switching out whole oranges instead. They’re very juicy, and help thinning out smoothies a bit.

  4. says

    Great list, Tiffany. I’ll just add that my Costco carries organic natural PB (Kirkland brand) intermittently. It’s hands-down the best price I’ve ever seen…as is their price on organic Chia seeds.

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks Dena!! Our Costco stopped carrying this PB for awhile, and then it came back. It’s a HUGE struggle with my inner-frugal self to NOT stock up on several jars at once, lol!

  5. Victoria says

    On the coconut oil: my Costco recently discontinued the Carrington Farms coconut oil and has replaced it with a Kirkland Signature branded variety that is sold in two-packs (don’t remember the size — maybe 54 oz each?). Do you (or anyone else) know if this oil is any good? I just really hate to buy that much before knowing if it’s any good!

    • Tiffany says

      I’m sorry Victoria, I haven’t heard anything about the KS brand coconut oil. The next time you’re there, turn the bottle around to see if it mentions being made by a particular company. The KS brand tortilla chips are made by Mission, so it might just be a re-branding/packaging!

  6. Katie says

    I’ve been languishing in the land of No Costco for almost six years now, but word is we’re getting one this fall! So stoked. Sam’s has a lot of this stuff, but way fewer organic options and worse prices. Which is weird, because Sam’s has a lower income target demographic, so you’d think they’d be cheaper. Maybe they are on more SAD items.

    Anyway. EXCITEMENT that I might get to use this list soon!

    • Tiffany says

      Woo-hoo! I’m excited for you Katie! I visited a Sam’s in the NorthEast last Christmas and wasn’t impressed. Much of their non-food items were similar, but the entire food section seemed small and left much to be desired. I hope the grapevine isn’t fibbing, b/c you’re gonna LOVE it. The first trip to Costco is always the best. :)

      • Katie says

        I grew up with Costco (actually its predecessor, Price Club, and THEN Costco). They have both Costco and Sam’s in Albuquerque, and and I never understood why anyone bothered to have a Sam’s membership when they could have a Costco one instead. Totally not real food, but their bakery sheet cakes, like people order for confirmations or birthdays or graduations? SO MUCH BETTER than Sam’s it’s ridiculous. 😉

        Oklahoma doesn’t know what it’s missing! Now we just need a Trader Joe’s and we’ll be all set!

        • Cathy says

          Are you by chance talking about the Costco supposedly opening in OKC before long? We are waiting with bated breath for that as well, lol. We’ve driven down to Dallas to go to Costco with my parents a couple of times (they had flown in from FL or we would do that more often). Also love the Sprouts stores down there, though I hear Norman has that now as well.

          • Katie says

            Tulsa, actually, but yes! It was in the paper with a site and a date range, so it seems finally to be official and not just rumor. 😀 I’m glad to hear OKC is getting one, too, though, since Thera a small chance we may be moving there in the next year or so for hubby’s work. Yay Costco!

  7. Kimlee says

    What area are you in California? Two of our local costcos don’t carry organic but the one a little closer does. But not all the stuff you mention. I’m willing to travel and stock up if I can get great deals.

  8. Lori Olson says

    We just got a Costco in Green Bay, WI last fall and a dear friend gave me a membership for Christmas (I have a Sam’s memebership). Hands down, I LOVE the photo developing at Sam’s – which one would think would be the same as Walmart – but is not. Food wise, I love the organic choices offered at Costco. Just started a new Lifestyles program in January, offered through my employer. It focuses on whole grains and using food in as natural of a state as possible. I’m single so often it’s difficult to work with the large portions. One I love is their organic beets. I was craving them in the winter and the local store had 3 fresh “shriveled” beets for $3.99. Costco had a clam shell pack with 4 vacum sealed pkgs of peeled, cooked beets. 2# for around $7 and keeps for months. They offer the best whole wheat bread as well. Hard to find any breads (other than Ezekiel or sprouted grain) that doesn’t have sugar or sweetner in the top 3 ingredients. Costco’s brand (green wrapper label) was better than any of the other brands. I’m not a big bread eater, so 2 loaves lasted about 4 months in my freezer. Every time I go, I scope out a new deal. Oh, and the Wymans, organic wild blueberries? Totally addictive!! Just had some in my quinoa salad for lunch. I’ll keep shopping Costco. Have dropped 45# since January!

