40+ Tips And Tricks To Unlock Stellar Deals When Shopping At Costco
Costco offers one of the best shopping experiences compared to other wholesale stores. From a cheap rotisserie chicken to bulk toilet paper and rock-bottom prices on gas and alcohol, this wholesale store is the treasure nest you need to save costs and manage your money. However, this is sometimes easier said than done.
We know it’s just shopping, but even that requires effective strategies to solve technical problems and get the most out of the experience. The daunting size of the warehouse and the large number of people always present at the store can be too much to handle sometimes. For this reason, we have compiled 45 Costco hacks that will make your experience worthwhile and save you tons of money.
1. Check For Deals On Big Brands
One of the reasons Costco is the go-to warehouse store for everyone is its ridiculously cheap items and affordable deals. Another amazing fact is that these deals also apply to big brands like Ninja Coffee makers and Cuisinart ice cream makers.
The incredible thing is you won’t find such prices in other stores. Imagine having a beauty like this and paying a ridiculously low price for it; awesome, right? So, if you haven’t shopped at Costco before, get your bags ready!
2. Chub Is A Secret Word At Costco
How do you shop for meat when you go to Costco? You just go to the meat section, buy and leave, right? What if we told you you’ve been doing it wrong? If you frequent the meat section, you must have heard the word ‘Chub.’
That’s where the secret lies! Regular beef goes for $3.49/pound and includes about 12% fat, while chub goes for $2.99/pound with 5%-8% fat. We know you’re surprised. Chub is essentially ground meat, with leftover trimming of other meat like steaks, so give this a try sometime.
3. Get A Costco Cash Card
Most times, brands run membership deals and reward points that give members the opportunity to buy a lot of things and be eligible for certain privileges. Don’t have a membership? Not to worry. You can still want to enjoy some of the benefits with this hack.
Well, all you have to do is get a member to buy you a Costco Cash Card. Although the maximum value is $1,000, there are a lot of amazing deals you get when you use the Cash Card. Hell, you can even buy gas with this thing!
4. You Can Get Vacation Packages
Costco goes beyond selling groceries, appliances, and kitchen equipment. They have services that provide a whole lot more. In case you didn’t know, Costco also functions as a travel agency where you can get rental cars, vacation packages, hotel reservations, and cruises.
Their travel service can even help you find exclusive offers on flights too. All of these deals are available at their wholesale warehouse, and you don’t have to go anywhere else to enjoy this. So, if you think you’re overdue for a vacay, you should be thinking about Costco Travel.
5. Return Policy
There are many reasons why Costco is almost everyone’s favorite, and one of them is its return policy. Most businesses offer a strict no-return policy which means once you buy it, it cannot be returned. But at Costco, most products can be returned or exchanged for another.
They provide customer satisfaction in the best possible way. So, if you get the wrong order or don’t like what you got, all you have to do is simply return it. Although there are a few exceptions, like cigarettes and alcohol, it’s still a convenient policy.
6. Their Pharmacy Has Affordable Drugs
Thinking of the best place to buy cheap prescription drugs? Then try Costco. This store is known for its cheap prices, and this also extends to the pharmacy. They have the lowest prices for drugs that are of high quality.
You can hardly get this type of deal anywhere else, especially in high-priced pharmacies. When you buy your medications at Costco Pharmacy, you are assured of the quality and still get the best deals. The best part is you don’t have to be there in person or own membership to do this.
7. Request A Half-Rotisserie Chicken
Costco rotisserie chicken can never be beaten by other brands. However, buying it can be a bit tricky since you might not be able to eat it all by yourself, especially if your favorite part is the dark meat and you don’t care about anything else.
Luckily, all you have to do is request a half-rotisserie chicken from the employees at the counter. This means you don’t have to waste the chicken, and you will get exactly what you want, in the quantity you desire, at a very cheap price.
8. Get Free Tech Support When You Buy Electronics From Costco
These hacks just keep getting better. If you want to purchase a new electronic device, like a TV, then make sure to buy it at Costco. Their prices are very affordable and thanks to their incredible service, all you have to do is pay for the electronics.
Once you pay, the free tech support will get everything set up for you, deliver them for free, and still provide excellent warranties without any extra charge other than what you’re already paying. Need a new screen? Then, check these guys out!
9. You Can Return Products Even After Several Years Of Purchase
We already know Costco provides a return policy, but this doesn’t just cover recently bought items. Did you know that you can return a product you purchased several years ago? With their considerate return policy, you can return an item you purchased from them even though you’ve had it for a while.
You will also be given back the money you paid for the original purchase. Awesome, right? All you have to do in most cases is to show your proof of purchase. This means you should tender the receipt you were given when you bought the item.
