Budget haul: How to shop for a family at Costco for under $200 in 20 minutes

Jun 16 2022, 5:45 pm

Written for Daily Hive by Katie Dunsworth, Founder of Talk Shop, one of Canada’s top employers.

Not all budget shoppers are created equal — but Costcos are.

Even at its busiest, follow these tips to make it in and out of Costco for a full family grocery shop in 20 mins for $200.

@katiedunsworth How to shop for the week at @Costco under $200 in 20 mins. 🏃‍♀️💵🛒#money #moneytok #moneytips #costco #costco ♬ Darling – Trees and Lucy


  • Only shop the perimeter. Avoid the centre and interior aisles where you’ll find painfully slow shoppers and way too many temptations (I see you, paddleboard). Instead, cut in through the electronics section and go directly to the produce aisle.

Costco / Shutterstock

  • Hit all high-traffic areas by foot, stashing your cart in a quiet corner and loading up by hand.

  • Hit the refrigerated section. The best value is in produce and meat. Definitely check out the store-packed chicken tacos and lasagna for meals for the entire family for under $20.

Costco deals

Costco shopping cart / Shutterstock

  • Purchase high-use, high-volume items. Crackers, milk, laundry detergent, anything that you might pack for lunch daily is worth a Costco purchase.

  • Buy Kirkland over name brands whenever possible.

  • Buy the sale items. Costco already offers deep discounts so when kombucha, beyond meat, or any of your favourite items go on sale — stock up.

  • BYOB — bring your own bags or storage bin to make lugging in and out of the store, car, and your house easier. No one has the time or the core strength to pack and lug cardboard boxes full of your grocery haul.

Car trunk filled with shopping bags


  • When trying to pick the fastest aisle always look to the right. And remember Cosco cashiers love it when you keep big items in your cart.  So no need to load and unload all your heaviest items when you are at the till.  


  • Go when you are hungry.

  • Go with your children.

  • Stop for free samples.

Costco / Shutterstock

Costco / Shutterstock

  • Buy baked goods. Not only do you not need the refined sugar and carbs the volume of croissants or cinnamon buns is more than any family of four can consume in one week.

  • Buy large-quantity multi-packs if you don’t have the freezer or cupboard space. Costco prays on good value for big quantities. But it’s only a deal if you can use it all that week and actually have the space in your cupboards or fridge.

  • Be lured in by the book, clothing, or outdoor accessories aisle. You DON’T NEED IT.

Clothing at Costco

Clothing at Costco / Shutterstock

  • Go without a game plan.

Follow these tips to get the best deals on your next family haul. Happy shopping!

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