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15 Things to Know Before Shopping at Costco

You may need a year's supply of toilet paper—but you don't need a Costco membership in order to buy it.

15 Things to Know Before Shopping at Costco

15 Things to Know Before Shopping at Costco

You may need a year's supply of toilet paper—but you don't need a Costco membership in order to buy it.

A 24-pack of Bounty rolls? Got it. New flat-screen TV? Check. How about $5 rotisserie chicken? Done. While Costco may seem like a one-stop shop, there are a few things to know before you sign up for a membership and buy in bulk. Get the scoop on Costco’s exclusive markdowns, insider secrets, and what not to buy a year’s supply of with our tips below. Then, add these 28 Must-Buy Supermarket Eats For Your Weight Loss Goals to your shopping list.

1

You Don’t Need a Membership

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Just ask your aunt or friend who’s a member to get you a Costco Cash Card, which you can use to enter the store.

2

Scouring the Aisles May Take You a While

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Before you finally find the produce section, you’ll have to endure Costco’s seemingly perpetual aisles stocked with items such as electronics and snacks.

3

Know What to Buy in Bulk

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Items that are best used when fresh (think nuts, seeds, and spices) shouldn’t be bought in bulk.

4

They Don’t Carry Many Brands

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Costco only sells about 4,000 items while your typical supermarket stocks around 40,000. In other words, don’t come here if you’re looking for some obscure organic brand.

5

They Have Really Cheap Chicken

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Where else would you find a whole rotisserie chicken for just $4.99?

6

They Have Sneaky Price Codes

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Two things to note: if an item’s price ends in $0.97, then it’s marked down. And if there’s an asterisk in the top right corner of a shelf, it means that item won’t be restocked.

7

You Can Always Get The Sale Price

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If a product goes on sale less than 30 days after you purchased it, Costco will pay you back the difference. The best part? You don’t even need the receipt.

8

You Can Return Almost Anything

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Does the holiday onesie you bought no longer fit post-Thanksgiving? Return it—no questions asked.

9

You Can Get an Executive Membership

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For $55 more a year, Executive Membership perks include two percent annual cash back on most Costco purchases.

10

They Don’t Offer Plastic Bags

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Instead of bagging your products, Costco goes green and offers you the boxes that the merchandise was shipped in to store your stuff.

11

The Kirkland Brand Is a Great Value

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Just because you don’t see Kirkland brand stuff in other supermarkets, doesn’t mean you should shun it.

12

You Can Buy Booze Without A Membership

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As long as you tell the employee at the door that you’re just there to buy a bottle, they’ll let you in, no membership required.

13

You Can Get Immunized

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Forgot to get your flu or shingles shot this season? All you need to do is walk into your local Costco with a signed Immunization Consent Form, and you’re good to go.

14

They Can Refill Your Printer’s Ink Cartridges

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…For an unbelievable $7.49. So long, Staples!

15

Costco Doesn’t Use Coupons

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No more cutting coupons while waiting in line. The retailer applies discounts automatically at the register.