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The Seven Deadly Sins of Costco Shopping

Costco is one of the best wholesale club memberships you can have. We think you would benefit from a Costco membership for many reasons.

However, not every member makes the most of their membership. If you’re committing one of the seven deadly sins of Costco shopping, you’re not getting the full benefits of your membership. If you’re a member or thinking about becoming a member, you’ll want to keep reading.

Today, we’re looking at the seven deadly sins of Costco shopping so you can reap the rewards of being a savvy shopper. Let’s dive in!

The History and Growth of Costco

Costco Wholesale, officially known as Costco Wholesale Corporation, is a big-box membership clubhouse. The first Costco opened in Seattle in 1983, but a 1993 merger with Price Club moved its origination back to 1976. The company has 837 locations in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Spain, France, China, and Iceland. Their stores range from 80,000 to 230,000 square feet, but the average size is 146,000.

The company competes alongside Sam’s Club (owned by Walmart) and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Costco surpassed the 100 million member mark in 2020 and looks to continue its success well into the future. Customers enjoy getting to save money by buying in bulk. The cost of membership is typically worth it for most shoppers.

For those who spend a lot on groceries and home products, a Costco membership can save you lots of money.

How Much Does it Cost to Be a Costco Member?

Costco offers various membership options, ranging from $60 to $120 per year. You’ll need to consider how much you’ll be using your membership to pick which membership is suitable for you. Executive members can enjoy more benefits like lower service prices, access to Costco’s auto insurance program, and even travel benefits.

However, the biggest reason many members upgrade to the Executive Membership is the 2% rewards. This benefit can allow the membership to pay for itself.

Can You Shop at Costco Without a Membership?

While Costco would love to have you become a member, you don’t have to become a member to make some purchases. For example, you can shop online. However, you will pay a 5% surcharge and not be able to take advantage of the “Member-only Savings” offers. However, you don’t only have to shop at Costco’s online store; you can also walk into an actual physical store and shop under a few conditions.

If you pay for purchases using a Costco Shop Card, you don’t have to be a member. These are gift cards that only members can purchase, which range from $25 to $2,000. You can also use a delivery service like Instacart, use a household card from a friend or family member who is a Costco member, or go into the store as a member’s guest without becoming an actual member yourself.

Costco also often offers services like pharmacies and optometrists; nonmembers can also use these services when available. In some states, Costco must allow nonmembers to purchase alcohol. Costco doesn’t publish the list of states where this is true. Still, some reports believe the states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Vermont.

Pro Tip: We took at a closer look at How You Can Park Your RV Overnight At Costco.

People shopping in Costco.
When Costco shopping, there are some mistakes you can make that can stop you from getting the best benefits from your membership as possible.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Costco Shopping

If you’re an active Costco member, there’s a good chance you’re committing one of the seven deadly sins of Costco shopping. You must repent and change your ways to get the most out of your membership. Let’s see how you can make the most of your Costco membership!

Getting the Wrong Membership

You must know the differences between the membership options. Don’t let a pushy employee hustle you into upgrading if it does not benefit you. However, if you plan to spend $500 a month at Costco, the Executive Membership will pay for itself and come with other benefits.

The standard Costco membership will do the trick if you’re not planning to spend as much while shopping at Costco. 

Not Using Price-Adjust Policy

Many Costco shoppers aren’t aware of the store’s price adjustment policy. Under this policy, Costco will adjust any item you purchased, online or in a store, at full price that goes on sale within 30 days of your purchase. You must bring your receipt back, and the store will issue you a refund for the difference.

This process may not be worth the hassle for every purchase, but if you notice that a new TV or other electronic device goes on sale just after you bought it, this policy can help you save some serious cash!

Buying Too Much Stuff

Just because Costco sells a massive carton of eggs or an enormous container of ranch dressing doesn’t mean you should buy it. Buying bulk can be a good idea for items with a long shelf life. However, if you purchase perishable foods in bulk, you could find they go bad before you use them. You’re throwing any savings or benefits of shopping at Costco into the trash.

A trip to Costco can be difficult if you struggle with impulse buying. The store is constantly updating its in-store offerings, and the store will look a little bit different every time you walk through the doors. There will always be new things you’ll convince yourself you just have to have.

However, if you’re buying too much stuff or stuff you don’t need, you’re wasting money too.

Woman grocery shopping in Costco.
Find the best deals by shopping online at Costco.

Trusting the House Brand

You typically expect to save money if you’re buying the house or store brand of an item. However, some shoppers have found that some products made by Costco’s brand (Kirkland Signature) are the same price as the name brand products.

Many Kirkland Signature items are food; you can taste the difference in the savings, and many find that not to be worth the lower quality.

Not Purchasing Gift Cards

If you’re not buying your gift cards from Costco, you’re committing one of the seven deadly sins of Costco shopping. Whether it’s a gift for a loved one or you simply want to save money, buying your gift cards from Costco is a great way to do it.

The store often sells gift cards at a massive discount. For example, four $50 gift cards to the famous Texas de Brazil will only cost you $154.99. You can also purchase four $15 Krispy Kreme gift cards for $44.99. These are just a couple of the available gift cards you can choose.

You can save tremendous money by purchasing gift cards for some of your favorite restaurants. If Costco offers a steep discount on gift cards to your go-to restaurant, buying them bulk allows you to save money. You’re pre-paying for the meals but at a steep discount.

Shopping at the Wrong Time

Sunday may be a day many religious people set aside for religious activities, but shopping at Costco on a Sunday is one of the seven deadly sins of Costco shopping. That’s because it’s the busiest and craziest time to shop. Many people will delay their weekly grocery trips or stop on their way home after shopping or going to church. You’ll likely find yourself waiting in line and meeting hoards of other shoppers in every aisle.

We’ve also noticed that many wholesale clubs seem to increase the number of Sunday sample stations. These sample stations may be a great way to try items you might not buy otherwise, but they take up room in the stores.

The stores may be massive, but they feel much smaller when you cram a gigantic influx of shoppers and sample stations.

Only Shopping in Stores

If you’re only shopping in the physical stores, you’re committing one of the seven deadly sins of Costco shopping. Costco has a massive online retail presence. You can find a wider variety of products and availability of items by shopping online instead of in the store. If you have an Executive Costco Membership, you even get 2% back on all of your online purchases.

It’s not uncommon to find special online-only pricing on some products. So before you go rushing to the store to purchase an item, make sure you check the Costco website.

Pro Tip: Want to use your Costco membership to save money at the fuel pump? Find out How Much Cheaper Is Costco Gas?

Avoid These Seven Deadly Sins When Shopping at Costco

Shopping at Costco can be a great way to save cash by buying some items in bulk. However, you’re doing it wrong if you’re not taking full advantage of your membership. If you avoid committing any of the seven deadly sins of Costco shopping, you can take your savings to a new level.

By keeping more money in your pocket, you can use that money on things you enjoy. You may even be able to use your savings to go on an epic road trip adventure!

Do you have a Costco membership? What is your favorite perk to your plan? Tell us in the comments!

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