10 Ways to Get a Free Costco Membership (Plus 7 Tips for Savings!)

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Costco is one of the leading membership club warehouses that people enjoy shopping at to get excellent deals on bulk products.

You can find everything from huge containers of laundry detergent to bulk packages of meat at your local Costco.

But with the savings you get also comes an annual membership cost, which some people don’t particularly love to pay just to shop.

Of course, with your membership, you’ll get access to all the exclusive deals that only members can get.

Still, if you’re someone who avoids subscriptions, then you might not see the benefits in a Costco membership.

For this article, I’ve researched some ways to get a Costco membership for free.

They’re legitimate tips that could work for you, depending on how much you shop, what reward sites you use, and what other resources you have to help you save.

And if those tips don’t work for you, I also have tips for getting discounted memberships and for shopping at Costco without a membership!

How to Get a Free Costco Membership

Unfortunately, there is no free trial of Costco like other membership clubs provide.

You can’t sign up for a 30-day trial to test it out and make sure you want to become a member before purchasing a Costco membership.

But there are other ways to save on your membership each year, and these tips could even help you get a free Costco membership.

Keep an Eye on Costco Newsletters

You never know when Costco itself might release some deals on its memberships — including maybe a free membership or two as part of a contest or giveaway.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to sign up for the Costco newsletter.

You’ll get emails about Costco deals and other promotions that could point to big savings, even on your membership.

While you’re at it, consider following the company on its social media channels to make sure you don’t miss anything there, either.

Check Groupon

Groupon is the ultimate deals site, and it sometimes has offers for Costco memberships.

You may not find one technically for free here.

But I have seen deals that give you $40 or higher on a Costco shop card to use when you sign up for a membership.

When you think about it, that’s almost like getting your membership for free because you’re getting what you paid back on a card to use while you shop.

So keep your eyes peeled for deals!

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Use Costco Gift Cards to Buy One

Costco is one of many places that sells gift cards for its stores.

If you ask others to get you Costco gift cards for your birthday or another special occasion, then you can use those gift cards to order a membership for free.

Follow Along on Reddit

Did you know that there’s a subreddit for Costco?

You can find it here.

This subreddit is a vault of information for all things Costco, brought to you by real people who have memberships and love shopping there.

They’ll let you know all the insider information they find out, including new products arriving and specials on Costco memberships.

If you don’t have a Reddit account yet, get one! It’s free to join, and you can follow tons of deal subreddits just like this one.

Feel Free to Browse Before Buying

Although there’s no actual free trial at Costco, there is sort of one.

That’s because Costco lets you enter the store for free and browse all you want.

You just can’t buy anything without a membership.

So if you get stopped at the door by someone checking your card, you can always just tell them you want to look around before buying a membership.

They’ll then let you browse so that you can make a better decision if you want to buy or not.

Turn in Your Ibotta Cash

I love Ibotta for shopping.

If you don’t have it yet, sign up for an account.

Any time you go grocery shopping, you can redeem rebates on stuff you bought to give you cash on Ibotta.

Save up that cash to purchase your Costco membership.

Costco is one of the many stores that partners with Ibotta, so you can even earn money on everything you buy on your Costco shopping trips.

You might even be able to earn enough to cover next year’s membership, too.

Don’t Love It? Get a Refund

If you did buy a Costco membership but you’re not totally loving it, then you can get your money back.

Costco wants to see its members happy, which is why it offers a full refund for members who might not be as happy, so you’re not stuck paying for something you don’t want.

Or, maybe you decided you just won’t use your membership as much as you thought you would, so the cost isn’t worth it to you.

You can simply head to the customer service counter at your local Costco or call Costco’s customer service hotline to get a refund.

After your membership is canceled, you won’t be able to shop there until you reinstate it, so make sure you get everything you want first.

Ask Your Employer

Some employers offer Costco memberships to their employees as a benefit of working there, so it might be something you can get through your job.

And if it’s not available, it could be something you ask for during staff meetings or through employee feedback forms.

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It’s especially common to find this benefit with companies whose employees can work from home and may benefit from shopping with Costco for some supplies that they can use to work from home.

But any employer might be willing to cover the cost of their employees’ memberships for the year.

