Our team of editorial experts find and verify every offer on CNN Coupons. We may earn a commission when you shop through our links. Learn morehere.

Unlock Costco’s Biggest Savings Secrets

Written by:Leah Steinberg
Published:Sep 3, 2021Last updated:Mar 3, 2022
5 mins reading time

We call Costco the $200 dollar store. We always walk in with the very best intentions and an optimistically small shopping list. But, we can never walk out without a fully loaded cart and a couple of Benjamin-sized holes in our wallets.

Save even more when shopping at Costco

It’s virtually impossible to overlook all the great values Costco has to offer. From prepared meals and deep discounts on wine to seafood sales and bulk savings on pantry staples, it’s hard to beat Costco’s prices. If you’re new to Costco or thinking about joining, we’ve got a pile of money-saving tips worthy of our favorite bulk seller.

Even if you consider yourself a seasoned Costco bargain hunter, there still may be a thing or two for you to learn.

1. Choose the Right Membership

There’s always a catch when it comes to deals, and Costco’s is that you have to pay for a membership to take advantage of its low prices. The membership you choose depends on how often you think you’ll use it.

The Gold Star membership is the basic level and costs $60 per year. It allows you to shop in the store and online at Costco.com. The Gold Star Executive membership is $120 per year, but it comes with a host of additional benefits that make it worth considering. Yes, you can shop in the store or online, but you’ll also earn a 2% reward on purchases of up to $1,000. You’ll also receive the Costco Connection magazine and get discounts on Costco services, including things for your home like water delivery, insurance, refinancing and more.

Costco incentivizes people to sign up for membership, too, by offering cash rewards, like the ones found on our coupon page. Often, new members will receive Costco Shop Cards for up to $20 when signing up.

2. Watch for Warehouse Savings

Costco has a rotating batch of items offered with additional discounts, which it calls Warehouse Savings. One smart shortcut? Check out everything that’s on sale before you start shopping.

These sale items change about once a month, so it’s worth your time to check the prices before heading to the store or buying something online. Some recent deals have included **40% off Samsung Galaxy S21 tablets,**up to $1,200 off select Samsung appliancesand 30% off select outdoor furniture.

Costco also featured savings on prescription eyeglasses, where members who bought one pair saved an extra $40 on additional pairs. Plus, Costco accepts most insurance, which lowered the price even more.

3. Master Costco’s Price Codes

With thousands of products, Costco’s pricing scheme might seem indecipherable. But, Costco experts have figured out how to identify items that are specially priced, discounted or going out of stock. Here’s a key to the codes:

  • Costco’s normally priced items often end in $0.99. Prices that have been marked down end in $0.97.

  • If an item ends in another odd price, like $0.49 or $0.79, it means the item is at its regular price.

  • When you’re shopping in the warehouse and see an asterisk in the upper right corner of the price sign, it means the product won’t be restocked.

  • Prices that end in $0.88 or $0.00 are manager markdowns. Typically, these are items that have been returned but are still in good condition.

4. Pick up Prescriptions

Costco doesn’t just have great prices on food and furniture. It also has competitive prices on prescription medications, which can vary widely between pharmacies. Something that you may not know? You don’t even have to be a member to fill a prescription at Costco.

You can easily check the prices for all your medications on Costco’s website, or contact the local pharmacy for exact prices on medication. It might save you as much as 80% on your prescription medications, even without insurance.

And, Costco doesn’t just cover the human members of your family. The pharmacy also carries a variety of medications for your furry friends, too.

5. Load up on Liquor

Whether you’re shopping for margarita makings for your next fiesta or looking for high-quality bourbon to make the perfect Old Fashioned, you won’t find a better bargain on liquor than at Costco.

Not only can you find name-brand spirits, but Costco also sells these same beverages under the Kirkland label for much lower prices. For example, Kirkland’s Signature French Vodka, a steal at around $20 a bottle, is often compared to high-end Grey Goose, which costs two-thirds more. That makes sense because it’s made in the same distillery.

6. Get Gift Cards

One great way to save money on grab-and-go gifts for teachers and other helpers is to stock up on gift cards. Costco has a ton of discounted gift card packages on everything from restaurants and movie theaters to gourmet foods and gaming codes.

You can find $100 Roblox digital downloads for $89.99 and a Nintendo eShop $50 digital card for $44.99. Feeling a little hungry? Get a pack of gift cards for Krispy Kreme or Romano’s Macaroni Grill and save 25%.

7. Shop for Tires

Buying tires can be painfully expensive, especially when you tack on charges for balancing, rotation and other fees. But, you can save a bunch if you get them at Costco.

Each month, Costco advertises sales on tires, including popular brands like Bridgestone and Michelin. Recently, car owners saved $150 instantly on a set of four Michelin tires. Plus, for the life of the tire, Costco will repair flats, check tire pressure and rotate tires for free.

8. Fill up Your Tank

Most Costco locations have gas stations conveniently located on-site. You’ll probably have to wait in line, especially if you go on the weekends, but it’s worth it. Frequently, Costco gas is as much as 20 cents cheaper than other gas stations.

9. Help Yourself to a Hot Dog Meal (and a Rotisserie Chicken)

Nothing works up hunger like rolling through miles of deals. Fuel up with a quick stop in the food court where, since 1985, Costco has been offering its now-iconic hot dog and soda combo for just $1.50. According to some sources, the warehouse giant sells a whopping 100 million of the quarter-pound, all-beef franks every year.

Once you’ve handled lunch, make sure to pick up one of Costco’s pterodactyl-sized rotisserie chickens from the deli. These jumbo birds clock in around three pounds, on average, and cost just $4.99. A rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store will cost twice as much and be half as big. So take home one of these big boys and plan to have tasty chicken for the next few meals.

10. Remember Costco’s Price Adjustment Policy

You shopped around and finally (finally!) pulled the trigger on that new sectional for your home theater or comfy mattress for your aching back. Then, disaster strikes, and you see the exact item has gone on sale. Cue the buyer’s remorse.

There’s no need to worry, because Costco has an amazing price adjustment guarantee. If an item goes on sale within 30 days of your purchase, Costco will refund the difference. So go ahead and splurge on a big-ticket item. You know you’ll get it at the best price, even if it goes on sale.

What’s the big takeaway? It pays to shop at Costco, where you’ll find great deals on everything you need, from food and liquor to tires and gas. Keep these tips in mind the next time you shop at Costco, so you can enjoy warehouse-sized savings.

Leah Steinberg - Global Savings Group

Written by

Leah Steinberg

A self-described “frugalist,” Leah Steinberg loves a deal. As a former reporter turned educational researcher turned shopping expert, she regularly falls down the rabbit hole searching for discounts. Based in Atlanta, Leah enjoys her family and food.

Specialised topics

With a knack for finding online discounts, Leah especially loves scoring deals on home decor, kitchen items, pet supplies, travel and fashion.

Recommended articles

Don’t Work So Hard: Check Out The Best Labor Day Sales on Furniture and Appliances

Don’t Work So Hard: Check Out The Best Labor Day Sales on Furniture and Appliances

Savings Expert TeamAug 19, 2021

You get one holiday that honors your hard work, so you want to relax and enjoy it. But, your home should be a comfortable sanctuary from the outside world. If yours isn’t quite there, it might be time to upgrade your furniture or update some appliances. Here are a few money-saving hacks to turn your house into a haven.

CNN CouponsAbout us · Contact us · FAQ · How We Source · Terms of Service · Privacy Policy · Cookie Policy ·