Cooking with a Costco membership can be an exciting and cost-effective way to stock your pantry—if you know how to maximize your membership. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned chef, there are plenty of ways to make sure you get the most bang for your buck when shopping at Costco. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you make the most of your Costco membership and explore their extensive Costco Food Database.

#1 Shop With A List

You may think that it’s best to simply wander around the store picking up whatever looks appealing, but this isn’t always the case. It’s important to plan ahead before hitting up the warehouse so that you don’t end up buying items that won’t get used before they go bad or perishables that won’t fit in your fridge/freezer. Create a list of recipes (or use already existing ones) around which you want to build meals for the week, then shop accordingly. Don’t forget about proteins, fruits, vegetables, condiments, dairy products, grains and pasta as part of those recipes!

#2 Stick To The Basics

When it comes to stocking up on staples like oils, cereals and canned goods at Costco (the name says it all), stick with basics whenever possible. These items rarely expire so it’s smart to buy them in bulk since they have good shelf lives and are often cheaper than purchasing individual servings from other stores. Plus if you need more than one item in a certain category (e.g., olive oil) then buying larger quantities is usually less expensive per ounce than buying multiple small bottles at another store—allowing you to save even more money in the long run.

#3 Be open to trying new things

Many people only buy what they know from their grocery store or supermarket – but when it comes to exploring new flavors or ingredients at Costco, try something new! Believe it or not, many items found in their warehouses can be completely different from what we’re used to, such as unusual cuts of meat/seafood and unique ethnic dishes. Always check what’s on offer each time you visit, as this varies from location to location within the chain itself due to regional tastes and preferences – plus it gives us a chance to try different flavors without spending too much money!

#4 Look for deals on bulk items

Since prices can vary depending on where you buy your groceries, such as local stores versus big box retailers like Walmart, it pays to look for deals on bulk items at places like Costco (or Sam’s Club). This could mean anything from 10-pound bags of potatoes all the way down to $1 cans of organic tomatoes, making shopping trips here especially worthwhile if you need large quantities of any particular ingredient throughout your yearlong cooking adventures!

#5 Know when to buy fresh vs frozen food

Some foodies swear by fresh produce, while others prefer frozen packages – but each has its own pros and cons, depending on personal taste preferences, dietary needs, etc. One thing is for sure, fresh vegetables are usually more expensive than their frozen counterparts but still offer the same nutritional value, while the latter offers the convenience factor as pre-portioned packages allow for quicker meal preparation times (and sometimes even cook themselves!). So no matter which option you choose, just keep in mind the overall cost-saving potential between both types over the course of several weeks/months if you plan to purchase certain items frequently during the period.

#6 Use your Costo food database

Last but not least, make use of the Costo Food Database resource available online via the website/app, which allows customers to search specific product brand names, type in instantly, view nutritional labels, learn more about ingredients included in each respective dish being prepared (especially helpful for those following special diets). Not to mention a great way to understand the pricing structure behind different items carried while cross-referencing current sale prices against regular retail values offered by other stores in the town area. this way shoppers can compare costs and determine whether ‘buying in bulk’ really benefits them given circumstances!

The bottom line

Costco offers many advantages over traditional grocery stores – especially when it comes to price – so make sure you take advantage by following our tips above the next time you visit your local warehouse club! From creating lists beforehand, stocking basics, getting creative, trying new foods, exploring deals, and buying in bulk using Costo’s food database; savvy shoppers everywhere can now enjoy delicious meals at home knowing they got the best bang for their buck every single trip made.


Sean Fox is a nutritionist and a blogger based in Illinois.