26 Costco Shopping Hacks for the Best Bargains

Costco is renowned not just for its bulk goods but for the substantial savings it offers. Whether you’re a family stocking up for the month, a couple looking for the best deals on electronics, or a solo shopper trying to stretch every dollar, knowing the insider tips can transform your Costco experience.

Here are over 26 proven ways to save money at Costco that will keep both your pantry and your wallet full.

Know the Secret Price Codes

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Understanding Costco’s price tag system can lead to significant savings. Items ending in .99 are at full price, while those ending in .97 are discounted. An asterisk (*) on the price tag indicates the item is being discontinued and won’t be restocked, so it might be your last chance to grab it at a lower price.

Opt for Kirkland Brands

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Kirkland, Costco’s private label, offers quality comparable to or exceeding national brands but at a fraction of the cost. From groceries to clothing, opting for Kirkland products can lead to substantial savings without compromising on quality.

Shop According to the Layout

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Strategic shopping starts with navigation. Begin at the back of the store where high-value items like electronics and appliances are located, and make your way forward, avoiding the more expensive impulse-buy zones near the entrance.

Check Out Manager’s Specials

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Items with prices ending in .00 or .88 usually indicate the manager’s specials. These products are priced lower to move quickly, possibly due to overstock or impending expiration dates, offering savvy shoppers great deals.

Utilize the Costco Return Policy

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Costco’s generous return policy allows you to return nearly anything if you’re dissatisfied. This policy reduces the risk associated with trying new products and provides a refund avenue if products don’t meet your expectations.

Buy and Freeze

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Purchasing meat in bulk and freezing it not only extends its shelf life but also reduces your cost per unit significantly. This practice is perfect for planned meal prepping and ensures you have quality meat available anytime.

Look for Rebates

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Always check for rebates on high-ticket items like electronics and appliances. Costco often offers manufacturer rebates that can reduce the purchase price significantly, making luxury items more affordable.

Use Costco Gas Stations

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Costco gas stations often feature lower fuel prices than their competitors. If your shopping trip coincides with needing a fill-up, you can save on both groceries and gas in one go.

Upgrade Your Membership for Cashback

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If you’re a frequent Costco shopper, consider upgrading to an Executive Membership. The additional cost can be quickly offset by the 2% cashback on most purchases, effectively lowering your overall spending.

Split Bulk Items With a Friend

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For those living alone or with small storage spaces, consider splitting bulk purchases with a friend. This way, you both benefit from the bulk price without the worry of waste or storage issues.

Take Advantage of Costco’s Price Adjustment Policy

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If an item you purchased goes on sale within 30 days, Costco will refund the difference. Keeping an eye on prices after your purchase can snag you unexpected rebates.

Stock Up Post-Holiday

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After holidays, seasonal goods are drastically reduced to clear out inventory. This is a perfect time to stock up on decorations, wrapping paper, and other seasonal items at a fraction of the cost.

Explore Costco Services

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Beyond physical goods, Costco offers competitive deals on services like insurance, travel, and even home mortgages. These services often come with members-only prices that can lead to long-term savings.

Buy Your Alcohol at Costco

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Costco is known for its selection and pricing of alcohol, often undercutting liquor store prices. In some states, you don’t even need a Costco membership to purchase alcohol at their low prices.

Buy the Rotisserie Chicken

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Costco’s rotisserie chicken is not just affordable but also versatile. At $4.99, it’s often cheaper than uncooked chicken and can be used to create multiple meals, saving time and money.

Use the Costco Anywhere Visa Card

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This card offers 2% cash back on all Costco purchases, and additional rewards on travel and dining. If you spend regularly at Costco, this card can amplify your savings significantly.

Shop Online With Costco Groceries

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Costco’s online store often has online-only deals that aren’t available in stores. Additionally, shopping online can save time and the temptation of impulse purchases, keeping you on budget.

Shop for Tires

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Costco offers competitive pricing on tires, and the deal includes lifetime rotation and balancing, which alone can save hundreds over the life of the tires.

Attend Costco Special Events

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Keep an eye out for special events in-store, which feature exclusive deals on high-end brands and products. These events are advertised in-store and online.

Utilize Costco Travel

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Costco Travel offers discounted travel packages exclusive to members. These packages often include extra perks like upgrades and credits that can make luxury travel more affordable.

Buy Electronics

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Costco provides competitive prices on electronics, especially during sales events like Black Friday. They also offer an extended warranty and a great return policy, adding value to every purchase.

Check Out Health Services

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Costco’s pharmacy offers lower prices on prescriptions and free health screenings, adding tremendous value, especially for those with regular medical needs.

Use Prepaid Credit Cards

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If you don’t have a Visa, Costco also accepts prepaid Visa cards. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of shopping at Costco without needing a specific credit card.

Invest in Gift Cards

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Costco sells gift cards for a variety of restaurants and services at less than face value. These can be great for gifts or personal use, stretching your dollars further.

Shop Seasonal Clearances

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Due to their inventory rotation, seasonal items are often discounted deeply after the season ends. Regular visits can help you catch these deals.

Know the Best Times to Shop

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Shopping during off-peak hours such as weekday mornings or late afternoons can lead to a less rushed shopping experience, allowing you to focus more on savings than on navigating crowds.

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