19 Costco Tricks You Should Be Aware Of

Costco is a haven for bargain hunters, but navigating its vast aisles can be overwhelming. Here are 19 Costco tricks to help you shop smarter and save more.

Timing Your Visits Right

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Strategic timing can significantly enhance your Costco experience. Weekdays, especially from Tuesday to Thursday, are the prime time to visit as the store is less congested. Early mornings at opening time or late evenings before closing are the sweet spots to avoid the rush. This smart approach allows you to shop leisurely, free from the long queues and crowded aisles that are typical of weekends.

Know the Pricing Codes

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Cracking the code to Costco’s unique pricing system can be your secret weapon for spotting the best deals. Prices ending in .97 indicate clearance items that are marked down for quick sale. Items ending in .00 are special markdowns by the store manager. If you spot prices ending in .88 or .44, it’s a sign that the product is on its way out and will not get restocked. This knowledge equips you to make savvy shopping choices.

Look for Asterisk Tags

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

A small asterisk (*) on the price tag means the item will not get restocked once it’s sold out. If you find something you like and see the asterisk, it’s best to purchase it immediately. This way, you will be able to take advantage of limited-time or seasonal products that might not return.

Get a Costco Cash Card

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

A Costco Cash Card is a smart solution for non-members who want to enjoy the benefits of Costco shopping. If you know someone with a membership, ask them to buy a Cash Card for you. This card grants you access to Costco and allows you to shop just like a member. It’s a convenient trick for occasional shoppers who want to save without committing to an annual fee.

Price Adjustment Policy

Costco’s price adjustment policy can save you money even after your purchase. If an item you bought goes on sale within 30 days, you can get a refund for the price difference. Keep your receipt and head to the customer service desk to request the adjustment. This policy ensures you do not miss out on the deals.

Split Membership Costs

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Sharing a membership is a smart way to cut costs. Split the $60 annual fee with a friend or family member. Both of you can then enjoy the benefits of Costco shopping without bearing the total cost alone. This makes the membership more affordable and allows more people to access Costco’s deals.

Shop Online for Extra Savings

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Costco’s website sometimes offers deals that aren’t available in-store. Check Costco.com often. You may find exclusive online discounts and special offers there. This is especially useful for items that might not be present at your local warehouse.

Use Costco’s Travel Services

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Costco Travel offers amazing deals on vacation packages, cruises, hotels, rental cars, and more. With Costco, you can save a lot compared to booking directly, making your next trip more affordable and exciting.

Buy Kirkland Signature Products

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Kirkland Signature, Costco’s house brand, offers high-quality products, often produced by well-known brands but at a lower price. For instance, Duracell is the manufacturer of the Kirkland Signature batteries. Hence, choosing Kirkland Signature items can save you money without compromising on quality.

Executive Membership

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

If your Costco spending exceeds $500 per month, upgrading to the Executive Membership is worth considering. Although it costs $120 annually, it provides 2% cashback on most purchases. By taking advantage of this, you can quickly add up your savings, offset the higher membership fee, and save even more money.

Free Samples

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Free samples at Costco are more than just a way to try new products—they can also serve as a light snack during your shopping trip. Trying different foods while shopping can keep you energized. Plus, it also helps you decide on which new items to buy. This can make your shopping experience more enjoyable and efficient.

Free Returns

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Costco’s return policy is a game-changer, offering you peace of mind with every purchase. You can return almost anything, anytime, with or without a receipt (for a store credit). However, there are some exceptions, like diamonds or cars, so check the fine print for specific details. This policy allows you to try new items without worrying that you’re stuck with them if they don’t work out, making your shopping experience stress-free.

Use Coupons Wisely

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Costco’s monthly coupon book can save you a lot. So, use it with a thoughtful plan. Don’t buy items just because they’re discounted. Stick to your shopping list and use coupons for products you need. This approach prevents impulse buys and ensures you’re genuinely saving money.

Buy Gift Cards at a Discount

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Costco sells various gift cards, including those for popular restaurants and entertainment, at discounted prices. For example, you might find a $100 restaurant gift card for only $80. These discounted gift cards are a great way to save money on dining out or gifts, providing excellent value for Costco members.

Stock Up on Seasonal Items

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Costco offers impressive deals on seasonal items, often at much lower prices than regular retail stores. Buying holiday decorations, gardening supplies, and other seasonal products during off-peak times can save a lot of money. Plan ahead and stock up when these items are on sale to maximize your budget.

Check the Middle Aisles

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

The middle aisles of Costco, also known as the “center court,” often feature some of the best deals in the store. These areas are where you’ll find special promotions and rotating stock. Regularly checking these aisles can uncover great bargains on various products, from electronics to household goods.

Double Dipping on Savings

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Combine Costco savings with other deals. Use cashback apps like Ibotta or coupons found online (from sources other than Costco) to maximize your savings. Let’s say you find a coupon for $2 off your favorite brand of paper towels at Costco. Clip that coupon. Then, use a cashback app that offers extra savings on paper towels at Costco and watch the savings pile up.

Gas station savings

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Many Costco stores have gas stations that offer members-only discounts. They are well-known for their consistently lower prices compared to other gas stations. The savings might not be huge. But every penny counts, especially when filling a large SUV. Plus, you only need your Costco membership card to pump gas, so it’s a convenient option for Costco members.

Optical and Pharmacy Savings

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Costco’s optical store and pharmacy are usually cheaper than other stores. The best part is that you can use the pharmacy without a membership, which is a great way to save on prescriptions.

Scroll to Top