There’s something about shopping at Costco that traps us into thinking that bigger really is better, but the question at large is: does it really?

If you have a large family and a big house with a deep freezer and extra storage space, then yes, the benefit of buying in bulk speak for themselves. However, if you’re on your own in a small 600 square feet condo, then storage space might not be a luxury you can afford – which means you won’t be needing that 50 rolls of paper towels for the kitchen.

It is what it is, sorry.

Having said that, if you’re still keen on shopping at the warehouse retail giant because of some emotional attachment to overcrowded parking lots and membership fees then here are two key tips to help you shop smarter:

Go during Lunch hour

Not only will you get to sample the crap out of all their free goodies (hey, you gotta make the most out of their membership fee anyways – right?), this will help you get a taste of something before making the hasty decision to purchase it before you even try it.

Know the Secret Price Codes on Sale Signs

Bet you did not know that Costco (as well as many other retailers) have secret price codes on their pricing signage. Don’t get suckered into the (metaphorical) bright neon sign that points to a sale item, do your own sleuthing to find out if it’s actually a sale or a sales gimmick. Here’s what you should know:

  •  Any price that ends in $0.97 cents means that it has been recently reduced from the regular price
  •  Any add pricings that end in numbers like $0.79, $0.49 or $0.89 indicate that the product was specially priced from the manufacturer just for Costco. This means you probably won’t get a better price anywhere else.
  •  If there is an asterisk* on the upper right side of the price signage this indicates the item won’t be reordered by Costco, so you better get it while it’s still there.
  • Any price that ends in $0.88 or $0.00 typically means that they are a manager’s markdown; sometimes stores will use this technique to move provide out faster to make room for new inventory.
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