9 Ways to Get the Most From Your Costco Membership

Author: Daniel B. Kline | July 14, 2020

The exterior of a Costco store with many cars in the parking lot

Source: Costco

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Pay to save

It costs $60 annually for a basic Costco (NASDAQ: COST) membership. That's a good deal for consumers if they use their membership well. You can save money just shopping but there are also lots of hidden ways you can save even more.

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Person pushing a cart inside a store in the holiday decor section.

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1. Shop regularly

Costco keeps prices low for its customers, but to actually save money you need to shop there. It makes sense to visit the chain on a set schedule. That might mean going every other week or even weekly to stock up on essentials so you can avoid buying them from a traditional grocery store.

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Woman in suit extending a handshake.

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2. Bring a buddy

One of the challenges of shopping at a warehouse club is that some of the quantities are bigger than what one person (or one family) needs. Get around that by shopping sometimes with a friend.

Some items can be easily shared while others may require a little creativity. Bring containers and storage bags so you can more easily split orders. Doing this can be a little tricky but it can help you avoid buying things that you go bad before you use them.

ALSO READ: How Safe Is Costco and Its Dividend?

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A woman wearing a dress pumping gasoline into a car.

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3. Fill 'er up

Even members of the warehouse club sometimes forget it offers gas. Ideally, you will time your visits so you need a nearly-full tank. In most markets, Costco will be the cheapest or close to the cheapest place to fill up.

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Person using a computer to book a trip online.

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4. Buy travel

The Costco website offers a travel agency. This is often an excellent way to book vacations -- especially theme-park-based trips. The deals get better as you layer in more things (airfare, hotel, rental car, etc.). Check to make sure the price is low (maybe use Priceline as a second opinion) but you will save big by booking through the warehouse club in many cases.

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young man and woman looking at new eyeglasses

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5. Get glasses

You can get your prescription eyeglasses at Costco. That's often a smart choice with the chain offering high-quality frames and lenses at below-market prices.

ALSO READ: Could Costco Be a Millionaire Maker Stock?

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Figure going up steps

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6. Level up

A regular Costco membership costs $60. For an additional $60 per year you can get an Executive membership. That gives you 2% back (up to $1,000) on most purchases. It's a very good deal if you shop enough to earn more back than you pay out.

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A cocktail is being poured

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7. Buy alcohol

Most Costco locations have liquor stores attached. If yours has one, you'll find it stocked with brand names at good prices and the warehouse club's house brand for even less. In most cases, the house brand is a high-quality option that's a tremendous value.

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Packaged food in a freezer.

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8. Use your freezer

Costco sells in bulk and that can be more than you need for a meal, or even a week, especially when it comes to meat. If you buy freezer-safe storage bags, you can split your purchase into appropriate servings in order to take advantage of bulk pricing.

ALSO READ: Costco Will Be a Winner as the Economy Reopens

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A man shops in a warehouse store with a cart.

Source: Getty Images

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9. Buy the house brand

The Costco Kirkland brand offers tremendous value. It generally saves you money without sacrificing quality. Yes, you're giving up using the brand you're comfortable with, but you may find that's not really a sacrifice.

Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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