Costco is one of the most popular stores in the America — and for good reason. The warehouse club offers good prices, prides itself on good customer service, pays its workers fairly, and even hands out generous free samples, so you can snack while you shop. Is it any wonder it’s the second-largest retail chain in the world after Wal-Mart?
People who haven’t caught the Costco bug, though, might wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, it’s pretty natural to be skeptical of a store that charges you $60 a year just for the privilege of shopping there.
What exactly do those 60 smackaroos get you? A lot more than the chance to buy enough ketchup to last you a lifetime. Costco offers way more than just discounts on bulk grocery items. But if you’re not familiar with all the ins and outs of shopping at the store, you could be missing out.
Whether you’re a loyal member or new to the popular warehouse club, here are 11 secrets all Costco shoppers need to know if you care about getting the best deal.
1. You can shop without a membership (sometimes)
Costco’s a pretty exclusive club. To even get in the door, you’ll need to spring for a $60 annual membership. But if you’re not ready (or willing) to buy a membership, you can still take advantage of the store’s great deals. The easiest way is to shop with a member, though they’ll have to pay for the purchases, not you. Or give your friend some money to buy you a Costco Cash Card. Once you have that bit of plastic, you can shop sans membership.
No friend or family member with a Costco membership? The store isn’t completely off limits. In some states, such as California, the store has to let you buy alcohol even if you don’t have a membership. The same is true for getting immunizations and filling prescriptions at the pharmacy.