14 Essential Tips for Shopping at Costco on the Weekends

If you have to hit the bulk retailer on the weekends there are ways to make the trip more bearable.
Updated Feb. 28, 2023
costco wholesale card in hand with receipt

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Costco can be a great place to get deals, but the weekends are usually extra packed with shoppers like you who don’t have time during the week to get what they need.

One of the best Costco tips is to avoid shopping on a weekend. After all, time is money. But if you can’t find another time to go, here are a few ways to get through your trip unscathed.

Go at the least crowded times

trongnguyen/Adobe Customer shopping for wines

You’ll inevitably run into weekend crowds at Costco, but some times are less busy than others.

Try to get there first thing in the morning to beat the crowds that come later in the day. You can also consider going closer to closing time after most people have done their shopping.

Just make sure you give yourself enough time to shop and check out before Costco closes down.

Organize your shopping list

Iona/Adobe beardy man in plaid shirt holds book and pen

It’s a good idea to go into Costco with a shopping list to make sure you get everything you need or grab special deals.

Organize your list by grouping items together based on where they are located in the store. For example, put all your frozen items or vitamins and personal care items together.

This can help you get your shopping done quickly without having to go back for items later.

Add a lunch break

Eric BVD/Adobe Costco Food Court Menu

Costco has a great food court, so add it to your shopping experience to get more done with one trip. For instance, you can stop by after shopping for a hot dog and a drink for $1.50.

Pro tip: A great Costco trick is to order a pizza at the food court before you start shopping so it’s hot and waiting for you by the time you check out.

Bring snacks

Konstiantyn Zapylaie/Adobe woman holds various dried fruits and nuts in her hand

Costco is well known for its samples, but they can go quickly if you’re trying to grab a bite on the weekend.

Make sure you pack your own trail mix or toss some fruit snacks in your pocket before you go. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to wait around for a fresh batch of samples and waste more time.

Pack some patience

Annop/Adobe Fresh vegetables and fruits on shelf in supermarket

There’s no doubt that Costco is going to be tough to navigate on the weekends, so pack some patience.

Be aware of carts around you as you make your way through the aisles and try not to get too frustrated by customer cart traffic. It’s also important to wait your turn to check out.

Make it quick

Sundry Photography/Adobe busy Costco Wholesale location in San Francisco Bay Area

It’s easy to find yourself wandering the aisles of Costco looking at every little thing to decide what you want.

But if you’re there on the weekend, you should probably try to get through as quickly as possible.

Don’t linger in the aisles or wander aimlessly looking at any random things. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in aisles or wait too long in line to check out later on.

Organize your cart

dennizn/Adobe holding a costco membership card on a cart

It can be stressful to stand in line until it’s your turn to rush and unload your cart at checkout.

Consider being more mindful of how you’re packing your cart as you walk through the aisles. Try to keep certain things grouped together like frozen items or pantry items.

Keeping heavier or bigger items like toilet paper or drinks on the bottom of your cart can also make it easier for your cashier at checkout.

Schedule a pick-up

IanDewarPhotography/Adobe Costco Wholesale store

Don’t want to deal with the hassle of going inside a Costco on the weekend? Go online to Costco.com and put in an order for pick-up instead.

Pick-up is limited to only certain items, but it can be beneficial if you just want one or two things without dealing with the crowds.

Order online

Koshiro/Adobe Costco icon on iPhone screen

Skip the weekend at Costco altogether by ordering items online instead. Costco has plenty of pantry items that it can ship to your home, including some refrigerated items.

You might also be able to get free shipping if qualifying items come to more than $75.

Take someone with you

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe man looking at woman with notebook near shopping cart

Tackling Costco with a team may be able to help you get through the store quicker with one person pushing the cart while the others stock it up with Costco items.

One issue with this plan is if your team includes kids, which can slow you down. Bring snacks or something to keep them busy as you and your plus-one get through the aisles of Costco.

Get some gas

Tada Images/Adobe refilling gasoline in car at gas station

Stop by Costco’s gas station if you’re already there and you don’t mind waiting in line on the weekends. In many cases, Costco can help you save money on gas compared to other fuel stations.

Treat yourself

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe man presenting bouquet of flowers to smiling woman

A weekend trip to Costco can be frustrating, and there’s nothing wrong with buying yourself a little reward for getting through the trip.

Check out Costco’s fresh flowers to find a bouquet that can brighten up your day or grab some Kirkland Signature wine. You may be surprised to find it’s just as good as name-brand bottles.

Limit your shopping list

DragonImages/Adobe shopping with grocery list

You don’t have to buy everything at Costco, and there may be some items that you’re better off getting at your local grocery store than the warehouse retailer.

Items like fresh produce or bakery items may go bad if you don’t plan to eat the bulk-size of them quickly. You also may need spices or sauces in small quantities.

So cross those off your list before you go to limit how much you have to grab.

Order same-day delivery

Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe courier making delivery to beautiful woman

Costco’s same-day delivery allows you to order your items online and set a delivery time. A personal shopper will pick up those items for you at the warehouse retailer and deliver them to your door.

Bottom line

NaMong Productions/Adobe woman in yellow shirt showing credit card

Costco can be frustrating on the weekends, but there are ways to get through it if you go prepared.

Make sure you have your list and pack your best Costco credit card as well as your patience before you go.

That way you’ll have a successful trip through your favorite warehouse retailer any day of the week.

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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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