    • Tiffany says

      Congrats on the weight loss Lori!! Would you mind sharing your recipe for quinoa salad? I’ve got some blueberries in my freezer that need a home. 😉

  9. says

    Great list! Our Costco has most of the things you mentioned but we don’t always buy them due to allergies to wheat and dairy.
    One thing that we always buy are the organic tortilla chips. They are my downfall due to not having bread or dairy products to use for snacks. We try to eat them with homemade salsa and, occasionally, hummus :)

  10. Claire says

    Thanks for the post, this is a lot of what we get there as well. Unfortunately we do not have the organic AP flour here, in Northern Virginia. I could not even find it on the Costco web site. I wonder if it’s just found in California. We also get organic sprouted beans, btw, which are great because they cook fast and are easier to digest.

    • Tiffany says

      Two thumbs up for the beans! The organic AP flour is fairly recent – maybe you can put in a request for it at your local store?

  11. Susan says

    The Kirkland greek yogurt is a bit cheaper per ounce so I’m wondering if you’ve tried it or compared the two. I only bought the FAGE until a friend recommended the Kirkland being a better buy.

    • Tiffany says

      My local Costco just recently carried the Kirkland brand Greek yogurt, and it tasted comparably. I don’t buy it in bulk too often, but it would likely be my choice if I did!

  12. says

    This was really helpful. We’ve been Costco shoppers for many years, but it is a huge store and can get very overwhelming. I will definately use your ideas. You mentioned your recipes for apple butter, yogurt, etc. Are they all on your website? Thanks

  13. Jennifer says

    I looked around quickly that last time I was at my Costco and didn’t see the Kerrygold butter or the fair trade coffee, or the flour or the organic cheese. Bummer. I’ll keep looking. Wondering if the butter is near the artisan cheeses instead of in the diary isle? They do have a good deal on the brown paper bag of AP flour which I buy about once every 4 months. I don’t find whole wheat pasta at mine either. I guess I need to write a letter to the manager. :) Mine does carry organic milk -horizon brand I think and recently the organic PB. Yay! The Quaker oats are the best price around generally except when they are on sale at Sprouts.

    • Tiffany says

      Yes, my Kerrygold is by the artisan cheeses! WW pasta is sometimes out of stock for me, but it normally comes back within a few weeks. Keep an eye out as you shop to see if some items are rotated in the shipping schedule… or definitely write that letter. 😉 I want a Sprouts! I’ve seen the good deals, and visited one once in SoCal. It was so much fun!

  14. says

    Oh my goodness. I love this list! I like to consider myself a home economist, and have been seeking out deals at Costco for years! Thanks for taking the time to write it all down!

    ~Katie @ MyDailyCrumbs

  15. says

    I have yet to see Kerrygold butter at my local Costco:( So sad! The price for it at Trader Joe’s just went up too. There’s a local grassfed dairy I’ve been buying instead.
    Organic frozen strawberries have been the best deal I’ve found there. I love them! It’s like $10 for 4 lbs! I didn’t realize they have organic flour. I avoid the vanilla with sugar in it. They sell organic evaporated cane juice at mine for cheap. I also saw raw semi-local honey (I usually buy a jar that’s from a beekeeper less than an hour away but this was from next state so not bad). I’ve also been getting laundry detergent there that’s good for my baby’s cloth diapers. Almond milk is cheap as is most dairy. I found some good skillets too that aren’t yucky tefflon non stick. Coconut water (on sale), occasionally wine deals (for those of us not in CA lol), beer deals (that’s how I convinced hubby to go for the membership), it’s all good. Their brand of frozen pineapple is supposedly nonGMO according to my Buycott app.
    The organic preserves are best price- lower than the organic jam I was getting at Trader Joe’s. I love the olives and sun dried tomatoes but they really eat up my budget. I’ve considered their EVOO but Aldi has had organic EVOO cheap (IDK how authentic but whatever). BTW TJ’s has “Euro style whole fat organic yogurt” in a red tub for cheap. It’s even partially grassfed:) I do the Fage or Kirkland Greek yogurt for dieting though.
    The organic carrots are great but it’s really hard to use up whole bag. I love their produce deals though, especially clean 15. My local store doesn’t carry the “natural” PB anymore so I have to buy the organic but given how PB prices have shoot up last few years, it’s a good deal. Thx for the scoop!

    • Tiffany says

      Yes, our Costco has a great deal on organic frozen strawberries and blueberries! The 10lb bag of organic carrots stays in our fridge for a couple months, but hopefully I’ll have a recipe for you soon on some quick breads that will help you use them up. You’re welcome – thanks for sharing your shopping tips in return!

      • Janice says

        How do you get the carrots to last so long? Mine start looking yuck at the 3 week mark( usually slimy or white mild on teh top 1/2 of carrot)!

        • Tiffany says

          I’m not sure Janice, they just do! I keep them in the bag they come in, in the crisper drawer. If yours start to look bad, I’d go ahead and either a) cook them all up and then freeze in portions, or b) grate them and freeze for various muffins.

