Costco is known for their large quantities, cheap prices, and great return policy. They’re also known for their membership fees, which start at $50 a year and can get as high as a hundred (Executive Membership). Did you know that you can shop at a Costco without a membership?
The key is to get a Costco Cash Card, which is their gift card. If you have the Costco Cash card, you don’t need a membership. The gift card lets you go into the store and buy anything you want. You’ll need to use the cash card to pay for your purchases and, if it doesn’t have enough on it, you can use cash or debit card to pay for the rest.
The downside to this strategy is you can’t buy a new card or reload the card without a membership. You’ll have to find a Costco card-carrying friend to buy them for you and the minimum is $10. If you don’t know anyone, you can always try to buy the cards off Craigslist or eBay, but proceed with caution.
Oh, and if all you want is some alcohol, you don’t need a membership to buy booze in certain states.
Jim writes about money at his personal finance blog Bargaineering.com.