There’s a magical place where the price tags are small, the products are huge and free samples flow like the finest champagne. That’s right, we’re talking about Costco, the beloved chain of member-only warehouses that stock everything from tablets and televisions to sleepers, snacks and ready-made meals. While many parents are already long-time patrons of their local Costco, some haven’t yet caught on to its many wonders. Here, we’ve rounded up the top reasons every parent should make it a regular stop on their errands list. You can thank us later!
1. The prices
Every family needs to save money, and the prices at Costco can barely be beat! That’s because they buy in such big volume that they can keep the costs low. So, if you look around and do your comparison shopping, you’re going to find a really fair price on just about everything, from super-soft kids’ pyjamas to bulk AA batteries and creamy Ontario goat cheese.
One thing to really love about Costco, and that all parents will appreciate, is the value—which is different from price. This doesn’t mean cheap prices but prices that are fair for the product. This means if you don’t have tons of time to do all sorts of research and look around for the best bargain, you can rest assured that regardless of the product, its price is going to be fair.
There’s a time and a place for specialty shops but there’s also something to be said for being able to get everything you need under one roof at Costco—you could walk out with smoked salmon, a vacuum cleaner, a mattress, yoga pants and even lunch (hot dog, anyone?)
4. Free samples
Even if you’ve never been in a Costco, you’ve probably heard about their free samples—they’re kind of famous for it. Not only is this great if you’re feeling a little hungry or your kids are begging for a snack and you forgot to bring one, but it also gives you an opportunity to try some of the foods that they sell that you’d maybe never thought about buying before.
5. Kirkland rocks
The best plant-based food items at CostcoJust about every store has a store brand, and this option is great because you’re getting a similar version to the name brand but it’s always lower priced. But you probably also wonder: is the quality going to be there? Should I take a chance on this brand I’ve never tried? At Costco, you can take that risk because the quality of their Kirkland Signature collection has been proven time and again. So many moms swear by the Kirkland baby wipes—they’re unscented, really large and super thick, meaning they won’t rip (which we know is essential during a messy diaper change).
6. Surprising items
If Costco always had the same old stuff, it wouldn’t be as much fun, but there are always random things that you didn’t know you wanted. Case in point: a Himalayan salt lamp you may never have seen in your life but can now very much picture in your living room and have. to. have.
Let’s say you’re looking for something specific, like kids’ rain boots—you know at Costco that the quality will be good. They work really hard with their vendors and do lots of advance testing to make sure of it. And if the stores start getting a lot of returns on specific items, they don’t work with those vendors anymore. As parents, this makes our lives way easier.
8. Dinners to go
Of course, you want to cook from-scratch meals for your kids every night, we all do, but let’s be real—it’s not going to happen. We run out of ingredients… and time! Cue Costco and its many made-for-you meals, all ready to be thrown in the oven or onto a platter, from quesadillas and lasagna to Caesar salad and rotisserie chicken. They’re well-priced and pretty healthful, and with such big portions you’re sure to have leftovers to throw into your kids’ lunches the next day. Can you say win-win?
9. Specialty products
Another thing we love about shopping Costco is that they have all kinds of products you’re looking for as a parent (gluten-free, dairy-free, organic) that would normally send you running from specialty store to specialty store. Here, it’s all in one spot and really makes life easy. (Kim, our editor-in-chief, says the Sabatasso’s gluten-free pizza is a firm family favourite.)
10. Cheapest lunch ever
Is a hot dog and pop a healthy lunch? No, it is not. But for $1.50, is a hot dog and pop a quick, cheap, awesome lunch when you’re in the middle of a busy day? Oh yes, it is! When you’re in a rush, you do what needs to be done. That’s parenting 101.
11. Easy returns
Costco’s return policy is crazy good, way better than pretty much any retailer. For electronics, it’s 90 days, but for everything else you can bring it back any time. Yes, really. As long as you bought the item with your membership they’ll know about it and don’t need the receipt. Parents are just too busy to keep track of receipts! We just want to be able to easily get our money back if we aren’t happy with a product.