        • Lisa says

          You might consider washing them before you store them in the crisper. Also, check the settings on your fridge. Some have different settings for the crisper drawer. It sounds like yours might be allowing too much moisture. Sometimes using some paper towels inside the bag to help keep too much moisture from forming might work, too. I use that method for green onions. It allows them to keep longer.

        • Janice says

          It appears to be a time-of -the-year kind of thing. I am able to get the same brand though our food co-op and have only had the problem once.

    • Elisabeth says

      For a long while, Kerrygold butter was only available seasonally at our local Costco, but now it’s there year-round. I’ve found that the employees are very helpful about telling you if a product is available at that branch or not.

  16. LaurieY says

    Oh gosh! Thanks so much for your list. We just started buying the organic mangos and organic butter at Costco. I’ve been nervous to try the organic olive oil, but after doing the research and reading the recommendations I am going to take the plunge. We LOVE the organic coconut oil from Nutiva. I use in everything – even a dollop in cooked oats, frying, baking, melted on popcorn –even as a skin moisturizer!!! What a great list. I may try the organic coffee. (Don’t know why I’ve been goosey to try Costco og coffee) We pay 7.99 / 8.99 per lb and grind the beans at our go-to market (Market of Choice) in the PNW – and I’d like to save some money on this “luxury.”

    Thanks for your generous post.

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks Laurie! The coffee is a winner (I hear it’s the same as Starbucks?). Thanks for your ideas on olive oil, mangos and butter!!

  17. LaurieY says

    ….oh, yes…I forgot to say the huge bags of blueberries are AMAZING. I wish Costco would sell Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes (the whole selection, i.e fire-roasted, whole, diced) because those are the only canned tomatoes I’ve found in BPA-free cans. [Besides Kirkland’s oven dried Organic Roma-Tomatoes in the glass jar.]

    We also purchase a bag of lemons occasionally to bleach my kitchen island chopping block.

    I so appreciate a full pantry and freezer when meal-planning. So grateful.

    Wish I was sold on the whole organic chickens . . something about the smell on last 2 purchases. Maybe 3rd time a charm. (heh…I’m a “smeller” . . . esp when it comes to fish and poulty!

    • Stephanie says

      I agree about the chickens. I used to buy them but the last couple of times they smelled awful. I switched to Whole Foods for whole chickens and fresh beef but still buy most other things at Costco or my local grocery.

    • Elisabeth says

      I noticed that the chickens used to be labeled “organic,” but now are not. The rest of the package looks the same and is sold in the same part of the store. For the most part, I buy local for chicken.

  18. Nicole says

    Hi Tiffany! This may be a silly comment, but I grew up eating Skippy or Jiff PB and just recently bought my first 2 pack of Costco Natural PB. I have a really hard time stirring the oil back in before I use it each time because the bottle is so large. Do you have any tricks? Thanks!

    • Tiffany says

      Not silly at all, and I do have a trick: When you first open the jar, stir as much oil as you can back in (without making a mess, lol). Then scoop/pour out peanut butter into another jar (we re-use 16-18oz glass jars) until the second jar (not the original) is about 2/3 full. This creates and leaves enough room to stir in BOTH jars. Enjoy!! :)

      • Sarah Little says

        Let it sit upside down for a day before opening. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it helps. Once the peanut butter has been in the fridge and is cold, this is no longer effective.

  19. Mary says

    I, too, love the big bags of raw carrots. When cooked and puree’d, I will use them in place of pumpkin in breads, muffins, and custards. Wonderful flavor, and it’s like pumpkin in texture for the recipes..

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Sarah! I’ve used subscribe and save in the past and like it, except that I often forget to cancel my subscription. I don’t check them often, and REALLY don’t like getting an unexpected box in the mail… especially when my budget is tight. If you’re can stay on top of your subscriptions, then it’s definitely a good option.

  20. Amanda says

    Tiffany, thank you for sharing this list. I shop for the majority of my food at costco and love seeing your real list with prices and comments regarding natural and organic. I love that they are bringing in more organic products at affordable prices. I love the nutiva coconut oil and have yet to find a better price, same for their organic EVOO. I also buy their white vinegar for my cleaning products, best price so far for a 2 pack. I forgot about lemon juice, which I am using more of due to making my own cleaning supplies instead of buying natural at the store. I look forwand to reading more of your posts. They touch on topics that are close to home for me as I also budget and try to find even more ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality. Thank you!

