Costco is one of America's favorite places to shop: The chain recently earned second place among national grocery stores in the annual Retailer Preference Index from consumer data firm Dunnhumby.
That's pretty impressive, considering you typically need to purchase a membership to shop at Costco, a basic version of which costs $60 a year. More than 94 million members pay so they can buy in bulk and access the chain's best products.
Still, depending on your circumstances, not everything sold there is going to be a great deal for you.
Because Costco often sells products in bulk, you need to be able to eat any perishable food before it goes bad, for example — so, if you live by yourself, springing for Costco's 1-pound container of fresh spinach may not make sense, even though it is a steal at $4.99.
To get the most out of your Costco experience, Charlene Haugsven, founder of MyFrugalAdventures.com, tells CNBC Make It that shoppers should do these three things: stick to a list, only buy what your family will actually consume and try to stick with pantry staples.
So what products should be on your list? Shopping experts weigh in on the nine foods that are the best bargains at Costco.