If you buy groceries or supplies in bulk, there’s a good chance you have, or at least have considered a Costco membership. But if you don’t live near one a Costco location or you’re not sure the annual membership fee is worth it, there’s a way to basically get a free membership at Costco.
This method is completely legit, backed up by Costco itself, although you will need an assist from a current Costco member. The Costco Cash Card allows members and non-members to shop at any Costco location and there are no restrictions on what the gift card can be used for.
The card can only be purchased by a Costco member, but they can be loaded with up to $1,000, so if you have a good friend or family member with a Costco membership, you can take advantage of their membership and have them purchase the card for you. The card can be used multiple times and reloaded (you’ll need the Costco member to handle that in person, too), so it’s more or less like having a free membership at Costco.
You’ll need to show the Costco Cash Card instead of a Costco membership card when you enter the store. You can also use the card online at costco.com, but if you’re a non-member, you’ll pay a 5 percent surcharge over the price advertised for members.
This method is probably best if you can only make it to the warehouse club once or twice a year or if you want to try it out and see if you would get your money’s worth from either the $60 basic gold star membership or the $120 executive membership. Personally, we think the Kirkland Signature line alone is worth it.
There are a few other ways to save money at a Costco store without having a membership. You can buy prescription drugs at any Costco location or online without needing to be a Costco member; you can also get a flu shot or make an appointment for eye and ear exams. If you’re a fan of Costco’s food court, you can buy their hot dogs and pizza without being a member. You may also be able to buy alcohol without a membership; it varies based on state law, so check with your local Costco store.