You’re a smart shopper, so I doubt you walk into any store and blindly buy. But Costco is tricksy. It’s so easy to assume that everything is a bargain there. But, it’s not. These are the worst things to buy at Costco, because you can always, always find them cheaper with coupons at other stores. I mean, would you rather pay $4.50 for a box of Raisin Bran or $0.20?!
Because of this, I’ve included a lot of coupon deal examples from the recent past, so you can see how I save so much more money with coupons. Some of the coupon deals are extensive, but I hope you’ll see how deep the savings are and how couponing is so worth it.
When it comes to items you buy over and over, like groceries and household items, couponing really outshines Costco deals. After you read through this, you can get familiar with how to coupon at Walgreens and how to coupon at CVS.
1. Get more brand-name body wash at Walmart for half the price of Costco’s Kirkland brand.
Why buy generic if you’re paying more than you’d pay for a brand-name body wash? I’ll always go for anything cheaper.
When you go this route, you’ll get six more ounces of brand-name body wash at Walmart for half the price of Costco’s Kirkland brand.
Buy Suave at Walmart for $0.11 less per ounce than Costco’s generic body wash:
- Costco: Kirkland Body Wash, 54 ounces (2 pack) $9.99, regular price ($0.19 per ounce)
- Walmart: Suave Body Wash 60 ounces (5 bottles) $4.85, or $0.97 each, regular price ($0.08 per ounce)
Savings: $5.14, or $0.11 per ounce
2. Costco’s Pantene shampoo at Costco is twice as spendy as it is at Walgreens with coupons.
Drugstores often offer Pantene deals you can score with coupons. And sometimes it’s a pretty mindless deal that requires little effort. In this case, all you need is a Walgreens app coupon and a MyWalgreens account and you’ll be able to get a huge discount on shampoo:
- Costco: Pantene Advanced Care 5-in-1 Shampoo 38.2 ounces $7.99, regular price ($0.21 per ounce)
- Walgreens: Pantene Pro V Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo 37.8 ounces (3 bottles) $3.99, or $1.33 each, after sales and coupons ($0.11 per ounce)
Savings: $4 or $0.11 per ounce
Buy 3, receive $5 Register Reward
Or use one $3/3 – Pantene products Walgreens L2C (load to card) Coupon (walgreens.com)
Pay $9, receive $5 Register Reward
Final Price: $1.33 each, when you buy 3
3. Get 24 more Tide Pods on Amazon for $6.53 less than Costco.
Don’t buy laundry detergent at Costco. Instead watch Amazon.
When Tide Pods go on sale at Amazon, and especially during a promotion like “Spend $40, Save $10,” that’s when you buy Tide Pods.
And be sure to use Subscribe & Save in order to get an additional 15% off (you’ll need to subscribe to a minimum of five items. Learn how Subscribe & Save works).
- Costco: Tide Pods, 168 count $29.99, regular price ($0.18 per load)
- Amazon: 2 Tide Pods, 192 count $23.46, or $11.73 each, after sales and coupons below ($0.12 per load)
Savings: $6.53 or $0.06 per load
15% off with Subscribe & Save
Use Amazon coupon for $3 off
Spend $40, save $10 promotion
Free shipping with Amazon Prime or on orders of $25+
Final Price; as low as $11.73 each, when you buy 2
4. Save almost $0.50 a razor at CVS over Costco.
When you can combine razor coupons with a sale price at a drugstore like Walgreens or CVS, you’re always going to get a better deal than what Costco can offer.
- Costco: Venus Disposable Razor 15 pack $19.99, regular price ($1.47 per razor)
- CVS or Walgreens: Venus Disposable Razor 15 razors $14.85, or $0.99 each, after sales and promos
Savings: $5.14, or $0.48 per razor
Buy 2, receive $8 ExtraBucks
Use $4/$20 – Any Shaving Needs, CVS Store Coupon from CVS App
And use two $3/1 – Venus Razor
Pay $9.98, receive $8 ExtraBucks
Final Price: $0.99 each, when you buy 2
Buy 1, receive $4 Register Reward
Use one $5/1 – Gillette or Venus Razor System (walgreens.com)
Pay $4.99, receive $4 Register Reward
Final Price: $0.99
5. Olay body wash is almost 60% cheaper for 19 more ounces with coupons at Walgreens.
Comparing regular prices without sales or coupons, Costco’s Olay body wash is cheaper than you’ll find at Walmart or Target. But you’ll pay less than half of Costco’s price when you use body wash coupons at a drugstore like Walgreens instead.
- Costco: Olay Body Wash, 3 pack of 23 ounces each $11.99, regular price ($0.17 per ounce)
- Walgreens: Olay Body Wash 22 ounces $1.49 each, or $5.96 for 4 bottles/88 ounces after sales and promos ($0.07 per ounce, example below)
Buy 3, receive $5 Register Reward
Use $5 Walgreens Cash when you buy $20 Only for You Coupon (walgreens.com)
And use one $8/4 – Olay Body Wash Walgreens L2C Coupon (walgreens.com)
Free store pickup or free shipping on orders of $35+
Pay $15.96, receive $5 Walgreens Cash and $5 Register Reward
Final Price: $1.49 each, when you buy 4
Savings: $6.03 for 19 more ounces, or $0.10 savings per ounce
6. Compared to Costco, toothpaste is dirt cheap with Target Circle and Ibotta offers.
Get your hands on toothpaste coupons and then jump on a Target Circle gift card promotion. Anytime you can combine (or “stack”) multiple discounts, you’ll save an obscene amount of money. Sometimes, the stars will align and you’ll see an Ibotta offer you can redeem on top of coupons and store discounts, like the one I saw recently (below).
