Photo: Shutterstock / Trong Nguyen
Who doesn’t love saving money? I’m pretty sure it’s a quintessential part of the human experience. People pride themselves on finding the best deals out there and even use it as a topic of small talk. And soon, with these Costco shopping tips, you’ll be asking your friends the following: Guess how much I saved at Costco yesterday?
Costco can be a magical dreamland when it comes to deals, but only if you know where to look for them. Although buying in bulk at a store like Costco does save you money, there are still many tricks to learn that will save you more. Especially when it comes to the pricey items—like meat or even alcohol.
So before making your bi-weekly or monthly trip to the land of bulk items and extremely cheap jumbo hot dog and drink deals (they’re only $1.50—can you believe that?), be sure to take note of these tips to get more bang for your buck.
Oh, and if you don’t have a Costco membership, that’s OK. Here’s how to shop at Costco without a membership.
Yes, buy the store-brand products
At Costco, look for products with the label Kirkland. It’s actually a Costco label, and will save you lots of money! Sure store-brand products can be a huge hit or miss, but Kirkland is known for creating high-quality products that will make you completely forget those popular mainstream brands.
The farther the walk, the better the price
That’s right—the farther you walk into the store, the better deals you are going to find. Especially at the center of the store, also known as “center court.” The tip is to start at the back of the store and work your way up, for the best deals. And avoid the front of the store at all costs! This part of the store is known as “action alley” which tends to have the highest prices since it will get the most foot traffic.
Buy bulk meat to freeze
Even if you only need a pound of beef for that recipe over the weekend, buy a few pounds to store for later. You’ll get a better price per pound when you buy in bulk, and you’ll end up with a stocked fridge ready for easy weeknight dinners. It’s a win-win!
Team up with a buddy for deals
You probably don’t need that many paper towels or bottles of water, so why not split it up with a friend? Save at least half of your grocery bill by splitting up the bulk items with your other Costco-loving buddies. But fair warning: The two of you should never bother with these Costco items. They aren’t worth the deals.
Understand the price codes
Ever wonder why some prices end in .99, while others end in .97? It’s not just a coincidence, it’s actually on purpose! It’s a secret pricing code that Costco has in order to show you where the deals are or aren’t. For example, if you find an item with .99 at the end, that’s a wholesale price. But if you find something with a .97, that’s the best discount you’ll be able to find. Find out more of these secret codes here.
Shop seasonal at the end of the season
This may seem counterintuitive, but trust me on this one. Just like any other store, you’re going to find your best deals for Christmas decorations or Halloween costumes after the holiday is over. At Costco, the same applies. Grab grilling supplies after summer is over to get the best prices possible on stuff you’ll need nine months down the road.
Try shopping online
The Costco app actually shows you the great deals and offers to take advantage of, which will help you in the long run. Almost out of toilet paper? Take a look at the Costco app to see if any deals are happening for your needs before even hitting up the store.