Using club stores that offer shopping in bulk is a great way to save money and time. I’m sharing the best ways to save money at Costco. If you’re a Costco shopper, be sure to check out these tips to see how best to use your membership in 2019.
The Best Ways to Save Money at Costco in 2019
If you are shopping at Costco, chances are you love to save money. After all, Costco is for those looking for bargains, and buying in bulk is a way to do just that. But did you know that by implementing a few other shopping strategies, you can save even more on your Costco shopping trips? Look below at this list of the best ways to save money at Costco, so you can stretch your shopping dollar even further.
1. Consider the executive membership. If you shop at Costco frequently, this high tier membership may be for you. Yes, it cost more than the regular membership, but you can earn 2% cash back on your purchases. Even better is this rebate is sent to you as a check, so it truly is cash back in your pocket. Remember you are never locked into a membership, so you can easily upgrade or downgrade at any time.
Pro-tip: I share deals frequently on Costco memberships. You should never pay full price for a membership since these deals run 3-4 times per year.
2. Choose frozen over fresh. You may wish to grab those fresh fruits and veggies elsewhere. Costco simply isn’t known for produce deals. When it comes to things like vegetables, desserts, meat products, and bread, you can get a better deal when you buy frozen. Costco has an ample frozen food selection, and you will find that you can get more for your money in that section than in the fresh section.
3. Consider using Costco for car care. Costco offers tires and other car services for way less than their competitors. You can also take care of the free services they offer when purchasing your tires there. This means free air pressure check, tire rotation, and even flat repair should you find yourself with a flat! Most garages charge for these services, so buying tires from Costco can help you snag these services for free.
4. Pair diaper sales with coupons. Costco does not accept manufacturer coupons, but they mail out their own coupons to their members. Costco already has great deals on diapers, but when you pair sales with coupons you can really get a steal. Costco offers coupons off their brand of diapers (not just name brand) so you can really stock up on them for less. You are limited to two diaper coupons per transaction, but you can always go back and use additional coupons. If you see a hot diaper coupon be sure to use it, you may not see that specific coupon again for another few months.
5. Earn cash back on your gas purchases. Even if you have a gas loyalty card elsewhere, chances are it doesn’t give you 3% back as Costco does. Use your Costco card when filling up on their gas and you will be earning cash back in the process. It is as easy as swiping your card. Just remember that if you pick up certain items while getting gas (cigarettes and tobacco products) you won’t earn cash back on those items. Most other food or snack items are eligible.
6. Grab the rotisserie chicken. When is the last time you grabbed a chicken for just $5? This is one of Costco’s most famous deals. The rotisserie chickens are a decent size and can be used in casseroles, soups, stews, even chicken tacos. When you need a cheap meal idea, the Costco rotisserie chicken is your best bet. Not in the mood for chicken? Their $1.50 hot dog and drink offer is another sure thing!
7. Pair coupons with sales for amazing photo deals. Costco offers photo printing coupons offer. Plus, if you buy a frame you can get 100 prints free! If you know you are in the market for a frame, get your picture card ready so you can take advantage of the free print offer.
8. Skip the cereal, fresh meats, and certain snack foods. Even with sales or coupons, Costco simply has higher prices on these items. You can find better deals at smaller chain grocery stores and should buy these items there. Remember, if you need these items you can always opt for frozen (see #2) and get these items for less. Snack foods such as soda, certain kinds of chips, and candy may cost more at Costco as well.
9. Use coupons before they disappear. If you see a Costco coupon you can use, USE IT. Chances are you won’t see that coupon again for another 3-4 months. Even if you are limited to how many coupons you can use in one purchase, that doesn’t mean you can’t come back and use them on another visit.
10. This is the one item you can get fresh for less… FLOWERS! While fresh produce and meat will cost you more at Costco, fresh flowers won’t. They have prices that rival your local florist and can get your house looking lovely for less. You will find fresh flowers, and in the spring and summer months outdoor flowers and plants as well.
11. Check for odd and even pricing. If an item price ends in an even number, it has been marked down. If the item price ends in an off number, it is the original price. Keeping this in mind is a great way to tell if the item is still full price (and may be marked down later) or if it has already reached sale price.
- If a product is priced with .00 or .88, it’s been discounted. (.00 is a manager markdown. .98 is retailers price. .99 is Costco’s price. .97 is a markdown from original price)
- If a product is priced with .97, it’s a clearance item.
- If a product is priced with a *, this product is not going be restocked.
12. Use Costco for travel deals. Did you know that you can score some great deals on travel at Costco? With your membership, you can score some great deals on vacation packages. You will also find deals for rental cars, cruises, and hotels. Also, consider buying your gift cards for Disney and other theme parks at a discounted rate.
13. Costco Anywhere Visa. Only Visa is accepted at Costco stores. If you’re planning on getting a Visa card, consider the Costco Anywhere Visa. This is a no-fee credit card with several incentives, including a 2% cash back on all Costco purchases, as well as 4% cash back when you buy gas anywhere.
14. Shop the Kirkland label. Buying generic labels gives you bigger savings, and with the Kirkland household brand at Costco, you will save money. Plus, the Kirkland brand has some really high-quality items. When we purchased our Labradoodle from the breeder, she highly recommended the Kirkland brand of dog food. I’ve also heard friends rave about their paper products being better than the leading name brand labels. Also, consider purchasing your bottled water from the Kirkland label at Costco.
15. Shop the Warehouse sale. Costco offers warehouse sale specials about once per month. You can use the Warehouse Savings page to see what specials are happening each month.
16. Free health care screenings. Stay healthy by using Costco to get free health care screening in the following areas: Heart Health, Diabetes, and Osteoporosis. It’s also helpful to mention that you can use fill your prescriptions at Costco for a discounted rate versus at other drugstores.
17. Get your money back. If an item goes on sale within the 30 days of you already purchasing it, you can take your receipt back in and get the difference. (like a mixer, vacuum cleaner, etc) Pro-tip: Costco has a super generous return policy (90-day window). They don’t ask questions.
18. Ibotta rebate app. While Costco doesn’t accept manufacturer coupons, you can use Ibotta offers at Costco to help you stretch your dollars.
19. Alcohol is at a bargain. Costco is known to have cheaper prices on beer and spirits, and get this- you don’t need a membership to buy alcohol. Costco will give you a temporary alcohol shopping pass to use for those particular purchases.
20. Ink is cheap. You can get your printer ink refilled at a low price of $7.49!
21. Order groceries online. I’m all about saving time this year. One way you can do that and still use Costco is through Instacart. The prices are a little higher, but if you don’t have the time to go into the store, this may be a good option for you. There is a $35 minimum purchase order, but if you’re buying in bulk you should meet that threshold quickly.
Pro-tip: If you want to try Costco out before committing to a membership, find a friend or family member who has a membership and they can buy you a Costco Cash card.
As you can see, there are many tips and tricks to try during your next Costco shopping trick! Keep these ways to save money at Costco in mind and stretch your cash while still getting the items you love.