12 Costco Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make Again in 2024

If you're looking to save more money at Costco in 2023, make sure you avoid making these mistakes again.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Have you been trying to stick to your financial resolutions, like saving more money on everyday purchases?

If you use your Costco membership the right way, chances are you'll get closer to that goal.

As you make your financial goals list, make sure you include avoiding these dreadful Costco mistakes shoppers often make.

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Skipping the food court

Courtesy of Costco $1.50 Costco hot dog

Costco doesn't just help you save money shopping. Costco's food court is a great option for a cheap meal before you head home.

Check out their famous hot dog deal for $1.50, or you can also put in an order before you start shopping so that it’s ready when you leave. For example, place an order for a pizza and pick it up hot when you're heading out.

Missing the price adjustment

dennizn/Adobe costco receipt and membership card

It can be annoying when you buy something and see that Costco put that same item on sale a week later. But you can still save money if you’re proactive.

Costco has a price adjustment feature that will allow you to get the sale price on an item if you mention it within 30 days of purchase. Check with the Costco customer service desk to see if you can get the price change, or request an adjustment online.

Not checking the ad booklet before shopping

Jacob Lund/Adobe young people enjoying new years eve with fireworks

Costco sends out an ad booklet each month that lists all kinds of savings on food, home products, electronics, clothes, and more.

Make sure to check this out. You might find a good deal on something you have been thinking about buying.

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Not having the right membership

andy/Adobe Costco wholesale warehouse shopping membership card

Costco has three different membership options, and choosing the wrong one can cost you money.

Costco’s Gold Star membership and Business membership each cost $60 per year. The Executive Membership is $120 per year with 2% cash back on your purchases. Do some math and see which one is best for you.

Shopping while hungry

Drobot Dean/Adobe couple sitting on the supermarket floor and eating snacks

Costco is full of delicious foods, which is why it's risky to shop at the warehouse retailer on an empty stomach. Instead, go after you’ve had a meal.

Make sure you create a list and stick with it so you don’t get tempted by the food in the aisles.

Shopping on a Sunday

tkyszk/Adobe Costco parking space

Sometimes, it’s not about the money you spend but rather the time you waste. So, if you want to get in and out of Costco as quickly as possible, don’t waste your Sunday at the warehouse retailer.

Lines will be long, aisles will be crowded, and you might have to fend off other shoppers to get the best samples. Skip the stress and enjoy your Costco trip on another day or at a less busy time.

Dismissing Kirkland Signature products

Adriana/Adobe packs of Kirkland Signature USDA organic ground beef

It’s a mistake to automatically assume that Kirkland Signature products are not as good as name-brand items.

Items with this Costco brand are usually good in quality, and they could save you cash.

Overdoing the fresh produce

irishmaster/Adobe fresh fruits and vegetables

Costco shoppers can be overly ambitious. That’s not a problem if you’re stocking up on pasta or grabbing extra paper towels for the family. But Costco’s bulk-size produce options may cost you cash if you don’t eat them quickly.

Think about your produce purchases before you put them in your cart so you don’t end up disposing of them if they go bad before you eat them.

Missing those member perks

OntheRun Photo/Adobe Costco Gold Star Membership card

Buying in bulk isn’t the only great thing about having a Costco card: Your membership can also get you discounts on travel, cars, insurance, and other products.

Dig into Costco’s various perks and see if there is something online that might save you money.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

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Driving past the pump

Andriy Blokhin/Adobe petroleum at Costco store

Don’t drive by those gas pumps in the Costco parking lot. The pumps at Costco often have lower prices than many local gas stations. So, fueling up at Costco can save you money on gas.

Missing the pharmacy deals

sofiko14/Adobe Male pharmacist

Costco’s pharmacy can fill your prescriptions just like your normal pharmacy, and the cost may be lower at the warehouse retailer.

The pharmacy also has various generic drugs at a discounted price, which may help you save money. And remember your furry friends — you can also get dog and cat medication from Costco.

Forgetting the seasonal items

wip-studio/Adobe wheelbarrow with gardening tools in the garden

Costco has some great deals on seasonal items for holidays in the winter, gardening in the spring, and other events during the year. Check for things that you need when these seasons roll around.

Bottom line

mandritoiu/Adobe aisle in Costco store

You can save a lot of money as a Costco member, particularly if you know how to unlock the power of your Costco membership. For one, avoiding the above mistakes will help you keep even more cash in your pocket.

Before you head out, check your wallet for the best cash back credit cards for shoppers. Then, look for sales and in-store brands to get extra savings.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards


Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Current Offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee


Rewards Rate

Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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