Shopping at Costco saves me over $500 a year on personal-care products, from tampons to toothpaste
Dominic Lipinski - PA Images/Contributor/Getty Images
- I never shopped at Costco as a kid because there wasn't one in my town, but after my first trip to the bulk retailer at age 30, I was hooked.
- After I got past the shock of the parking lot, I discovered great deals on the personal-care products I use every month.
- By shopping at Costco, I save over $500 a year on tampons, dental-care products, razors, makeup, body wash, and makeup remover wipes.
- You can use the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi to earn 2% back on eligible in-store and online Costco purchases.
One confession I'm always a little hesitant to make is the fact that I never stepped foot in a Costco until I was 30 years old.
A lot of people I know grew up spending Saturday or Sunday rolling massive shopping carts around the warehouse store, sampling food and buying things in bulk. My parents were obsessed with discounts but never got into Costco, mostly because there wasn't one in our town.
I might have gone even longer without testing out the store, but my fiance and I moved to a new place and needed a lot of, well, everything.
We were living in Los Angeles and didn't have access to a car, so getting groceries and household items was challenging. Until one weekend when we rented a car and headed to Costco.
I almost didn't go inside because the parking lot was packed and the shopping carts were practically the size of our Corolla - I was terrified that the large crowd and shoppers' bumping baskets would cost me a lot of bruises. But I knew this was the best option for us since we didn't have a car to make regular trips to the grocery store, Target, or elsewhere.
Once I entered Costco, I never looked back
As soon as we entered, my jaw dropped. Not only did the store have everything, but it had big packages of everything for a reasonable price.
While we stocked up on household necessities, from frozen foods to toilet paper, my eyes bulged at the low cost of personal-care products.
A trip to the local drugstore usually costs me about $40 and I walk away with three items or fewer that last a month (makeup remover, tampons, and body wash). It's long been a pain point for my budget and something I didn't know how to fix because I need those items.
But my shopping trips to Costco fixed that. Right there in front of me were the items I buy monthly, but in larger quantities and at lower prices.
The 6 things I always buy from Costco to save money
One of the things I've noticed about myself is that I'm not brand loyal. I'll pick the least expensive brand of toilet paper or mouthwash every time.
But when it comes to tampons, I use the same brand I've been using since I was a teenager. I won't change.
Even as the price goes up, I find a way to move things around in my budget to afford spending around $18 a month on enough tampons to last me one cycle. Spending around $216 a year is the price I'm willing to pay for a product I know, trust, and don't want to mess with.
When I saw the same brand at Costco, I was thrilled. One Costco box had triple the number of tampons in a typical drugstore box, which would last me three to four months instead of just one or two. In total, I'd save about $120 a year on tampons by shopping at Costco, double the price of our annual membership.
Get 2% cash back on eligible Costco purchases with the Costco Anywhere Visa. See Business Insider's review of the Costco Anywhere Visa card for more »
I travel a lot, which means I'm always in need of new toothbrushes and mini tubes of toothpaste. I found that I was spending close to $15 a month on dental-hygiene products at the local drugstore (toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and mouthwash). This added up to around $180 a year to keep my teeth healthy and happy.
When it comes to teeth-cleaning products, I'm less brand loyal, though there are some ingredients I like to avoid in my toothpaste and toothbrush brands because they hurt my gums.
Being open to more brands allowed me to score more deals at Costco. I was able to get a pack of toothbrushes (that would last me six months) for $16.49, six months of toothpaste for $9.97, and six months of dental floss for $11.49. Buying these items only twice a year would save me around $100 a year on dental hygiene products.
Makeup remover wipes
One item I'm constantly buying is makeup remover wipes. I use about two a day, and the packs I buy at my local drug store have 30 wipes for $8 a pack. That begins to add up when I go through close to two packs a month. Plus, I'm spending $192 a year on a product to remove my makeup, not even on the makeup itself.
I found the same brand of wipes at Costco in a jumbo 60-wipe pack for $14. While the savings is lower than other items, It's still giving me an extra $24 a year to put back into my savings account.
On average, I change my razor blade once a month, and buying a pack of razors at my local drugstore costs me $12.49 for a three-pack. In total, I spend around $50 a year for shaving necessities.
What I was able to find at Costco was a jumbo pack of razor blades and a solid razor, so that I wouldn't have to worry about heading out to get new blades every month.
The price for a razor and 14 blades (which would last me more than a year) was $18 at Costco and made my shaving savings $32 a year.
Perhaps the biggest change I decided to make, in the name of saving money, was buying my makeup at Costco.
For years, I bought from different brands that you can usually find in department stores, and on average, I would spend close to $375 a year on makeup (concealer, lipstick, eyeshadow, brushes, mascara, blush, and foundation).
While Costco didn't have the brands I usually used, it did have comparable items that cost me only $150 total for the year, saving me more than $225.
There were some items that didn't compare to the quality of my old brands (mostly the foundations and concealers) and other products that got the job done (eye shadows and brushes).
I usually hunt for the lowest price when it comes to finding a body wash. My standards are low - clean my body and make it smell nice. I usually get good deals at the drugstore on body wash (around $6 for a 12-ounce bottle) and need to buy a new bottle every other month, which means I spend $36 a year on this product.
At Costco, I was able to find a comparable product, only larger and less expensive ($15 for three 24-ounce bottles) which would last me the entire year, saving me $21.
What did I learn from my year of shopping for personal-care products at Costco? There's money to be saved, as long as you can part ways with some brands you love and have enough storage in your home to hold these products for months at a time.
The Costco Anywhere Visa has no annual fee with a paid Costco membership: Click here to learn more about the Costco Anywhere Visa »
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.
Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.