I have a confession to make. I hate shopping at Costco. Don’t get me wrong; I do think that they offer great prices on groceries. You can save a lot of money shopping there. That’s why I do the monthly roundup of grocery coupons from the Costco coupon book. I think it’s worth it for a lot of reasons. Nevertheless, I do not enjoy the experience of shopping at that store.
I recently read an article from Kiplinger with some Costco secrets that explain why I dislike it so much. Moreover, they show that the store can actually entice you to spend more money on groceries. There are all of these dirty little Costco secrets that eat away at the savings you shop there for. Knowing them can arm you against that waste.
Not Really a Secret: Costco is Confusing and Overwhelming
One of the Costco secrets on this list isn’t really a secret at all. Costco is designed to be purposely confusing for shoppers. The layout is complicated and messy. This is the number one reason that I don’t enjoy shopping at Costco. I’m used to my tiny, well-organized local grocer and farmer’s markets. Shopping at those is a pleasant experience. Shopping at Costco feels like entering an athletic competition.
I didn’t quite realize that this could have an impact on the cost of my trips there. Thinking about it, though, it makes perfect sense. If you don’t know where things are then you have to wander around the store. As you do, you’re more likely to cave to impulse buys. Moreover, the store is overwhelming. I definitely know that as I deal with more and more stimuli, my ability to make good decisions gets weaker and weaker.
Therefore, Costco secrets sometimes tricks me into spending more – instead of saving lots – because I’m overwhelmed. The number one way to battle this is to mentally prepare and get emotionally grounded before entering the store. Make a plan. Stick to a list. Get in and get out.
There is a Reason that Costco Gives Free Food Samples
Who doesn’t like the free food samples at Costco? The store is known for them. But have you ever stopped to wonder why they spend so much money offering those samples? This is one of the Costco secrets. It’s likely because they get more money back than they spend. In other words, those free food samples end up costing you as a customer.
The main reason, of course, is that you are tempted to buy whatever you’ve just sampled. It’s more than that, though. As different samples trigger your taste buds, you may be more likely to impulse-buy other foods as well. The cheese you tasted was so yummy that you don’t just want to buy that cheese; you also want to buy other kinds of cheese and perhaps wine to go with it.
Then There Is That Food Court
It’s almost funny that people spend money at the Costco food court when there are all of those free samples available. However, there are some great low prices on meals there. Therefore, people take a rest and eat a bit. Have you ever paid attention to all of the items that are stocked right around the food court? Consciously or subconsciously, you may be prone to purchasing the items on display there. That’s because the longer that you sit there, eating your affordable meal, the more likely it is that your brain will notice those items and want to buy them.
Be Cautious About Groceries That Should Save You Money
Finally, there are two staple features about Costco that should save you money but can backfire. First to consider is the Kirkland store brand. Many people assume that it’s always the cheapest option at the store. However, that’s not always the case. It may be, but it may not be, particularly if you have Costco coupons for other items. Shop carefully when it comes to the store brand.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t always save you money to shop in bulk. Costco’s items are huge. That can save you a lot of money if you need a lot of food. However, if you end up buying items in bulk then throwing them out, then you’re just wasting money. Always plan in advance to buy the bulk items that you need in Costco while purchasing smaller items at other stores.