10 Things You Can Do at Costco Without a Membership

Just because you don't have a Costco membership card doesn't mean you can't shop in this popular store. Here is the proof!


Costco is an extremely popular store with Americans. It is probably for this reason that more than 94 million people are members of this store. To become a Costco member, you have to pay a certain amount each year. Although this has several advantages, this amount is not negligible. If you are hesitant to pay for the subscription, you can enjoy many aspects of Costco for free. Indeed, you may be surprised to learn that some of the best features of this store are available to non-members!

1. Buy alcohol

In some states in the United States, it is illegal to require a membership for the purchase of alcohol, so you can buy alcohol even if you do not have a Costco membership.

Alcohol at Costco is very cheap. In addition, Kirkland brand alcohol is of high quality, tastes good and represents about half the price of most branded spirits. Here is a list of states that allow you to legally buy alcohol in this store without being a member:

  • Arizona;
  • California;
  • Connecticut;
  • Delaware;
  • Hawaii;
  • Indiana;
  • Massachusetts;
  • Michigan;
  • Minnesota;
  • New York;
  • Texas;
  • Vermont.

Be aware that many employees are not aware that it is possible to buy alcohol without membership, so expect them to check with a manager before allowing you to buy your favorite drink.

2. Fill up on gas

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You need a Costco payment card for this, but the Costco website indicates that Costco members and non-members who use the Costco payment card can purchase gasoline at the gas station.

3. Shop at Costco Online

Business InsiderYou can buy most household items on the Costco website, but this is not necessarily to your advantage, as you will pay more than you would in store because of the 5% surcharge for orders from non-members. So it works better if you’re the kind of person who likes to buy only a few items a year from Costco.

4. Perform an eye exam

You can take the famous Costco eye exam for $60 whether you are a Costco member or not. Costco’s optometrists will allow you to make an appointment even if you are not a member, but you will still need to be a member or have a Costco credit card to purchase lenses or glasses.

5. Eat at the food court

It is a little-known secret that the cafeteria is open to members and non-members alike. Do you want a meal that is as delicious as it is cheap? Costco’s $1.50 hot dog is unbeatable. You can also get a huge pizza in the cafeteria for only $10 (which is a bargain), and you can do all this without a subscription. (Just make sure you have cash!)

6. Go to the pharmacy to get your medication

You can use the Costco pharmacy (and get its low prices) without being a member. Whenever you need your medication, simply ask your doctor to call the pharmacy, then go to the Costco pharmacy as you would in any other pharmacy.

7. Get Costco’s low prices at Kohl’s, Target and more

Who needs a Costco membership when you can get the lower Costco price on the exact items? Some retailers will offer the same price as Costco. All you have to do is show them proof of price – the Costco brochure received by mail or the price of the item posted on the website works. Here is a list of retailers that offer you the same prices as Costco:

  • Kohl’s;
  • Best Buy;
  • Fry’s Electronics;
  • Lowe’s;
  • Staples;
  • Petsmart;
  • Petco;
  • Sears;
  • Target;
  • JCPenney.

8. Use a gift card

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Costco gift cards are known as Costco Cash Cards. They have no expiry date and are available in amounts from $25 to $1,000.

Only members can buy Costco credit cards or add money to them, but anyone can use them as a payment method.

Specifically, under the terms of the card, this means that “non-members can use Costco Payment Cards to make purchases at any Costco store in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and online”. The 5% surcharge for non-members will still apply to online purchases, however.

If you don’t shop often at Costco, a Costco Cash Card may be more useful than a membership card. So consider asking a friend or relative who is a Costco member to buy you a card.

9. Use a family card

If you live with a Costco member, you could get a free membership card in the form of what Costco calls a “Household Card”.

Costco’s individual membership is accompanied by a membership card for the main member and a free family card. This last card can be used by any person over 18 years of age and living at the same address as the main member.

Costco’s business membership also includes a free family card for each paying member, i.e. the main member and all additional members (also called affiliates).

10. Go as a guest

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Here is another option for people who want to shop at a Costco club, but who won’t do it often.

Costco allows its members to bring up to two guests each time they visit a club. Only members can buy items, but you could refund your friend or relative who invited you.