Here at Clark.com, we love Costco Wholesale! But not everyone is sold on the idea of having to pay to shop somewhere.
If you’re still on the fence about Costco, here’s how you can still shop or visit any of the more than 500 warehouse club locations across the country — without paying the $60 membership fee to get in the door.
Skip the Costco membership and still get the deals!
1. You can use a Costco gift card
Anyone can shop at a Costco if you have their version of a gift card — the Costco Cash Card.
Per Costco.com, “Members and non-members may use the Costco Cash Cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and online at Costco.com.”
One caveat here: If you choose to use a Costco Cash Card online and you’re aren’t a member, you’ll be charged 5% more than the stated price on everything (except prescriptions).
Getting your hands on a Cash Card when you’re a non-member is easier than you think. Gift card resale aggregator GiftCardGranny.com has them available at a small 1% discount to anybody who wants one!
2. Go with a friend who is a member
Costco lets members take up to two guests into the warehouse club.
Just be aware that if you’re the non-member going in with a friend, they’ll have to foot the bill and you’ll have to settle up with them after the trip.
“Only Costco members may purchase items,” the store notes on its Member Privileges and Conditions page.
3. Go to the food court
Non-members are allowed to gnosh on the warehouse club’s famed $1.50 frankfurter — which comes with a refillable 20-ounce soda.
And if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll get to sample Costco’s mammoth new cheeseburger that was tested at select locations last year!
4. Get your hearing and vision tested
Non-members can use Costco’s hearing and optical services for exams and screenings.
But if you need to buy glasses, contacts or hearing aids, you’re going to need a membership or a friend who can get you in the store to purchase what you need on your behalf.
Of course, you could always use a gift card as we described in tip #1!
5. Fill a scrip as a non-member at the pharmacy
In an era of skyrocketing prescription costs, Costco routinely has some of the lowest prices on medications.
Best of all, you don’t have to be a member to use the Costco pharmacy. Some locations even have a separate entrance for non-members that leads directly into the pharmacy. Call your local store to check before heading out.
6. Show up to buy alcohol
Many states prohibit the sale of alcohol through any club or membership. Check with your state laws to see if you’re able to enter Costco to buy alcohol.
7. Shop online
Anyone can shop on Costco.com. But if you don’t have a membership, you’ll have to pay a 5% surcharge.