Shopping at Costco for the first time? Read this guide


Shopping at Costco is not for the faint of heart. The aisles are huge, the weekend crowds are huge (which is why you should consider weekday trips), and there’s so much to see. It’s pretty inevitable: you expect to buy a rotisserie chicken and some frozen food, and somehow you also walk out with a TV, some new sweaters, and some Christmas decorations you don’t own. not 100% sure you need it. If this is your first time shopping at Costco, it can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, a few pros recently took to Reddit to share their top tips for shopping at Costco.

1. Always get a cart

Always, always grab a cart when you walk in, even if you’re convinced you’re only getting one thing,” lead_injection warned.

2. Get the roast chicken

User iWillNeverReplyToYou summed it up succinctly: “1. Always get a rotisserie chicken. 2. Never get a rotisserie chicken.

It’s that simple.

3. Have a list (but know you probably won’t stick to it)

“I have been a member for 17 years. Once I came out with only three things! Of course, I went for an eye exam…” joked ZephRyder.

DrizzitDerp had this helpful tip: “Before inflation, our budget/list had a line for impulse buys with a $ amount. I found this to be a fun way to satisfy both random purchases while staying on a budget.

4. Know what the prices mean

Redditor AverageCowboyCentaur shared this handy guide:

  • Ends in .97 — Clearance
  • Ends in .88 — Discount
  • Ends with 0.00 – Larger Discount, Clearance
  • Ends in a 9 — Regular Price
  • Has an asterisk

at the end or top left of the label, the item will not be restocked

5. Consider the composition of the executive

Redditor cpcxx2 shared their story. “Executive membership is $120 but gives you a store card on renewal for 2% of everything you spent last year,” they said. “My check was for $520 which blew my mind until I realized I got all my groceries, vacations, counters, carpeting and appliances for a new house, all my gas and two sets of tires there – while saving big on all of those items AND stacking a lot with the Costco citi credit card, which earns you 2-4% extra cash back on everything.

CeeGeeWhy added, “Executive Membership gets you 2% on pre-register and online purchases (some exclusions apply, gas, alcohol, tobacco, etc.), so if you spend over $3,000/yr or $250/month there, it’s worth upgrading.

6. Expect to spend more

And no, it’s not just because of those impulse purchases.

“Pro tip: be prepared for a bigger than usual grocery bill when you go,” howsadley says. “When I go to my local grocery store, my bill is about $100+, and the groceries last me about a week+. When I go to Costco, my bill is $350+. But the groceries last me about a month I definitely had sticker shock on my first trip.

7. Make sure you have enough storage space “Buy a vacuum sealer and a chest freezer. That way you can really profit from buying large quantities of fresh items,” Beard_o_Bees said. “Unless you have a huge

cleaning is the best strategy to avoid any type of waste.

Redditor boojieboy agreed. “This is the way. I think making Costco an efficient part of your life requires having adequate storage space for things. The savings on one or two items might be a few dollars, but the savings on dozens items will run into the hundreds of dollars (over several years it will be thousands), as long as you don’t have to throw away unused stuff. For my family, dry pantry storage is one of them, but what really makes our system work is a chest freezer in the basement.

8. Bring the right payment method [credit card] Redditor DollarStoreKardashian noted, “Make sure you have a visa [Mastercard]or your debit card with you. Costco does not accept Amex, Discover or


9. Consider Costco Travel Packages

Not only will they help you get the most out of that leadership membership, but buyers swear by their offerings.

“I only do mine through Costco now — great cruise packages and stuff like that,” sunrayylmao said.

Once you’ve read this checklist, you’re ready for your first purchase at Costco (don’t forget to try the free samples).

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