My family calls it the “Costco Mentality” for bulk deals. It is possibly the biggest misconception ever.

The Costco Mentality is the idea that when you get a good deal on one thing at the Warehouse store, you then assume that the warehouse has the best price on every item in the store!

This is just not true.

I love sharing HOW I know that these items are the worst things to purchase at the Warehouse Clubs, and it’s easy to figure out.

I simply take the price, divide it by the units and then compare that amount to the grocery store, Walmart and Amazon. Usually, there is a clear winner which allows me to get a good determination and not overspend on bulk deals just by choosing a better place to shop.

Knowing where to buy things is a strategy that will help you save money without having to worry, or even cut coupons!

Plus, knowing you can get better prices with smaller packages helps to save your back too! Because those packages of toilet paper and paper towels packages are so big! I mean, how many times were you pummelled to the ground trying to wrestle that big tp package from off the top shelf where you stashed it? At least 5 times for me!

Download my Price List and fill it out for your family to make it super easy to determine for the items for your family, where should you be shopping? Take it with you the next time you shop and in less than a month, you’ll have your master guide too!

Check out the Video Replay when I shared my knowledge on Fox TV here:

Here’s a list of bulk deals I avoid buying at the Warehouse Clubs (CostcoSam’s or BJ’s), and where you should buy it instead.
bulk deals

1. Toilet Paper

I’m sorry, but for something that you are going to flush down the drain, there is no reason to overspend on this product.

I understand the need for “your” favorite brand, so choose that, then notice how much it costs across the different stores to know where it is cheapest to buy regularly.


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Obviously, if you compare the price per square footage (which sounds hard to do, but actually only take seconds) then you will be able to quickly compare prices across brands and know where you’ll get it the cheapest.

I have my toilet paper delivered to my home from Amazon. I don’t have to lug it home from the grocery store and they have coupons to use so I know I’m getting a good deal.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Toilet Paper goes on sale at the grocery store the 1st and 3rd weeks of the month? AND there are always coupons that match up with those sales making for an awesome deal even better than bulk deals!

2. Printer Paper

Printer paper is the absolute WORST deal even if you buy them at the Warehouse stores on bulk deals.

Wait until Back to School time to get all of your office supplies for a great deal!

The best deal for regularly saving on printer paper is to simply frequent the office supply stores like Staples & Office Depot that have simple online rebates. You can frequently get a ream of paper for only a penny!

bulk deals

3. Razors

Have you ever noticed how crazy expensive the razor refills are? They are upwards of almost $3 per REFILL! If you time it properly you can get some of the cheap refills for a little less than $2 each.

To keep clean-shaven on the cheap, you’re better off pairing Target and drugstore promotions with manufacturer coupons to snag a couple of cartridges AND a bonus handle for under the warehouse price.

4. Produce

When it comes to buying produce at Warehouse clubs, it goes bad SO quickly. You have to buy such large quantities that it goes bad before you can use it up.

Which means you might as well throw your money in the trash can along with the rotten food.

I believe this happens because they are trying to carry the same consistent items each week, which might need to be shipped in from farther locations, therefore taking longer to get to the stores and decreasing their shelf life with bulk deals.

The best deals are always on in-season produce, which will always be better priced at produce stands or the grocery store or ALDI.

5. Books & DVDs

I know it’s tempting to want to peruse the books and DVD area at warehouse stores, and with the “boxed package deals” they have that look so good, I totally understand wanting to buy them.

Every time I price compare these items, they are cheaper on Amazon by up to 30% than bulk deals!

bulk deals

6. Liquid Laundry Detergent (Including Bleach)

Detergent and bleach products typically lose effectiveness after about six months so buying in bulk deals when you aren’t going to use it up that quickly, might not be your best choice.

If you like using powder laundry soap, then that won’t ever expire so you can compare the prices and choose the best store (it still will be cheaper elsewhere though).


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Also, supermarkets regularly have sales on these items, so you can often stock up at a great price than bulk deals.

7. Toothpaste

Please think twice before picking up toothpaste bulk deals at a warehouse club.

You can always find better prices by waiting for a Grocery or Drug Store Sales and using coupons.

Keep in mind the way to score the best deal is to be flexible on the brand.

And if natural toothpaste is your thing, try Trader Joe’s. A 6-ounce tube of its store brand costs nearly $2 less than Tom’s Natural one (which does release coupons also, just not as often as with mainstream competitors).

8. Soda

Grocery stores typically use soda as a “Loss Leader” to get you inside the store. They assume that once they get you in the store, then you’ll buy more products and they will make up for the loss of the soda.

Take advantage of this fact, and stock up at the grocery stores when it is so cheap instead of overpaying on bulk deals at the Warehouse stores.

You should pay about 40% less by waiting for a Supermarket Sale and stocking up then.

bulk deals

9. Baby Diapers

It is pretty enticing to stock up on diaper bulk deals while you’re at a Warehouse Stores. I mean, that is something you never want to run out of when you have a little one, so it’s a relieving feeling when you stock up.

However, you are more likely to find a better deal when you shop for them online through services like Amazon Family where you can save 20 percent when you take advantage of Subscribe and Save. Plus, you don’t have to lug the big bulk deals diaper boxes home because they are shipped right to your front door for free.

I wrote a detailed article about the best price to pay for diapers. And it’s between 13¢ and 25¢ each.

Here is the specific stock up guide per size:

  • Newborn: 13¢
  • Size 1: 14¢
  • Size 2: 16¢
  • Size 3: 19¢
  • Size 4: 22¢
  • Size 5: 25¢

Thankfully, just by KNOWING what you should pay, you can choose a different brand of diapers usually for sale on Amazon and only pay the Stock Up Price!

10. Skincare Products

Okay, this might not necessarily be entirely due to financial reasons, but for those fellow germaphobes, please do not buy a massive tub of skincare products at the Warehouse Clubs.

The risk of contamination increases the longer a container has been open, and the more times you dip your fingers into it (according to Good Housekeeping).


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So although a 32-ounce tub of your favorite night cream might seem like a good deal, that’s a lot of cream for one person to get through (and keep germ-free) over three to six months.

Plus any waste of that cream is wasted money (how’s that for justifying my germaphobic tendencies?!!).

Remember, by always comparing the lowest unit quantity, you can accurately determine which products are the cheapest for your family.

Bulk deals may seem like a good idea, but when you compare the cost per unit, they really aren’t.

Being an informed consumer not only saves you money, but it’ll save your back as you won’t have to lug those big bulk deals home!


YOUR TURN: What bulk deals do you NEVER buy at the Warehouse Stores because you find they are consistently cheaper elsewhere? Comment below and let me know!

bulk deals
Don\'t fall for the bulk deals lie that it\'s cheaper to buy in bulk. It\'s not! Learn these items to never buy at the warehouse and big box stores!