The more I shop at Costco, the more I realize it has layers to its savings. The top layer is the savings already built into its low per-unit prices. But if you dig a little deeper — and get to know your membership — you can find some really, really good deals. Here are four big hacks I use to pick up the best deals.
1. Download the Costco app
The Costco app is my go-to for all ongoing promotions and sales. Once you open it, you can click on “Savings” near the top. This will take you to a page with all warehouse and in-store promotions. It’s not the most advanced shopping app — not nearly as well-furnished with tools as the Sam’s Club app — but it does group savings together and makes them easier to find.
You can also enable the app to notify you when new sales start. Plus, Costco just added a shopping list tool. Now you can look at deals within the app, add them to your list, and see if you can find them at your local warehouse.
2. Know which items frequently go on sale
As you shop at Costco more frequently, you’ll notice certain products are more regularly on sale than others. And if you haven’t noticed this, then you might be one of those members who accidentally buys them at full price.
I would be weary, for instance, about buying a laptop from Costco without a $150 or $200 discount. There might be some exceptions, but for most laptops, Costco repeatedly runs promotions. In the past, I’ve seen a 16-inch Macbook Pro (M2 with 512 GB) priced at $2,249.99, which is not only $200 cheaper than its regular price but also the lowest price you’ll find for that model. The price is now back up to $2449.99 on Costco’s website, but I’m confident it will run another promotion in the future.
Other items I wouldn’t buy at full price include:
- Electronics (like headphones)
3. Pay attention to the decimals
Costco is super transparent with its pricing. So much so, that it even tells you if you’re getting the best deals through the decimals on price tags. The decimals to look for are .97 and .00. For instance, if you find a set of kitchen pots for $89.97 or $89.00, rest assured you’re getting the best deal.
Likewise, an .88 could also signify a spectacular deal. The double eights typically mean the product was returned or has been marked down by the store’s manager.
Another set of decimals to look for are .49 and .74. Both of these mean the manufacturer is running a promotion. While that doesn’t mean the product is the cheapest (I would still check other places, like Amazon and Sam’s Club), it does mean the product is on sale.
4. Check the gift card racks
Finally, be on the lookout for lucrative gift card deals. Costco customarily sells packages of gift cards for a huge discount. Often, it will add between 10% to 30% of value when you buy gift cards in bulk or purchase them at a high value. For instance, Costco sells $500 Southwest eGift cards for $449.99. Recently, it even sold the same gift card for $429.99.
In essence, it’s not hard to find good deals at Costco. Perhaps the hardest part is learning what cues to pick up on — codes, frequent promotions, ongoing deals — and acting before the sale is up. You’re likely already helping your personal finances by buying certain items in bulk, but with these hacks in mind, you could add another layer of savings and squeeze even more value out of your membership.
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