Costco Hacks – Save Time And Money With These 25 Insider Tips

Costco Hacks - Tips and Tricks to Save Money

Costco is a great place to find savings for your family. Did you know that you could save an average $2,600 a year just by eating a free lunch worth of samples at Costco every workday. That’s a great savings hack. Sadly, most people know this one, so if you try it get ready for longs lines. 

It turns out, there are a bunch of ways for consumers to save greenbacks at Costco. After consulting Costco employees and insiders, We’ve compiled a list of their 24 best Costco savings hacks.

1. No Membership, No Problem

Costco Hacks Tips Tricks
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To cheap to pay Costco’s annual membership fee? Show Costco by recruiting a friend or neighbor to go shopping with you. Odds are, they are a member. Frugal but not cheap? Split Costco’s annual fee between with a friend or family member.  

Just want to try Costco or visit once or twice a year? No problem. Just visit Costco’s customer service desk and ask for a 1-day pass. 

Brainy Tip – You can always give money to a trusted person and have them buy you Costco Cash Cards. With those, you can shop with them at any Costco location, or online without a membership. 

Costco.com carries many more items than Costco’s warehouse stores. Insiders suggest visiting the online store before visiting a warehouse. Odds are you’ll find many more items to choose from online. 

2. Get Your Workout On And Save Money

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You’ll likely find the best deals in the nooks and corners for the store. Costco typically sells closeout items and returns in lesser traveled aisles, leaving prime locations for higher-priced or seasonal items.


3. No Scissors, No Problem – No Coupons Needed

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Think of the coupon book as a clever advertising lead. Costco automatically applies discounts to every item purchased that is listed in its coupon books. Throw those coupons away and give your wallet or purse a break.


4. Not All Price Tags Are Created Equal

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Hack the Costco Price Tag Algorithm to unlock treasures. Insiders know that you can tell a lot about a product by its last 2-digits. For example, anything ending in .99 is a standard non-sale item. The hack here is to avoid these items if you’re bargain hunter. 


5. 49, 59, And 69 Are Indicators Of Possible Deals

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Items with tags ending in odd numbers, like .49, .59, .69 — indicates that Costco is selling the item at a special manufacturers discount. This may or may not be a good price for you the consumer, but Costco is telling you that the manufacturer is suggesting so.


6. Don’t Forget The Old 97-Cent Rule

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Price tags ending in $.97 a usually an indication of local, limited-inventory, or limited-time item. $.97 is also used by managers to clear stale inventory. Items usually move to .97 for a while and if they don’t sell it’s clearance time. 

Brainy Tip – Insiders know that managers have discretion to lower the price of .97 items. Look for the date on an items .97 price tag. If it’s an old date and the item is still there, odds are a further price reduction is on its way.


7. The Asterisk * is the Key to Unlocking TRUE SAVINGS

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When it comes to Costco price tags, the joker in the deck is the asterisk – You know, these “*” guys. If you find a price tag with an asterisk in its upper right-hand corner of you could be in for a treat. That asterisk means the item won’t be restocked. It’s either seasonal, discontinued, or simply being switched out for something else. 

If an item is discontinued Costco typically drastically reduces its price. Insiders report savings of up to 90% on discounted Asterisk tagged items. 


8. If The Price Tag Ends In .00 Or .88, You’re A Winner

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The final mystery of Costco’s price tags is .00 and .88. Both numerical endings indicate a managers special. Markdowns of this sort are usually the following: returned but re-sellable items, perishable items, and lightly damaged items. 

Insiders report near giveaways on 00 and 88 tagged items.

Brainy Tip – A manager who’s willing to mark an item down is likely very willing to negotiate. Let you inner-haggler out and save some serious dollars.


9. Score A Deal Weeks After A Purchase

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Costco is known for an amazing return policy. Did you know that in addition to returns, Costco also rocks the area of price adjustments. Manager’s will allow price adjustments for most items up to 30-days. 

Once you buy and item, especially an expensive one – watch that price closely, you might earn a cash adjustment!

Brainy Tip – Insiders speak of price adjustments months, later. Give it a try.


10. At Costco, Generic Is Not Really Generic

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We’ve all tasted some store branded or “generic” items. Cereal is an item that comes in brand and generic in most stores. Generic typically cost less, but also taste different or is less appealing to most pallets. Well, not at Costco.

Kirkland Signature is Costco’s house brand, and it’s anything but generic. From butter to bourbon, Costco shoppers have the option to purchase a less expense Kirkland Signature item. The staff at Truly Brainy give this brand 2-thumbs-up. We actually prefer Kirkland American Vodka over many top name brands.

Don’t be afraid of generics anymore. Trust us, Kirkland Signature will not disappoint in quality or flavor. And the savings – they cannot be beat.

11. Enter The Matrix – Tons Of Savings Online

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If you haven’t figured it out yet, the brains here love us some Costco! Nothing beats the experience of walking a Costco, sampling free food, seeing food in sizes not needed for human consumption, and leaving the store with a high quality slice of pie and a soda for under $3-bucks. What’s not to love.

Costco.com has none of the above. But, it’s an awesome experience too. The problem with brick and mortar warehouses is space. Sure Costco Warehouses are huge. But did you know that a typical Costco warehouse only sell about 10% of items available online at Costco.com

Brainy Tip – Take advantage of free shipping on huge heavy items like furniture, washing machines or mattresses. 

12. Join If You Must, But Never Pay Full Price

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Costco memberships are not inexpensive. Do a few Google searches before buying a membership. Discounted membership options are always available. You could save up to 50%. Also don’t forget Tip #1; buy a joint membership with friends or neighbors. 

Brainy Tip – any employers offer discounted memberships through in-house corporate perks programs. Ask your employer if your company offers any discounts. 

