Shop at costco without a membership yes! here are 6 ways

Costco prices can commonly be anywhere from 15-50% of the prices found at Trader Joe’s – and even more when compared to other grocery stores. It’s not an apples to apples comparison – Costco does have limited SKU’s and the items you purchase are often in bulk volume (sometimes in quantities you can’t possibly finish before the food goes bad).

To get access to that kind of pricing – there’s a cost. Costco memberships range from $60 (per household) to $120 (for the executive plan, which has a 2% kickback). Those fees are not insignificant. And they just so happen to be how Costco makes a good share of its profits. In fact, 75% of Costco’s profit comes from its membership fees – Costco’s markups on food pricing are razor thin, which benefits its members.


The more food essentials you buy and eat from there, the more you benefit (just stay away from the other stuff).

What if you don’t want to commit to a $60 membership and just want to see if a membership will be worth your while? It turns out there are a few under-the-radar ways to shop and buy from Costco, without a membership. Also, for those interested, I since have published a list of ways you can shop at Sam’s Club without a membership too! Is there a Free Costco Membership?

The trick with the Costco cash card is that it can be purchased by a member only. Again, you’ll have to rely on a member, which makes you a bit of a moocher, and raises costs for every membership-buying member. And once the card is depleted, you’ll have to get another fresh one from a member, or a reload by a member. The cards can be loaded up to $1,000.

If you know someone who is game, one or two cards wouldn’t hurt. I have heard (not tested), that the entire purchase does not have to be made with the card. In other words, if you only had $10 left on a card and had $150 worth of purchases, you could use the card for $10 and then use another form of payment for the remainder. Which is a great segue… Costco Forms of Payment:

While you may get in the door and even be able to purchase items, note that Costco stores do not accept Discover, American Express, or MasterCard credit cards as payment. Accepted forms of payment include: cash, check, debit cards, the previously mentioned Costco cash cards, and Visa credit cards (including the Costco branded Costco Anywhere Visa Card, which gets 2% cash back on Costco purchases. Shopping at Costco Discussion:

Measly is the wrong word to use. $55/year breaks down to less than $5/month. While that seems like a lot to part with when paying a one year fee up front, especially on a fixed income… if you can save it up and find it in your budget once a year, you will likely recoup your $55 and then some in the savings you get by SHOPPING SMART. “Scams” only work on the gullible, naive, and ignorant. If you live alone, buying a giant bag of spinach is silly. A bag of 20 clementines is not going to last, but if you know your needs and habits, you can SHOP SMART. A case of granola bars, a box of single serve flavored oatmeal, a bottle of adult multivitamins, the latest bestseller for 25% less than the MSRP, 6 pairs of socks for $7.99, Reebok sneakers for $29.99 are all fine for a small household. I’ve pulled in behind MEMBERS who go right to the gas station and never go into the warehouse. Friends tell me they basically get their $55 back after a few months of gas fill ups. Some “Executive” members with a family of 4 have shown me their $130 rebate checks and encouraged me to upgrade.

I disagree with this comment that buying in bulk increases your consumption. Do I use more TP or tissues because I have a stash in the basement? Of course not. Do my cats use the litter box more often because I have a backup 40 lb box of litter? Do I take 2 vitamins a day instead of just 1 simply because I have a year’s supply? No. I buy in bulk to minimize my shopping trips. Yes, I may have purchased a 98 count box of granola bars, but that doesn’t cause me to eat 5 a day. Instead of buying a box of the 6 count bars at the grocery store once a week, I buy a big box at BJs once in a while. You don’t have to eat everything in your house just cause it’s there. If you do eat it all and you are not a warehouse member, you’re just making that many more trips to the grocery store.

A Costco recently opened up near me, I was considering it in lieu of the local BJs, which I love. I’m pretty bummed to learn that Costco doesn’t accept Discover and am not really interested in trying to “side door” getting into Costco. I’ll wait till my friend is planning her next shopping trip, but what a pain, a one-day pass, even if it limited you to say a $50 total purchase, would be great. I was turned away at the door at a Costco years ago, it left a bad image of the company in my mind.

You should complain to corporate , not to the Store manager …BUT CORPORATE THEMSELVES. I have experienced some bad shopping trips over my 15 plus years of membership , and it is only one location I have ever had constant issues with specific employees but that is kind of the general demenor there . Corporate does not know what you don’t share , after sarcastic comments or mistreatment it deserves to go higher up. I regret never calling and just letting them push me out to another store. But I don’t miss that location, the other one I go to is so incredibly nice and actually have more items than the other one. I was told it belongs to a different district and thats why . Just better all around . Oh and that comment from that snotty employee must have been from the Moreno Valley Ca. location . Lol calm down and just do your job and stop throwing out PASSIVE AGRESSIVE comments to customers , you are lucky that the corporate does not know who you are because you are posting as a representative of the company in a rude unauthorized way , just that comment made me totally turned off and the other person who commented is right ….you should be fired . The End

I think Costco really need to change the cash card description on their website, because the truth is a non member is not allowed to shop with a cash card. I have the same experience where the cashier and the manager didn’t allow me to use the cash card without a membership. I do have a membership, but my wife doesn’t, and I want her to shop at Costco without me coming along. The first time she tried to use the cash card, she got humiliated by the manager and the customer service, they guarded her from the register to the front customer service area and tried to kick her out. So, I called the customer service center, complained about my wife’s bad experience, and once again made sure if a non member is allowed to use the cash card to shop, and they said YES. So, I went again with her to Costco and tried to use the cash card without showing my membership, and they still didn’t let me to make the purchase. I showed the manager the website that says “Members and non-members may use Costco Cash Cards to shop at any Costco…” and he seemed confused and never seen that policy before. I thought Costco is well managed company that cares about their customer satisfaction, but I guess I was wrong. Maybe someone who works at Costco can answer our problems here? (Location: Costco Torrance, CA)