4 Insider Secrets That Can Save You Money at Costco

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  • Costco's low prices make it a great source for food and household essentials.
  • Knowing the right tricks could help you save even more money on your Costco purchases. 
  • Shopping in person instead of online can save you more, and so can looking for items that have been marked down -- and are priced ending in $0.97.

You might really enjoy the added savings.

Costco is known as a source of low-cost bulk grocery items, household essentials, and assorted products. Just look around your local warehouse club store, and you'll probably encounter hundreds of great deals in a single shopping trip. 

But while the act of shopping at Costco alone can be a money-saver, there are certain tricks you can employ to reap even more savings. Here are a few you should know about.

1. Shop in stores instead of online

The fact that Costco offers a wide range of products online is a good thing. It means you can stock up on the things you want without having to leave the house. 

But shopping on Costco's website isn't necessarily your most cost-effective bet. Not only might you get stuck paying shipping in some cases, but also, Costco commonly offers even lower prices on its regular product line in stores than online. So if you want to save money, make a plan to visit your closest warehouse club store. And if you live far away from your closest Costco, aim to buy a lot of items at once to minimize the number of trips you have to take. 

2. Upgrade to an executive membership

An executive membership at Costco will earn you 2% cash back on your purchases, whereas a standard membership won't give you cash back at all -- though the credit card you use to pay for your purchases might. Now an executive membership does come at a cost. It's $60 more than a standard membership per year. But if you do the math and see that you spend enough at Costco, an executive membership could make a lot of financial sense.

In fact, if you spend $3,000 a year at Costco, that's your break-even point as far as an executive membership is concerned. So if you generally spend more than that in the course of a year, it pays to upgrade for added savings. 

3. Return items you're not satisfied with -- even food

One really nice thing about Costco is that it has a generous return policy. If you're not happy with a given item, you can take it back. That includes electronics you've already used, clothing you've already worn, and food you've already opened. 

Now for the latter, you'll generally need to give a reason other than not liking something. But let's say you bought a bulk pack of sliced cheese thinking it would last for four weeks, only to have it get moldy after two weeks. Rather than lose money by throwing it away, you can most likely take it back to Costco for a full refund. 

4. Look out for marked-down items

Costco commonly prices items to end in $0.99. But if you see an item ending in $0.97, that generally indicates that you're looking at a markdown. If the item in question is something you want or can get good use out of, it's probably worth buying. 

The mere act of shopping at Costco can often result in a world of savings. And following these tips could really help you take that concept to the next level. 

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