How To: 5 Secret Codes You Need to Know About Costco's Prices to Get Even Better Deals

5 Secret Codes You Need to Know About Costco's Prices to Get Even Better Deals

It's no surprise that Costco has great deals, and that's why millions pay annual fees for the privilege to shop in their wholesale outlets. Just take their hotdog and soda combo for $1.50—it's the same price now as it was 27 years ago.

The best thing about Costco is that you don't even have to pay for a membership to get some of their deals. The famous hotdog combo can be grabbed by anyone if the restaurant is located outside, and you could always get a member to buy you a Costco cash card to skip paying dues. Plus, you can even buy prescription drugs and alcohol without a membership card.

However, if you do have a membership, there's still some secrets to be told. Everything in the store is supposedly a steal, but what's the better steal? They have plenty of awesome deals daily, but what's the hidden code to finding out what the greatest deal is?

Image via

The secret lies in focusing on the cents, not the dollars.

Tip #1. Nothing Special Always Ends in .99

If you see a product with a price ending in .99, don't get excited, this product has not been marked down at all, and is the original low price. Still a deal, but be on the lookout for better.

Tip #2. Manager Specials Always End in .97

This is a limited-time, manager-decided deal specific to your local Costco Wholesale store, so get on it before they're gone. This pretty much means the manager is trying to clear the item out, either to get rid of it for good, or to get rid of excess stock.

I confirmed this one with a local Costco manager, but he wasn't very well informed about the rest of these pricing guidelines.

Tip #3. Manufacturer Deals End in 9s (Excluding .99)

69 and 79 cents may seem unconventional, and they are, but these odd ending prices indicate a test-ride of a product by the manufacturer offered at a price lower than Costco would like. These .59, .69, .79, and .89 endings can possibly be better deals than at other stores, but they won't be better than the .97 manager markdowns.

Tip #4. Inventory-Dumping Deals End in .88 or .00

A price tag ending in .00 or .88 usually indicates that the manager wants this item out and gone for good. This could be horribly selling items, or returned merchandise that's still sellable, so jump on these limited numbers when you can. Just make sure to inspect the item closely before committing.

Tip #5. Discontinued Items Will Have Asterisks

Any sign with an asterisk (*) indicates that this item is discontinued, so it's basically on death row. These will be scarce and limited, and soon to be gone off the face of the earth.

Don't confuse this asterisk with any asterisks in the product headline, as seen above in Tip #2's photo, which emphasizes the item was "Made in USA," not discontinued.

Shop Smarter

The next time you're shopping at Costco, take a closer look at the price tags to ensure that you're getting the best deal you could possibly be getting, especially when you're already paying for a membership. For more details on these Costco pricing tips, check out Len Rapoport's article on Hubpages.

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Costco image via Shutterstock, Prices image via Lisa Pinehill/Flickr

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