The Single Best Costco Shopping Tip We Learned This Year

published Dec 22, 2022
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It’s no secret how much we (and many of you, too!) love Costco. The bulk warehouse is one of the first places we go to stock up on dinner staples and budget-friendly snacks. When wandering up and down the oversized aisles, it’s hard not to spot a good deal — especially if you’ve taken the time to learn the sales rotations or do some creative number crunching.

That’s exactly what Costco member and frequent Kitchn contributor Heather McClees did. Earlier this year, she strongly considered giving up her membership completely (not because she wanted to; it had everything to do with the rise in grocery prices). But she didn’t! After some quick calculations, she ended up upgrading her membership. And the best part is that she actually got the membership to pay for itself. Here’s how.

Credit: Shutterstock/Andy.LIU

Heather upgraded from a Gold Star Membership ($60 a year) to a Gold Star Executive Membership ($120 a year right now), which she currently holds. Both memberships grant access to any Costco location, including online shopping services, plus savings on gas, which is a great deal on its own. Executive members, however, also receive an annual 2% Reward on qualifying purchases in the form of a check. Similar to how rewards programs with credit cards function, you get 2% of your money back just for buying groceries (and holiday gifts) at Costco. This bonus feature and the right timing made keeping her membership worth it.

You see, a few months before her membership was set to expire, Heather got her yearly Costco rewards check in the mail. Would you believe, it was equal to the exact amount she would need to pay for her membership at the time of renewal? Rather than spend it in the store, she used that money to pay for her Costco membership for another year. Sure, she did technically pay for it, but to her it felt like Costco’s money and enough of a deal to renew her membership.

If you’re thinking about upgrading your current membership too, Costco guarantees to refund the difference of the cost of upgrading, should you not earn back that money in rewards and you choose to resume your previous membership or cancel entirely. Not a bad deal, right?

Do you have a Costco shopping tip to share? Tell us in the comments below.