5 ways you can shop at Costco without a membership

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costco membership desk
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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.

RELATED: 11 ways to get the most out of your Costco membership

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 tiny (.05%) discount to anybody who wants one!

GiftCardGranny website

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 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!

Costco's new cheeseburger
Courtesy of FoodBeast.com

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.


But if you are ready to join, you’ve got to check out this Costco deal!

What if you decide you do want to buy a Costco membership?

The good news is Costco specifically wants to woo people like you! Right now, the warehouse club has a deal for new members that’s hard to beat.

Our sister site ClarkDeals.com reports you can pay $60 and get a new Costco Gold Star membership that includes a $20 cash card and $25 online coupon.

That brings the effective cost of an annual membership down to just $15!

RELATED: 9 items that will pay for your Costco membership

5 reasons a Costco membership is totally worth it!

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller "Living Large in Lean Times."
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