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I saved money by shopping at Costco before a 2-week van trip. Here are the items I'm glad I bought.

Business Insider's author shopped at Costco before a a two-week road trip in a campervan.
Business Insider's author shopped at Costco before a two-week road trip in a campervan.Monica Humphries/Business Insider
  • I headed to Costco before a two-week trip in a 75-square-foot van.

  • I wasn't sure I'd find much for my tiny home considering the store sells items in bulk.

  • I left with a full cart, saved money, and had supplies like ravioli and hand warmers for the trip.

Tiny living and Costco seem like they shouldn't go together.

The wholesale store is known for selling items in bulk. Meanwhile, a campervan means limited space.

But I'm a sucker for a deal, so I headed to my nearest Costco outside Denver before a two-week trip in a 75-square-foot van.

Before embarking on a two-week road trip in a van, I headed to Costco to load up on groceries and other essential items.

The exterior of a Costco in Colorado.
The exterior of a Costco in Colorado.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

The two-week road trip would take me through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. I knew I needed to stock up on groceries, road snacks, and winter essentials like hand warmers.


While I wasn't sure Costco was the ideal store for van dwellers since it sells items in bulk, I figured I would start there and see what deals I could find.

To my surprise, I found I could easily fill an entire cart with meals, snacks, and goods that would come in handy for the trip.

I grabbed a cart and one of the first things I added was Liquid I.V. for $22.99.

Liquid IV from Costco.
Liquid IV from Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

I often bring packets of the electrolyte hydration mix Liquid I.V. on ski days, backpacking trips, and long days outdoors to keep me hydrated.

Since I had two weeks of outdoor adventures ahead of me, Liquid I.V. was a must.

Plus, 24 packets for $23 was a fair price. Later that week, I went on a Target run where 10 packets of Liquid I.V. were being sold for $18. On Liquid I.V.'s website, a 14-pack is sold for $25.

No matter where I am, eggs are an essential. Costco sells two dozen for $3.99.

Two dozen eggs cost $4 at Costco.
Two dozen eggs cost $4 at Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

It's hard to beat Costco's deal on eggs. I knew the moment I stepped inside the store that I'd grab a carton.

For $3.99, I could eat two eggs each morning of my trip (as long as I bought breakfast twice).

I wanted vegetarian dinner options for my nights at campsites, so I picked up two packages of ravioli for $11.99.

Pasta from Costco.
Pasta from Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

When mapping out the trip, I planned to get to my campsites before sunset to avoid driving on rough roads in the dark. This meant I would cook most dinners in my van.

When I arrived at Costco, I wanted to find easy, vegetarian meals I could cook.

Ravioli fit the bill. The two packages were enough for four meals, and the pasta was delicious.

I've had Trader Joe's butternut squash ravioli before, but Giovanni Rana is a new favorite. Plus, it's a great deal. A similar pasta by the same brand costs $7.24 for 18 ounces at Walmart. I got 32 ounces for $11.99.

I also found a vegetarian soup. Two jars cost $14.99.

Two jars of soup from Costco.
Two jars of soup from Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

As I wandered through the aisles, I stumbled upon a French pesto soup by the company Karine and Jeff.

The vegetarian soup cost $13.99 for two jars — enough for four meals. I saw one jar selling for about the same price as two online.

My favorite part, though, was that it was an ideal size for a van with just two jars.

In the produce area, I purchased salad kits for $6.99.

Bags of salad sold at Costco.
Bags of salad sold at Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

To pair with my ravioli and soup, I needed a salad. Thankfully, I found a pair of Taylor Farms salad kits for $6.99.

The kits I purchased came with salad, dressing, and toppings like sesame seeds, wontons, and nuts.

I'd save space by not needing to buy each ingredient separately, and I found that the kits — which contained both cabbage and romaine lettuce — stayed fresh in the fridge.

I also grabbed raspberries for $3.99.

Berries at Costco.
Berries at Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

I knew I'd pack snacks, but I wanted a few healthy options, too.

So I grabbed two 6-ounce containers of raspberries. It was a good deal. I usually pay about the same amount for just one container at my local grocery store.

