Did You Know You Can Shop at Costco without a Membership? Here's How

New York Culture

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If you're like me, you love Costco. It's a store with a limited product selection, but it saves you money in the long run. Not every single item in Costco is cheaper than in other stores, but some might be better quality and only slightly pricier. Costco's brand, Kirkland, is known for its awesome deals. And while this article isn't sponsored or affiliated with Costco, I would like to share how you can shop there without purchasing their $60 to $120 memberships. One of these ways has been tested by myself, while another one came from the Internet.

Option #1: Shopping Online

You can order online at Costco without entering the membership number. You can add items to your cart and pay with your regular card; no membership is required. There is a downside to this: there is a 5% surcharge. Additionally, sometimes the big box items available at the warehouse could be more expensive on their website. I recall buying several things online and comparing them to warehouse price tags - each item had a $3 surcharge. However, sometimes Costco's prices are so good you may still end up saving money.

I am someone who bought more than one electronics item from Costco because their offers beat the other stores. So, if you're buying a laptop and saving $200-300 on it, the surcharge probably won't bother you as much since you'll save a significant amount.

Option #2: Buying a Costco Gift Card

I read about this strategy on Reddit months ago. The author of the post shared how he would get 5 Costco gift cards, $10 each, and go to the store five times a year to buy items in bulk and end up saving hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, in a span of a year.

You see, it turns out you don't need to have a membership if you have a gift card. I suppose the logic is if you got a Costco card as a gift, you should be able to use it even if you're not a member. The best part is if your purchase exceeds the gift card value, you can pay for the remainder of the transaction with your regular card despite not having a membership. So, if you're buying $100 worth of goods and have a $10 Costco gift card, you can charge the remaining $90 on your debit or credit card (just check what types of cards are accepted at Costco because it's not all of them).

So, there you have it! There is no need to fork out $60 to $120 each year; you have alternatives.


As a self-proclaimed Costco mom, I will continue shopping there, meaning I am willing to pay for their membership. But you don't have to if you don't want to.

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