CNBC make it 2024-02-12 10:50:45

Skip these 5 household items at Costco—they aren’t worth the bargain, says expert at finding deals

When it comes to Costco, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

That’s because the wholesale retailer’s low-cost items are often sold in sizes that may be too large to consume before they spoil or go stale, depending on your household size.

Plus, the company doesn’t price match with competitors, so you could potentially find lower prices on the same items elsewhere, like at rivals Sam’s Club or BJ’s Wholesale Club.

To help you determine what’s worth buying at Costco and what you can skip, CNBC Make It turned to Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at

Remember that you’ll need to purchase a $60 membership to buy almost all items at Costco, which can factor into how much you save. Additionally, prices can vary between Costco locations, and in-store prices tend to be cheaper than what’s found online.

1. Breakfast cereal

Costco’s breakfast cereal prices are similar to what you find at other wholesalers, although the selection is limited, says Ramhold.

The store offers brands like Honey Bunches of Oats, Raisin Bran and Cheerios, but doesn’t usually have a wide selection of “fun” sugary cereals, she says.

Typically, cereal comes in two-box packages, which means you’ll be eating “the same thing over and over to ensure you’ll eat it all before it goes stale,” says Ramhold. Ready-to-eat cereal lasts about three months after opening, although it starts to go stale much sooner if the packaging isn’t tightly sealed.

2. Lip balm

Lip balm can last a long time, although estimates differ. Some are good for at least a year once opened, while others with natural ingredients like beeswax, shea butter or coconut oil might get hard or clumpy sooner than that.

And most people don’t tend to go through stick after stick of lip balm in rapid succession, Ramhold says.

“It may sound like a great idea to buy the lip balm in bulk and have a container for every possible room in your home, plus your vehicle,” says Ramhold. “But the truth is that even if you use it habitually, it takes a long time to go through that much lip balm.”

For that reason, unless you’re buying for family or friends, you probably don’t need to grab the nine-count pack of lip balm on Costco shelves. A single stick will do just fine. 

3. Over-the-counter pain medications

Costco has low-price pain medications compared with many pharmacies, and medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen can last a long time, with expiration dates up to three years, depending on the brand.

However, you simply might not need 1,000 pills of, say, Kirkland Signature brand ibuprofen, unless you have a large household, Ramhold says. For a single person, such a large bottle could take years to finish.

“You probably won’t be able to get through an entire bottle of them unless you have chronic pain due to an injury or something like that,” says Ramhold. “It’s best to speak with your doctor to make sure it’s OK to take them that often — some meds can cause liver or stomach issues with prolonged use.”

4. Fresh produce

Costco’s fresh produce is sold in bulk sizes that are typically larger than what you find in regular grocery stores. 

Considering how quickly produce can spoil, a 25-pound bag of white onions or carton of red tomatoes can be impractical for a shopper without a large family to feed. 

Unless you plan to make a lot of pre-cooked meals in advance, you’re likely to waste some of the produce, which would negate the cost savings you’d get from buying in bulk, Ramhold says.

5. Spices

Ground spices have a limited shelf life of about six months, after which they lose their potency. In that case, you probably don’t need to buy Costco’s five-pound tub of garlic powder, even if it’s at a great price.

“For a giant container of chili seasoning, if you’re not planning on making chili every single weekend, you probably don’t want something that big from Costco,” says Ramhold.

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Mom and dad of 14-year-old college grad share top parenting rule: We ‘left no room for negotiating’

Melissa and Mark Wimmer say they “never pushed” their son Mike to do homework — but they’re hard-liners when it comes to him making friends.

Mike is a certified child prodigy. The 14-year-old is a Mensa member from Salisbury, North Carolina, who earned his high school, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees all within the past three years. Along with those achievements, Mike ran two tech companies, started a third one, and partnered with Atlantic Lionshare, a Bermuda-based organization working to control the population of lionfish, an invasive species.

He’s a self-described extrovert who at age 11 won homecoming court for his high school sophomore class. His friends range from the kids he grew up with, to the 20-somethings in his college classes at Carolina University, to adult co-workers.

