Costco’s got some of the best deals when it comes to grocery shopping. And their products aren’t any worse than the standard grocery store. However, you do need to pay a membership fee to shop there. So, it’s best to make sure that you justify your membership. Here are some tips that will enhance your Costco shopping experience.
Split Up Servings
The packages for Costco chicken and other meat products come in pretty large amounts. And it can be hard to get through it all before it goes bad. Fortunately, there’s an alternative. At some stores you can ask to split up packages of meat to make them into more desirable portions.
Listen For The Bell
No matter how noisy your Costco can get, strain your ears for the sound of a bell. The sound means that they’ve put out a fresh batch of rotisserie chicken. And not only are their chickens cheap, but they taste good as well. They’ve been at a steady $4.99 since 2009.
Call Costco Tech Support
If you bought an electronic device at Costco, you might be able to get some cheap tech support. Concierge Service is a toll-free number active between 5:00 am and 10:00 on PST, seven days a week. Even on holidays. You can call 1-866-861-0450 in order to get help troubleshooting any problems you may have.
Use A Costco Card If You Don’t Have A Membership
Costco’s always a super cheap place to shop, but you still need a membership to buy stuff there. Unless you have a Costco Shop Card. The cards can carry between $25 to $2,000 on them and can be spent on anything in the store. However, in order to get your card, you need someone with a Costco membership to get one for you as well as refill the card.
Order A Chub Of Beef
This is what a chub of beef is. It’s ten pounds of pure beef. Costco normally takes the fat trimmings from steaks and mixes it into chubs to increase fat content. If you ask a Costco associate for a chub directly, you can get some extra lean and cheap beef for yourself.
Save Money At The Costco Food Court
If you’re in a Costco and find your stomach rumbling, there are food courts in Costco. And they’re incredibly cheap. You can get a 20 ounce soda (with refills) and a hot dog for $1.50. That’s the price of that combo had all the way back in 1985. You can also get an 18-inch pizza for $9.95. Things are just incredibly cheap and affordable. And they’re pretty tasty too.
Utilize Costco’s Return Policy
There are a lot of stores that make it difficult to return merchandise. Well, Costco isn’t one of those places. There are some limitations though. For example, you can’t return cigarettes or alcohol and electronics have a 90-day return limit. But as long as you’re within the guidelines set, you can return a Costco product, no muss no fuss. One woman even refunded a dead Christmas tree in January.
Get Ink Cartridges Refilled
Ink cartridges can get pretty expensive, and really specific with what you need. Getting new ones could cost you $50 per pack. But if you go to Costco’s photo center, you can get a cartridge refilled for just $6.99. It’ll take about an hour to get done, so drop off your cartridges and head around the store to shop.
Use The Costco App Over Coupons
So, Costco actually doesn’t accept any general coupons from other companies. So don’t try to use them. In their words, “We distribute our own offers and savings”. You can use the Costco app to get great deals on their cheap products though. So you won’t need to waste time cutting out coupons from the newspaper every week.
Use A Visa Card, Not A Master Card
Shoppers love compounding savings with cash-back credit cards. Just don’t try to use a Master Card at a Costco. They only accept Visa when it comes to credit card usage. They reportedly cut a deal in order to lower transaction fees. Of course, you can still use any other form of payment (except checks) if you only have a Master Card for credit-based purchases.
Make Sure To Get Your Gas There
The lines for getting gas at Costco are infamously long. On the bright side, it won’t be a waste of time to get it. It consistently ranks the cheapest in the nation. Additionally, you can save at any gas pump if you’re a Costco Anywhere Visa card holder. Members receive four percent back at eligible gas stations for the first $7,000 per year. After that, it’ll be one percent for the rest of the year.
Learn To Read The Price Tags
There is a code when it comes to Costco price tags. It might not be best to just get the products with the lowest numbers. If it ends with a .97, it’s on clearance. If it ends with a “9”, but, not a .99, it’s probably a special deal from the manufacturer. It likely just hit the market so they’re being introduced at a lower price. If it ends with a .00 or .88 that means the store manager probably cut the price because it’s the last batch, missing a box, or missing pieces. Those are the ones you might want to skip on.
