What to Buy:
- Mid-priced consumer electronics. With great prices on goods from reputable manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Canon, and Nikon, this is the place to pick up a high-def TV or a digital camera.
- Smart phones. All of the major brands from each of the nation’s four largest carriers are under one roof, so it’s easier to comparison shop here than at the AT&T or Verizon store. Plus, the prices are competitive.
- Coffee. The retail giant now offers fair-trade coffee, and while it’s slightly more expensive than super market brands, it tastes better, and its higher price ensures the farmers who grow it a living wage.
What to Buy:
- The Kindle. Unlike at amazon.com, you can try out the nifty e-book reader here before you buy it, and do a side-by-side comparison to the Sony digital reader, too.
- Green cleaning products. You’ll find more Method products here than at any other big-box store, along with offerings from Mrs. Meyer’s, Seventh Generation and other eco-friendly lines.
- Groceries. Target’s recent expansion into this area means you’ll find nearly 70% of what’s sold at typical supermarkets, but for 10-20% less. Things like granola bars and juice can be even bigger bargains.
What to buy:
- Wine. The Kirkland house brand is not bad, say the experts. And because Costco sells such huge quantities, they can afford to charge just $20 a bottle for what would retail at a wine shop for $30. Other labels are worth a look, too, Ray Isle, executive wine editor of Food & Wine magazine tells cbsmarketwatch.com. He particularly likes the Lot 200 Cameron Hughes 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($28 a bottle)
- Eyeglasses. A survey conducted by Consumer Reports found that people preferred shopping at Costco for eyeglasses over any other source, including large chains and private doctors’ offices. The main reason? The price. A pair here costs about $157, while the average elsewhere ranges from $211-$228.
- Olive oil. Costco’s Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil may be the best-kept secret in the store. At $9.99 for 1.5 liters, it’s roughly half the cost of the well-known Bertolli brand, yet, according to at least one independent study, it’s much better—comparable, in fact, to brands that sell for as much as five times the price.