COSTCO is famous for its low prices, massive store size, wide product selection, and exclusivity.
Only card-carrying Costco members are allowed to shop at warehouses, but that isn’t always strictly true.
There are some items such as alcohol and eyewear that non-members are allowed to buy.
And there’s a savvy way to access the full store without signing up for a year-long membership.
TikTok user Josh Howard, who goes by joshhxward on the app, posted a video explaining how non-members can use Costco gift cards in lieu of membership cards.
As he pointed out, Costco’s official FAQ states that anyone can shop at a Costco warehouse if they have a gift card, regardless of their membership status.
Gift card amounts range from $25 to $,2000.
So in theory, if you wanted to shop at Costco once without paying a $60 membership fee, you can lower the barrier for entry to a $25 gift card.
Perks of a Costco membership
Costco offers two membership tiers with slightly different perks and discounts available to higher-tier shoppers.
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The Gold Star and Executive tiers cost $60 and $120 per year, respectively.
All Costco members get access to the store’s gas pumps, provided the warehouse they shop at sells gasoline.
Plus, the store sells gift cards for many popular brands and chain restaurants, and has exclusive discounts for members.
For example, members can purchase a pack of two $50 gift cards for just $80.
Costco also has a generous return policy that applies to more than just items in the store.
The company has a 30-day price adjustment policy on all products and a 100% risk-free membership guarantee.
Therefore, you can try a membership and get a full refund if you’re not happy with it.
More ways to save money at Costco
Looking for Kirkland products, specifically wine, is a great way to save at Costco.
Kirkland-labeled wines are usually half-off or more.
Plus, brand-name products are often labeled Kirkland, so you’re in fact getting a high-quality wine made by top wineries exclusively for Costco.
Costco can also help you save on medication.
When you become a member, you will get access to the prescription program, which offers an estimated 2% to 40% savings on prescriptions.
Paying $120 for an Executive Membership over the $60 tier may help you save in the long run as well.
The membership includes discounts on Costco’s wide array of special services like car parts, home or auto insurance, and home repairs.
The real kicker is 2% cashback on most purchases, including Costco Travel, up to $1,000 back.
If you spend $3,000 at Costco in a year, an achievable goal if you do most of your shopping there, the executive membership pays for itself.
Another Costco fan revealed the best cheap liquors that will replace your name-brand favorites.
And a chef who loves to shop at Costco weighed in on six items she believed you should never get at the big box retailer.