(Updated 8/01/17) Costco is full of stuff you had no idea existed, but clearly cannot live another day without.
What if you’re on the fence about paying $55 for an annual membership? Perhaps the bulk aspect has you concerned you’ll end up wasting a lot of stuff. Or maybe you just aren’t sure if the savings is enough to justify the membership. If this is you, I have good news for ya. I recently discovered a bunch of really cool ways to take advantage of Costco without paying a dime for a membership.
Here are the cool things you can do, and buy, at Costco without a membership:
Shop Via a Costco Gift Card
If you have a friend or family member who’s a current Costco member, you can have them buy you a Costco gift card which can be used to buy all items in the warehouse.
This is a great option if you’re a college student or just want to test out the savings the warehouse could provide before diving in with an annual membership.
Buy Prescription Meds from the Pharmacy
The pharmacy at Costco is available to members and non-members alike. Just bring the prescription from your doctor, tell the greeter/card checker that you’re using the pharmacy and they’ll let you in.
You can even get your prescriptions filled online and have them delivered to your home at NO extra cost.
Get an Immunization Shot
Along with filling prescriptions, Costco also offer immunizations to members and non-members. Be sure to call your local Costco ahead-of-time as an appointment may be required.
If you don’t have medical coverage that covers basic immunizations and the flu shot, Costco has the reputation of being a very affordable option.
Get Your Eyes Checked
Most Costco locations have an independent optometrist in, or near, the warehouse who you can call and schedule an appointment with.
No membership is required, but you’ll need a membership or gift card to buy contacts and glasses.
Due to state laws, many states allow you to buy alcohol from “membership clubs” like Costco, BJ’s Wholesale, and Sam’s Club without a membership.
Currently, according to Consumerist, membership is not required to purchase alcohol in the following states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Vermont.
Browse the Store Before Deciding to Join
If you simply ask the greeter/card checker at the door if you can walk in and peruse the warehouse they’ll send you to the membership desk.
Once you make it to the desk, you can pick up an application and get permission to walk around before signing-up.
This is a great way to see if the warehouse club is right for your needs before dropping $55.
Chow Down at the Food Court
If your local Costco has an outside food court you can absolutely take advantage without official membership.
Makes for a great lunch stop for the $1.50 hot dog/soda meal deal or a couple slices of cheap, but quite good, pizza.
If your location lacks an outside food court, just tell the card checker you’re there to get membership information and head for the food court as well. Be sure to bring cash as that’s all they’ll take.
Shop at Costco.com
So if you’re buying something over $1,100, you’ll want to buy the $55 basic membership, otherwise you’re losing money on the whole deal.
I’d also add that Costco has a strong reputation for treating their employees well and offering excellent benefits. They should be applauded for this and other companies should take notice.
Photo by Portal Abras.