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If you’re looking for a way to shop Costco without paying the $60/year membership fee, try using price matching at popular retailers.
There’s a finesse to this since there are a few unbreakable rules of price matching at every retailer I’ve encountered. First, price matching only works for identical items — same brand, size, quantity — everything. Typically, you can’t get a price match on a clearance item at a competitor store, and you can rarely use coupons along with a price match.
It’s safe to assume it’s the same with stores that match Costco prices. And hey, save yourself the legwork and use the ShopSavvy app to see if Costco has a lower price on your item.
Other than excluded merchandise — mostly consisting of certain brands and sporting goods items — you can get a Costco price at Kohl’s when you show a Costco ad to a Kohl’s associate. See Kohl’s full price matching policy.
2. Best Buy
In order for Best Buy to give you Costco’s lower price on an item, your Costco must be “local.” And by “local,” I mean within 25 miles of your Best Buy store.
Just bring in the competitor’s ad, or show an associate the item on Costco’s website. Best Buy may opt to call Costco to double-check you. Kind of neat though: Best Buy will even honor Costco’s price when it’s priced so low that it’s below Best Buy’s cost on the item (meaning even if Best Buy loses money on it). See Best Buy’s full price matching policy.
Items have to be in stock at a local Costco in order for Lowe’s to match the lower Costco price, and Lowe’s employees need to be able to verify the Costco price — either on the website, or by calling the store. If they can’t verify the price, you may be turned down. See Lowe’s full price matching policy.
If you see a lower price at Costco on an identical item Staples sells, you can get the Costco price. Staples calculates the “net” price after coupons and rebates are applied to the Staples item. So if Staples is selling a printer for $100, plus a $20-off coupon or rebate, that’ll be factored into the final Staples price. If the identical printer at Costco is $80 without coupons, Staples will consider it to be the same price as its own version after coupons.
Now, if Costco is selling the printer for $75 and after coupons it’d be $80 at Staples, you can get Costco’s price from Staples. See Staples’ full price-match policy.
You can get Costco prices on your pet supplies by showing proof of the Costco price (ad, Costco.com price etc.) — you just can’t get clearance or liquidation prices matched. See PetSmart’s full price matching policy.
You can request Petco match a Costco price on an item only for in-store items and purchases. For example, if you see a price at Petco.com that’s higher than Costco’s price, Petco won’t match that. But if you see an item in-store at Petco that’s higher than Costco’s price, Petco will give you Costco’s price. See Petco’s full price matching policy.
You can request that Target give you Costco’s price for the Keurig you want to buy right on the spot when you prove Costco’s price (online or paper ad). You can also request that Target price match the Costco price up to 14 days after your Target purchase of the item.
Target matches Costco’s in-store price or the Costco.com price but to match the in-store price, Costco needs to be within 25 miles of your Target to be considered a “local” retailer. See Target’s full price matching policy.
If you see an item you bought at JCPenney that’s sold at Costco for less, you can ask for Costco’s price before you buy or you have 14 days to get a price match. See JCPenney’s full price matching policy.