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Since March, Costco has consistently changed up their store policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Their most recent change has been to require all shoppers over the age of two — even those with medical conditions — to wear face coverings or shields.
Whether you’re a veteran shopper or a new Costco member, chances are you’re also still trying to navigate through Costco’s changing rules — all while trying to save money.
We’ve got your back. Our team will continue to review the Costco monthly coupon book to give shoppers a roundup of the best deals available — even during COVID-19. Don’t have a membership? Sign up for a Costco membership here.
And if you’re looking for Costco shopping tips that apply in general, not pandemic-specific, we’ve got you there too.
Here are the best ways to save and shop smart at Costco during the coronavirus pandemic:
1. Costco hours are back to normal as of May 4.
All Costco locations temporarily changed their weekday hours, but should be back to normal:
- Monday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Costco gas stations will open at 6:00 a.m. daily and close by 9:30 p.m. during the week and 7:00 p.m. on weekends.
Check your local Costco warehouse hours for more details.
2. Members over 60 and people with disabilities can still shop during Costco senior hours.
Effective May 4, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. are Costco senior hours. Members over 60 and those with disabilities will be the only shoppers allowed to enter stores.
The Costco food court will be closed at this time, but the pharmacy will be open.
3. All shoppers ages 2+ must cover their nose and mouth.
Whether it’s a face mask or some other kind of covering (like a bandana), noses and mouths must be covered. If you can’t wear a face mask due to medical reasons, you must wear a face shield according to Costco’s updated policy. Costco will only let you in if you abide by their new guidelines. The requirement doesn’t apply to children under 2 years old.
4. Head to the front of the line if you’re a healthcare worker or first responder.
First responders and healthcare workers get priority access to Costco during all open hours. This means if there’s a line outside the warehouse, just show your employment ID to move to the front of the line.
5. Only a limited Costco food court menu is available.
To keep customers and employees safe, Costco food courts will only be serving hot dogs and pizza for takeout only. While a couple weeks ago only whole pizzas were available for purchase, some shoppers are reporting that you can buy pizza slices again (still only for takeout, though).
Soda machines are also closed and if you want condiments, you’ll have to ask.
6. When does Costco restock?
Early. Very early.
Costco aims to restock shelves starting at 4:00 a.m. daily, but that doesn’t always include products that are in high demand. Even though Costco has ramped up their shipments and are now receiving inventory almost daily, they can’t guarantee items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer will be in stock.
Call your local Costco ahead of time to check inventory and plan to get to the store early in the AM.
7. There’s currently a limit on all beef, pork, and poultry products.
Meat purchase limits are currently in place and are limited to 3 items per member. This includes frozen and fresh meat products.
8. Don’t expect to stock up on toilet paper, milk, eggs, and other high-demand items.
Product limits are also in place for high-demand items like toilet paper and paper towels. The specific number will vary by location. If you’d like details before planning a shop, give your local Costco a call and ask for their current product limits.
9. An asterisk on a Costco price tag means the item won’t be restocked.
If you love a product that won’t be restocked and the deal is good, make sure to buy enough to last — as long as there aren’t restrictions, of course.
10. Learn how to freeze perishables properly so you can buy in bulk.
You know that delicious — and cheap — rotisserie chicken Costco sells? Go ahead and buy one then freeze some for later if you can’t finish it all. Learn how to freeze rotisserie chicken, cheese, eggs, and more in The Ultimate How-to-Freeze Guide.
11. Get cash back on your purchases with rebate apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51.
If you haven’t already, download Ibotta and Checkout 51. You don’t have to clip a single coupon to get even more savings at Costco, and the offers listed in each of these apps can totally be stacked with other discounts and other rebate app offers.
At Costco, where manufacturer coupons aren’t accepted, rebate offers are gold! Just buy the product available for a rebate, and scan your receipt into the app.
RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps
12. Shop Costco without a membership by using a Costco Cash Card.
There are two ways to do this: Have someone you know with a membership buy you a Costco shop card in whatever amount you need, and you can shop membership-free.
The second way is to have someone purchase you a Costco shop card with a minimum amount on it (usually $25) and pay for the first part of your purchase with the card, and the rest you can pay for with your debit card.
Note: Call ahead to see if your local Costco is accepting Cash Cards if you’re a non-member. There may be restrictions at this time.
13. Members and non-members can get Costco online delivery.
Choose from a few different Costco online delivery options when you shop CostcoGrocery online.
Normally, Costco delivery ships your order within the same day for Same-Day Delivery, and within two days for 2-Day Delivery. During the coronavirus outbreak, however, expect delays up to five days for both.
Members who spend at least $35 on perishable groceries — like meats, seafood, and produce — can select same-day delivery. Your order will be delivered through Instacart.
Non-members can use Instacart to shop at Costco. The service adds an additional delivery fee of $3.99 to every order. First-time users can sign up a free two-week trial of Express to waive the cost of delivery on orders of $35 or more. After the trial, Express charges a yearly or monthly fee which covers the cost of all deliveries, plus ensures the prices you pay never surge during peak shopping times.
Members also have the choice to select 2-Day Delivery and get free Costco delivery on orders over $75. Shop for cleaning supplies, organic non-perishables, coffee, bath tissue, laundry detergent, snacks, and more.
14. Fill your prescriptions at a Costco pharmacy even if you’re not a member.
It’s true. You can go into Costco and fill a prescription without a membership. Just have your doctor call the pharmacy and you’ll pick up your medicine like you would any other pharmacy.
Contact your local Costco pharmacy for exact prices on medication, but savings can be up to 80% even without insurance!
15. Skip the long lines at Costco and price match at these other stores.
Costco has some great prices, but not all of them are unbeatable.
At Target, you can request that they give you Costco’s price for that Instant Pot 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. Costco has to be within 25 miles of your Target in order for this to work. See Target’s full price matching policy.
Lowe’s will also price match Costco. Items have to be in stock at a local Costco in order for it to work, though. And Lowe’s employees will need to be able to verify the Costco price — either on the website or by calling the store. See Lowe’s full price matching policy.
16. Get better prices at other stores when you use coupons.
Take diapers, for example.
If you’re looking at straight cost comparisons, Kirkland brand is cheaper than Huggies. But when you stack Huggies manufacturer coupons and store coupons with a sale at Target, you can get Huggies for much cheaper than Kirkland diapers — I’m talking up to 75% off.