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4 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership

How to score all the supplies and samples without the fee.

Do you wish you could reap all the benefits Costco has to offer without having to pay for a yearly membership? Maybe the wholesale retailer is a little too far for you to get to regularly enough to make it worth it or perhaps you just want to go a couple times a year before you host a bunch of people? Whatever your reasons, it is possible to get their deals on everything from bulk paper towels to rotisserie chicken (and those famous free samples!) without becoming a member. Read on and soon you'll no longer have to be jealous of all your Costco member friends.

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Use Costco Shop Cards.

Costco app on an iphone.
rafapress / Shutterstock

One of the easiest ways to shop at Costco without a membership is with a gift card, also known as a Costco Shop Card, that can be delivered through mail or email. You just need to know someone with a Costco membership who is willing to do you a little favor.

In a TikTok video, user @faaresq says, "You don't need a membership if you use their gift card, all you have to do is ask someone with a membership to get you a gift card, then you can use it for anything like gas, shopping, and food—you get all the perks without paying the fee."

Please don't feel guilty using this hack: Costco's customer service website states that "non-members as well as members may use Costco Shop Cards." Of course, if you feel nervous about going in to Costco, you can use your gift card online to avoid any interactions with potential skeptics.

Shop with someone who is a member.

Shopping cart in the parking lot of Costco.
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

If you know someone who is a member of Costco, it's totally fine to join in on their shopping trip (with their permission, of course) and have fun walking down the wondrous aisles of food, technology, and clothing.

According to Costco's website, "Anyone with a card can bring up to two guests to the Warehouse during each visit. Keep in mind that purchasing items is exclusive to Costco members." While it's okay to tag along with a Costco member, they will need to be the one who ultimately purchases your jumbo snack packs and Kirkland water at the register. This is what good old Venmo and PayPal are for!

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Use Instacart to get your Costco groceries.

Instacart app on an iphone
Tada Images / Shutterstock

Instacart is super convenient and quick and can come in handy when you're too busy to go to the grocery store or you need something right away. Let's face it, we've all been there! Sometimes it's worth it to spend a little extra money just to give ourselves a break.

It's also another way to get your favorite Costco items from shampoo to frozen dinners without a membership. But you have to be willing to pay a higher price tag than if you were at the store. The markup for Costco items on Instacart is usually around 20 percent, reports Ridester—but this includes the delivery fee. If you're not going to go to Costco that often, you might still come out ahead of paying those membership fees.

The other catch? You have to spend at least a minimum of $35, but that doesn't seem too difficult with the myriad products the wholesale retailer has to offer and that earlier mentioned price hike. But note, if you're looking to save a little, you can check out the Instacart deals section to see if Costco is having any specific sales of the day.

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Shop online.

Costco website on a computer or laptop.
Casimiro PT / Shutterstock

If you're not in a big hurry to get your items, you can just head to and shop online today. And no, you don't need to be a member to do this.

Of course, this option also has some drawbacks to consider. If you're a non-member, you will have to pay a five percent surge. Secondly, prices online may be higher than if you were to shop in store. You also won't have access to the fresh fruit or veggie options that you could get in person.

Finally, as a non-member, you won't get the perk of free two-day shipping and instead will have to wait three to five days. However, if you're wanting something really specific from Costco or need to buy in bulk, this is still a great option.

Lauren Jarvis-Gibson
Lauren Jarvis-Gibson is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Her work has been published in Teen Vogue, Allure, HuffPost, and more. Read more
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