That isn’t always the case for child geniuses. In fact, there’s a statistical correlation between introversion and high IQs, research shows.

“I’ll be honest, people expect ‘Young Sheldon’ before they meet Mike,” Melissa tells CNBC Make It, referring to the CBS television show. Then, after speaking with him, they realize “he’s just a normal 14-year-old that happens to be able to do absolutely amazing things.”

The Wimmers are proud of helping Mike ensure his “social skills were in line with his intellectual skills,” Mark says.

Here is the Wimmers’ No. 1 rule to raising a social kid who can befriend anyone: “Let [kids] be who they are and just support it,” Mark says. “You’ve just constantly got to keep your finger on the pulse of how they’re growing and what they need.”

Surround children with a variety of age groups

Mark and Melissa discovered their son’s intelligence before he entered preschool — a child psychologist told them that Mike had literally maxed out her IQ scale — and concluded that a standard education curriculum wouldn’t support his fast-track development.

Some parents in their position opt for homeschooling, shuddering at the idea of putting their 12-year-old in a room full of 18-year-olds. Instead, Melissa and Mark saw the value in having him navigate those situations.

“I wanted him to be able to be social and be able to handle all the different personalities in the classrooms with older children,” says Melissa. “Mike will be the first one to say that his parents never pushed him as far as academics go, but [that] they left no room for negotiating on his social skills.”

Kids are more likely to form friendships with their peers when they are physically seated next to each other, recent research shows. Mixed-age friendships are linked to less reported loneliness in children, and are a significant factor of childhood development, a 2009 University at Buffalo psychology study found.

Mike may have gotten lucky at his particular school, too. The teachers and other students were “very open and welcoming,” he says. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, to be honest.”

By spending so much time with such a wide variety of age groups, he’s learned how to change the dial on his vocabulary, he says.

With friends his own age, for example, he will engage in conversation about car racing, not business metrics, while with adult colleagues, he may pivot to more technical discussions about artificial intelligence and machine-learning systems or the Internet of Things.

He’s a believer in the social art of compartmentalizing. “I always let the person set the tone. I gauge the person, in a sense, and then go from there,” Mike says.

Get kids out of their social comfort zone early

Mark and Melissa didn’t want to be Mike’s spokespeople, or his micromanagers, they say. Rather, they wanted him to find his own voice and use it.

“We decided that we would just put him in social situations and try to encourage him to engage with everyone else and just be more comfortable talking to others outside of our environment,” says Melissa. “Being able to communicate was a biggie.”

That meant Mike got used to being outside his social comfort zone at a young age.

“Mike gets asked a lot by some of the other parents, ‘How did you get so social?’” Melissa says. “It’s just exposing him — like letting him order food when he’s 3 or 4 from the waiter or waitress. And introducing himself to people. Those kinds of things. Just getting him where he feels natural talking to others.”

At the same, the Wimmers stress they’ve always been there to act as their son’s social safety net and support — encouraging him to put himself out there in “controlled situations,” Mark says.

At age 10, for example, Mike was asked to attend a one-week event hosted by the United States Special Operations Command, alongside 60 to 70 Ph.D.-level technology experts.

“The first day, a lot of people were like, ‘Is it Bring Your Kid to Work Day?’” Mark says. But instead of speaking on behalf of his son, he let Mike “work the room and do his thing.”

“I sat quietly in the back and by Wednesday of that week, Mike had completely flipped the room,” he adds. “Mike seriously earned their respect.”

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The No. 1 resume mistake, says ex-Amazon recruiter: You see it ‘all the way up to the C-suite’

Lindsay Mustain has looked at a lot of resumes in her more than a decade in talent acquisition.

“Literally a million,” she says. The former Amazon recruiter is now the CEO of career coaching company Talent Paradigm and has seen candidates include some mind-boggling elements to their resumes — like stickers and a picture of themselves holding a shotgun.

