4 Retail Tricks That Could Get You to Overspend at Costco

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  • If you're not careful, you may be tempted to buy more than you need at Costco. 
  • If you know what retail tricks to watch out for, you can stay on budget with a plan.
  • Don’t let the store layout or limited-time deals influence your buying.  

It’s easy to spend more than you plan at Costco. 

Membership-based warehouse clubs like Costco can help shoppers save money on everyday expenses. You can stock up on essentials by purchasing items in bulk quantities and may be able to keep more money in your bank account

However, if you're not careful, you could overspend and end up with a cart full of items you don't need. Find out which retail tricks could get you to overspend at Costco. 

1. The store layout can encourage impulse buying

If you're an impulsive shopper, you may want to go to Costco with a list. Otherwise, you may feel tempted to buy items you don't need. 

The store layouts encourage shoppers to look around more and adventure farther into the store. Additionally, the brand often puts enticing products on display where you can see them well. These store design choices could get you to ignore your budget and overspend.  

2. Some bulk buys may go to waste   

Many of the products sold at Costco are packaged in bulk. While bulk items may seem like a better buy, that's not always the case. Costco may get you to spend money on bulk products that aren't significantly cheaper or that you may not use. Before buying items, check the price and unit size to ensure you're getting a great deal. 

It's also good to remember that you may not need to buy everything in bulk. You should look at the expiration date and make sure you can use the products before they expire. Otherwise, you may end up wasting money and food. 

3. You may forget to use Costco’s generous return policy 

Costco has a generous return policy for most items. With their risk-free 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can return eligible products and get your money back -- even for reasons as simple as you no longer want it or are dissatisfied. 

But if you're too busy or don't want to deal with the hassle of returning an item, you may waste your money because you never follow through with the return process.  

4. Limited-time deals encourage you to buy now 

Costco has limited-time offers available throughout the store and online. Since certain products are only available for a limited time, you may feel pressure to buy something before thinking through the purchase. If you need a product and it's part of a limited-time promotion, it may be worth buying. But there are some buys you may not need.  

These tips may help you avoid overspending  

If you're on a budget and want to avoid spending more than you can afford, the following tips may be helpful when shopping at your local Costco: 

  • Go in with a plan. Plan your shopping trip before you arrive. Always have a shopping list. Going in with a plan will help you avoid buying products you don't need. 
  • Compare prices. Before buying something that may seem like a good deal, make sure it's a good buy. You may be able to find a better price at a different retailer.  
  • Stick to your favorites. Sometimes it's best to stick with your favorite buys because you know you will put them to use. Before buying a new-to-you product, consider whether you will like it or use it. If you end up not liking it, you may waste money.  

Is a Costco membership right for you? 

A Costco membership comes with many perks. But you should make sure the membership is suitable for you before committing to the yearly fee. 

If you're not ready to join, you can score Costco deals without a membership. If you become a member, don't let retail tricks convince you to make unnecessary purchases.  

If you want to learn more ways to save money, check out our personal finance resources.

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