Always pay attention to size or quantity limits on a coupon. In this case, I was able to get the best deal by purchasing the smallest size of toothpaste while still qualifying for the coupon. I used the “3 ounces minimum size” coupon on 3-ounce tubes of toothpaste.
- Costco: Colgate Total Advanced Whitening 32 ounces (5 pack of 6.4 ounces) $17.49, regular price ($0.55 per ounce)
- Target: Colgate Renewal Toothpaste 3 ounces $0.66, after coupons ($0.22 per ounce) (or $7.26 for 33 ounces)
Savings: $10.23 or $0.33 per ounce
Use Free $5 Target Gift Card with $20 Beauty Purchase, Target App Coupon (target.com)
And use one $3/1 – Colgate Gum Renewal Toothpaste 3 ounces or larger, Target Circle Single-Use Manufacturer Coupon (target.com)
And use two $1/1 – Colgate Renewal Toothpaste 3 ounces or larger from SS
And submit three $3/1 – Colgate Renewal Gum Toothpaste 3 ounces, Ibotta Rebate (ibotta.com)
Pay $15.97, receive $5 Target gift card, and submit for $9 Ibotta credit
Final Price: $0.66 each, when you buy 3
7. Get name-brand cereal for $0.19 a box during a Kroger Mega Sale, or pay $4.50 a box at Costco.
Buckle up as I explain this one because it’s got a lot of moving parts, but I think you’ll agree that the brain work required is worth the savings!
About once a month, Kroger offers Mega Sale events. When you see a sale price on cereal during a Mega Event, put your game face one and plan to stock up for a few months if possible! Recently, I saw an Ibotta rebate offer that I cashed in on after I hit some jackpot Mega Sale prices.
The way a Mega Sale works is you’ll need to buy a certain quantity of items in order to get additional savings, plus a Catalina coupon for more savings. For this example, it was “Buy 5+, save $1 per item instantly” and “Buy 5+, receive a $3 Catalina coupon.” You’ll see in the example below, how I bought five cereals and then I listed all the promotions I applied to get the low price.
Then I listed out all the different coupons and Ibotta offers I was able to get to. It’s long, but take it line by line and you’ll nail it.
Costco cannot hang with this!
- Costco: Kellogg’s Cereals 40 ounces (2 pack) $8.99, regular price
- Kroger: Kellogg’s Cereals 61.7 ounces (5 boxes) $0.95, or $0.19 per box, after promotions below
Savings: $8.04 or $4.31 a box
Buy 1 Kellogg’s Corn Pops Cereal, 10 oz (reg. $3.49) $2.79, sale price
Buy 1 Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereal, 18 oz (reg. $3.49) $2.79, sale price
Buy 1 Kellogg’s Apple Jacks Cereal, 10.1 oz (reg. $3.49) $2.79, sale price
Buy 1 Kellogg’s Froot Loops Cereal, 10.1 oz (reg. $2.99) $2.79, sale price
Buy 5+, save $1 per item instantly
Buy 5+, receive $3 Catalina
Use one $1/2 – Kellogg’s Krave, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites or Frosted Flakes Cereal 8.4 ounces or larger (kelloggsfamilyrewards.com)
And use one $0.50/1 – Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereal 14.3 ounces or larger (kelloggsfamilyrewards.com)
And use one $1/2 – Kellogg’s Cereal, Kroger Digital Coupon (kroger.com)
And submit one $0.50/1 – Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Cereal 10-33 ounces, (ibotta.com)
And submit one $0.50/1 – Kellogg’s Corn Pops Cereal 9.2-25.6 ounces (ibotta.com)
And submit one $0.50/1 – Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereal 18-38.4 ounces, (ibotta.com)
And submit one $0.50/1 – Kellogg’s Apple Jacks Cereal 8.7-32.1 ounces (ibotta.com)
And submit one $0.50/1 – Kellogg’s Froot Loops Cereal 8.7-26 ounces (ibotta.com)
Pay $6.45, receive $3 Catalina and submit for $2.50 Ibotta credits
Final Price: $0.19 each, when you buy 5
8. Don’t buy Costco Pull-Ups when you can stack coupons with a Walmart clearance price.
Every couple of months, Walmart offers a sale or clearance price on Huggies Pull-Ups that always seems to coincide with a manufacturer coupon and an Ibotta rebate. When this happens, it’s time to buy Pull-Ups.
- Costco: Pull-Ups Learning Designs 2T – 3T 128 count $37.49, regular price ($0.29 per pant)
- Walmart: Pull-Ups Training Pants 3T – 4T 84 count $12, after sale and coupons ($0.14 per pant)
Savings: $0.15 per pant
Use one $2/1 – Huggies Pull-Ups Training Underwear from SS
And use one $2 – Huggies Pull-Ups Training Pants, see offer details, Ibotta Rebate (ibotta.com)
Pay $14, submit for $2 Ibotta credit
Final Price: $12
What did I miss? Tell me in the comments which grocery and household items you always pass up when you’re at Costco!