Costco is a great place to shop if you are budget conscious. You can save money on food, alcohol, and more. To shop at Costco though, you need a membership. And it costs $60 for the year.
This article tells you all about it as well as the exact ways to get your Costco Membership at no cost. You may be wondering if there’s any way to get a free Costco membership.
Perhaps you’re on a budget, or just don’t want to have to pay for a membership.
Now, I’m going to level with you here; Costco does not hand out free memberships. In fact, it doesn’t even have a free trial membership, although there are ways to shop at Costco without a membership!
The Cost of a Costco Membership
To get access to that kind of pricing – there’s a cost. Costco memberships range from $60 (Standard Gold Star) to $120 (for Gold Star Executive, which comes with a 2% cashback rebate each year).
Those fees are not insignificant. And they just so happen to be how Costco makes a good share of its profits.
In fact, their 2020 annual report indicates that 88.5% of Costco’s net income comes from its membership fees from 100 million members worldwide.
Costco’s markups on food pricing are razor-thin, which benefits its members. The more food essentials you buy and eat from Costco, the more you benefit (just stay away from most of the other stuff).
30 Best Ways to Get Free Costco Membership
1. Buy Your Gas At Costco Stations
You can save lots of money but buying gas from Costco. Using your membership card and your credit card will save you lots of money.
The amount you can end up saving over the course of a year can easily pay for your membership, thereby allowing you to enjoy being a member for, technically, FREE.
Shopping for gas is one of the best perks you can enjoy from joining the Costco warehouse club.
2. Take Advantage Of The Refund Policy Of Being A Costco Member
Costco’s membership refund policy allows you to receive a refund of your full membership fee if you are not satisfied.
In other words, you will get to create your own free trial and save money. You can cancel and technically use the membership for free.
Of course, don’t do this with dubious intentions. You should only ask for a refund if you are really not satisfied with your membership.
3. Buy Movie Tickets At Costco
If you love going to the movies, you can get your tickets at Costco stores in advance. Doing this means that you can buy tickets at the cheapest price.
With your Costco membership, you can buy your tickets as well as snack vouchers at reduced prices.
4. Make Some Inquiries about Possible Costco Free Membership
You can ask the manager of a Costco store if you can get a membership at a discount. You can ask for a discount for yourself or a group of people.
One Kingged.com member used this and it worked very well for her. It can work for you too if you try. It is possible that your effort will pay off, and you can receive a discounted membership.
If the manager doesn’t offer a discounted membership to your group, at least you tried!
5. Buy Costco’s Kirkland Signature Brand Products
Kirkland Signature is Costco’s private label. These are Costco’s own products that they exclusively sell at their stores or on their website.
Many of the products are from known brands but are just using the Kirkland label.
6. Use a Discounted Costco Gift Card
You can get gift cards at a discount on gift card resale sites. On these websites, you can purchase a gift card for less cash than it’s worth.
For example, you could get a $50 Costco gift card for just $40. While you’ve only paid $40 for the gift card, you still have $50 to spend at Costco, meaning you’ve already offset your membership cost by $10.
Here are some places to find discounted Costco gift cards.
7. Get Rebates from your Costco Trip with Ibotta
If you’re not using Ibotta already, you really should be!
As I explained in detail in my Ibotta review, Ibotta is an app that gives you money when you upload a photo of your receipt.
It’ll give you rebates for shopping at all sorts of different stores, including Costco of course, and for purchasing a variety of products.
How it works is simple:
- You open up the app and browse offers.
- You choose the ones you want.
- Purchase those items when you’re at the store.
- Upload a photo of your receipt as proof of purchase
- Get paid.
You can get anywhere from $1 to $3 back for each item with Ibotta.
I’ve even seen rebates higher than that!
This means that if you got $3 back on 10 items at Costco or any other store, you could make $30!
That’s half of your membership paid for already.
8. And Use Checkout51 for Even More Rebates
Checkout51 (review) is another app that pays you for uploading your receipts.
There’s no reason you can’t upload your receipts to both Ibotta and Checkout51 and get double the rebates.
Checkout51 works in the same way as Ibotta where you get rebates when you purchase qualifying items and upload a photo of your receipt.
You can find rebates of between $1 and $3. Again, you could easily make $10 to $30 and offset the cost of your Costco membership.
- Join Checkout51 here.
9. Get Free Cash for a Costco Membership with Swagbucks
Another way to get a free Costco membership is to use Swagbucks. Now, Swagbucks doesn’t hand out free Costco memberships directly.
But, you can easily make the money there to pay for your membership.
Swagbucks gives you a point called Swag Bucks or SB when you complete tasks that you likely do anyway, such as:
- Playing games
- Shopping online
- Browsing the internet
- Taking surveys
- Watching videos
- Completing offers.
In exchange for doing these tasks, you get points. You can redeem these points for cash right to your PayPal account.
