11 ways to get the most out of your Costco membership

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What’s your strategy for saving money at Costco Wholesale? That’s the question I asked Clark.com readers at the end of a recent article about my first trip to the warehouse club.

Like money expert Clark Howard, many of you had a lot of advice about how to save time and money at Costco.

RELATED: 9 things to know before your first trip to Costco

Tips to make your Costco membership worth it

I read through all of the messages that our readers left on Facebook, Twitter and in the comments section of my article to select the best tips that I could find.

Here are the things every Costco shopper should know, according to Clark’s fans:

1. Fuel savings can really add up

G Jenkins: “Always save at least $0.20 per gallon over adjacent gas stations and it seems we get better miles per gallon with Costco gas.”

RELATED: Buying gas from a station on this list is better for your car

2. Stick to a list or you may regret it!

Stephanie Duran: “Get only what you need. We call it the $100 store because we never get out without at least spending $100.”

3. $100 eye exam and glasses 

MrM3000: “The optical department is another highlight versus local optometrists that charge an arm and a leg. You can get an eye exam and a pair of good quality glasses for as little as $100.”

RELATED: 10 best places to get a deal on eyeglasses


4. $4.99 rotisserie chicken

Barbara Carnahan Yost Wadkins: “Already roasted whole chicken is almost always cheaper than any store around (usually $4.99). They’re a great money & time-saver.”

5. Learn the store layout 

Ronald Welch: “Costco doesn’t identify what is in each aisle to force you to travel every aisle to find what you want.”

6. Walk down every aisle 

Arlene Warnke: “My tip is to walk every aisle. You never know what you’ll find…like king size 400 count 100% cotton sheet sets for $19. Even come with 4 pillowcases. They are really nice.”

7. Skip the cart (Clark does this!) 

Laura Kersey: “I only buy what I can carry in my arms. I spend less money that way and get only what I need.”

8. Why some bulk items may not be a deal

MrM3000: “Perishable items can be a money waster as much as a money saver. The quantities are so big you’ll have trouble finishing them even with a family of four (like mine). If you have a larger family then it might make sense but otherwise watch out.”

9. Costco is a great place to buy tires

G Jenkins: “I also believe they are the place to go for tires. Dealt with a local big tire store for 35 years but got the best balance on new tires ever with first purchase of Michelins at Costco.”

RELATED: 6 best tires for your money

10. The best time to shop at Costco  

LaDonna Wilder Hale: “I never go on the Thursday that the coupon book starts. It’s the busiest weekday of the month. Best time to go through the week is when elementary school lets out in the afternoon. All the moms are at home.”

11. This tip could prevent impulse buys… 

Christine Hawley Stebbins: “Eat a meal first. Don’t go hungry!”

Have anything to add? Leave it in the comments below. And if you’re a Costco newbie, you may want to check out my guide to everything you need to know before your first trip to the warehouse club.


Listen to Clark’s Costco savings tips on The Clark Howard Show Podcast

More Clark.com stories you may like: 

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