I drive 3 hours to shop at Costco. Here are 21 things that make the 140-mile trip worth it.

I drive 3 hours to shop at Costco. Here are 21 things that make the 140-mile trip worth it.
·6 min read
cart of costco groceries in the parking lot
There are plenty of products that keep me coming back. Dana Engelbert for Insider
  • It takes me 3 hours to make the 140-hour roundtrip to my nearest Costco, but it's worth it.

  • I always stock up on sweet and savory snacks, like popcorn and applesauce, for my family.

  • Other household essentials, like sunscreen, batteries, and allergy medication, are also affordable.

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Goldfish packs are great for lunches and afternoon snacks.

bulk box of goldfish snack packs at costco
Costco sells big boxes of Goldfish crackers. Dana Engelbert for Insider

Whether they end up in my third-grader's lunch box or my high-schooler's mountain-biking pack, Goldfish snack packs are nice to have on hand.

Variety packs of chips and juice pouches are ideal for group snacks.

(left) costco pack of frito lays chip packs (right) costco packs of koolaid jammers juice pouches
We go through a lot of snacks. Dana Engelbert for Insider

When we're on snack duty after a soccer or baseball game, we usually opt for a variety of Frito-Lay chips and Kool-Aid juice pouches from Costco.

It's super simple and the kids love them.

Kirkland organic applesauce pouches are an easy way for my kids to get more fruit in their diets.

box of bulk applesauce pouches at costco
Kirkland applesauce pouches. Dana Engelbert for Insider

Costco's organic applesauce pouches are tasty and conveniently packaged in boxes of 24.

They're also are a great alternative for classroom or sports snacks when we've had too many chips in a row.

We love the big bag of SkinnyPop popcorn for family time.

bags of skinnypop popcorn on display at costco
Costco usually has SkinnyPop popcorn. Dana Engelbert for Insider

My family appreciates that the plain popcorn can be flavored to our liking.

I use seasoned salt and shredded parmesan or sea salt and lime juice.

My husband reaches for BarkThins as a midafternoon snack.

costco snack products sitting on a table, including barkthins
BarkThins are a nice sweet snack. Dana Engelbert for Insider

In addition to salty snacks, I also try to pick up these sweet BarkThins for my husband.

The chocolaty snack has just enough sweetness to pep him up for the rest of the day.

Bananas are always on our shopping list.

fruit from costco sitting on a wooden table
I pick up a lot of produce at Costco. Dana Engelbert for Insider

My family goes through a bunch of bananas quickly, but if any of them go brown too soon, I use them for baking or freeze them for later.

We also use lots of lettuce at our house.

bulk bag of lettuce at costco
We use the greens in tacos and salads. Dana Engelbert for Insider

Between shredding it for tacos on Tuesday nights, making lettuce wraps, and enjoying crisp salads for lunches, at least one kind of lettuce is always on the Costco list.

I love the Mucci Farms six-pack of red, orange, and yellow peppers.

hand holding a bulk bag of tri-colored bell peppers at costco
I can freeze whatever I don't use right away. Dana Engelbert for Insider

I like to stock up on all kinds of produce at Costco, including this pack of tricolored bell peppers.

If we don't use them up right away, I slice them and pop them in the freezer.

One of my favorite Costco buys is the hand-pulled rotisserie chicken breast.

bulk package of shredded rotisserie chicken at costco
It's great for quick meals. Dana Engelbert for Insider

We rarely go out for dinner, so I'm always looking for quick, healthy meals my picky eaters will enjoy.

This 42-ounce pack of shredded rotisserie chicken can be used for several recipes, including salads and enchiladas.

Since my closest Costco is all the way in a neighboring state, I bring freezer bags and fill them with ice for my meats and other perishables.

The Kirkland-brand flank steaks are great for freezing.

bulk package of flank steak at costco
I usually use the meat for fajitas. Dana Engelbert for Insider

Finding flank steak in our hometown grocery stores can be challenging, but Costco has good-sized packages of two at an affordable price.

Once I'm home, I package each one separately and put it in the freezer. Then I just thaw it in the refrigerator the night before I need it.

Sheet-pan flank-steak fajitas are one of our favorite meals.

We also go through mountains of ground beef at our house.

bulk package of costco ground beef
I like to buy my ground beef in bulk. Dana Engelbert for Insider

Like the flank steaks, I divide and freeze packages of bulk ground beef for tacos, sloppy joes, and casseroles.

Sometimes I even make bulk batches of taco meat or a casserole to freeze for an easy weeknight dinner.

Two of my favorite frozen buys for busy nights are french fries and chicken nuggets.

(left) bulk bag of ore-ida frozen french fries (right) bulk bag of frozen chicken nuggets
This is the perfect weeknight meal when we're in a rush. Dana Engelbert for Insider

My kids have declared Ore-Ida extra-crispy, fast-food fries as their favorite, so I pair them with Golden Platter organic chicken nuggets and some fresh veggies for a fast meal that avoids the drive-through.

Kirkland's five-cheese tortellini and basil pesto make a tasty meal in a flash.

(left) bulk packages of cheese tortellini at costco (right) bulk jars of basil pesto at costco
This pairing goes so well together. Dana Engelbert for Insider

Another easy, weeknight dinner idea from Costco is the store's five-cheese tortellini with basil pesto.

We amp it up to a date-night meal by subbing the tortellini for Rana Maine lobster ravioli and turning the pesto into a cream sauce.

One of the best stock-up items at Costco is batteries.

bulk batteries on display at costco
I haven't found a better deal on batteries. Dana Engelbert for Insider

I pick up a bulk pack of Duracell 9V batteries twice a year for our smoke detectors, and I replace the Kirkland C or D batteries in our flashlights before the start of every severe-weather season.

I use Dawn dishwashing liquid to clean all over my house.

hand holding a bulk bottle of dawn liquid soap at costco
Costco sells bulk bottles of Dawn. Dana Engelbert for Insider

Aside from using Dawn for dishes, I mix it with baking soda for an oven cleaner and vinegar for a shower scrub.

Everyone in my family needs some form of allergy alleviation in the spring and fall.

displays of allergy medication at costco
We stock up on allergy pills and nasal sprays. Dana Engelbert for Insider

The multipacks of allergy pills and nasal sprays, like Zyrtec and Flonase, at Costco are a lifesaver for us throughout the year.

I just check the expiration dates to make sure we use the bulk packs up in time.

We always stock up on sunscreen and bug spray in the summer.

(left) costco sunscreen pack (right) costco bug spray pack
It's nice to have extra bottles in the warmer months. Dana Engelbert for Insider

The multipacks of name-brand sunscreen and bug spray at the store make it easy for us to have a bottle or two everywhere we'll need it.

I also appreciate that there are usually a few different brands and application varieties available.

Click to keep reading Costco diaries like this one.

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