On this Reddit thread, people say that they earn from $30 to more than $125 a month with Swagbucks. This means you could easily use your Swagbucks cash to get a free Costco membership.
- Join Swagbucks here.
10. Get Cash Instantly for a Free Costco Membership with Qmee
Another way to get free cash for a Costco membership is to use Qmee.
If you need cash fast it’s an awesome site because it has no minimum cash-out amount. So you can withdraw your earnings at any time and have them sent to your PayPal account within minutes!
The site pays you for doing easy activities, like:
- Shopping online
- Searching the internet
- Taking surveys
So you can easily cover the cost of your Costco membership with your Qmee earnings.
11. Make $60 Just for Signing up for Websites
You could make $60 right now just for signing up for these websites:
- ShopAtHome: $10 PayPal cash or Amazon gift card
- BeFrugal: $10 cash bonus
- Rakuten: $10 cash bonus or $10 Walmart gift card
- InboxDollars: $5 bonus
- Squishy cash: $3 bonus
- Swagbucks: $10 bonus
- PointClub: $5 bonus
That’s $60 to cover the cost of your Costco membership!
12. Purchase Kirkland Brand Items
Kirkland is Costco’s own brand. So it’s sort of like the generic brand at a grocery store. I’ve found Kirkland products, from its candy to its paper towels to be of great quality.
The best part is that these Kirkland products are often cheaper than name-brand ones.
You can easily offset the cost of your Costco membership by purchasing Kirkland brand products by shopping at Kirklands.com.
You can also buy Kirkland Signature products at Walmart.com or your local Walmart store.
If you save $5 purchasing Kirkland brand coffee instead of a name-brand one, that’s already $5 off the cost of your membership, with the purchase of just one item.
13. Buy Tires at Costco
Replacing the tires on your car is important for your safety and it gets you better gas mileage as well.
One of the best places to purchase tires is at Costco. Not only is the service great, but the prices are competitive too.
You often get add-on services to your purchase from the service department, such as lifetime rotation.
Warranties, replacements, and air inflation with nitrogen, help to keep the tire pressure more stable. All of these extras can help you to save money in the future.
The best part is that Costco often provides huge discounts on its tires, which can also offset the cost of a membership.
At the time of writing, you could get $70 off any set of four Bridgestone tires and $40 off tire installation. That more than covers the cost of a Costco membership.
14. Purchase Gift Cards and Save Between 25% and 35%
Okay, a really easy way to recoup the cost of a Costco membership is to purchase gift cards.
Costco has some awesome deals on bulk gift cards that can save you a lot of cash.
It has packages of bulk gift cards to popular retailers at great prices. Generally, you’ll save between 25% and 35% on these gift cards.
You could give these out as gifts during the holidays. And if you have lots of people to buy for, this may offset your membership cost.
Or if you shop at a particular store, you could spend those gift cards yourself and save money.
15. Buy Low-cost Gas at Costco
Since Costco offers low-cost fuel, you can reduce how much you spend on gas each month if you purchase it at your local warehouse.
These savings can offset your membership cost easily, especially if you’re taking a long trip somewhere.
Since there are lots of Costco locations across the country, you can easily find a station to fill up at a low cost.
16. Purchase Movie Tickets
If you often go to the movies, you may want to purchase your tickets at Costco. Often you can find deals on 10 packs of movie tickets, for about $80 to $90.
So you’re paying just $8 or $9 a ticket, which is often way less than what you’d spend on most movie tickets nowadays.
Buy your snacks at Costco and take them into the movie theater with you too, and you’ll avoid overpaying for food at the theater.
17. Lookout for Costco’s Monthly Coupon Books for Instant Savings
Each month, Costco releases a book of coupons that can save you money on everything from soup to garden furniture.
I’ve always found awesome savings in these coupon booklets for at least a few of the things I buy, anyway.
I’d highly recommend you browse this booklet each month to see where you could save money. These savings can offset your membership in no time.
What’s great about Costco coupons is that you don’t even need to take them to the register with you.
These coupon discounts are automatically applied at the checkout. So you save money instantly. Keep track of your savings, and it’s likely that they’ll cover the cost of your membership.
18. Take Advantage of Costco’s Price Adjustment Policy
Costco has a really generous price adjustment policy in place. When the price of an item you bought drops, Costco will issue you a credit for the difference between the price you paid and the promotional price.
You can get the price adjustment if your purchase was made online at Costco.com and was within 30 days prior to the change in price. Credits are typically issued within 3 to 5 business days.
You can also get a price adjustment on items you purchased in-store. You just need to ask at the membership counter at the Costco warehouse where you made the purchase.
19. Earn the Cost of Membership by Taking Online Surveys
You could get a free Costco membership by taking surveys.
Sure, survey sites don’t directly give out Costco memberships. But they do give you an easy way to make money that you can use to get a membership at no cost.
