Costco Shopping Tips

You might think that just for simply being a Costco member you’re raking in the savings on all of your bulk purchases, but it takes a slightly more savvy shopper to uncover all of what Costco has to offer!

You need to be a member to utilize these shopping tips, and did you know there are many more perks of being a Costco member?

Kirkland Is The Business

Look for the Kirkland label for your favorite items (it’s a Costco brand). I swear by their wines, and distilled spirits. Did you know that the Kirkland brand partners with many popular factories to produce these products?

One of the first bulk Kirkland brand items I purchased were trash bags, and I’m pretty sure I only buy two boxes per year and I’m done.

And the savings really just can’t be beat. According to, many of the Kirkland wines are high quality (can you tell I like the wine), and can be had for up to 50% lower than the winery’s original label.

Non-Members Can Buy Alcohol

Speaking of wine, about a dozen states require Costco to allow non-members to purchase alcohol. Including California, Massachusetts and Hawaii. If you reside in one these states, just tell them at the door you’re there to buy alcohol and go in and get those deals!   

Stock Up On Meat

After the booze, meat at Costco is my next favorite thing to stock up on. By buying extra, you get a better price per pound. I like to use my smoker, so I’ll buy a few tri-tips or pork butts and cook one and freeze the rest.

Know The Price Codes

Every store has price codes and Costco is no different. While items ending in .99 is a wholesale price, items ending in .97 means that item has been marked down according to Tough Nickel.

In addition you can look for other indicators on the tag such as an asterisk in the upper right corner which signals the item will not be restocked.

Find a Shopping Buddy

Sometimes buying bulk items can yield too many units. Like, I may not need 30 rolls of paper towels, but 15 can work. Buy in bulk, split the haul, and the cost with a friend or family member.

You still get to take advantage of the bulk savings, and this can even work when you don’t have a membership, as long the other party does.

Shop Seasonal

Yes, even at Costco it’s still a smart idea to buy items opposite of the season you’ll actually need them. Thinking about grilling over the summer? Look to buy your supplies in the fall for next years grilling season.

Check The Mail

We receive a Costco booklet with coupons and deals every few months or so. Don’t forget to check it and take it with you on your next Costco run.

The Samples Are Legendary

And you can have more than one, and the employees won’t give you the evil eye, I promise, but remember to say thank you. It is their job to sell the items you’re sampling, but don’t let it deter you from your shopping list. These potential unplanned purchases may not be the best deal for that product type. Make sure to check the aisles for competing products.

Shop On The Weekends…

Anywhere but Costco! Especially Sundays, weekends are the busiest time at Costco. Your best bet to avoid crowds is to shop weekdays, and preferably during midday.

Bring Bags

Costco doesn’t offer bags for your groceries but rather bulky boxes from shipments. Bring your own reusable shopping bags, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Avoid Action Items

Avoid the items as you’re entering the store as these products may not be the absolute best deals.

This also includes end caps and the center of the store. According to Lifehacker “Makers and distributors often pay for the privilege of being there, and the prices are aggressive,” so these are the least attractive bargains in the store. Remember, stick to your shopping list!

Cheap Organic

Of course you’ll want to do your homework, but many organic and healthier options can be cheaper at Costco. Real Food, Real Deals has a nice detailed post on how you can obtain these savings.

Good Old Customer Service

Customer service counters exist for a reason. Utilize yours and ask for extra coupons and find out about rewards programs available to you in store.


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