What I Don’t Buy At Costco, or Should I?

As a single person living alone, there are items I don’t buy at Costco. One category is the seasonings (spices) for cooking.

I check out the spice section at Costco every time I’m there because it’s fun looking (I love Costco). Sometimes I find items such as Everything Bagel Seasoning. In most cases, Costco-size spices are way too big for typical single people like me. In fact, even if I had a family of four, I don’t think my family would finish the big container of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt before the expiration date. But, sometimes it makes sense to buy from Costco and throw them away as they expire. It’s OK if you don’t finish the entire container. As long as you are financially ahead of the game, that’s all it matters. For that, I have to strategize according to my unique cooking style. This takes brainpower and effort.

What I consider when I buy a spice:

  • How much of this spice will I use for the next few years?
  • How much does it cost at local grocery stores in a smaller packaging?
  • Is this spice readily available elsewhere? – Costco sometimes sells exotic seasonings that are hard to find elsewhere.
  • What’s the expiration date?
What I don't buy at Costco. Single Living.

My spice rack – September 2021

I have made many mistakes by purchasing large containers of spices at Costco. The learning process was long. But I am getting better at my spice game. In my case, it doesn’t make financial sense for me to purchase large containers of spices at Costco. There will be rare exceptions, of course.

Salt & pepper grinders at Costco

I bought the salt and pepper grinders in January 2020. 2 salt containers were $4.99. 2 black pepper containers were $6.49. They all had an expiration date of October 2022 (4+ years).

I will keep the salt long after its expiration date. I think the salt is OK as long as they are visibly clean. Correct me if I’m wrong about this, but they are Himalayan salt. The salt must be many million years old. So, I don’t worry about keeping them for extra10-20 years in the kitchen.

Costco Salt and Pepper Grinder.

As for black pepper, today, I threw away the unfinished opened container and switched to the new container (pic). In October 2022, I will throw away this pepper container about 80% full. Kirkland Signature black peppers are cheap, have a long expiration date, and I trust their quality. For under $7, I will not waste my energy thinking about black pepper. I will pick it up at Costco and move on with my life. Here, after throwing away half of the black pepper, if I consider all the variables, I neither lose nor gain financially.

This concluded my example of salt and pepper. Now I apply similar logic to each spice I purchase. And I apply similar logic to everything else around the house, everything and more. This requires memorization and an analytical thinking process. I believe the level of the task I perform equals high-paying professions. This is what most stay-at-home moms do every day while turning babies into upstanding citizens.

Also, I salute single people doing it all alone. Represent.

Talk to you later.

June 2021. Soon after taking this picture, I threw away the basil & dill weed that expired a long time ago.

Costco Chicken – Single Man’s Dinner

This is how some single men cook. Below is my dinner from last night. The prep time was about 15 minutes.

Chicken was from my August 2020 Costco Shopping (9 months ago). I thawed it overnight in the refrigerator. I also thawed some tortillas (I vacuum packed them in single serving size). I used a Soup Mix from World Market I purchased about a year ago. It’s a dry food with long shelf-life.

I boiled the soup mix with chicken for 1 hour. I topped the soup with shredded tortillas. And seasoned it with oregano, peppers, and Tapatio (hot sauce).

It was an excellent dinner. The chicken was tender and tasty. I always keep these Costco chicken breasts in my freezer. Once I make a soup like this, I will eat this for three days.

As a single person, buying bulk from Costco works for me. I save money and time. Also, Kirkland Signature products are high quality.

Vacuum, freeze, and enjoy.

Vacuum packed and frozen tortillas – single serving size

What? Laundry Detergents Expire?

It came to me as a great shock that laundry detergents lose effectiveness sooner than I thought.

This subject wouldn’t matter if you have a full-size family. But it’s a different story if you live alone. In my case, a large jug of fabric softer can easily last 3 years or longer. So, I did some more research and learned that many products will lose effectiveness sooner than I imagined. Below, I listed some of the products and how long they are good for.

