The Little-Known Secrets Hiding in Costco Price Tags

published Apr 5, 2018
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(Image credit: Trong Nguyen)

If you’re a card-carrying Costco member, you probably already know the many benefits of the retailer. Of course, buying in bulk can be a huge saver, not to mention they have some exclusive products with cult-followings. But there’s one downside, at least for me, of frequenting the warehouse: FOMO.

I was always under the impression that non-Kirkland Signature brand items come and go, so if you see something you really want at a price you like, you better grab it, because it might not be in store the next time you shop. But, it turns out, while that may be true in some instances, the secret to knowing what will be around and what will quickly disappear is all in the price tags.

Recently, I came across a handful of sources that broke down what you need to know, as well as other helpful shopping tips. Here are some highlights (which just might save you some money):

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Items ending in .99

According to Epic Dash, these are full-price products, and likely to be around for a bit.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Items ending in .97

If you’re a frequent discount shopper, you’ll know that any price tag that ends in a 7 is usually a clearance item, and it’s no different at Costco. Note that these are typically “manager specials,” which guarantees a better-than-retail price.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Items ending in .00 or .88

Say you have your eye on a vacuum that’s priced at $78.88 or even $78.00; do not blink before putting it in your cart. Again, Tough Nickel says these price tags denote that the stock is low (or an item has been returned) and the managers have marked the product down to get it off shelves as quickly as possible.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Items ending in .49 or .79

This tip from Epic Dash claims any product with this price ending is another good deal and should be scooped up. These are promotional offers from the manufacturer, and likely the price you see is exclusive to Costco, and lower than other retailers.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

A label with an asterisk

Here’s another indication of deep discounts and something that won’t be around much longer, according to this article on Mental Floss. When a price tag of an item features an asterisk (usually located on the top right-hand corner), that means it’s been discontinued (or at the very least, won’t be restocked) and priced to sell. For electronics or higher-priced items, it’s a good rule of thumb to do a quick internet search to ensure there weren’t any issues with the item, leading to it being discontinued.

Got other in-the-know Costco shopping secrets? Share them in the comments below!

*Re-edited from a post first published 04.05.2018 -BM