When it comes to savings on household goods, groceries, and more, Costco has always been a winning solution in terms of slashing costs. Warehouse shopping is usually cheaper and Sam's Club, Costco, and the like provide exceptional membership benefits. But what if you don't have a membership? All is not lost. There are still ways to land discounts at Costco without paying the annual membership fee.
10 Ways Non-Members Can Shop at Costco
The good old-fashioned way is to visit Costco with a member and fill your cart. While the member will need to pay for your order at checkout, Costco will kindly ring up two separate orders; just have cash or a check ready for the member upon leaving the store.
Another option is to buy Costco cash cards in denominations up to $1,000 while at Costco with a member. Your member buddy will need to load the card for you, but then you can use it to enter the store and buy items without an escort. This is especially helpful for big-ticket purchases such as a TV, so you don't pay a membership fee for just one item.
If your employer has a Costco business membership, lobby to be one of the two people whose name is on the account. While you may get stuck with a few office supply runs, you'll also be able to use the card for your own personal savings.
In about a dozen states, alcohol sales cannot be prohibited due to a club or membership. Check the laws in your state and, if it's allowed, explain to the door attendant that you are buying non-member goods. This can be a handy way to slash the cost of alcohol for parties or other events.
Health services such as optical exams and hearing screenings are non-member allowances that Costco makes. However, if you need to buy glasses, contacts, or hearing aids, a membership is required. Find a member willing to purchase and be reimbursed for these items or use a loaded Costco Cash Card.
Non-members can shop on Costco's website to take advantage of the warehouse club's bargain prices on certain items. Gift cards, for example, can be purchased at a discount online without a membership -- currently, score a $100 iTunes gift card for $84.49. The disadvantage is that non-members may be hit with a 5 percent surcharge on some orders.
A Costco membership is required to get in the door and into the food court at many Costco locations. Yet if you live in a warmer climate where the food court is outside the store, food can be purchased without membership. Costco is known for serving pizza, hot dogs, and other morsels for less than $5.