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You May Never Know These 10 Ways To Save Money At Costco If You Miss This

You May Never Know These 10 Ways To Save Money At Costco If You Miss This

It’s no secret you can already save money at CostCo just by shopping there, but that isn’t the only way to get more bang for your buck out of the warehouse retailer. Savvy shoppers can find ways to keep even more cash in the bank by employing a few additional tips, tactics and strategies when they head out to do their shopping. If you’re ready to hang on to more dough, here’s 10 ways to save even more at CostCo.

Shop Seasonally

Like all retailers, CostCo has massive markdowns right after the holiday season where you can reap massive rewards. You should also know that CostCo does a big price cutting right after summer as well, so at the first nip of autumn, you should make a point of heading in to stock up for the next year. You’ll also want to keep your receipts just in case another retailer, or even CostCo itself, slashes their prices on some item you just bought so you can take advantage of their price matching guarantee.

Get Online

Going to a CostCo outlet can sometimes be a hassle. There are crowds to contend with, parking lots, and battling another shopper to the death over the last case of A-1. This isn’t always necessary. CostCo recognizes that it can be a headache to shop at their outlets which is why they offer additional bargains, deals, coupons, and offers to people who skip the trip and shop online. You’ll often find discounts on items that are only available through their website and online deal codes that will save you cash. Most of the time shipping is included and you can be guaranteed to get your item, while inventory at the actual store might be depleted.

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Shop Without a Membership

If you want to save money at CostCo without coughing up the yearly membership fee, you can get in the door by having a CostCo cash card that a member bought for you. That is all that is required for you to help yourself to the heaps of savings available inside. You don’t even need to make your entire purchase with the card. If you have a cash card worth only $25 and you rack up a couple of hundred bucks worth of merchandise, you can simply pay the difference with one of their accepted payment methods. Now that’s sneaky saving.

You can also buy a membership, stock up in a few massive trips and then cancel it by saying you were not satisfied. CostCo has a 100% money-back guarantee. If you claim you aren’t happy with your experience, you’ll get all your membership costs returned.

Crack the Codes

The way a true guru knows to save money at CostCo is to learn the secret price codes. Each sign has a few things to note so that you can determine what are the best buys and what you should pass by. Here’s what to know:

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  • If a price ends in 88 cents or an even dollar amount it is a manager’s markdown. They make these when they need to get rid of an item very quickly. It is specific to each store and tells you that they really want you to buy so these will have a much lower price than usual.
  • 97 cent steals: Ordinarily an item ends in 99 cents, so if you see “97” at the end it has been cut down from its usual price. These are usually the items that give you the most savings so it is worth taking a look.
  • Prices with odd cents amounts (examples: 49, 59, or 79 cents): These are items that CostCo bought cheaper from the manufacturer and they are passing the savings on to you. You won’t save as much as the other methods listed, but it still might be worth checking.

Welcome to Kirkland

Kirkland is CostCo’s store brand and by buying Kirkland products you can save a bundle. Here’s the best part: They are often made by name brand companies at a lesser price. Pureology makes the Kirkland shampoo. Bumble Bee makes the tuna. Huggies makes almost all of the diapers, and Humboldt Creamery makes the Kirkland Signature ice cream. The best is the booze. Grey Goose handles their vodka while Jim Beam makes their bourbon.

Kirkland is meant to be a high-quality brand so CostCo doesn’t skimp. Some of their stuff is not great but the majority of the time you’ll get materials that are equal-to or even better than the name brand at a fraction of the cost.

Do The Math

This is a smart shopping practice no matter where you go. Carry a flyer from local grocery stores with you whenever you go to CostCo and do a price analysis breakdown. Bulk items seem cheaper because you’re getting more of them, but sometimes the price per item isn’t actually a savings. Divide the price by the number of boxes, ounces, or units you are getting and then see how it compares to other places. You’ll be surprised at how much you might save by skipping the bulk purchase and getting the same thing from another source.

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Know Where you Aren’t Saving

There are three primary areas that are actually more expensive at CostCo than they are elsewhere: office supplies, paper goods (toilet paper, paper towels, etc.), and soda are all typically more costly than if you had gotten the same item from another store. This is why doing the math pays off. You’ll find out that by breaking the illusion that you always save money at CostCo by buying in bulk you’ll keep more in the bank.

Buy Bulk Meat

You’ll need a vacuum sealer and a decent freezer for this tactic, but it can save you hundreds on butcher costs. Get a big slab of beef, a rack of ribs, or one of their other massive meat deals and then cut it into portions for freezing. With a good vacuum sealer your meat won’t get freezer burned and you’ll be able to live out a zombie apocalypse in the lap of meaty luxury.

Do a Perimeter Sweep

The center aisles are where CostCo will try to trap you into making impulse buys. Thanks to the warehouse layout, it is easy not to get sucked in by these tricks. Do a loop around the store that doesn’t take you past the snacks, the electronics, or the DVD sections. Every store uses the same tricks to drive you into the middle where you’ll drop hundreds on stuff you don’t need. Get your eggs, your milk, your produce, and your frozen goods, then escape the CostCo clutches.

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Give it Back

CostCo has a glorious return policy that you should know about and use. You have two years to return almost anything – yes, that often includes frozen foods that spoiled or got freezer burned – and they have a price matching option that gives you 30 days to prove their item was cheaper somewhere else and they’ll refund you the difference. Just make sure you keep your receipt!

Featured photo credit: Jon Sullivan via public-domain-image.com

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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