Things You Should Never Buy at Warehouse Clubs

Buying in bulk at stores like Costco isn't always a bargain.

Shoppers can find good deals at warehouse clubs. You’ll usually come out ahead if you buy batteries in bulk, for example. And members of Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club can score big savings on quality meats. Just be sure you have extra room in the freezer. Wine can be a real bargain, too.

But warehouse clubs don’t always have the lowest prices. And even when they do, bulk purchases can backfire if items quickly spoil or expire. Here are some things you should buy elsewhere.

Canned goods, cereal and soda are usually cheaper during sales at a local supermarket. Save even more by combining sales with coupons. Some warehouse clubs don’t accept manufacturers’ coupons.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

Beware buying bulk items with short shelf lives if you expect to store them. Sunscreen, beauty cream and liquid bleach all expire quicker than you think. In the kitchen, condiments and cooking oils can go bad in a matter of weeks after they’re opened.

There are more purchases to avoid at retailers such as Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's. In fact, we found 16 items. Take a look at our complete list of the worst things to buy at warehouse clubs.