15 Ways To Save Even More Money At Costco
Costco is a great place where your family can save money. You can buy bulk items cheap. Some of the deals that you will find at Costco you can’t find at other store. This is especially true with your prescriptions. They can save you hundreds on just these alone. Let’s explore some of the other Costco money saving hacks.
Did you know that you don’t have to have to have a Costco card to shop in their stores? If you know someone who has a Costco membership, they can purchase a Costco cash card for you. If your family doesn’t warrant enough shopping to buy a membership, this is a great option for you.
Here’s how it works:
- Costco members can purchase or reload a card for a non Costco member.
- Any non-member can shop at any Costco location and also online.
- These cards never expire,
- Non-members without a cash card are only charged a 5% surcharge at the time of purchase online.
This is a great option if you aren’r ready to purchase a Costco membership. You can read more about Costco cash cards here.
Though it may be tempting to grab all of your items from the end caps, you are missing out on the big deals. Most of the regular priced items are on the end caps for quick shopping convenience. Most shoppers want to get in and our of the store as fast as possible. They are willing to pay more for the convenience.
Here’s how to shop to aisles:
- Walk the full way down each aisle. This way you can see the full range of items that are offered.
- If you aren’t sure if something is a good deal, research it on your phone. Comparing prices from other retailers will help you save the most on each item you buy.
- Skip the end cap items all together.
Costco always mails out coupon books to their customers. Previously, you would need to clip the ones that you wanted to use and bring them to the store. Not anymore! This coupons now have been converted to Instant Savings. These special prices are applied right at the register.
There are only two departments in which will need an actual coupon:
- Optometry Department
- Photo Department: for both of these, you need either a printed coupon or the coupon from the Costco app on our phone.
To browse the savings coupons currently available, check out the savings department.
Decoding The Prices
You can tell what kind of deal you are getting by some of the numbers in the Costco pricing. Although Costco doesn’t have any guidelines for the prices, over time people have been able to figure out patterns in the numbers.
Here is a breakdown of how it works:
- Prices ending in .99: These items are at regular member pricing.
- Prices ending in a 9 (.69, .79, .89 etc): These prices are specials offered by the manufacturer.
- Ending in .00 or .88: these prices are manager’s markdowns. This is the best bang for your buck. The prices on these won’t normally go much lower. You should buy these items before they are gone from the store.
For more information about Costco pricing secrets, read this article by Lifehacker.
Another great tip to know is what an asterisk means on the Costco price signs. This designates an items that won’t be restocked. These are items you should definitely stock up on before they disappear from the store.
There’s multiple reasons that items will be removed from the store in the future:
- Seasonal: Each season, Costco comes out with a line of products. When that holiday season is ending, Costco heavily discounts products to remove them from their shelves. Those items may not appear the next holiday season.
- Discontinued: Some of the deals offered at Costco are for a short time only. They are not meant to be year round offerings. As asterisk is placed on their price signs so customers know this item is nearing the end of its self life.
For some more information on items that have an asterisk, this article contains some great information.
It’s always frustrating to see the price drop on an item after you have already purchased it. Costco believes in price matching. They will price match for a month after you have made your purchase.
Here is how it works:
- Bring in your recent receipt with the higher price to the store you visited.
- Stop at the customer service desk.
- Request to speak to a manager. Most managers will make the price adjustment for you.
Here’s an in depth article about everything you need to know about Costco price adjustments.
Kirkland is a brand that is offered exclusively at Costco stores. Unlike most generics, Kirkland brand is comparable to their big brand counterparts. In some cases, the big brands actually make the generic Kirkland brand items.
Some Kirkland brand items are rated the best online:
- Wine: If you love wine, you know that to get a good bottle you end up paying a lot. Costco has its own line of Kirkland wine. The price is only marked up by 14%, rather than the 45% at other retailers. Many of the large wineries make these wines and just label them with the Kirkland brand.
- Diapers: Buying bulk Kirkland diapers is another great deal. This brand is highly rated, and you will be paying only $0.16 per diaper. Other retailers mark up the price much more on these.
- Nuts: Costco used to have name brand nuts such as cashews, almonds and walnuts. Unfortunately, the manufacturer’s were charging too much for their product. Instead, Costco just starting making their own line of Kirkland nuts. You can’t find a better deal. They normally are half of price of nuts in other stores.
For a more extensive list of the best Kirkland products, read this blog by Business Insider.