10. Only Certain Credit Cards Are Allowed
Just so you know, at Costco, they only accept Visa credit cards. So, keep this in mind before making your way into their store to use your credit card. Also, you can use the Costco Anywhere Visa Card to earn cash back when you shop at Costco.
The reason for this is that they have a deal with Visa to lower card fees. If you are committed to settling your balances at the end of the month, your Visa card can be an easy way to save 2% whenever you use it.
11. Don’t Get Lost In The Name Of Free Samples
It’s no news to someone who frequents Costco that every now and then, they offer free samples. But don’t underestimate the effect those tiny extras will have on your pocketbook, however alluring and harmless they may seem to individuals on a tight budget.
The free samples are a significant tool for piquing your interest in the store’s offerings. But if you’re not careful, they could easily take you down a path you hadn’t foreseen, leaving you with more stuff than you had anticipated.
12. You Can Pre-order Pizza
A good way to avoid the long queue at the food court is to order pizza in advance. This means while you’re working, you can easily place an order, and when you’re ready to have it, you get to skip the queue!
This will save you time and stress and even give you a chance to enjoy your food without the frustrations of waiting in a long line to get your food. Just pick up your order and enjoy it while it’s hot! Nice and easy.
13. It’s All A Business Strategy
You might have wondered before why Costco is disorganized and almost chaotic. Apparently, this was actually done on purpose, and it’s nothing but a business strategy. The store is purposefully confusing in order to make customers stay longer in the store and make more impulse purchases.
The company frequently refers to its store layout as a “treasure hunt” by grouping items at random. A trick to make customers buy several items. Employees at Costco also change the layouts frequently, so you end up buying more products than you intend to! You have to admit, it works!
14. Frequent The Freezer Section
If there is a section you should frequently check out when you visit Costco, it’s the freezer section. This area has several aisles that are always filled with multiple goodies like breakfast staples, snacks, desserts, and various types of pastries.
The best part is they have a wide range of products in this section that will keep your fridge well-stocked and your family stuffed! Have no fear because these goodies are very affordable, even more than what you pay at other stores.
15. The Asterisk Symbol Means Something
Ever wondered what that asterisk symbol on the price tags of some products means? Well, it’s an indication that they are offering you the lowest prices for those items because they won’t be restocked again or the company has decided to discontinue their production.
So, if it’s your favorite cream, toilet paper, or wipes, that have an asterisk. You should buy them as soon as you can because you might never see them again when they run out of stock. Now that you know don’t sleep on this hack next time.
16. Listen For The Bell
If you are a newcomer at Costco, you might be lost when you hear the sound of bells. This just indicates when it’s time to get fresh, hot rotisserie chicken. This chicken is in high demand because of how cheap and tasty it is.
For over a decade, Costco has maintained the sale of their rotisserie chicken at $4.99, the cheapest deal you’ll ever get. So, if you’re shopping there, and you hear the bell go off, it means that these insanely affordable, tasty treats are available for sale.
17. Buy Things In Bulk, Especially Toilet Paper
There is a reason why Costco is a wholesale store. It means buying things in bulk is your best chance at saving a lot of money. Buying toilet paper and other items in bulk means you get the best deals and pay a lot less.
Aside from the fact that these items are ridiculously cheap, buying in bulk saves you money long-term because these products last you a very long time. So you don’t have to go to the store every so often to restock.
18. Go Shopping During Weekdays
The best time to go shopping at Costco is during weekdays, preferably Mondays and Wednesdays during work hours. It is best to avoid going over the weekend or in the evening after work as the place is usually packed with so many people.
It would be frustrating to wait for everything. Wait in lines to pay for your items, wait at the parking lot for parking space, and you might even miss out on the free food samples! So, as you plan your shopping errands, opt to visit Costco when it’s less crowded.
19. Bring Your Own Shopping Bags
Costco doesn’t always have enough paper bags, so make sure to go with your own bags to avoid regrets. Though you may not encounter this kind of problem at your usual grocery store, it is not the same at Costco.
Bring plenty of reusable bags when you go shopping so you can put your items in them just the way you like. It will save you the stress of looking for empty boxes in the bin and also reduce litter.
20. Their Prepared Food Section Is Worth A Try
If you have a ton of work or are just lazy to cook, then Costco pre-made meals are the perfect option for you. Simply take a visit to the prepared food section and choose from the varieties of precooked meals they have available.
An all-time favorite of ours is their salads, which are healthy, rich, and fresh. Most of these meals only require heating up and are perfect for dinner. This way, you save yourself the time and energy needed to prepare a meal from scratch.
21. There’s A Secret Pricing Code
When it comes to shopping at Costco, you need to be clever and experienced so you don’t end up spending money on unnecessary items. One of the best ways to save money is to look out for certain products and how they are priced.
