SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — If you’re a Costco shopper, you already know the great deals. But have you been walking past secret codes that could save you money? There are ways to shop and save even if you don’t have a membership.
Bargain blogger, Michele Ashamala is a loyal Costco customer who wanted to test out some secret hacks she read about that could help Costco customers save even more, so our CBS producer tagged along with her smartphone camera on a recent Costco trip.
“You’ll see that most prices end in 99,” Ashamala points out.
That’s the key.
It turns out the last two digits of the price can help you decide whether or not your need to buy it right away.
If it ends in ‘99,’ Costco confirms it’s usually the normal price.
But if it ends in ’97,’ that indicates a markdown. You may want to buy it today.
“So this price tag has a ‘zero zero’ ending, which means it’s a clearance item,” says Ashamala.
Costco confirms prices ending in double zeros most likely mean it’s not coming back. So if you want it, grab it quick!
“These pants are $10, which is a great deal,” says Ashamara, eyeing a pair of men’s slacks.
Now, when it comes to alcohol, Kirkland vodka is rumored to be Grey Goose, but we checked and Costco says it’s not true.
They wouldn’t elaborate, saying alcohol suppliers are confidential, but they did reveal one beverage secret. In the Bay Area, Kirkland Beer is actually Gordon Biersch.
“Another great deal at Costco is the Kirkland brand laundry detergent,” says Ashamara. “It works out to 11 cents a load, as opposed to the Tide Ultra Stain fighter which is 25 cents a load and Consumer Reports rated it equally as good.
Ashamara says one of the best deals is in the back of the warehouse – the Costco rotisserie chicken.
“It’s $4.99 which is a fantastic price and if you think about it,” says Ashamara. “You pay for your membership if you get a chicken every other week.”
Gift cards are another great deal at Costco. Instead of paying a hundred bucks you can get two $50 restaurant gift cards for $70.
While you do you need a membership to buy most things at Costco, which costs $60, you don’t need a membership if you just want to buy alcohol. That’s because California is one of 16 states where it is illegal to require a membership to buy alcohol.
“Another tip is, if you’re not sure whether you want to pull the plug and get a Costco membership, you can always have a friend buy you a Costco cash card,” says Ashamara. “Then you’re free to go and shop at the store as if you’re a member.”
Another thing you don’t need a Costco membership for are the cheap eats at the outdoor food courts.
“The hot dog and drink are a fantastic deal at $1.50 — the same price they’ve been for 30 years,” she says.
They are a time-honored treat before loading up the car and heading home with all your savings.
And finally, you also don’t need a membership to get an eye exam, your hearing checked, or fill prescriptions at the Costco pharmacy.