Analysis

3 Costco Secrets That Could Help You Save Big

Many people see a lot of value in a Costco membership, which explains why an impressive 73 million people now have one. But whether you’re new to Costco or have been a member for years, knowing the ins and outs of the store could lead to huge savings. Here are three Costco secrets that could benefit you financially.

1. The Executive membership can save you more despite costing more

A basic Costco membership currently costs $60 a year, while an Executive membership costs $120. It may seem counterintuitive that spending more on a membership could lead to more savings, but the numbers don’t lie.

The Executive membership at Costco gives you 2% cash back on your Costco purchases. If you spend $3,000 a year at Costco, you make back your $60 upgrade fee. If you spend even a dollar more than $3,000, you technically come out ahead financially (though admittedly not by much if your annual Costco tab comes to just $3,001).

It’s a good idea to review your Costco spending from the past year, because if it was above $3,000 and your circumstances haven’t changed, then chances are, this year’s spending total will be comparable. And in that case, you might enjoy more savings with the costlier membership.

2. You won’t pay full price for gift cards

You can load up on a variety of gift cards at Costco, from restaurant chains to movie theaters. But the beauty of buying gift cards at Costco is that you can purchase them for less than their face value.

Let’s say your family orders pizza from Domino’s once a week. At Costco, you can buy $100 worth of Domino’s gift cards for $80. So if you spend, say, $25 a week there, you’re automatically reducing one expense in your budget.

Now, as a warning, because Costco’s gift cards are often heavily discounted, it can be tempting to load up on them. But don’t snag $100 in Domino’s gift cards for $80 when you can’t remember the last time you ordered from there. In that case, you risk wasting $80.

It’s basically the same rule as any sale item. You’re only going to benefit from the discounted price if it’s an item you were already planning to buy or you’re certain you’re going to use.

3. Your tire purchases come with a host of money-saving perks

Need new tires for your car? Purchasing them at Costco might save you money — and not just because of Costco’s generally lower base price compared to buying your tires elsewhere. Rather, the big savings come into play when you take advantage of Costco’s lifetime tire maintenance program.

When you buy and have your tires installed through Costco, you’re eligible for services for the life of those tires. Those services include inflation pressure checks, rotations, and even repairs when you get a flat. Costco will also inflate your tires as needed. And better pressure can lead to better gas mileage, which could save you money at the pump.

It’s easy to justify the cost of a Costco membership via the savings you reap on groceries and everyday essentials. But it especially pays to read up on Costco to learn more about ways you can save money and truly make the most of the $60 or $120 you’re paying for the privilege of being a member.

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