How to Shop at Costco Without a Membership


Illustration for article titled How to Shop at Costco Without a Membership
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There’s no denying Costco offers pretty solid deals on some things—and amid the pandemic and a nationwide spike in new COVID-19 cases, there’s certainly never been a better time to bulk buy. However, if you don’t have a membership, the store’s $60+ per year membership requirement might feel like a huge deterrent, especially this year—how often do you really want to hit up a super-crowded warehouse store right now? You can still get some Costco products without a membership through services like Amazon Now, but if you want to get into the store it’s membership or bust. Or is it?

Sure, you can tag along with your friend with a Costco membership once in a while, but we’ve got another tip for getting into the store without a membership: Buy a gift card.

As this article in Travel + Leisure notes, if you have one of Costco’s gift cards (known as “Costco Cash”) you can use it at any Costco to make a purchase, even if you don’t have a membership. You can also use the cards to shop at Costco online.

As with most things, there is a catch: The Costco Cash card has to be purchased by a Costco member. But if you can’t arrange for a friend to pick one up for you or tag along while you shop, the gift cards can also be purchased online. If you can figure out the logistics involved, you’ll be well on your way to buying that discounted 100-pack of toilet paper without springing for the annual membership.

This article was originally posted on July 14, 2018 and updated in July 2020. Changes included checking and updating information, adding links and revising the lede.