If an item is $6.99, this isn’t a good deal. But a price tag of $6.97 means the item has a discount. Also, when an item is priced at $6.89 or $6.79, this means Costco got a special deal from the manufacturer.
22. The Free Samples Are Unlimited
One thing Costco is known for is the number of free samples you get. It’s just endless, and no one cares how many you try. So, while you’re shopping, make the most of your time there by trying as many free samples as you can.
There is something about those free samples. Many people always admit how tastier and fresh they are. We don’t know if those companies offering free samples put in extra work to make them delicious or if it’s simply the fact that they’re free that makes them like that!
23. Buy Kirkland Signature Products
As of 2022, Kirkland makes up to 30% of Costco’s revenue, and the reason behind this is its high-quality products and affordable prices. Over the years, they have continued to deliver the same quality to customers, and their glowing reviews say it all.
They offer the best value for low prices. According to a report by CNN, Kirkland Signature items sell for up to 20% less than their counterparts. So, if you visit Costco, buy Kirkland Signature items like food, shampoo, clothes, and many more.
24. Plushies Are Great Companions
If you’re single and need a companion, we have a fantastic secret hack for you. They have the best deals on plushies. Their rare squish mallow goes for a great price at only $14.99, which is cheaper than what it costs at other stores.
Not only that, but you can also buy this gigantic teddy bear at Costco that stands at 8 feet tall and weighs more than 40 pounds. Everyone loves it, and if you are a fan of big cuddly companions, you would love it too!
25. The Best Deals Are Hidden In Places You Wouldn’t Have Imagined
Remember when we told you the reason Costco is always disorganized is that it’s a business strategy to make you buy more than you intended to? Well, that’s not all. They often put the most expensive products in the middle aisles because of their usual high traffic.
As a first-timer or someone unaware of Costco hacks, you should avoid the middle lanes and instead check products at the edge or at the back, where people often forget to look. These places always have the best deals and discount prices.
26. Costco Sheet Cakes Are Precious
Have you ever been worried about feeding a large group of people because you simply don’t have enough money? Well, Costco has come to the rescue again. You just need to buy one of the most popular items in Costco’s Bakery– their sheet cake.
This delicious cake weighs more than a newborn baby and can feed at least 40 people, depending on how you cut it. The best part is they are insanely cheap, and you couldn’t beat the price even if you made it yourself!
27. Know When The Sales Are On
Another important way of getting the best deals is to know when Costco is running a sale. This means you have to keep yourself updated with whatever goes on in the wholesale warehouse. We have decided to help you out with this one.
These sales only happen monthly and usually start on Thursday mornings for about three weeks. So, keep your ears to the ground for these deals because they usually offer the best prices possible, and you don’t even need a coupon to participate.
28. Some Things Never Change
We don’t know how they do it, but over several years, certain prices have stayed the same at Costco, especially at the food court. For example, the hot dog and drink combo price has remained the same for so many years.
One thing is guaranteed, when you visit the food court, you will get your money’s worth and more. So, if you are extremely hungry or have severe cravings, you can try any of their available snacks at an affordable price.
29. You Can Get Discounted Movie Tickets
They weren’t lying when they said you could save up to 25% when you buy Costco’s ticket bundles or gift cards and stand a chance to see your favorite movie for way less than what others charge. We are here to show you how.
All you have to do is have a membership card at Costco, and you get to see blockbuster movies for as low as $9 per ticket. You really shouldn’t let this deal pass by without making the most of it because you won’t get it anywhere else.
30. Use Costco Gas Stations
Costco has been saving people’s lives (and money) for several decades. You might not know it but buying gas at Costco gas station saves you so much money. If you hope to make good use of the fantastic deals at their fuel stations, invest in a membership plan.
Just use special coupons that would give you discounts when you buy gas. So, if you have a local Costco station close to you, take advantage of membership reward points to fill up. Don’t say we did not tell you!
31. Time Your Shopping Trip On An Empty Tank
Savvy shoppers will love this. We know we told you to fill up your tanks at Costco gas stations. But did you know you can kill two birds with one stone when you time your shopping trip with an empty tank?
Costco gas stations offer heavily discounted fuel, so if you plan your shopping trips well, you can show up at Costco with an empty tank, take advantage of their lower gas prices, and still shop for items you need in just one stop.
32. Buy Your Organic Products At Costco
Costco constantly rotates available products, but the warehouse always has a ton of organic products everywhere you look. Eating organic products can be expensive, so we are sure this hack is a very valuable one to anyone who prefers them.
Costco has beaten its competitors with its affordable prices, even when it comes to organic products. The produce at the stores is of high quality and includes a variety of fruits and veggies. A healthy lifestyle is worth living, and we are glad Costco thinks so too.