13. If You Refuse To Join, Costco Still Offers Perks

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One of the best things about Costco is the Food Court. Hot Dogs, Polish Dogs, Pizza, Ice Creams, Hamburgers, Chicken Bakes – somebody stop me! At Costco, anyone can enter and dine at the food court. 

Other services open to non-members include: Optometry services and eyewear, photo services, prescription drug orders and refills. In most states, alcohol can be purchased without a membership.


14. Buy One, Get One Free

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Nothing worse than buying the latest tech gadget at a typical store and being forced with the worst decision of all-time – Do I buy the product protection plan or not. If I buy it, surely nothing will happen. If I don’t buy it, lighting will strike the product ruining it as I’m leaving the store. 

Brainy Tip – Buy electronics at Costco and sleep well at least 731 days. Costco covers all electronics for 2-years at no cost to you the consumer. The next time you are price comparing electronics at one store vs Costco don’t forget to factor in those expensive protection plans charged by some stores.

15. You Had Me At Free Tech Support?


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Force your parents and all of  those non-technical people in your circle to buy all of their electronics at Costco and you can fire yourself as their “tech guy or girl.” Just call 1-866-861-0450 and a friendly support agent will walk you through setting up that wireless router, television, computer, or whatever gadget you bought in store or online. 

Brainy Tip  – Costco will allow returns on most electronics for up to 90 days. This is fantastic for customers. Buy that television, washing machine, or mattress. Test drive products for months in your home. If you don’t like the product – return the old product without question.


16. Sell Your Membership

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Memberships come in twos at Costco. Regardless of the membership selected, you’ll receive two membership cards. If If you’re single, get a friend to join-with-you and you two split the costs. Or do the same with a family member, coworker, etc. 

Brainy Tip – Married couples can add a third person to their account and save too. One spouse get a membership and the other is sold. 


17. Gift Cards At Costco Are Simply The Best

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Hands down, Costco beats the rest when it comes to gift card discounts. Local restaurants and national chains sell gift cards at significant discounts. At Truly Brainy many of us have seen deals of 2 $50 gift cards for $79.99. This is a 20% discount. 

Insiders report of many stores selling local eatery gift card at times for as low as 2 $50 card for $50 – A 50% savings! Before you head out on the town, stop at Costco and grab a few gift cards. Your wallet will thank you.


18. Costcos Got The Best Budget Meals In Town

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Ok, I’m not going to attempt to convince you that this is a healthy meal, but as a former starving college student who lived on cheap meals and mostly ate friends leftovers to get by –  I highly endorse Costco’s Footlong hot Dog and a Fountain Soda for $1.50! Heck, it’s even a Kosher hot dog. 

The Costco food court is a cheap eaters paradise. Don’t want a hot dog? If you really splurge you can upgrade to a Chicken Bake or a Slice of Pizza for another $1.50 or so. Lastly, if you’re broke and really hungry, $9.99 buys you a really big pizza.

Brainy Fact – Costco has been in business since the early 1980s. Did you know that a foot long and a soda has always cost $1.50 at Costco?


19. It Pays To Be An Executive

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Costco offers various memberships. The Ferrari of memberships is the Executive. Fancy name for it cost more but offers more perks for some. The key with the Executive is that it makes sense if you are a frequent shopper with high spending patterns. 

Costco gives executive members 2% back on most purchases in the form of Costco Cash. The equation to evaluate whether this makes sense for you or not is simple. If you spend more than $3,000 a year or $250 a month at Costco, you should pay the extra $60 to upgrade your membership. Any spend over $3,000 spent is free money in your pocket. 

Brainy Tip – If you are responsible with your credit, possibly supercharge your cash-back by opening a Costco Visa Card.


20. Do Not Forget About Those Free Samples

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Oh those samples. Costco loves to tempt us with yummy free samples. Walk the whole store and try them all. 

Brainy Tip – The actual people providing the samples don’t advertise this, but you can have as many sample as you desire. Just be courteous – others want to taste too. 

To protect my chi and keep those extra pounds off I force myself to walk to another sample station or take a lap before sneaking back for seconds, thirds, and tenths. 😉


21. A Costco Membership Keeps The Doctor Away

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Well, not exactly. But as a Costco member you can take advantage of free health screenings and possibly save some cash. Members can take advantage of the following free screenings: diabetes, lung, osteoporosis, and heart screenings at various times and locations throughout the year. 

Brainy Tip – Before you pay for a costly health screening, check here to see if Costco has you covered. 


22. Save Some Money At The Pump

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Most Costco locations in the US have Gas Stations. Costco members can save up to $1.10 a gallon on gasoline. Prices vary by state and city. The best part about Costco gasoline is that its top tier gasoline. You can save a few bucks at the pump and your car won’t call you cheap behind your back.

Brainy Tip – Saving at the pump at Costco is well known. This means long lines at the pump. We suggest shopping at Costco during non-peak hours. You’ll be able to fill your car up with no lines.


23. 2% Cash Back With A Visa Card

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If you shop at Costco often, consider opening a Costco Visa Card. Members who make purchases on their Costco Visa get 2% back. Don’t forget, Executive members also get 2% cash back. 

Brainy Tip – It’s a no brainer. If you shop at Costco often, upgrade to an Executive Membership and Open a Costco Visa.


24. Serious Savings Can Be Found In The Pharmacy

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Costco pharmacy’s are known for having inexpensive drugs. Prescription drug costs seem to consistently rise. We suggest price comparing your prescriptions at Costco before choosing a pharmacy.


25. Fire Costco And get Paid!

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Say you are a college kid who needs $50 bucks right now to cover “textbooks.” 😉 

Don’t panic. Simply fire Costco. Walk in, surrender your membership card, and walk out with cold hard cash. Problem solved, temporarily that is.