Costco 101

Essential Tips for Newbies


Choose the right membership for you

Costco has 2 membership tiers: Gold Star ($60) and Executive Club ($120). Executive Club members earn 2% reward, which can be worth it if you spend $3000+ annually.


Follow the rules—or else

Costco has rules. Always bring your membership card, don't let anyone else use it, and behave yourself. If you don't, you could be kicked out.


Consider your commute time

Make sure you have a Costco nearby that you can easily get to. You'll be more likely to use it if it's close.


Avoid the crowds

Costco is busiest on weekends, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Go during the week, especially during the day, for a less crowded experience.


Consider your storage capabilities

Costco sells items in bulk, so make sure you have enough storage space for everything you buy. Otherwise, you may end up wasting food or other items.


You get other benefits and services, too

Costco memberships offer benefits beyond the store, such as discounts on travel, home improvement, insurance, and car purchases.


Bring your own bags

Costco doesn't provide shopping bags, so bring your own or use boxes from the store.


Your credit card might get rejected

Costco only accepts Visa credit cards, but you can also pay with cash, check, debit card, or mobile payment. Costco also has its own credit card that offers cash-back rewards.


You can cancel at anytime

Costco has a satisfaction guarantee. You can cancel your membership or return items at any time.


You can get more than groceries

Costco sells a wide variety of items, including food, electronics, furniture, and more. Many locations also have a gas station, pharmacy, optical center, and tire service center.


You can't use manufacturer's coupons

Costco doesn't accept manufacturer's coupons, but it does offer its own discounts and coupons.