20 ways to pay less at Costco (2023)

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20 ways to pay less at Costco (1)8 minutes reading

WithMorgan Quinn

20 ways to pay less at Costco (2)

Shopping at Costco can be a great way to save money, but it may not maximize your savings. Imagine how much extra money could be in your wallet if you optimized your purchasing strategy.

With a little more effort you can do itCustomize the way you shopat the wholesaler and find unique Costco deals. Learn 20 ways to pay less at Costco.

Share bulk items with a friend

If you're single or live in a small space, it's probably hard to justify buying and stocking up on a 30-roll pack of toilet paper — even if it's only $19.99. However, this product can be very expensive in the regular market or in department stores.

You can save money at Costco with a friend by splitting up bulk packs of essentials and even non-essentials like snacks. For example, if you share a $16.59 42-pack of Chex Mix with three friends, you only pay $5.53.

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Know the secret Costco price codes

Costco price codes indicate whether an item is discounted, on sale, or out of stock. Here's a general breakdown of the codes, according to ToughNickel:

  • Prices ending at $0.97 have been discounted from their original prices, which normally end at $0.99.
  • Other odd prices, such as $0.49, $0.79, or $0.89, usually mean the item is a regular-priced item.
  • An asterisk (*) in the upper right corner of the price tag means that the product will not be refilled. So if it's your favorite, be sure to stock up.
  • Prices ending in $0.88 or $0.00 usually indicate a manager downgrade for returned goods that are in good condition.

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Make your money work for you

Look for Costco coupons

You can find a number of Costco coupons and discounts on various items in the Costco Coupon Book. When purchasing items from the voucher booklet, you no longer need this voucher.

Look for third-party landing pages

It also doesn't hurt to check out the best online coupon sites before heading to your nearest Costco. Search sites like Coupons.com, Slickdeals, and RetailMeNot for online Costco coupons, printable coupons, coupon codes, the latest deals, and other savings.

Closing of shops in summer

Like many retailers, Costco tends to slash big summer items like patio furniture and pool toys before the end of the season because stores need to make room for next-season's merchandise. You can get great deals on items like grills, sun loungers, and camping gear that are ready to use. End-of-season offers are also available throughout the year, but also after Christmas.

Make a list - and stick to it

While this isn't really top-secret information, contacting Costco about "a few things" can easily turn into a multi-basket shopping spree. Save money at Costco with a little discipline and research.

"I typically save $100 or more every time I visit Costco," said Thomas Miller of Keller Williams Capital Properties. "I attribute my ability to this to being very selective about what I buy and making sure I only buy the items that I know offer the most savings." Make a list to keep your spending under control and up to date.

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Put your blinders on

When you walk through Costco, you usually see an aisle full of shiny new things that want a forever home with you. If you really want to save at Costco, you should put your head down and stick to your list.

Start at the back

Here's an interesting tip for saving money at Costco: According to Lifehacker, Costco's best deals may be in the back of the store. Begin your shopping spree by reaching the back of the warehouse and the ends of the aisles. Then go ahead.

Buy Costco online

Visiting Costco isn't at the top of everyone's list of favorite things to do. Beat the crowds and avoid the hassles by shopping on Costco's website - you can even find online-only Costco deals that aren't available in stores. The wholesaler now also delivers to your doorstep.

Make your money work for you

Use the Costco app

The Costco app highlights current offers and special offers. So, having a look before heading to your Costco location will help you plan ahead and have a smoother trip while getting the best deals. And if you hate clipping coupons, you can use the app. Simply show the cashier the Costco app on your smartphone to redeem offers and save.

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Buy meat in bulk

One of the best ways to save money on groceries when shopping at Costco is to buy meat in bulk. You can portion it and freeze it for later use. So next time you're shopping at the grocery store, save money on groceries.

Get the Costco credit card

If you choose to pay for your Costco purchases with a credit card, it must be a Visa card. So save money by getting Citi's Costco Anywhere Visa Card. Receive 2% cashback on all Costco and Costco.com purchases in addition to the other benefits of using the card outside of the discount retailer.

Use your Costco credit card at the gas pump

Use your Costco credit card at Costco pumps and eligible locations worldwide to receive 4% cashback. This offer is valid for up to $7,000 in gas per year, with 1% cashback thereafter.

Don't shop alone

If you need a little help staying on budget when shopping at Costco, bring a friend with you on your next trip. Tell your friend you want to save $100 and ask them to encourage you to only buy what you need. If your friend also happens to be a regular spender of Costco money, play the game. Whoever saves the most money has to buy lunch from the store's food court.

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Complete the samples

When you shop hungry at Costco, you can feel the desire to buy every delicious thing that comes your way — even if it means breaking your grocery budget. To prevent hunger from influencing your shopping decisions, take advantage of Costco's many tastings. This way you leave the shopping to your brain and not your stomach.

Just don't let tasty food tempt you into buying groceries in bulk.

Make your money work for you

Choose the right subscription

Costco offers two types of memberships for individuals and families: Gold Star Membership ($60) and Executive Membership ($120). If you're a frequent Costco shopper, it might be worth spending the extra $60 to upgrade to Executive Membership.

The updated card includes a 2% annual bonus on qualifying Costco, Costco.com, and Costco Travel purchases up to $1,000. Plus, when you book travel through Costco, you can earn additional benefits. Plus, get additional benefits and greater discounts on Costco Services, including mortgage purchases and refinancing, insurance, and family dental plans.

If you currently have an Executive membership but don't use Costco Travel or Costco services, you can save money by downgrading to Gold Star membership.

omission of subscription

If you don't shop enough at Costco to pay for the $60 Gold Star Membership, ask a family member or friend with a membership to buy you a Costco Cash Card. You can get them in denominations from $25 to $1,000 and if you want to revisit the member can top them up for you. There is no surcharge for in-store purchases using a Costco Cash card as a non-member. However, please note that there is a 5% surcharge for purchases made on Costco.com.

Buy wisely

Costco offers many incredible benefits — but not all offers are created equal. Check the price per unit - or ounce - to ensure you're saving money when buying in bulk. You'll likely find that some items are cheaper when bought in regular quantities from Target or your local supermarket.

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Watch out for price changes

Costco has a 30-day price protection policy for online sales. So, after making your purchase, be sure to check back within this period to make sure the price hasn't dropped. If the price is lower, contact customer service, provide the required information, and receive a credit for the difference within 3-5 business days.

Take advantage of the discounts

Manufacturer discounts are available on some products both in Costco warehouses and online, allowing you to save even more money. To receive your check, you must submit your documentation within 30 days. Costco members can complete the rebate process online, but non-members must do so by mail.

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Jennifer Taylorcontributed to coverage of this article.

About the author

Morgan Quinn

Morgan Quinn is an experienced personal finance writer and her work has been published on WSJ.com, Huffington Post and Slate. She is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Mint.com.

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