If a yearly Costco membership is out of your budget, we have a better idea. At different times of the year, Groupon offers very discounted memberships. You can save a ton of money if you buy your membership through Costco.
Here are some of the special savings they offer:
- A Gold Star membership package with other items for $60.
- A free $20 Costco cash card
- A bundle of coupons and free products totaling $60 in savings.
The savings alone are enough to cover the cost of your yearly membership. Be sure to check Groupon often for any current Costco deals.
Non Member Deals
The common misconception is that you can’t buy anything at Costco without a membership. That actually isn’t true. We mentioned previously that you can buy a Costco cash card.
Here are the items you can buy without a cash card or a membership:
- Prescriptions: Costco offers huge discounts on prescriptions.
- Food Court: You can also eat lunch or dinner at the food court without a membership.
- Alcohol: You can buy most of your alcohol at Costco without a membership card.
Clark Howard has 7 ways that you can shop without a membership.
Lots of people return items to Costco. Instead of restocking them, they instead up up on the returned items shelf. You can find all kinds of seasonal items here. You can also get a heavy discount on any items you decide to purchase.
Here’s some of the common items that people return:
- Frozen food: Because frozen food doesn’t go bad, purchasing returned frozen food can save you a lot of money.
- Canned food: If you check the expiration date, canned goods are great to buy from the returned items shelf.
- Clothing: Unopened packaging is another great buy. Sometimes people accidentally buy the wrong size clothing and return it unopened.
For the terms and conditions of the Costco Liquidation marketplace, check this link.
Most electronic companies offer a one year warranty on its products. Costco actually offers a two year warranty on these items. For your electronic purchases, its better to purchase them from Costco where you get a longer warranty.
Here’s some of the items that have an extended warranty:
- Televisions: Most of the HDTVs that Costco has in its stores offer an extended two year warranty.
- Computers: Desktop and Laptop computers come with the added two year warranty. The only computers excluded from this warranty are touchscreen tablets.
- Major Appliances: most major household appliances have the additional two year warranty applied upon purchase.
There’s a lot more items that have an extended warranty. Check this article for a longer list of items that fall under the two year warranty.
Costco also has a concierge department. This department offers free technical support on most of your electronic purchases. This free support can come in handy so many times with your electronics.
Here are some of the features of the free tech support:
- Concierge Services are available 5 a.m. To 10 p.m. Seven days a week, excluding holidays.
- English and Spanish speaking agents are available.
- Free troubleshooting assistance.
The free tech support is a huge bonus for anyone that needs to purchase an electronic device. For more benefits of this free service, read the breakdown from Costco.
Here’s how you can make a split membership work:
- Two cards: When you sign up for a membership, you get two Costco cards. This includes a primary member card and a household card.
- Age 18: As long as you are 18 or over, you can use the primary or household card.
- Same Household: For the household card, both members have to have the same address. This makes it a little difficult to sign up with a friend, but not impossible. Your friend could possible change their address on their phone bill for a few months, so you have the correct documentation when you are getting your cards.
For other ways to creatively make a Costco membership work for two people, check out this Reddit thread.
Buying gift cards is one of the best deals offered in Costco. Forget buying gift cards anywhere else. You will get the best deals right here. All of the gift cards are offered at a discount. This is normally a $100 card for just $79.99.
Here are some of the best deals in the gift card section:
- Movie Tickets: If your family goes to see a movie often, you know how expensive tickets are. Instead, by your tickets at Costco for just $8 each.
- Restaurant Gift Cards: You can get very discounted restaurant gift cards too. For example, a Buca di Beppo gift card for $100 only costs $69.99 in store.
- iTunes: Another huge savings are the iTunes gift cards at Costco. You can get a $200 gift card for only $164.99.
No other retailers offers the same savings when you purchase gift cards. For all of the gift cards that are available, check out their website.
If you plan on spending a lot of money each year at Costco, there is a better membership for you other than the Gold Star membership. This is called the Executive membership. It costs $120 a year and is packed with special features.
Here are some of the special features you will enjoy with your upgraded membership:
- 2% Reward: You will get a 2% reward on all of your qualifying purchases. If you plan on spending $3,000 per year, this will earn you $60. For another $3,000 ($6,000 per year), your $120 membership is paid for.
- Discounts: This executive membership also offers discounted rates on home, auto, life, dental and medical insurance. If you are going to be shopping for new insurance plans, this membership can save you a ton.
If you plan on using your membership a lot during the year, it definitely pays to upgrade to the executive membership. For a comprehensive look at why this membership it worth it, read this article.