Get Famous Brand Clothes For Less
Other than their own, signature Kirkland products, Costco also has a few famous brands when it comes to clothing. They have brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, and they even come cheaper at Costco. As it turns out, the reason behind this is because, when big-name retailers switch to new products, they ship their older, unsold supply to Costco at a marked-down price.
Bring Your Own Bags
For those new to Costco shopping, Costco doesn’t have any plastic bags. Not only are they generally considered wasteful, but they result in higher operating costs. So removing them is actually for your benefit. If you really don’t have any bags on your person though, then staff can at least supply you with a cardboard box. So make sure to bring your own reusable bags, especially if you’re a frequent shopper.
Grab As Many Free Samples You Can
Costco actually provides unlimited free samples. So if you like something you’re sampling, don’t be afraid to go back for more. The prime time for snacking is between 1:00 to 2:00 pm on the weekends. That’s the busiest time at the warehouse when all the servers are out. Just make sure to leave enough for other people.
Get Alcohol Without A Membership (Depending On The State)
This one does depend on the state, but you can, theoretically buy alcohol from Costco without a membership. In the states of Arizona, Colorado, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Texas, and Vermont this is possible. There’s a little-known state law from the 1930s that prevents establishments from forming clubs and restricting alcohol sales to members. And Costco isn’t above the law. Although, don’t assume your local Costco employees are aware of this law and ask or inform them about it beforehand.
Buy A Home Or Refinance Your Mortgage
Yes, Costco actually does offer a special mortgage program for its members. You aren’t actually borrowing the money from Costco, with the program being provided through CrossCountry Mortgage and other lenders. Origination fees are capped at $250 for executive members and $550 for Gold Star ones. They average savings of $6,802 over life of a loan. Just another example of how Costco can save you money.
Save On Your Prescriptions Without A Membership
The average American spends a lot of money on pharmaceutical drugs, about $1,200 a year. So of course people are going to want a cheap way to get what they need. Not only are drugs at Costco cheaper, but you don’t even need a membership to get one filled. As long as your doctor calls the pharmacy there. You can also comparison shop, as Costco lists their prices for popular prescriptions.
Check Out The Costco Business Center
These stores aren’t as numerous as the standard grocery store, but anyone with a Costco membership can shop here. These shops are more so geared towards companies and small-business owners, so the selection will be different. You’ll find more appliances, wrapped snacks, and beverages in comparison to fresh produce. They’re also open earlier and aren’t usually as packed.
Get Eye And Hearing Tests Done Cheaply
Like with Costco’s pharmacy, you can get cheaper eye and hearing tests done as well. These are also available to non-Costco members. The average eye exam in the US can cost $200, but a Costco one is less than half that number. And hearing tests are absolutely free. And if you do have a Costco membership, you can get a hearing aid or prescription glasses from the store as soon as you’re done.
Get Cash Back
Ibotta and Costco teamed up to give you cash back on certain items. You can get as little as a quarter back from a purchase of apples to four dollars from a pack of beer. Even without using Ibotta’s app, you can get an annual two percent store-credit reward on nearly every purchase, up to $1,000, if you’re an executive member.
Get Your Groceries Delivered To Your Home
It’s becoming more and more popular to have your groceries delivered to your home instead of going out to get them. And that’s especially true for Costco. You can order them online at Instacart and they’ll be delivered to your doorstep nice and fresh. It’ll cost a little bit more because of the delivery fee, but it’ll be worth it if you have a Costco membership.
Plan Your Vacation
Did you know Costco has its own travel agency and photo center. They can help you get good deals on hotels, cruises, or even just rental cars. And the photo center can let you use the photos you took on your trip to make wall decorations, greeting cards, mugs, and even blankets.
Stay Calm When They Check Your Receipt
Now, if someone’s checking your receipt on the way out the Costco door, don’t panic or get angry. They don’t think you’re a thief, it’s merely store policy. While they do catch thieves this way from time to time, they’re more so making sure you didn’t get ripped off. Sometimes cashiers scanned the same item twice. Sometimes you have otherwise been overcharged. But it’s nice to remember that Costco’s more on your side than against.