21 Secrets to Shopping at Costco

A Costco membership opens doors, quite literally, to a vast selection of bulk-size groceries and household goods selling at discounted prices.

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A Costco membership opens doors, quite literally, to a vast selection of bulk-size groceries and household goods selling at discounted prices. But buying potato chips and batteries by the case is just the start. The warehouse club also stocks everything from tires and furniture to electronics and jewelry. With so many items to choose from, smart shopping expert Trae Bodge (opens in new tab) says it’s critical to bring a list to avoid overspending, particularly on seasonal items the store loves to put right inside the front door.

List or no list, shoppers seem to like the savings and selection. Costco has 53 million paid members around the world, with an 88% renewal rate worldwide (91% in the U.S. and Canada). The chain ranks first in customer satisfaction among department and discount stores, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, edging out rivals Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale. Thinking of taking the Costco plunge? Here’s what you should know before investing at least $60 in an annual membership.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com
Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and is a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C.