UNDATED -- Looking to load up on bargains at a warehouse store? Joining Costco can lead to big savings in your household budget, but it's important to know what to get and what to forget when you're filling your cart.
Definitely bring home the bacon. Kirkland brand is top-rated and crisps up nicely.
Kirkland Signature Olive Oil is another good pick-up. It has a distinct flavor and is a Consumer Reports Best Buy.
But there are things to skip. Don't bother with the Kirkland facial tissues. When Consumer Reports tested for strength, they rated just so-so. But do grab the Kirkland paper towel. Testers found it has excellent absorbency.
A check-in to the dishwasher labs at Consumer Reports found Kirkland Signature Gel struggles to clean dishes, so instead, get the Kirkland Dishwasher Pacs, which do much better.
If you're entertaining, Consumer Reports says several good choices include Cuisine Adventures Spanakopita, Hannah Classic Hommus, Kirkland cooked, tail-on shrimp, and Kirkland Signature Vanilla Ice Cream, which beat out Breyers in Consumer Reports' taste tests. And, when the party's over, break out the Kirkland Signature Trashbags. Consumer Reports says they're strong enough to handle most messes.
When you're tallying your savings, don't forget to factor in the cost of the membership fee to shop there. But be aware that Costco has a generous return policy. It accepts virtually everything except electronics anytime. With electronics, you typically have 90 days to return your purchase.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.