Plus, I can eat that many raspberries in one sitting, so I knew they wouldn't go bad.

I stocked up on snacks like Dot's Homestyle Pretzels, which cost $9.99.

Dots Pretzels sold at Costco.
Dots Pretzels sold at Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

I absolutely love Dot's Homestyle Pretzels. The pretzel sticks are coated in a savory seasoning, and I can never get enough of them.

My main complaint is the price. Typically, a 16-ounce bag costs $7 at my local Target, which I think is a bit expensive.

So when I spotted a 32-ounce bag for only $9.99 at Costco, I was thrilled. The bag wouldn't be too big to store in the cabinets of my van, and I knew it was a snack I'd eat every last crumb of.

Most of the snacks I spotted were in packages that would be far too big for a van. Thankfully, some yogurt-covered almonds were the right size.

Yogurt-covered almonds at Costco.
Yogurt-covered almonds at Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

As I walked down Costco's aisles, I spotted enormous boxes of cereal and even bigger bags of chips.

I knew I wouldn't consume that many chips or that much cereal in two weeks, and, more importantly, I wouldn't have the space for these items.

However, I could definitely polish off a large bag of yogurt-covered almonds in two weeks.

The Sconza Thins' strawberry-coated almonds were an ideal size at 22 ounces. And I thought they were affordable at $4.97 for the bag.

I love Bobo's oat bars and figured these PB&J granola bars meant I wouldn't need to buy peanut butter, jelly, or bread.

Boxes of granola bars.
Boxes of granola bars.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

Bobo's are easily my favorite granola bar. They're always in my hiking backpack, so I figured I'd pack some on my van trip, too.

I also thought the PB&J version would help me save space since I could skip packing peanut butter, jelly, and bread and have a snack version of the sandwich instead.

For $14.99, I grabbed 20 granola bars. I thought it was a steal since the same box costs $29.99 on Bobo's website.

I picked up an enormous bag of popcorn for $5.99, which turned out to be a mistake.

Popcorn at Costco.
Popcorn at Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

I love Boomchickapop's sweet-and-salty kettle corn, so, without thinking, I grabbed the enormous bag.

While it was a good deal at $5.99 for 25 ounces (a 7-ounce bag at Target costs $3.79), it was far too big to fit in the storage provided in my van.

The large bag couldn't be stuffed into any cabinet, so for the bulk of the trip, it joined me in the passenger seat.

If I were to do van life full-time, I'd have to buy smaller-sized snacks or skip out on items like this to save space.

I also purchased household necessities like Lysol wipes for $10.99.

Lysol wipes at Costco.
Lysol wipes at Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

Messes were bound to happen in my van, so I wanted to make sure I was stocked with cleaning supplies.

Instead of buying bottles of cleaners and rolls of paper towels, I opted for a four-pack of Lysol wipes. They came in handy when I needed to wipe down my van's countertops and clean my swivel table.

I only used one of the four containers during my two-week trip, but if I lived in a van full-time, the price would be worth finding the storage for all four. At Target, a single container costs $5.99. I purchased a pack of four for $10.99.

Finally, I grabbed hand warmers for $13.99. I'd be traveling to some chilly places and knew I wanted something to keep me warm on hikes and walks.

A box of hand warmers.
A box of hand warmers.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

I get cold quickly and easily, so disposable hand warmers are always with me on my travels to cooler places.

At Costco, one large box with 40 pairs of Heat Pro hand warmers cost me $13.99. A similar box with a few more pairs is listed for $34.90 on Amazon.

I left Costco with a full cart, savings, and some helpful items for my trip ahead.

The author at Costco.
The author at Costco.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

I spent less than $200 on food and supplies for my van trip at Costco, and I estimate I saved close to $75 on my bulk purchases.

While I made some mistakes — like buying way too much popcorn — other items, like Liquid I.V. and hand warmers, came in handy throughout the trip.

If I decided to do van life full-time, I'm sure plenty of the items I purchased would become staples in my tiny home.

Read the original article on Business Insider