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Costco on a Saturday

The Ultimate Game Plan

Costco can be downright intimidating for a first-timer and send a flurry of scary thoughts and scenarios running through your mind.

What if I’m involved in a giant shopping cart collision? 

What if I ‘accidentally’ buy a forklift full of drinkable yogurt?  

What if I buy something that’s not actually a good deal? 

What if I fall for an impulse buy and end up going home with a 6-person outdoor steam sauna?

These are all very real concerns that can happen during a trip to Costco. Thankfully, we’ve got your back so it doesn’t have to happen to you. We’ve compiled a survival list to help you conquer Costco, even if you’re going at the busiest time of all… Saturday.

Have a plan and stay focused

This goes for any shopping trip where you don’t want to obliterate your bank account and fall victim to impulse purchases. Write down your mission (i.e. the things you want to buy) and stick to it. Allow yourself a few impulse buys here and there, but try not to stray too far. You will be tempted! Stay strong.

Be realistic 

Do you really need that pallet of drinkable yogurt? That gallon of tartar sauce? When it comes to buying things in bulk, it’s a good idea to stick to the things you know you’ll be able to use for the long-term. Non-perishable staples like toilet paper and tampons are usually good bets for bulk buys. If it’s too much for you, ask some friends if they want to go in on a flat.

Check for coupons

Costco members get coupons in the mail, so be sure to check yours before you head out or you could miss out on additional savings. You certainly don’t want to be spending extra time on a Saturday searching out the best deals when you can do it before you leave the house. 

Don’t go on an empty stomach

Or at least grab the famous Costco $1.50 hot dog and soda combo or hit up a few sampling stations before you start shopping. Going to a regular grocery store when you’re hungry is dangerous enough… it’s ten times more dangerous at Costco because everything is ten times as big.

Avoid the danger zone 

Aside from its great deals on bulk food and household items, Costco can be full of strange items you might find too intriguing to pass up (remember that 6-person sauna?). Thankfully, they’re usually all in one place so you can avoid them. Regretfully, that place is usually at the front of the store. Even if you don’t buy anything from this section, it can seriously eat up a good chunk of your shopping time just browsing the crazy items. As I said before… stay focused on your mission.

Look for freezer-friendly items 

Whether it’s a reasonably priced bulk bag of frozen organic fruit for your smoothies, or fresh produce, bread, meat or fish you can bring home and freeze–Costco runs and your freezer are a match made in bargain heaven. Even better if you can set aside your Sunday to make big batches of things you can freeze for quick and easy dinners during the week.

Get wise to Costco pricing hacks

Buyer beware – not everything you’ll find at Costco is a bargain buy, but knowing your way around the numbers can help you save some serious cash. First of all, you should always double check the price per unit on the price tag of any item just to make sure it’s a good deal. Second, legend has it the way the items are priced can tell you a lot about whether it’s a good deal or not. For example, prices that end in .99 are not the lowest they could be, .97 has been reduced, and prices with an asterisk are discontinued so you should buy while you can. You can learn more about Costco pricing hacks here.

Do you have any pro tips for Costco shopping trips? Share them in the comments or over on twitter at @luvoinc.

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