But there’s one mistake she sees jobseekers make over and over again, what she calls giving “Miss America answers,” or ones she’d imagine hearing in a pageant. These are simple statements that don’t give much insight into what candidates actually accomplished on the job.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to acing your interview and landing your dream job

It’s happening from the junior level “all the way up to the C-suite,” she says, and it’s preventing jobseekers from standing out.

Here’s what Miss America answers are and how to avoid writing them.

Don’t write ‘a glorified job description’

When it comes to your resume, you want to mirror the language of the job description to the extent that it portrays your experience accurately. As you do, however, avoid general statements about the tasks you took on.

“I had stakeholder meetings with people” is an example of a Miss America answer, says Mustain. These kinds of descriptions don’t give a concrete sense of how you were able to move your team forward. They’re “like a glorified job description,” she says, adding that, “you just look like somebody who’s filling a seat.”

Instead of listing the tasks you were given, quantify and list your accomplishments.

“If somebody is fixing tickets on a help desk,” says Mustain, as an example, “I’ve solved 30 customers’ problems a day” is a good metric to start with. You can take it even further, though, and think about what you were able to accomplish in a year. Thirty problems a day, 20 days a month, 12 months per year is 7,200 problems solved altogether.

The “more metrics and analytics you can add to your resume, the more impressive,” she says.

‘Your eyes go straight to the numbers’

Quantifying your accomplishments is not just a matter of looking impressive.

Recruiters only have a few seconds to dedicate to your resume. They’re likely “handling somewhere between 15 to 25” job openings at once, says Mustain. “The average applicants per job is 250, which means they’re dealing with tens of thousands of applicants.”

The benefit of quantifying your accomplishments is that recruiters’ eyes “go straight to the numbers when we’re reviewing,” Mustain says. They’ll know how much value you added to your previous employers immediately.

Bottom line, if you want to move forward in the interview process, your resume has “got to be results-based,” she says.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Here’s the No. 1 phrase I’ve seen ‘destroy’ relationships, says Harvard psychologist of 20 years

So many unhealthy relationship dynamics are fueled by poor communication skills.

As a Harvard-trained psychologist who has spent 20 years working with couples, I’ve found that the most damaging way to communicate with your partner is with contempt.

Contempt is the belief that a person is beneath you, worthless, or deserving of scorn and ridicule. When someone feels contempt for their partner, they feel justified in humiliating, embarrassing, or hurting them.

One phrase that reflects contempt, and that I’ve seen destroy relationships the most, is: “I wish we’d never met.”

Here are some other phrases that contempt might show up in:

  • “You’ve ruined my life.”
  • “You’re a nuisance.”
  • “I don’t care about what you think or how you feel.”
  • “You’re pathetic.”
  • “You’re not worth my time.”
  • “You owe me. I’ve put up with you for years.”
  • “If we didn’t have kids, I would have left you by now.”
  • “You disgust me.”
  • “No one else would want you.” 

Contempt can also be communicated through non-verbal gestures, like dismissive body language or dramatic eye-rolls.

All of this serves to demean the other person and create a power discrepancy. It can ultimately ruin the foundation of a healthy romantic connection and lead to lower relationship satisfaction.

How to create healthier relationship dynamics

If you find that you feel some contempt for your partner, there are ways to fight it so that it doesn’t hurt your relationship:

  1. Pause. When you’re feeling triggered or emotionally upset, take a moment before you say anything. Choose your words carefully and aim to communicate with respect and kindness, not harm.
  2. Take responsibility. This includes acknowledging your choices, your patterns, and your engagement in dysfunction.
  3. Apologize. Sincerely say you’re sorry when you do something hurtful or mean-spirited.
  4. Learn to argue productively. You and your partner are a team. The goal is to communicate in ways that acknowledge your commitment, desire to connect, and mutual respect for one another.
  5. Tap into your love for your partner. When you want to criticize or change them, remember why you got together in the first place before giving constructive feedback.

The biggest piece of advice I give to people is to try to find gratitude. There is always something to be learned from discord in our relationships. Look for something positive that you can take away from every interaction, even if the process is unsettling. 

