The One Tip You Need to Know Before Shopping at Costco

Costco isn't shy about helping customers save money by having membership savings events and sales or giving customers free samples. The company also purposefully keeps certain items at a cheap price, even though they lose money in the long run. Members all know these money-saving hacks and tips by heart, but there's one that is forgotten.

(Before your next trip, be sure to note the Costco Foods You Should Always Avoid, According to Nutritionists.)

You can shop at Costco even if you don't have an important thing…

Costco membership

It is second nature for members to flash their membership card when walking into Costco, so this tip may cause a light bulb to go off. You technically don't need a membership to shop at Costco.

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Why anyone can shop at Costco, membership or not:


Want to get some bulk items but aren't in the membership system? No problem, there are a few ways you can still shop.

A member can get a Costco Cash Card the next time they are in the warehouse. Like a gift card, it is "A convenient payment option in our warehouses, gas stations, and on," the warehouse chain says. It also "Can be used as a supply card or gas card for businesses," or "as a means to provide students with money for food, gas, or school and dormitory necessities, while being able to limit their spending."

In addition, you don't need a membership to shop on but the total will be high, CNBC says. Non-members have to pay 5% extra as a surcharge on items, and items will be shipped in 3-5 days, unlike the 2-day shipping members can enjoy. Plus, if an item is actually listed online, it may be at a higher price. Lots of times food products (like fresh produce) aren't even listed.

Or just use Instacart—you may have to pay a little more via service and delivery fees, but it means you could get a giant bag of avocadoes if you really want one but don't own a Costco membership.

You don't need a membership to buy alcohol.

Costco alcohol

In certain states, a membership is not required to buy alcohol because doing so is illegal, according to The Krazy Coupon Lady. These include:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Vermont

Other things you can get without a Costco membership:

Costco pharmacy

Prescriptions can be sent to Costco for anyone who isn't a member. This means you can get a flu shot, immunizations, and a COVID-19 vaccine, too.

Non-members can also use the optical department and get an on-site eye exam with an optometrist, CNBC says.

Non-members used to be able to eat at the food court but not anymore.

Costco food court

Pre-pandemic, a non-member could go to the food court and pay with cash, but as of March 16, 2020, "an active Costco membership will be required to purchase items," according to an Instagram post from @costcodeals of a sign in a Costco warehouse.


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A post shared by COSTCO DEALS (@costcodeals)

While this news is unfortunate for those who aren't a member, those who have tried the new churro say you aren't missing much. For more on all things Costco, read these next:

The post The One Tip You Need to Know Before Shopping at Costco appeared first on Eat This Not That.

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