Rachel Cruze: 10 Secret Ways To Save Money at Costco

Image of Rachel Cruze smiling confidently
©Rachel Cruze

Shopping at Costco can be a great way to save money. Bulk pricing, members-only discounts and the famous $4.99 rotisserie chicken are customer favorites, but there are additional ways to save money with a Costco membership.

Personal finance expert Rachel Cruze posted a video on YouTube sharing her top-secret ways to save money at Costco, including clever pricing strategies and month-to-month offers you may not know about. Here are 10 ways to save more at Costco stores, according to Cruze.

Get an Eye Exam

Eye exams at Costco are only $65, and according to Cruze, you don’t even have to be a member to make an appointment with an in-house optometrist. Once you get your eye exam, you can get your glasses or contacts elsewhere, she said, or buy directly from Costco if you’re a member.

Shop With a Costco Shop Card

You don’t always have to be a member to shop at Costco. If someone gave you a Costco Shop Card as a gift, Cruze said you can show the card at the door and take advantage of Costco’s products and pricing without being a member.

Look Up New Membership Deals

Costco offers new membership deals to medical personnel, students and first responders. According to Cruze, when you sign up for a new membership, Costco will give eligible members a $20 Costco Shop Card. Active military members, veterans, military spouses and dependents can get a $30 gift card when joining Costco as a new member.

Pick Up Your Prescriptions at Discounted Rates

Costco has a pharmacy membership prescription program that can help you save up to 85% on prescriptions. Cruze’s team tested this out, and medications were deeply discounted. You can also pick up medicine for your pets at a much cheaper price.

Make Your Money Work for You

The program also offers discounts on vaccines and booster shots, and you can fill prescriptions online and have them mailed directly to your home.

Get a Refund with Costco’s Price Adjustment Policy

If you purchase something at Costco and the price drops after you buy it, Costco will give you a refund for the difference to your original form of payment. The price adjustment policy applies to both online and in-store purchases, Cruze said, and you have to request the price adjustment within 30 days of your purchase date.

Look for Deals that End in 7 or 9

Cruze said to look for prices that end in seven or nine for the best deals. She explained that price tags ending in 99 cents are full-priced, but tags ending with a single nine — for example, $12.49 or $12.69 — are special offers from the manufacturer and are priced more competitively than other retailers. Also, Cruze shared that prices ending in 97 cents are clearance items, and prices that end with two zeros, like $27.00, are manager markdowns.

Find Discounted Gift Cards

Cruze said that you can also find discounted gift cards for popular restaurants and stores up to 20% off, which means you can get $100 worth of gift cards for $80. However, the selection can be hit or miss, depending on your local store. You could have better luck finding specific gift card bundles on Costco.com than in stores.

Check Out Costco’s Half-Sheet Cakes

Cruze said Costco’s half-sheet cakes taste amazing and come at a great savings, which is around half the price of most grocery stores’ cakes. These cakes can only be ordered in person at the bakery, and a half-sheet feeds about 48 people. Expect to pay around $24.99, according to Cheapism.

Make Your Money Work for You

Take Advantage of Travel Discounts

Costco sells vacation packages, hotels, cruises and car rentals. However, Cruze said you need to book the entire package through Costco, including flights, hotels and more, to save money, and you likely won’t see any savings by booking a three-day weekend.

Per the Krazy Coupon Lady, Costco travel packages are up to 20% cheaper than Booking.com and 4% cheaper than Expedia.

Shop at the Right Time For the Biggest Savings

You’re more likely to find deals on certain products at different times of the year. Cruze gave a month-by-month breakdown of Costco’s best clearance deals:

  • January: Winter clothes, kitchen storage, office supplies and new furniture arrives
  • February: Valentine’s Day roses
  • March: Grills
  • April: Alcoholic drinks
  • May: Mattresses, roses
  • June: New furniture and back-to-school items arrive
  • July: All furniture goes on sale after July 4, and back-to-school sales begin mid-July to through late August
  • August: Halloween costumes arrive, and Costco restocks American Girl Dolls online
  • September: Christmas toys and decorations arrive
  • October: American Girl dolls arrive in stores in late October
  • November: Turkeys and Thanksgiving staples arrive, including Costco’s huge Thanksgiving pies
  • December: Christmas toys and decorations go on sale in mid-December

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