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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 June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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