  • Laundry detergent (6-12 months).
  • Dishwasher detergent (6-12 months).
  • Liquid dish soap (12-18 months).
  • Bleach (6-12 months)
  • liquid fabric softener (6-12 months)
  • Lysol (2 years)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (30 days – 6 months)
  • Disinfectant wipes (1-2 years depends on products)
  • Window Cleaner (2 years)
  • Furniture polish (about 2 years)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner (12 – 18 months)
  • Body lotion (1 – 3 years)

FYI: Chemicals in dried powder form would last longer compared to its liquid counterparts.

I was clueless. How come nobody told me this? I felt so stupid… all these years… I thought these products lasted 5 – 10 years easily,

Maybe a lot of single men out-there didn’t have this information as well. So, here it is. If you live alone, buy your liquid chemicals in small units.

Costco Take and Bake Pizza for Single Living

I get a craving for pizza once in a while. I would like to enjoy pizza late Saturday night, or when I’m home alone feeling cozy. But, I live alone, so I need a little planning to enjoy pizza.

Pizza is family-oriented food. Going to a pizza restaurant alone is not only depressing, but it’s too expensive. I don’t want to have a pizza delivered to my house and ended up with a massive amount of leftover. That’s also too expensive. In both cases, just a tip alone will buy me 2-3 slices of Costco pizza.

So, this is what I do. I buy Costco’s Take and Bake pizza, slice them up, and freeze them. They last many months in the freezer. I enjoy pizza whenever I have a craving for it, and they will cost me $1.50 each slice. I can top it off with whatever I want. Since I enjoy my kitchen, baking pizza when I’m home alone is an absolute joy. It’s the most economical way for a single person to enjoy a good pizza.

Preparing Costco pizza for the long term, single serving, storage

  • Take pepperoni off the pizza
  • Cut pizza into 6 slices
  • Put pepperonis back on (6 slices each)
  • Wrap each slice with Kirkland Signature Stretch-Tite Plastic Food Wrap.
  • Put them in Ziploc freezer bags.

** Costco’s take and bake pepperoni pizza has 36 slices of pepperoni

I broke my pizza cutter and I may never buy another pizza cutter again. I cut pizza maybe once a year. And there are plenty of people, including professionals, using kitchen shears to cut pizza.

Happy Easter 2011

Happy Easter for those who have their own families.
Good for you.

I’m having my egg hunt alone… 

Single Man's Easter

Thanksgiving 2009

I was home alone for Thanksgiving Day.

I was not sad or felt lonely. I have mastered the art of being alone. I am perfectly fine.
I entertained myself. I was very productive. I spent a few nights working until the sun came up. It was an enjoyable weekend.

I made both turkey & ham for myself. I spent about 3 hours in the kitchen. Turkey was very tender. I glazed the ham. I watched Twilight Zone Marathon as I work in the kitchen.

Dinner came out good. I enjoyed it very much.

I had so much food leftover that I vacuum-packed half of all my food and put them in the freezer.


Thanksgiving Day


Day after Thanksgiving – Leftover

Just when I thought I would spend the entire weekend alone, one of my wedding photography clients invited me to their family dinner on Saturday. I took pictures of their wedding a few years ago.

I went to their house with a jar of “Chocolates of the World” as a gift. They had a big family. There were about 20 people. I used my usual charm, and we got along fine. It was a good time.

Although I spent most of my 4 days weekend alone, Thanksgiving 2009 turned out to be a memorable one.

I had a good time. It was so much fun working on my projects. It’s good to be alive.

My First Sewing Kit

This is the first sewing kit (from Michael’s).

It looks pathetic. I spent less than $6.00 in total.

I spent 15 minutes fixing some stuff. I figured, If common house-wives can do this, then I should be able to do this.

I quickly learned some tricks on my own.

I am afraid I will get too excited and end up buying a sewing machine.

I need a pincushion, a better needle case, a pair of small scissors, a better sewing case, etc…

Single man's first Sewing Kit

Today, after work, I did 6 loads of wash and put together my first sewing kit. It’s getting too late. I better fix a quick dinner before start ironing a mountain of shirts and pants.

I am so tired…

Love my new sewing kit.