Don't want to shell out $60-$120 on a Costco membership, but do want to take advantage of the club's low prices? Well, you're in luck, because these five retailers helpfully offer price-matching to us lowly non-members. Read on for all the details.
There are reminders for each of the retailers below, but it warrants emphasis: be sure to read the fine print for any price-matching policy you come accross. Some might require you to physically go to Costco, take a photo, and then physically go to the store in question; some allow you to do everything online; and some prices can be matched up to two weeks after a purchase while others must be addressed prior to checkout. And obviously, if you have to make multiple visits to brick-and-mortar stores, be sure that the amount of savings you'll receive is greater than the cost of public transportation, gas, and so on.
Target's price-matching policy is incredibly helpful: it's retroactive!
We'll match the price if you buy a qualifying item at Target then find the identical item for less at Target.com, select online competitors, or in Target's or competitor's local print ad. Price matches may be requested at time of purchase or within 14 days after purchase. The full list of online competitors is available online or at Guest Services.
If you find a current lower price within 14 days after purchase, just bring in the proof and we will adjust your payment to the lower price, upon request. Target store price matches and adjustments are completed at the store on any lane. For Target.com purchases, call Target.com Guest Services at 1-800-591-3869.
The list of acceptable competitors is here, and it does indeed include Costco. Bonus points for discovering that Target price matches itself: if you buy something in-person, you can get a price adjustment if it goes on sale online in the next two weeks. This deal involves a lot of visits to an actual Target (not super-handy for those of us who live many miles from a store or have to take complicated/expensive combinations of public transportation to get to one), but it's still great. Be sure to review the Guidelines & Limitations carefully, of course.
Home improvement giant Home Depot doesn't just match prices, it beats them:
How the Low Price Guarantee works for in-store purchases: If you find a current lower price on an identical, in-stock item from any retailer, we will match the price and beat it by 10%. Just bring the ad, printout or photo with you to the register for validation. (This may involve the associate contacting the competitor).
How the Low Price Guarantee works for online purchases: Our Price Match Guarantee includes the price of the item(s) plus shipping cost. Price Match items must be available from competitor to ship to customer's location. Online purchases are not eligible for the in-store 10% Low Price Guarantee discount.
That's a pretty great deal—a built-in discount! It's also handy for people who live in smaller cities that might have just one big-box home improvement store. (For example, I live 45 miles from a town with only a Lowe's, and 35 miles from a town with only a Home Depot.) As always, read the What's Not Included info carefully.
Paying for medications and glasses is no joke, and CVS offers an easy-to-use price match:
Should you find a product we sell priced lower, simply e-mail or call our customer service experts to have your order price matched! Or you can complete your order online and include the link to the lower price in the "Coupon Codes and Special Instructions" field during checkout.
This offer is amazing because it can be done entirely from home, and you have a week after purchase to get your price adjusted. There are restrictions and exceptions, of course, but they don't seem draconian.
Best Buy matches the prices of many competitors, including warehouse clubs (I confirmed via chat that this includes Costco):
Does Best Buy match the prices of a Warehouse club?
Yes. We do match the prices of Warehouse clubs as long as the Warehouse club is a local retail competitor, has an identical immediately available product and all other price match criteria are met.
What is considered a local retail competitor?
A local retail competitor for retail store purchases is a retail store authorized by a vendor to sell a new, factory-sealed product with a warranty and is located in the same market area (within a 25-mile radius) of your local Best Buy store.
The "local retail competitor" bit should be no problem to suburban folks, but might prove to be a bit of a challenge for people who live in cities or rural areas. For purchases made at Best Buy stores, you'll need to take care of your price adjustment in-person, but online purchases can be resolved via chat or phone. Don't forget to read the rules and regulations!
Like Home Depot, Staples beats rather than just matches prices:
If you find a currently available lower price on a new, identical item with a valid competitor, show us the lower price when you buy the item with Staples and we will match it, plus we will discount it by 10% of the difference.
We will price match items sold by retailers operating both retail stores and online under the same brand...
If you buy an item from Staples and within 14 days you find it at a currently available lower price at Staples, staples.com or a valid competitor, show us the lower price and we will refund the difference.
Please note the difference though: Home Depot will beat prices by 10%, while Staples offers a discount of 10% of the difference between the two prices. For example, if the Costco price is $40 and the Staples price is $50, the discounted price at Staples will be $39 ($50 - $40 = $10 x 10% = $1). Check out the fine print, but know that you can price match both in-person and online purchases.
Bonus Price-Matching Retailer: Menard's
If you live in the Midwest, please know that home improvement stalwart Menard's will price match Costco if there's one in the "local market." Their policy is pretty relaxed ("You are not required to provide the competitor's ad for us to honor the price") but one of their exceptions is hilarious: Menard's does not match offers such as "Buy a hammer, get a free pair of gloves."
Retailers That Don't Price Match Costco
There are also a couple retailers that used to offer a price match but no longer do: Office Depot used to match prices at both Costco and Costco.com but the membership club is no longer on its list of accepted competitors. Amazon formerly offered price matching exclusively for new televisions, but "The TV Low Price Guarantee applies to televisions that are sold and fulfilled by Amazon.com purchased prior to February 7, 2017." Other companies that don't price match Costco include Walgreen's and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Have any of you done any price matching, for Costco or other retailers? What was your experience? Was it worth the effort?