You can make $60 from surveys and use that cash to pay for your membership.
Here are a few survey sites that pay:
- Survey Junkie – $1 to $3 per survey.
- Ipsos i-Say – $0.10 to $1 per survey.
- Opinion Outpost – $0.05 to $5 per survey
- Pinecone Research – $3 per survey
- Darwin’s Data – $25 per survey
Now, I’d recommend you sign up to a few different sites as you’ll increase the number of surveys you qualify for, giving you more opportunities to earn cash.
20. Upgrade Your Costco Membership and get 2% Back on all Your Purchases
Consider upgrading your Costco membership to an Executive Rewards one, as it offers far more benefits.
A regular Costco membership costs you $60. And an Executive membership costs $120.
Since you’re wondering how to get a Costco membership for free, me suggesting that you pay more for membership may seem counterproductive but hear me out.
When you’re an Executive member, you get 2% cashback on your annual spending, up to $1,000!
21. Buy Meals From The Costco Food Court
You can get back your Costo membership fee by buying food in the food court.
If you are not a member, then take advantage of the opportunity of eating inside the store. You will be motivated to join when you eat and walk around to see what is inside the store.
You can order a variety of food from the Costco food court. Common meals you can relish include hot dogs, rotisserie chicken, soft-serve ice cream, pizza, soda, pretzels, and more.
22. Buy At Costco.com
You can get Costco membership deals for free when you shop online. Yes, shopping from the Costco online store can help you save more as you may not have to pay a surcharge fee.
Non-members of Costco will pay an extra 5 percent for items purchased online. The Costco.com website is definitely the right place to get good bargains and save money.
23. Use The “Price Protection” Plan
You might know the feeling of buying something and then watching the price drop the next day, week or month.
With a Costco membership, you won’t have to feel that pain anymore. If you shop at Costco often, just hang on to your receipts.
It is likely you will buy something that goes on sale later or has a price reduction of some kind. That kind of thing happens to most of us all the time.
24. Maximize Your Cash Back Rewards
That’s right, you can buy a card that offers you cash rewards. The cash can only be used at Costco, but it can help to completely offset your annual membership fee.
This cash-back program is for executive-level membership only. Instead of 60 dollars, you will pay 120 dollars but there are perks that come along with the upgrade.
With this level of membership, you get a ton of extras that just aren’t available to the average gold cardholder.
25. Create Your Own Test Trial
At Sam’s Club, you can get a free membership for the day just to see how you like it before you buy a whole year membership.
Unlike other warehouse stores, like Sam’s Club, Costco does not offer a free trial experience. However, there is a grey area that will allow some of you some wiggle room.
If you want to think outside the box, you can create your own free trial.
The official Costco membership refund policy says, “We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.”
26. Membership Discount for Military
If you’re a member of the military, you can get a free $30 Costco shop card. This means you have already saved 50% on your membership!
This offer is available to active duty, veteran, and retired military members, as well as their spouse or a dependent.
27. Membership Discount for Students
If you’re a student, you could get a $20 Costco Shop Card when you join as a new Gold Star member at Costco.com.
To access this offer, you need to join UNiDAYS or log in.
28. Membership Discount for Teachers
Costco also provides a deal for teachers. If you’re a teacher, you can get a $30 Costco Shop card when you join Costco as a new member.
29. Look Out for a Costco Gold Star Membership Deal
Sometimes you can find deals on Costco memberships on sites like Groupon and Living Social.
For example, there was a deal Groupon used to offer where you could get exclusive coupons and a $20 Costco cash card when you got a one-year Costco Gold Star membership.
This Costco membership package was valued at up to $148.98.
This meant that although you’d pay $60 for the annual membership, it was valued at up to $148.98.
You had to be a new member to take advantage of this deal, so it wasn’t valid on the renewal of an existing membership.
With the deal you’d get:
- A One-Year Costco Gold Star Membership, including a membership card for the Primary Cardholder and a free Household Card for anyone who’s at least 18 years old and lives at the same address.
- A $20 Costco Cash Card.
- Exclusive coupons for a variety of products, like Kirkland paper towels and fresh meat. These coupons were worth $68.98.
- $25 off an order worth $250 on Costco.com
30. Free Costco membership on Reddit?
Reddit has a subreddit dedicated to all things Costco where users share anything from tips for saving money on individual items at Costco to the latest deals.
They have found and of course current Costco membership promo codes and deals.
If you like, you can subscribe (it’s free) to the r/Costco subreddit so you can be notified of all new posts, or just check the subreddit for new posts periodically.
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Finding a Costco membership deal can be a challenge, but it is worth the effort. No, you may not be able to get a membership for free.
However, there are many ways you can make up the $60 or $120 you spend on your membership simply by taking advantage of the price savings at Costco.
The potential savings can be huge, but you need to make sure that membership is worth it for you and your family.
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