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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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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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