How Non-Members Can Shop at Costco

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When it comes to savings on household goods, groceries, and more, Costco has always been a winning solution in terms of slashing costs. Shopping at warehouse clubs is often cheaper than shopping elsewhere, and Sam’s Club, Costco, and the like provide exceptional membership benefits. But what if you don’t have a membership? There are still ways to land discounts at Costco without paying the annual fee.

Related: I Shopped at Costco for the First Time and This Is What I Learned

Costco cart in checkout area

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Perhaps the easiest way to shop fee-free is to visit Costco with a member. The member has to pay for your items at checkout, but the cashier will ring up two separate orders. Just have cash or a check ready for the member upon leaving the store.

Related: 21 Surprisingly Expensive Products From Costco

Costco Cash Card


Another option is to buy Costco cash card denominations up to $1,000 while at Costco with a member. Only the member can load the cards, but then you can use them to enter the store and buy items without an escort. This is especially helpful for big-ticket purchases such as a TV, so you don’t have to pay a membership fee for just one item.

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Costco Business Member

Vicky M./Yelp

If your employer has a Costco business membership, lobby to be one of the people with a name on the account. While you’ll get stuck with a few office supply runs, you may also be able to use the card for your personal savings.

Related: Costco by the Numbers: 22 Surprising Stats

wine available at Costco

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In about a dozen states, alcohol sales cannot be prohibited through a club or membership. Check the laws in your state and, if it’s allowed, explain to the door attendant that you are buying non-member goods. This can be a handy way to slash the cost of alcohol for parties or other events.

Related: 15 Best House Wines From Costco, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s

Costco Vision Center

Costco Optical Vision Center/Yelp

Costco makes non-member allowances for health services such as optical exams and hearing screening. If you need to buy glasses, contacts, or hearing aids, though, a membership is required. Find a member willing to buy and be reimbursed for these items or use a loaded Costco Cash Card.

Costco Pharmacy

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The most recent Consumer Reports survey of more than 150 pharmacies found Costco cheapest, save for one online source — and prescription medications can be filled at the Costco pharmacy without a membership. Non-members can also get immunizations such as the flu vaccine.

Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, Two $50 Gift Cards


Non-members can shop on Costco’s website to take advantage of the warehouse club’s bargain prices on certain items. Gift cards, for example, can be bought at a discount online without a membership. Currently, it’s possible to score $100 in Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que gift cards for $80. The disadvantage is that non-members may be hit with a 5{478333fef289f17d569c76970834c08f92d608302faf6c452490324ee355f13f} surcharge on some orders.

Female volunteer bringing groceries to a senior woman at home


The grocery delivery service Instacart will shop Costco on your behalf — even if you don’t have a membership. Consider this little loophole as a way to get Costco-priced groceries (though non-members will pay more for same-day delivery).

Related: How to Live Off Less Than $500 a Month at Costco

Food Court at Costco

Richard L./Yelp

A Costco membership is required to get in the door and into the food court at many Costco locations. Yet in warmer climates where the food court is outside the store, food can be bought without a membership. Costco is known for serving pizza, hot dogs, and other treats for less than $5.

Related: 20 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Costco

aisle at Costco

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Although you can shop Costco without a membership, the $60 fee for a basic Costco membership may be worth the money if you expect to shop at the warehouse club regularly.

Pro tip: Be on the lookout for deals on membership through outlets such as Groupon.

Related: Sam’s Club or Costco: Which Has Better Prices & Services?

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