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Reminder: You're Buying Things at Costco That You Don't Need

It's all about the savings . . . until your cart is overloaded.

It's easy to feel like a winner when shopping at Costco. We love the idea of frugality as we lug oversized shopping carts filled to the brim with colossal olive jars, jumbo cans of beans, and toilet paper that will surely last for months to come.

"It's all about the savings," we tell ourselves as we march through the warehouse aisles, grabbing anything we may use in the near or distant future.

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And apparently, we're wrong. According to Dave Ramsey, a national bestselling author and personal finance expert, it's easy to overspend when savings make our eyes bigger than our stomachs.

"Watch out for how easy it is to buy things in bulk that you weren't intending to purchase," Ramsey told The Ascent. "Even though it might seem like a pretty good deal, if it's going to derail your budget, it's not worth it, folks."

Costco members pay $60 for a regular annual membership or $120 for an executive membership (for the executive membership, you receive 2% back on qualified Costco purchases along with other extra benefits). Many Costco members tend to purchase more items to justify the membership fee, Ramsey says.

His advice? Make a list and stick to it so you don't get lured into making unnecessary purchases. The average person spends $114 for nine items every time they visit Costco—which is twice a month, according to The Ascent. That totals more than $2,700 each year. Costco's typical customer earns more than $125,000 annually, so while they may be able to afford the warehouse, it's always a good idea to heed Ramsey's advice and avoid waste.

After all, while you may not be overspending on your $1.50 hot dog/soda deal or on your $5 rotisserie chicken, the food you end up tossing in the garbage is money down the drain.

"Filling up your shopping cart to the brim with bulk items can feel thrilling, but remember to ask yourself these questions before you get too carried away: Will this go bad before I can eat it all? Have I budgeted for it?" Ramsey advises.

Danielle Braff
Danielle Braff is a freelance writer based in Chicago. Read more about Danielle