    • Tiffany says

      Me too Amanda! Thanks so much for your kind encouragement. :) It’s always nice to hear that you’re not alone in the struggle between real food and budget. Welcome to Crumbs! I look forward to “seeing” more of you! :)

  21. whitney says

    Tiffany…are you familiar with Aldi’s? I’d like to know what you think if you are? I don’t have a Costco nearby…the closest one is 20 miles away. And do you think the savings at Costco are worth a 40 mile round trip? Thanks!!

    • Katie says

      If you don’t mind me barging in, Whitney…I wouldn’t drive that far for a Costco, depending on what your closet options are. I prefer Costco to Sam’s Club, but Sam’s is expanding their organic offerings and they’re similar in the bulk-buy sense, if you have one of those closer.

      Also, if I recall, Tiffany doesn’t have Aldi, but we do, and I love it! I shop there first and then fill in what they don’t carry (they’re smaller stores with a smaller selection) elsewhere. They don’t carry much organic, but they do have a good amount of whole foods. Plus this is where I tend to buy snack foods, since they’re so cheap. 😉 Produce quality can be hit or miss. The meat seems fine but is suspiciously cheap–definitely not grass-fed or free-range or anything, but it depends on your budget and priorities. The small, orderly store is a big plus with two small children. I’ve always found staff to be friendly. Bring a quarter as deposit for your cart and your own bags. It’s a German company and it does remind me of stores over there–efficient.

      I don’t know what part of the country you’re in, but if you’re looking for more natural/organic offerings cheaper than Whole Foods and you don’t have a Trader Joes, look for Sprouts and Natural Grocers (was Vitamin Cottage). I moved from somewhere with TJs and Costco to somewhere with Aldi, Sprouts, NG, and Sam’s. All good options. :-)

      • whitney says

        Thanks Katie….I do have an Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s so I guess that’s where I’ll start. Thank you for the info; it is helpful!!

        • Katie says

          Sure thing! It’s hard figuring out what the good stores are in your area and balancing them with price, selection, distance, how many trips you want to make with toddlers…It can be frustrating. I miss TJs; lucky you!

    • Joy says

      I have an Aldi and Cosco both close and just this week started my cost comparison list as I am a new Cosco shopper. Our grocery budget is under $500 for a family of 6. In 2014 I started moving toward whole foods. There has been give and take in all areas – what we eat (natural, organic or regular), what I am willing to spend time making, what I am willing to spend the extra money to purchase, but Aldi has been a viable and frugal option for me. bonus: i can get in and out in 30-45 min for my weekly shopping. I am excited to have stumbled onto this blog and hope to continue to use it as a resource. Thanks!

  22. whitney says

    Tiffany do you have an article on what are the absolutely must-buy organics….I am familiar with the Dirty Dozen fruits/veggies that are the best to buy organic…but not having a Costco nearby…I’d like to know what I should buy organic and what I can pass on. Thanks!

  23. G says

    Thanks so much for this comprehensive list as I am considering a membership. I have a question about the EVOO: in here you say it is 11.99 for 1L but in the article about fridge testing it it was 11.49 for 2L Did they really increase the price that much or is it still a 2L bottle. In my area a 1L bottle is 6.49-6.99 and a bit cheaper if you can find the 3L tin.

    • Tiffany says

      Hi G! If memory serves me correctly, we’re talking about two different oils… There’s a toscano version that’s sold in 1L, but a Kirkland brand (not toscano) that’s sold in 2L.

  24. meghan says

    thanks for this list, I found it very helpful. I’d love to hear input from some fellow Canadians on their Costo whole foods purchases :) I’ve been not the fence whether to get a membership or not. I have toured our local Costco and found some good prices on things, but they didn’t even have unbleached flour!

  25. says

    A lot of your “Always Buy” list is similar to mine. Our Costco never has organic peanut butter though. It bums me out. Peanuts are one of the most sprayed crops and my kids eat a ton of it, so I’m pretty committed to sticking with organic pb.

  26. says

    What would we do without Costco?

    I buy everything from Costco when I can. Unfortunately, my closest Costco is 2.5 hours away from me. When I run out of something and have to purchase it elsewhere, it usually ends up costing me much more.

    I purchase my coconut oil from Tropical Traditions and Costco. I haven’t run the numbers to see which is cheaper so I usually choose the more convenient option. I know that’s not the frugal way, but I’m just being honest here.

    Thanks so much for this excellent resource, Tiffany. I appreciate the work involved in this post.

    Blessings to you and yours.

    • Tiffany says

      Have you checked to see if Costco will deliver to you Heather? We’ve bought some big items online (think bed) and they deliver, but I’ve seen food too… the price is slightly different, but depending on the cost of gas and shipping, it might work out for the better!


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