8 of the Best Costco Life Hacks Out There, According to Reddit

published Dec 8, 2023
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Even if you don’t have a large family to buy for or an office to stock with snacks and coffee, heading to Costco is an adventure. From the free food samples to the affordable household essentials, you never know what you’ll find in those towering aisles. Whether you’re completing your wardrobe or buying a barn — yes, apparently, Costco sells those — inspiration lies everywhere.

But for all of the practical and eccentric things you can buy at a big box warehouse, navigating the shopping experience can be daunting, even for seasoned pros. Sure, you could try to figure out all the best hacks and tips on your own, but why would you when Reddit has all the answers? From purchasing to packing, here are the eight best Costco life hacks, according to one savvy Reddit thread.

Focus on the pizza and making it last.

One Reddit user started the conversation by asking others for their best Costco hacks, but they offered their top tip first. “One of ours is we buy a whole Costco pizza every week for dinner, and then my husband stores the leftovers for lunches all week,” they said, clarifying that the pizza lasted through three days of mid-day meals. Buying one pizza and eating it over several days was an ideal way for the user to save money while their husband finishes school. 

Skip a cart if you only need a few things.

One perk about warehouse stores: the wide range of items for sale. One drawback: the tempting amount of stuff to buy. One user advises bypassing the carts if you’re running in to pick up one or two things. “It’ll keep you honest,” they said. “I got out of there for under $20 the other day and only bought four items because I skipped the cart.” If you’re easily distracted, plan on carrying what you need to purchase in your hands to limit your time in the store and help stay on budget.

Learn to read the price tags.

One Reddit user who was also an employee revealed that the last two numbers of the price can tell you a lot. “There’s a system of prices that indicate special pricing or sales,” they said. For example, an ending number of .99 is a regular sale price, but the item is on clearance if the last two digits are .97. Merchandise ending in .88 or .00 indicates a manager requested markdown, and those items sell quickly. The employee added, “Buy this stuff ASAP since it’s at the lowest price and won’t return in the near future again.”

Plan your road trips with Costco in mind.

Having a Costco membership and taking a road trip go hand in hand better than you might think. One user plans their travel pit stops at Costco locations along their route. Why? “I know they’ll have the least expensive gas, a cheap meal, and usually a decent restroom,” they said. Being able to grab a bite to eat, fill up your gas tank, and use the facilities all at one place maximizes your travel time while being able to count on a trustworthy site to do so.

Place items in your cart barcode side up.

Depending on when you go to Costco, you may find long lines. Hint: Some Reddit users say to avoid busy Saturdays, while others suggest going an hour before closing because it’s less active. If you’re short on time or want to get out faster, place items in your cart with the barcode facing upward so employees can scan them quickly. “This makes checkout super quick and easy,” said one user. Even if you’re not in a hurry, the checkout staff will be thankful you’ve helped make their job easier, too. 

Park close to a cart return. 

One Reddit user is steadfast in their stance on where to park. “I don’t give a single hoot about parking as close to the entrance as possible like many people seem to,” they said. “It’s all about parking as close to a cart return as I can.” Although putting your vehicle near the entrance may seem more convenient, if you need a cart, you can pick one up near your car and quickly put it back when you’re done. And if you’re ever tempted to leave your cart in the lot, follow the advice of one Reddit user who happens to be an employee: “Last but not least, put your cart back!”

Bring your own packing items.

One tip resonated with several Reddit users who chatted about how to take things home. They all said to skip the boxes at Costco and bring your own reusable shopping bags instead. Costco also sells an InstaCrate, a pop-up box that collapses for easy storage when not in use. Having eco-friendly bags and folding containers in your car ensures you’ll be ready for your next impromptu warehouse shopping trip. 

Get buried in a Costco coffin.

Although it seems unbelievable, Costco sells funeral caskets in colors like blue, pink, and silver, or you could go a more traditional route and select a mahogany finish. Ordering a coffin via Costco for you or your loved one may seem strange, but for one Reddit user, it made the process so much easier after their mother passed. “They include delivery, and it was shipped and delivered directly to my mom’s tiny rural hometown,” they said. Not only did a Costco coffin help save money, but the mortuary also noted that it was good quality.