It’s Saturday morning. You managed to find a spot amidst the frenetic frenzy that is the Costco parking lot. And now, it’s time to snag a bargain. So where do the real deals hide? We have the scoop.

You don’t need a Costco Membership to shop at Costco.

Say that again? Yep, there’s a secret back door to Costco. Not literally, but figuratively. And it’s the Costco Cash Card, a gift card available for purchase by current Costco members and for use by anyone. Have a friend or family member with a Costco membership? They’re your ticket into savings.

That Kirkland Signature item may be a brand in disguise.

Many of the store branded items have a sneaky little secret: they’re frequently manufactured by the name brands you know and love. No wonder they have such a cult following.

Looking for a bargain? Ignore the end caps.

End caps (the displays at the end of each aisle) aren’t the bargains you may think. Conversely, they’re typically full-priced items the store hopes you’ll find before making your way down the aisle or around the circumference of the store where the real deals hide.

97 is the number to remember.

A marked down item will have a secret code hiding not-so-discreetly in the price. Any item priced at $XX.97 has been marked down. Find that number, and you found a bargain. Sticker showing a price ending in .99? That’s Costco’s regular price.

Keep an eye on prices–even after purchasing.

Just bought a TV or other large item? Watch its price over the next few weeks. If Costco lowers the price, take your receipt to customer service and ask for a refund of the difference. Most customers report price adjustment success up to 30 days after purchase.

You can benefit from the buyer’s remorse of others.

When customers return items to Costco, some are returned to store shelves, some are discarded, and a few go into a Costco purgatory called the returns shelf. Here, open-box items live in limbo at discounted prices awaiting a new home.

You’re about to do a warranty double-take.

Take a second look at the warranty on that new gadget. Expecting a one year deal? Costco negotiates everything, and in the case of warranties, almost all of theirs carry a double helping. You’re typically covered for two solid years.

Some prices haven’t changed in nearly 30 years.

If $1.50 for a hot dog a coke sounds like pricing from another era, it is. And so are the $4.99 rotisserie chickens. Costco has kept the prices of a number of fan favorites for decades. Gosh, the nineties were great.

Sampling seconds? Yes, you’re allowed.

The big box retailer actually specifies in vendor contracts that multiple samples are permitted. Want another pizza roll? You can leave your disguise in the car.

Taking advantage of secret services could save you hundreds.

You may have known about the $7.50 ink cartridge refills. But did you know you can get a heart screening for $0? And lung, diabetes, and osteoporosis screenings for no charge, too? Skipping an unnecessary visit to the doctor could save you hundreds.




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