Even if you've never stepped foot in one of their outlets before, you've probably heard of Costco's appeal being the potentially large savings to be had by purchasing from them in bulk. If you really want to maximise how much you save with them, however, then take a look at the list of suggestions below which will show you how to approach your next/first trip to Costco in order to achieve this.
A few years ago, one Buckscooper posted what became a very popular article offering a list products and prices at Costco in Melbourne. This gave shoppers a comprehensive comparison to work with based on what they were spending at their regular supermarket chains. While the prices are now out of date, reading through it still gives an indication of just how much cheaper certain products can be. Combining Costco's low prices with the knowledge of how to take advantage of the various services and offers available to Costco customers, you should have no problem walking out of an outlet having made significant savings overall.
Before you plan on heading off to your nearest Costco with the following list of suggestions printed out and ready, there's one thing you need to be aware of. In order to shop there, you must be a member. Memberships range from Business Member, Gold Star Member and Gift Membership and are priced on an annual basis:
- Business Member: $55
- Gold Star Member: $60
- Gift Membership: $60
So without further ado, here are some shopping suggestions to consider if you are thinking about signing up for a membership with Costco, or if you already have one.
The first of a series of tips that I would like to recommend to you is the Costco’s gift card aisle. Venture down here to find an array of well-priced options for the likes of bulk movie tickets and store gift cards for example.
Cheap In-store Snacks
Fancy eating but also need to go shopping, well at Costco you can do two things at once by buying cheap groceries and eating out on the cheap. Costco similar to Ikea provide their own food to customers. Feast on a pork hot dog and large soft drink for only $1.99, a price Costco refuse to raise, plus it is also one of the best deals in the store.
If the hotdog and drink didn’t fully hit the spot, then take advantage of the many free food samples that they have on offer. Costco policy encourages sample-distributing staff not to restrict samples, so you can basically at as much as you like and not get into trouble. Filling up on these can not only serve as a free meal whilst shopping, but having a fuller stomach also helps limit any unnecessary/impulse food purchases.
Store brands are a great way to save money on routine purchases and within Costco, you can save even more by purchasing their own brand called “Kirkland.” You can expect high quality products under this brand name, as most of these products come from the same factories as big name branded products.
Bring your own Bags
Bags are one thing this retailer does not have, instead they reuse the cardboard boxes from product shipments to offer to customers. So one tip could be to bring your own reusable shopping bags to make carrying your items easier to and from your vehicle. This method will also help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Split the Bill
One useful tip with regards to buying in bulk when you don’t really need to is splitting the bill with your friends. For example if you live with house mates or live close to friends, consider splitting the membership cost for one person and splitting the bill on household supplies such as kitchen rolls, toothpaste and cleaning products etc.
Book and Movie Releases
If you are waiting on a new book or movie release, Costco typically stocks most new releases just as early as speciality book and DVD stores. So on the next big release date, consider avoiding the queues and mad rush by slipping off to Costco to pick up a copy.
Holidays, Cars and Coffins
In line with some of my recent traveling articles, a membership with Costco gives you access to Costco Travel. Here you can choose from a range of special services and offers such as holidays, cars and even coffins. It’s certainly worth a look if you are considering anything to do with travelling in the near future.
Whilst there are plenty of money saving ways to shop at Costco, do not get lulled into a false sense of security. Although their prices and entire business model lead you to believe that everything is cheaper, make sure you still check the unit prices of each item, because some others retailers may still sell some products cheaper. This means checking the price per ounce, kg, unit etc.
Christmas is approaching us fast and at any other time of the year, 30 king size chocolate bars might be considered slightly grotesque. But with holidays coming up there is no better way to save money by purchasing treats in bulk from Costco’s large selection of sweets and chocolates.
If you’re a savvy saver and you like to be organised when it comes to shopping, Costco may be one of your best friends, because they begin to stock seasonal products earlier than most stores. So if you get in there early doors, you will be able to save money on discounted Christmas trees and turkeys as early as September.
End of the Aisle
From your experience you may have found out that products advertised in big bold letters and lots of colour at the end of aisles are usually some of the worst deals money can buy. Well this is the same case within Costco, so try to avoid steering towards these "attractive looking" deals instead venturing on down the aisle to find items which are better value for money.
Meat in Bulk
Recently within the Buckscoop blog you may have read our great deal on purchasing a home theatre sound system and receiving a free BBQ at the same time. Well if you’ve promised your wife that if you get a new BBQ you’ll start to cook more often, then head down to Costco to get some good bargains on bulk meat purchases. Simply divide the meat and freeze some portions to extend your purchase.
Customer Satisfaction Policies
As a member you are entitled to numerous customer satisfaction polices within the store. These can range from a 30-day price protection policy to a 90-day return policy. These stipulations exist to ensure that members are satisfied with purchases they have made, and if they are not, expect to receive a full refund on your membership with no questions asked.
Prefer to eat organic products? Well these guys have you covered also because they tend to have their organic products priced cheaper than many supermarkets or food outlets. But as a rule of thumb, make sure you always check the unit price, it’s a good habit to get into.
If the above list hasn’t won you over to join Costco, or you happen to know all the above suggestions and would still like to find more ways to save money, then why not visit our deals page and coupon code page to find other money saving alternatives at a variety of different retail outlets.