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Dave Ramsey Has a Warning About Costco Shopping


Young woman shopping

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If you don’t need this warning, you could still end up overspending at Costco.


Key points

  • Costco is well-known for offering bargain prices on many of the items it sells.
  • Its house brand, Kirkland, also has many devoted fans.
  • Finance expert Dave Ramsey notes that it’s easy to overspend at Costco by buying stuff you don’t need.

Costco is a very popular warehouse club, and for good reason. Members can enjoy substantial savings on many household essentials. Costco’s house brand, Kirkland, also offers many products that have devoted fans reaching for their credit cards.

But while shopping at Costco can be both fun and frugal, many people end up making a mistake when they go to the big box store. In fact, finance expert Dave Ramsey warns about a common error you need to avoid so you don’t end up wasting money even as you’re trying to save some cash.

Dave Ramsey’s Costco warning

So, what’s Ramsey’s warning about Costco shopping? It’s simple. “Don’t get sucked into buying stuff you don’t need,” the finance guru said on the Ramsey Solutions blog.

Ramsey explained that many people feel pressured to spend a lot of money when they go to Costco in order to make their membership fees feel worth it. Others end up buying more than they should in order to avoid having to go back to the store again, or because they don’t want to go to multiple grocery stores to get their shopping done. And still others just give into impulse purchases because the stores are designed in such a way to make you want to buy more than you should.

“Watch out for how easy it is to buy things in bulk that you weren’t intending to purchase,” Ramsey warned. “Even though it might seem like a pretty good deal, if it’s going to derail your budget—it’s not worth it, folks.”

How to follow Ramsey’s advice

Ramsey is absolutely right to urge his readers and listeners to be cautious when they shop at Costco. The problem is, the store has free samples and other promotions that might entice you to buy stuff that wasn’t on your list, that you don’t really need, or that you won’t use before it goes bad.

The good news is, it’s pretty easy to follow Ramsey’s tip and not get sucked into unnecessary purchases. You just need to make sure you’re shopping with a list whenever you go to Costco — and not deviating from it.

You can check out what items Costco has on sale before you go by visiting the store website and seeing what members-only specials are available. You can also do an inventory of your home before you shop. Take the time to think about what items you really need — and what items will justify the price that you’re being charged. Then, make a list of items that are a genuine good deal, that you can afford within your budget, and that will be used.

Once you get to the store, don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list. If you see something that you think you want in the store, you can add it to your list to consider for next time or even promise yourself that you’ll return for it (or order it online) within a few days. This will give you time to consider whether the purchase is really justified so you won’t end up making impulse purchases you regret.

By being smart about avoiding these unplanned purchases, you can save money with your Costco shopping and not get sucked into the type of overspending Ramsey warns about.

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