There are a few things that make Costco one of my favorite places to shop. First – the meat, best quality aside from the butcher. Second, the clearance prices. Think a Verissimo Starbucks machine for only $39, kids crocs for $5.97, High quality Disney princess costumes for $7.97 – and much, much more. We do the majority of our grocery shopping at Costco. I shop less, and spend less overall. In order to take advantage of the great prices at Costco, you really need to know how to shop and how to read the signs in store.
Use the Price Guarantee
When you purchase something, you can get refunded if that item is priced for lower in store. If you’ve purchased it within fourteen days and it’s come out as a sale with a coupon you can get your money back. If you’ve purchased it and it’s been reduced in price, or on clearance without a coupon, there has been word that you can get refunded the difference up to three months from the time of purchase. Your receipts are kept on file on your account, you will likely not even need your receipt when you visit customer service.
Learn the Costco Price Tag Codes
Regular price – ends in $.99
Clearance – ends in $.97
Specials – ends in $.49, .79 or 89
Asterix (*) on the price tag – the item is not going to be restocked
Use the Coupons
Every Monday, Costco releases a new round of coupons in-store. Though you can’t use traditional manufacturer coupons, these coupons help to reduce the price and make items more affordable in-store. Sale cycles seem to go about 3-4 months, so when there is something like the Kirkland baby wipes that go on sale, we make sure to buy enough to last until the next sale.
Know your prices, most toiletry and personal care items are not the best price at Costco. Skip these and wait for a sale with coupons, or promotions at other stores.
Get Rid of Your Membership Cost
We shop at Costco enough that the Executive membership, where 2% of purchases are earned back, more than cover the cost of the membership for the next year. That means, from shopping at Costco anyway, we’re getting the membership for free when I apply the rebate check to the cost of membership the next year. On average, we spend $100/week at Costco plus the large items that we purchase there throughout the year.
Did you know? You can also shop at Costco without a membership if you are using gift cards?
Shop in Store Regularly
Shop once a week, you’re going to be able to find the in-store deals, the clearance and other specials in-store. Shopping weekly, you’re also going to be able to take advantage of current coupons and reduce the sticker-shock of once a month, $400 shopping trips at Costco.
Meal planning around our Costco trips, repurposing meals and making 2-4 meals at a time for the freezer saves me time in the kitchen, saves us money and has made grocery shopping simpler for us. Shopping regularly in-store, I am able to keep my eye on potential clearance or reduced items.
Tip: snap pictures of the items on your ‘might buy’ list to compare prices over time, without having to pull out a notebook. This way, you can tell if something you’ve purchased has been reduced in price, or if you’re getting the best deal.