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Ever wonder about all of the Costco secrets, like: What do the numbers on the price tags mean? Does Costco take coupons? How can I find Costco clearance items on their website? I decided to dig deep and I found some tips that answered all my questions, so I thought I’d share them with you!

Don’t forget to download the KCL app and set Costco as a favorite store so you can see when we post Costco deals.

Related: Find The Best Costco Travel With These Tips.

 

1. Prices ending in “.97” are national markdowns. Prices ending in “.00” are local markdowns.

A person holding a pair of mens winter gloves next to a price tag that reads $3.00

The Costco price tag theories all over the internet are patently false. The only ones that hold true are this one and the one in the tip below.

Here’s how you can tell if you’re saving more than your east coast (or wherever they happen to live) cousin. If the price on a Costco price tag ends in “.00,” that’s a special markdown for your area and not available nationwide.

 

2. An asterisk means the item won’t be restocked.

Person pointing out Asterisk on a price tag at Costco

Or rather, it means the item has been “deleted.” This can happen for a few reasons. Maybe Costco couldn’t get the item at as low of a price and they’re not interested in restocking it? Or maybe the item didn’t sell well and they’re not renewing an order?

Seasonal and holiday items can end up with an asterisk and they still return year after year. This is because while Costco will order the item again next time the season rolls around, they’ve only ordered a limited amount for this year.

Moral of the asterisk story: Buy when you see it! It might not be around when you return later.

 

3. Search the term “whilesupplieslast” at Costco.com in order to see all the Costco clearance online.

Costco.com search bar with a yellow box around it. In the search bar it says, "while supplies last" written with no spaces.

It works! Go to Costco.com, and enter “whilesupplieslast” into the search bar at the top of the page. Make sure you type it as one word, just like I wrote it.

You’ll see everything that’s marked clearance with the “.97” price ending!

 

 

4. Does Costco take coupons?

Costco coupon book with Kirkland vitamins on the page and the shelf behind it

Yes and no. Costco does not take the manufacturer coupons you’d find on our site or in the Sunday newspaper. But they do offer their own in-store “coupons” they call “Instant Savings.”

​​If you’re a member, you receive a “coupon” booklet every month, but in reality, there’s no clipping involved. The advertised discounts automatically come off at the register. If you don’t have a coupon booklet, or you’re a non-member shopping with a Costco Shop card, stop by the customer service desk for one. Or, look for the savings breakdown highlighted on price tags.

 

5. Stack Costco coupons with rebate apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51 & Fetch Rewards.

A person looking at Costco ibotta deals on a cell phone

Save more at Costco when you stack Costco coupons with rebate apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Fetch Rewards.

Since all three of these require a receipt, and they’re not coupons you present to Costco at checkout, you can totally use them. Even while you’re getting Instant Savings discounts!

 

6. Skip the Costco membership fees and pay with a Costco Shop card.

Costco Shop Card at a Costco return self-checkout.

While only members can purchase a Costco Shop card, anyone can use them. You can buy them for as low as $25 and as high as $2,000. Have a nice friend or neighbor pick one up for you the next time they hit Costco, if you don’t want to pay that membership fee.

 

 

7. Kirkland batteries are identical to Duracell batteries.

Kirkland and Duracell AA batteries at Costco

Same manufacturer, but you’ll pay less when you spring for Kirkland over Duracell.

 

8. Movie tickets will cost less at Costco than at the theater.

Costco Cinemark Gift Cards at Costco

For example, when you buy a Cinemark gift card at Costco, you’ll get $50 to spend at the theater, but you’ll only pay $39.99 for it. That’s a 20% discount!

 

9. Get a price adjustment if the price drops within 14 days of your original purchase.

Kohler trash bin sales sign at Costco

Costco will give members the difference in a sales price in cash back within 14 days of the price dropping (AKA price adjustment). Ask Customer Service to look up your purchase using your membership card, or, to make it easy, provide them with the original receipt.

 

10. Go ahead and use any credit card you want when you shop at Costco.com.

Woman sitting on a couch, looking at a computer with a cup of tea in hand.

You probably know that Costco has an agreement with Visa, so you can only use Visa branded credit cards when you shop inside the warehouse. But if you want to use your American Express or Discover card, you can! Just place your order at Costco.com.

While Costco doesn’t offer curbside pickup (yet!), you can get same-day or two-day delivery when you order at Costco.com.

 

 

11. Aisles aren’t labelled to make you wander down every one and buy, buy, buy!

A woman from behind, pushing a Costco shopping cart through a crowd of other shoppers also pushing carts.


Clearly, pantry food is on one side of the warehouse and retail items are on the other side. Perishables are toward the back by the bakery typically, and in the middle is apparel and books. So, why not label the aisles? Costco is hoping you’ll walk through the whole warehouse and keep adding items to your cart as you go.

 

12. Costco chickens have the biggest breasts.

Kirkland Rotisserie Chicken

Related: Costco Food Court tips and tricks.

 

13. Costco sells a half sheet cake for $18, while supermarkets sell a quarter sheet for over $20.

A person pulling out an order form for a half sheet cake from the order stand at the Costco bakery

Since Costco stopped selling the sheet cakes ready made in the case due to COVID-19, shoppers can’t run in and grab one. However, Costco is still technically selling them. My local Costco is selling the half-sheet cakes for $18.99.

You just have to special order them 24 hours in advance by calling your local Costco bakery. Bonus: You get to customize these cakes, too, with a dozen different designs.

13 Costco Pricing Secrets You Need to Know to Save BIG