Here’s How You Can Totally Shop At Costco Without A Membership


It’s kind of crazy the things our brains remember, but my “not-a-member” moment at Costco is on the list for me. My husband and I went shopping for a TV and asked the person at the door if we could just look and see what they had before buying a membership. The look that the employee gave me felt like they were staring into the eyes of a criminal. “Members only!” she stated. A weird feeling of rejection set in, and Best Buy ended up getting our money.

So, it’s almost like a personal win to hear that yes, there’s a way to get in the doors and shop at Costco without actually buying a membership. Those out there who, like me, are timid about breaking the rules may recoil in fear when they hear about it. But according to Eating Well, this hack has been verified by Costco and is totally legal.

Here’s what you need to do if you’re in the market to buy something big at Costco.

First, you’ll need a friend with a membership. That friend can purchase you Costco Cash, which can be used at any location (or online).

Within the terms and conditions of Costco Cash, it says that non-members are able to use it.

That means that if you have enough Costco Cash, you can avoid the yearly membership. It adds a separate step and you may not feel all that great doing it, but you shouldn’t be hassled by an employee.

I guess it makes sense. You can literally only use Costco Cash at Costco, so by refusing a sale, things might get very messy.

Over on Reddit, someone had a similar question. They got a lot of Costco Cash, but didn’t have a membership so they were afraid of getting turned down at the door.

How does a Costco Cash Card work without a membership? Can I buy from the warehouse without hassle? from r/Costco

Luckily, plenty of warehouse fans confirmed that they’ve done this before. All you need to do is be honest.

One person shared that the only rule is that you couldn’t use another card. So if you bought something and went over your Costco Cash, you’d have to use real cash in order to make up the difference. Sounds easy enough, if you’re prepared.

But, some Costco locations are a little more strict. This one in particular has a method to avoid people constantly using the cards instead of buying a membership.

In this store, they keep an eye out for repeat offenders. Even though, honestly, no corporation can force you into buying a membership.

But the best thing to do is call in advance, especially if you already have the Costco Cash on hand. That way, you won’t feel like you’re breaking the rules.

While it’s totally fine for a very occasional purchase, membership does have a lot of perks. For one, it’s great for gasoline.

Also, you get your own card with a photo on it. Any sort of new ID really makes you feel like a true adult.

Plus, it’s perfect if you love bulk food and samples. If you’ve never been to a Costco before, trust me. It’s an experience.

But, it’s understandable as to why you might want to check it out before signing up for a membership.

If only they had trials, so you knew what kinds of products they sold.

Instead, a good maneuver is to find a friend with a membership. There’s no rule that everyone in your party needs their own card to get in.

Just know, it’s a lot like Target. You go in for one thing, like dish detergent, and leave with $200 worth of stuff.

So, how do I know about Costco?

Well, months after the TV incident, I realized I needed to bite the bullet and just sign up.

While I’m not a member anymore, it was like a non-stop party every time I walked in.


You’ll be able to see it yourself if someone gifts you some Costco Cash.

And don’t laugh, it’s a good gift.

Nothing says “I love you” like a gift that’ll ensure you’ll never run out of Glade Plug-Ins and paper towels.

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