Walking around Costco can feel like taking a step into the Wonka Factory. It’s a warehouse full of all that’s edible, wearable, and totally useful. But as magical as this place may be, it’s important to stay grounded during your shopping.
At Costco, there is a mission to complete: get what you need and save as much as possible.
Staying focused in a retail heaven can be difficult, but these tips can help you make the most of your Costco shopping trip.
Here are the tips we use to get the most bang out of our Costco buck.
10 Tips to Level-Up your Costco Skills
- Do your Kirkland Research
- Know the Costco Price Codes
- Dine in at Costco
- Take Advantage of Unique Deals
- Make Your Returns
- Fill up Your Gas Tank
- Fill Your Prescriptions at Costco
- Plan for Big Home Purchases
- Pick up a Pizza Before You Go
BONUS: Try this Gift Card Hack
Do your Kirkland Research
Costco’s brand, Kirkland is known for producing products identical to name the brand’s, just under the Kirkland label.
This goes beyond your traditional dupe. Some of these Kirkland products are quite literally the exact same product with the Kirkland label pasted on. Here’s what we know so far: Kirkland vodka is Grey Goose, Kirkland coffee is Starbucks brand, and it’s speculated that Kirkland brand leggings are made by Lulu Lemon.
Be sure to do your research before your Costco trips so you don’t have to waste any of your cash on the name brands.
Know the Costco Price Codes
Costco uses a secret code in their prices, and the best shoppers know how to decipher the meaning behind every posted price.
You don’t have to solve any riddles to guarantee that you’re getting the best deal possible. The Costco code is super easy to get a hang of, here’s what you need to know.
- Prices that end in 99¢ are regular priced and will likely be reduced later on.
- Prices that end in 97¢ have been marked down. Put these items in your cart, you’re likely seeing the best deal available.
- Prices that fall outside of the 99¢ and 97¢ pattern are specialty deals from the manufacturer. These prices may end in 79¢, 49¢, or 89¢ indicate deals that you can’t find at other big-box stores, but the deal isn’t as good as the 97¢ markdown.
- Prices that end in 89¢ or .00 are manager mark downs that are specific to every store. This likely means that the management team is trying to move the product out of the store as fast as possible, and it will not be returning to your Costco.
Dine in at Costco
Come to Costco hungry. Not only do they have tons of free samples on any given day, but they also have a food court as cheap as they come.
You can get a hotdog and a drink for $1.50; you can’t beat that. Costco has charged this price since 1985, and reduced food court prices are here to stay. Take advantage of a cheap meal to get your head in the game before your bulk shopping trip.
Take Advantage of Unique Deals
Costco constantly has unique seasonal deals on name-brand goods that you don’t want to miss. Depending on the time of year, you can buy things like Levi’s jeans and Ugg boots at a fraction of their usual price.
In simplest of terms- don’t skip any sections of the store, you’ll never know what you’ll be missing. Keep an eye out for these one-off deals so you can get some free swag on your trip.
Make Your Returns
Costco has one of the most generous return policies of any retail store. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve opened your item, used it, or even lost your receipt. You can count on Costco processing your return pretty much no matter what.
Fill up Your Gas Tank
The dedicated Costco shoppers have already been inducted into this practice. But the newbies should know that Costco offers some of the best gas prices around.
According to GasBuddy, Costco gas prices are about 20% cheaper than the average gas station near you. It really pays to be a member, doesn’t it?
Fill Your Prescriptions at Costco
Did you know Costco has a pharmacy? Sending your prescription refill to Costco can help you save regardless of your insurance status.
Utilizing the Costco pharmacy will give you access to exclusive member deals for your family and your pets.
Plan for Big Home Purchases
Bulk groceries are always great, but you can save thousands on essential home tech like refrigerators, washing machines, and televisions when you shop at Costco.
When you need to make a big purchase for your home, check out Costco first for maximum savings.
Pick up a Pizza Before You Go
Secure a cheap dinner before you shop and take it to go as you leave the store.
Before you shop, put in an order for a full pizza at the food court and pick it up when you’re finished shopping. The best part? An 18-inch cheese pizza only costs $9.95.
BONUS: Try this Gift Card Hack
A Costco membership definitely pays for itself, but if you can still shop at Costco without a membership by using this hack.
You don’t need a membership to buy or use a gift card. If you want to take advantage of a Costco deal without a membership, just purchase a gift card then use the gift card to buy what you need. It’s as easy as that.
Costco shopping is the best kind of shopping, and it’s even better when you use these smart shopping tips. Here are three things to keep in mind when you’re shopping at Costco or any big-box store.
- Always compare price
- Return what you don’t need whenever you can
- Search for deals in every department of the store