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How to Do Costco as a Single Person

Don’t be afraid of the frozen-foods section

Few things can make a person feel more single and alone than meandering through the towering aisles of a Costco superstore, searching for some nutrients to sustain your solitary life. Why? Because Costco is built on the foundation that we are all just one accidental insemination away from a second and even a third accidental baby-making mishap. Put another way, Costco is for families in much the same way that plastic wrapped microwavable dinners is for people whom the adage, “there’s someone for everyone” may not apply.

But does it have to be this way? Is it possible to get sweet deals on frozen cruciferous vegetables as a person whose idea of a family dinner is making enough rice to feed you and your cat?

“If you have a freezer, I’d say go for it,” writes one redditor. “We coincidentally bought our large freezer at Costco.”

The issue here, of course, is that said redditor quickly gives away the fact that she’s part of a “we.” Which means her opinion is slightly, if not completely skewed. But other, more certifiably single redditors, agree (sic throughout, obviously).

“I am a big believer in Costco. But more so for everything other than food. With the food it tend to make a lot of unnecessary impulse buys bc everything looks so good. But, when it comes to everything else? You can’t beat it. Laundry soap, paper goods, Gift cards!” writes another redditor.

Several others agree that paying the recently raised yearly $60 membership fee is worth it even if only for the gas. “I save at least 40 cents per gallon when I get gas at Costco, so that’s why I keep the membership. I also put my adult son on my account as a household member (you’re allowed one per membership) so he can get the gas savings, too. We easily save $60/year on gas alone,” claims yet another single Costco enthusiast.

So now that we’ve established that a Costco membership is worth its industrial size container of salt — even if you are a single guy with no current prospects to begin your Costco sponsored family fairytale — how do you do it? How do you traverse the Costco stratosphere without flaming out and spending hundreds of dollars on soon-to-be untouched rotting cucumbers?

“You have to be realistic with yourself,” says Erica Mesirov, an L.A.-based emotional eating and diet coach who specializes in meal planning. “Ask yourself, what are good staples that aren’t going to spoil? Things like rice and spices are going to be used in a lot of recipes and on a daily basis, so it’s worth buying those in bulk.”

Additionally, Mesirov suggests buying vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. “If you’re buying a family size bag as a single person, you can probably eat it all before it goes bad,” she says. “Things like zucchini and squash have a much longer shelf life than kale.”

My colleague C. Brian Smith, a 40-year-old single man who admits to having used Costco as his primary grocery store for the past five years, agrees. “Organic produce is sold in enormous, three-pound bags, so determine before entering the store if this is gonna be a Brussels sprouts or broccoli florettes month,” he says.

Another suggestion: Don’t be afraid to buy frozen vegetables. “Single people shouldn’t be afraid to get frozen veggies,” says Mesirov. “Fresh is better, but frozen can be okay, especially if it’s out of season.”

To that end, according to an article in Pop Sugar, canned soups, tuna, beer and frozen burritos also have a long shelf life and come in packages that work for well for single people. “These groceries have an extended shelf life and are packaged up for one. Perfect! Consider this when purchasing groceries. Frozen fruit and veggies are also usually safe for the solo grocery buyer, but be sure you are choosing items that you’ll really and truly want to eat on the regular,” writes Anna Monette Roberts.

But while the same article warns against buying perishables like milk, eggs, cheese and fresh meat, Mesirov says that if you cook some meat and use it in different recipes, you can always freeze the rest. “One night you can use it in stir fry, the next night you can put in already cooked meat, add taco chili spices and make yourself a Mexican-themed dinner,” she says.

Finally, if you’re feeling really single and lazy, unlike your past significant others that have abandoned you right before the holidays, Costco’s food court is eternal. “Don’t miss the humble, faster-than-fast-food $1.50 hot dogs sold at no-frills food courts just outside of each entrance,” says Smith.

Seriously, don’t miss them. They’re probably more delicious than anything you’ll be able to cook up.