The Costco Shortcut For Cheaper Restaurant Outings

As its members are happily aware, shopping at Costco is all about savings. The wildly successful wholesale retailer offers members the opportunity to purchase items in bulk, which results in lower pricing than when buying the same items individually. Shoppers can obtain a Gold Star membership for $60 per year, while the Executive membership is $120 (and comes with a yearly 2% reward on all qualified products).

To make the most out of their memberships, shoppers are also encouraged to focus on certain products to ensure ample savings. For instance, Costco members can pick up two-dozen eggs for just over $6, while Stop and Shop customers must pay about the same for a pack of 12, as CNET found. Similar savings can be seen in other grocery staples, including coffee, mayonnaise, cereal, and more. But while you'd expect shopping at Costco to help you trim a few bucks off your household budget, you may be surprised that it can also result in savings when visiting certain restaurants.

Give the gift of a less expensive dining experience

While Costco is best known for its generous free samples, quality private label goods, and tasty food court options, the retailer has another surprise in its gift card aisle. There, not only will you find a variety of gift cards from restaurants including Smashburger, Papa Johns, and IHOP, but you'll also discover some savings when picking up a gift card for a loved one or yourself.

Costco offers several discounted gift cards, which means you can save money when dining out at your favorite establishments. For example, it's not uncommon for the chain to offer a two-pack of gift cards at a discounted price, such as a pack of two with a value of $100. Costco members can usually snag two-packs for as little as $80, which equates to $20 in savings on your restaurant bill. Over time, these savings can add up exponentially when members and their families dine out. Of course, in-the-know Costco shoppers have even more tricks up their sleeves when it comes to savings.

Other money-saving tips for Costco shoppers

Savvy shoppers know how to spot a deal at Costco just by reading the price tags. When reviewing labels, focus on those with $0.97 at the end to really maximize your savings. These price codes indicate that the item has been marked down, which means you may be paying far less than the original price. Labels ending in $0.88 offer even greater savings, as this pricing convention communicates that a store manager is marking down an item in order to clear the remaining stock.

Understanding the layout of Costco stores can also help you save a few bucks on bulk groceries. Virtually all grocery stores and supermarkets use specific layouts to increase the money shoppers will spend, and Costco is no exception. The least expensive items offering the biggest savings are usually located in the center of the store, while the more expensive yet enticing products are placed in the front. Shoppers on a budget are encouraged to head to the middle of the store and bypass these more expensive displays if they want to maximize savings. When you combine these cost-savings tips, you'll find that a trip to Costco will be as affordable as it is enjoyable.