In the Costco Fans Facebook group, we came across a thread that has us taking notes. "What's the one Costco hack you wish you had learned sooner?" reads the initial question, and the answers do not disappoint. After reading through them all, it's safe to say we feel like Costco experts.
Now, let's discuss the best Costco hacks we came across. Note: Every Costco location has different policies, so depending on where you live, some of these may not apply. However, it doesn't hurt to check!
1. Check the front for items with limits.
If you're looking for an item that has limits (for instance, if you can only buy one box of disinfecting wipes), check the front of the store. Cashiers tend to put those items to the side if a customer doesn't know about the limits and ends up trying to purchase them.
2. Receive price difference refunds on sale items.
If you purchase a Costco item that goes on sale within 30 days after you purchase it, you can bring in your receipt to get a refund for the difference in price.
3. Keep an eye out for asterisks.
If a Costco item has an asterisk next to its price, that means it's about to sell out. So, grab it while you can!
4. You can pay for food court items while checking out.
If food court lines are long, ask your store cashier if you can pre-pay for food items. If they let you, all you have to do is walk up to the food court, tell them you prepaid and show them your receipt, and then grab your order.
5. The front desk can help you find items at other warehouses.
If you can't find what you're looking for at a specific location, the front desk can look up said items and tell you the exact warehouses that do have them. This makes your search much easier.
6. If you see empty boxes or crates around the store, ask if you can take them.
Some fans report that in the produce and wine sections of Costco, they were able to get free boxes and crates by asking a store employee for them. Otherwise, they might be recycled or go to waste.
7. Popular items go on sale every three to four months.
In Costco's coupon book, popular items are on sale every three to four months. So keep an eye out and stock up when you see something you'd normally buy anyway.
8. Prices reflect different discounts.
According to one customer, if a price ends in .00, it means that it's a manager's discount and is the best reduction you're going to get. If a price ends in .97, it means that Costco is clearing stock.
9. Costco Travel is worth it.
"Book all travel / vacations through Costco travel," writes one user. "Easy payment plans, no surprises, amazing customer service, and always cheaper than any other way I've booked before." Good to know! We're also seeing great reviews for Costco's car rental service.
10. The Costco app is extremely helpful.
In the app, you can find your membership card, executive rewards, coupon books, prescriptions, photo services, and local gas prices. Is there anything this app doesn't do?
11. Consider getting the Costco Citi Card.
One commenter writes that this is their favorite Costco hack: "Signing up for Costco Citi card to get 4% cash back on gas, 3% at restaurants, and 2% on all other purchases. The gas alone is an an average savings of $20 every trip to the pump as my car requires premium. Totally worth it and the card has no annual fee."
Anna is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle and design content for Hunker. She's written for Apartment Therapy, the L.A. Times, Forge, and more. She previously worked as the lifestyle editor at HelloGiggles and deputy editor at So Yummy. Her email: firstname.lastname@example.org