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You Can Shop at Costco Without a Membership Thanks to This Little-Known Hack

If you want to get the Costco experience but don't want a membership, use this viral “Costco life hack.”

Unless you hold a coveted Costco card, opportunities to shop at the members-only warehouse club are likely rare or nonexistent. The retailer has built a reputation for being quite strict about membership fraud–customers have reported getting kicked out or even detained by Costco security after trying to shop for some bulk groceries with cards that don't belong to them.

However, there is a little-known way for non-members to cure their Costco FOMO without shelling out for an annual membership or risking the retailer's wrath by sneakily shopping with someone else's card.

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In a recent viral TikTok that has racked up 5.4 million views and more than 180,000 likes, @aminshayko revealed a "Costco life hack" that you can shop at Costco using a Costco Shop Card, which is similar to a gift card, regardless of your membership status.


I guarantee you didn't know this Costco life hack to get a free membership 🤯 #savemoney #costco #costcofinds #lifehacks

♬ original sound – Amin Shaykho

Indeed, the Costco website states that both non-members and members can use Costco Shop Cards to shop at any warehouse in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, as well as shop online. The retailer's website lists Costco Shop Cards for as low as $25 and as high as $500, so non-members can stop by for just a couple of products or buy full carts of groceries.

The one catch with this method is that only actual Costco members can purchase Costco Shop Cards, so non-members will have to enlist the help of a family member or friend in order to get their hands on one. But once non-members do have a cash-loaded card in their grasp, the world of Costco is their proverbial oyster.

This is one of two little-known ways in which shoppers who don't have a membership can shop at Costco. For those who are willing to sacrifice the in-store experience, non-members and members alike can order Costco groceries online through Instacart, a third-party delivery service that has partnered with the retailer to offer same-day delivery.

The biggest caveat with this hack is that non-members will likely find themselves paying more than members.

"If you're not a member, you can shop directly from, but you'll pay a higher price than members shopping on Costco Same-Day Delivery," the chain says on its website.

However, for consumers who can make their peace with a slightly bigger grocery bill, this could still be a good way to get a feel for Costco's products and services without committing to an actual membership.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe
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