33. Shop Online
The Instacart app or website is the best service for people without membership. With the app, you can shop for your favorite products without leaving your home. All you have to do is fill your virtual groceries cart with items.
Once you have chosen the items you need, the next thing is to request a delivery to your doorstep. This service also offers a convenient option of contactless delivery where you just need to click on the “leave at my door” option.
34. Use Gift Cards
Saving money is a crucial step towards attaining financial freedom. The first step to doing this is to shop at Costco. They have several services that allow you to get value for your money, one of which is gift cards.
If gift cards are on your list this year, you should use them to shop at Costco. So, stock up and use them to buy items you desire at discounted prices, with some offering insane discounts of 20% and above!
35. Have A Shopping Plan
The most essential hack when shopping at Costco is to have a solid plan, which includes making a shopping list. Otherwise, you might wander aimlessly through aisles buying things you actually don’t need. So, make a list of what you want and stick to it.
This list should include a scale of preference, from the most important item to the least important items, in case of price change. Costco stores constantly change their layout, so you have to be cautious and don’t get swayed by their wide range of products.
36. They Offer Housing And Auto Insurance
With Costco, the possibilities are just endless. Their membership deal also keeps getting better. If you aren’t a member yet, we suggest you become one ASAP. Apart from mouthwatering deals, members get exclusive access to home and auto insurance with Ameriprise.
This means when you use their discount policies, you get to save a lot of money. So, if you want an insurance company that has always got your back and still offers you the same quality services at affordable rates, you should choose Costco.
37. No Need Cutting Coupons
Like we just said, with Costco, life gets a lot easier. Rather than spend your weekends cutting coupons to be used at the store, just take a trip there and shop. This way, you can easily gain access to their coupon services.
These coupons are automatically applied at checkout with their automatic coupon application process. That way, you don’t miss out on the sweet deals! Costco’s mobile app can also help to keep you up-to-date, so you can find items with coupons easily.
38. Costco Will Honor The Sale Price
Everyone always looks forward to the biggest deals at Costco during sales. It helps you save a lot of money, and you get multiple discounts you never thought were possible. But the big question is, does Costco honor the sale price?
Costco states that only purchases made within 30 days before a price change are eligible for a refund in case prices go down. So, if an item you bought from the store had a price cut within 30 days, put in a request with your proof of payment and get the difference refunded.
39. You Can Share Your Membership
Although a Costco membership card is nontransferable, there are several ways to share it with family and friends. You’re allowed to bring two guests with you when you visit. Also, if you’re a gold star membership holder, you can have another person share your card.
In such cases, you are given a free household card that can be shared with a member of your family who is above 18 and lives at the same address. This way, whoever gets your second card can shop and enjoy the benefits of being a member.
40. Make Use Of Rebate Apps
Tactful shoppers love to get their money’s worth and even some more. You can achieve this when you use rebate apps. A good example is Checkout51. This app helps you save a lot of money and gives you money back for buying certain products.
All you have to do is go to Costco, buy specific products, upload your receipt while the offer is still live, and you get cash back. Once you’ve been able to earn $20 worth of rewards, you can make a withdrawal.
41. Avoid Buying Perishable Goods In Bulk
We know we talked about how cheap several items are at Costco, but don’t let that push you into making impulsive decisions. Don’t be fooled and end up buying things that can expire within a few days in bulk. You’ll regret it.
You can stock up on toilet paper and napkins, but when it comes to perishable goods, only buy what you can eat. We know the prices can be tempting, but it’s better to purchase little than an excess of these items and watch them rot away.
42. Weddings By Costco
Shopping at Costco comes with mouthwatering deals and benefits. In fact, it covers all aspects of your life! When the time comes for you to get married to your significant other, you can register for your wedding gifts at Costco.
Costco’s gift registry includes ‘Weddings by Costco,’ an online site where you can make a compilation of things you might need before tying the knot, like wedding rings, food, and flowers. Simply find these items, and instead of adding them to your cart, you can click “Add to Registry.”
43. Buy A Book
Imagine sitting on your porch with a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other as you watch the sunset. Perfect, right? Book lovers, Costco also has fantastic deals. You can buy your favorite books at a reasonable price.
Whether you are into romance, mystery, detective stories, or you simply want cookbooks or a good educational book to bury your head in, they have it all. Next time you go shopping, take a glance at their book section to find great deals.
44. Get An Eye Exam
For members, when you order optical products online, you can get additional discounts. But did you know you don’t have to be a member to enjoy Costco’s optical service? Everything about this store is affordable, so if you don’t have optical insurance, they’ve got you covered.
Go to Costco and get low prices on your annual exam. Although prices may vary depending on your location, you should be able to get an eye exam for $70 or something slightly above that price. You can also get great deals on sunglasses and contact lenses.