There's no doubt that Costco is one of the best stores to shop at if you're looking to score a good deal. The warehouse store offers massive discounts so savvy shoppers save on their must-have grocery items, home products and even gas.
It's almost a no-brainer to spend $55 on a membership that will help you stock up your fridge while saving hundreds of dollars every year. But is it really worth signing up for?
There are certain perks that you can only enjoy as a member, but the reality is that you don't actually need it to shop there or take advantages of some of the warehouse's fantastic services and free samples.
Here are some ways you can be part of the Costco experience without shelling out cash and committing to a membership:
1. Grab a Costco Cash Card
If you aren't convinced that a Costco membership is right for you, you can get someone with a membership to buy you a gift card. The Cash Card holds up to a value of $100 and can be used purchase anything in-store. If you rack up a total higher than the card's limit, don't fret, just use cash or any other accepted form of payment to cover the difference.
2. Accompany a Friend with a Membership
The rules at Costco aren't very strict so every member is allowed to bring in a guest. If you're curious about the store's offerings, tagging along with a friend is a good way to scour the warehouse for products and prices. If you end up making a purchase, it'll be added onto your buddy's bill and you can just reimburse them at a later time. Just make sure you give them a heads up before you head for the cash.
3. Stock Up On Booze
Besides great prices and friendly service, Costco is very reliable when it comes to your alcoholic beverage needs. Stock up on wine, beer and liquor for fraction of the price you'd pay at other stores and thanks to the law in some states you don't require a club card to buy them.
4. Dine at the Food Court
Almost every Costco warehouse has an indoor or outdoor food court and you don't need the coveted card to enjoy the tasty menu. Simply tell the greeter at the entrance that you'd like to pick up some food and they'll let you in at their discretion. If you're worried about being denied, let them know you're headed to the service desk to sign up for a new membership or flash your Cash Card.
It's important to note that some Costco food counters don't have card readers, so make sure to carry some cash.
There are more ways to take advantage.
5. Order Prescriptions from the Pharmacy
Your health is important and Costco understands that, so as long as you have a doctor's note, you can get prescriptions filled and free immunizations at the pharmacy without being a member.
6. Get Professional Vision Services
Think your vision is getting wonky? Make an appointment and get your eyes checked at Costco by an on-site optometrist. Unfortunately, if you do require glasses or contact lenses, you will need a membership or a loaded Cash Card to make the purchase.
7. Shop The Website
If you'd rather shop from the comfort of your home or office, Costco.com has some great deals you can scoop up without paying the annual membership fee. There's no telling which items are available to non-members since the selection changes often, but products such as gift cards can usually be purchased at a bargain price. The only disadvantage is that your purchase may be subjected to a 5% markup if you don't have a membership.
Have you shopped at Costco without a membership? Let us know in the comments!