Dr. Cortney S. Warren, PhD, is a board-certified psychologist and author of “Letting Go of Your Ex.” She specializes in love addition and breakups, and received her clinical training at Harvard Medical School. She has written almost 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and delivered more than 75 presentations on the psychology of relationships. Follow her on Instagram @DrCortneyWarren.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.





Harvard-trained nutrition expert: If I could only prioritize one food in my diet, it’d be this

Meat is good for you. There are experts who might disagree with me, and many researchers continue to search for evidence linking meat to heart disease, for example.

But as a Harvard-trained, board-certified psychiatrist specializing in nutritional and metabolic psychiatry, I’ve long been curious about the relationship between food and brain health, as well as overall well-being. And in my research, I’ve yet to find a credible, plausible health argument against eating meat of any kind (including red meat, seafood, and poultry).

In fact, no other food group is nutritious enough, safe enough, or geographically accessible enough to recommend as the healthy foundation of the optimal human diet. 

So if I could only afford to buy food from one food group, I’d prioritize meat.

Why meat is actually good for you

Meat is good for gut health because it’s non-irritating, easy to digest, and supports healthy insulin levels without promoting blood glucose spikes.

It also provides all of the macronutrients and micronutrients we need, including some that are difficult or impossible to obtain from plant foods. For instance, it’s an excellent source of every B vitamin, including B7, which plants contain very little of, and B12, which plants do not contain at all.

Only meat contains heme iron, a form of iron at least three times easier for us to absorb than the non-heme iron in plants. And only animal-source foods contain the MK‑4 form of vitamin K2, which is easier to absorb (and is the form used by the human brain).

Some scientists even argue that eating meat made us human — meaning that it allowed us to devote less energy and bodily real estate to the long intestinal tract needed to process high-fiber, high-plant diets, so that we could invest more energy in developing our uniquely oversized brains.

How to nourish, protect, and energize your brain with meat

Here’s how to incorporate meat in your diet the right way: 

  • Choose healthy meats. Whenever possible, choose meats from wild animals or animals that have been raised humanely, allowed ample access to the outdoors, and fed a species-appropriate diet.
  • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If you can’t access or afford high-quality meat, just do the best you can. 
  • It doesn’t have to be red meat. Shellfish, fatty fish, duck, and poultry liver are all highly nutritious alternatives to red meat (meat of mammals).
  • Eat fresh. Choose unprocessed fresh (or freshly frozen) meats whenever possible. 
  • Don’t fear natural animal fats. Fattier cuts of meat are more flavorful, more nutritious, and often less expensive. Unfortunately, pork and poultry fat from conventionally-raised animals can be high in linoleic acid, a fragile omega-6 fatty acid with a tendency to degrade into toxic byproducts that can cause damaging oxidative stress throughout the brain and the rest of the body.
  • Cook gently. Don’t overcook meat, as this will damage nutrients and flavor. Trim away any burned or blackened areas of meats grilled or cooked at high temperatures. 
  • Think about your protein goal. While protein targets vary depending on age, ideal body weight, health status, activity level, and other factors, most adult requirements fall somewhere between 0.6 and one gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. For example: A woman whose ideal body weight is 125 pounds would require at least 75 grams of protein per day — roughly the amount found in one pound of 85% lean ground beef (which contains just over five grams of protein per ounce).
  • Don’t overdo it. Overeating protein can promote higher insulin levels (and even slightly higher glucose levels in some people). 

There are plenty of unanswered questions about nutrition, but I’d say the answer to “Does meat belong in the human diet?” is a resounding yes.

Georgia Ede, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist specializing in nutrition science and brain metabolism. Her 25 years of clinical experience include 12 years as a psychiatrist and nutrition consultant at Smith College and Harvard University Health Services. She is also the author of ”Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind.” 

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

This is an adapted excerpt from ”Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind: A Powerful Plan to Improve Mood, Overcome Anxiety, and Protect Memory for a Lifetime of Optimal Mental Health.” Copyright © 2024, Dr. Georgia Ede. Reproduced by permission of Balance. All rights reserved.