Costco is a wholesale retailer which serves both the public and trade and opperates in cities worldwide. While the exact format of Costco changes depending on the location, the general principles remain the same.
We’ve been wholesale members for well over a decade, and with our local store less than a 30-minute drive away we visit at least twice a month to check out the latest offers and stock up on essentials.
All this means that we’ve learnt a number of tips and tricks when it comes to saving even more money on the things you love at Costco.
In this guide we’re going to share the tips that we’ve amassed over a decade, to help you save even more during your next visit to the Costco warehouse.
1. Get Petrol / Gas At Costco
One way to get some of that membership money back and save money at Costco is by using the gas station there. Depending on how much gas you guzzle, it may or may not balance out the cost of membership.
Either way, it’s a nice perk that every member should use if you want to save more money with your Costco member card. Each gallon on average comes to about 21 cents less than elsewhere.
2. Read The Latest offers Leaflet In Advance
There are some great deals to save money at Costco and some not so great ones. When you are there, it’s easy to get distracted by the displays and swept up in the activity of shopping.
You’ll almost certainly put things in your shopping cart that you shouldn’t. You may even know you’re doing it and justify it because of the convenience. Don’t do that. Instead only buy the deals you know are good.
You can start by reading the mailer and picking out the items that have a very low advertised price. Stick to that list, and if you get lost in the store, pay attention to the secret price code.
3. Look For Secret Price Code
It may seem arbitrary that so many prices end in .99, but it’s not. Those prices are not great deals. When a product is listed with a price ending in .97 that’s another story.
Those are markdowns. Local markdowns by the manager trying to flush out inventory also get a price code. These prices can end in .88 and .00 and they’re a great way to save money at Costco. If you ever get lost, or start to go off-script when it comes to your shopping list, these indicators will keep you on course.
4. Don’t Buy-In on Sample Pitches
Costco is synonymous with free samples. We all love them. But of course, those samples come at a price. At least they do if you decide to buy the product. The problem is that those products are not deals. If you get sold on a sample item, you are going to pay more money.
In general, you should avoid impulse spending, especially if you are trying to save. This is most true at Costco since every dollar you overspend just adds to the cost of your membership.
5. Grab Pharmacy, Books, Kitchen Staples
Some of the most consistent deals are found in product categories like books, gift cards, and kitchen staples like milk, bread, and eggs. Sections you should stay away from are the prepared foods or Alcohol. Freezer foods tend to be a value and so does the pharmacy.
Especially consider Costco for gift cards, books, and preseason candy for Halloween. These things prove to be a good value on a regular basis.
6. Consider Getting A Costco Credit Card
Costco Credit Cards can be a good vehicle for getting cashback. Cash cards are great if you don’t have a membership. Costco also has a very generous return policy and a price matching policy that gives you money back for dropping prices on an item you bought within 30 days of your purchase.
One way to keep track of this that isn’t annoying is Paribus. This app from Capital One monitors price changes for you so you can get money back with little effort. Other apps such as Fetch and Ibotta can earn you a little cash back too which adds to your Costco savings.