Ask About Group Discounts

Do you have a large group of people who want to get a Costco membership, like a church group, nonprofit organization, or even just a bunch of family members?

You might ask the customer service counter if it’s possible to get a group discount based on the large number of people who want to sign up.

They might offer a percentage off or a few dollars off each membership, essentially making some of them free.

Check Swagbucks and Other Reward Sites

Swagbucks and other reward sites often have Costco as one of their partnered stores to help you earn money when you shop.

For example, Swagbucks has a whole page dedicated to Costco.

Use that page to find exclusive deals to shop and save with.

When you do, you can earn cash back into your Swagbucks account.

When you have enough for a PayPal gift card, cash out your rewards and use them to buy your Costco membership.

How to Shop at Costco Without a Membership

Don’t have a membership or don’t want to get one?

There are still some ways you can shop at Costco without having one — you just need to know some insider secrets!

Here they are.

Use Costco Shop Cards

A Costco shop card is like a gift card, except that you can continue to reload them as you please.

It’s basically a card that’s used the same as cash, and anyone can get one if they’re a member.

And if you have one, you can use it in place of a membership card to get in the door!

So, find a member of Costco, pay them for a shop card, and ask them to get you one.

Once you have one, you can reload the card any time you want to shop again and use it for your shopping trip.

Get Groceries Delivered

Some Costcos participate in grocery pickup or delivery through Instacart and other independent delivery services.

If yours does, you could get your groceries delivered without a membership!

Most of these apps don’t ask you for your membership details before shopping through them for grocery delivery.

Just order what you want and someone will deliver it or you can pick it up at the store.

Shop Online

You can utilize online shopping through Costco’s website without a membership.

There are some members-only items that you won’t be able to buy, but other than that, you’re free to shop, even as a non-member.

The downside is that you’ll be charged a little extra on your purchase since you’re not a member.

Tag Along with a Member

You can shop with a Costco member without needing your own membership.

However, only the Costco member may purchase items, so if you want to buy anything, you’ll need to work it out with them to pay for your stuff.

Get Your Prescriptions

Costco is well known for having some of the most affordable prescription prices in the industry, which is why so many people choose to go there.

You don’t need a membership if you decide to switch your prescriptions to Costco.

When you arrive, just let the person at the door know that you’re heading to the pharmacy.

Buy Certain Items

Some Costco items, in addition to prescriptions, don’t require a membership to buy.

You can also get immunizations at Costco with no membership.

You can buy alcohol without a membership and get food from the food court without being a member.

So, there are some perks for non-members too!

Where to Find Costco Membership Deals or a Discount

There are some other ways that you could score a Costco membership for a discount, even if you aren’t able to get one for free.

First, determine what discounts you might be eligible for, as Costco does allow certain groups a discount on their annual membership.

For example, Costco partners with ID.me to allow current and past military members a discount on their membership.

You can get a $30 Costco shop card when you sign up for a membership, which is basically like putting $30 in your pocket to shop with.

If you’re a teacher, you can get a $30 shop card as well from Costco when you sign up for a membership using SheerID.

Students can also receive a $20 Costco shop card when they sign up for UniDays and link their account to Costco when they sign up for a membership.

Don’t belong to any of those groups?

Don’t worry, because you still might have some other ways to save on a membership.

Before I sign up for anything, I always check promo code and deal sites.

They’re super helpful in compiling all the deals you want to know about without having to search for them yourself.

Head to your favorite promo code sites and search for Costco to see if it has a dedicated page with Costco deals. If it does, you could find membership savings there.

Search deal sites, too, like The Krazy coupon Lady and Slickdeals, to find Costco-specific deals that might help you discount your membership.

Costco Membership FAQs

Have more questions about Costco memberships?

The answers to these frequently asked questions may help.

Is there a free Costco membership?

No. Generally, Costco doesn’t give out free Costco memberships, and you won’t likely find a coupon or promo code that’ll give you one.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get one.

Use the tips above to claim a free Costco membership or earn money toward your annual membership fees.

What is the cheapest Costco membership?

The cheapest Costco membership is $60 per year.

This gives you full access to a membership for one year from the purchase date with a household card, which is valid at all Costco stores.

The Executive Membership is double the price, $120 per year.

That membership gives you 2% cash back on your Costco purchases and has additional benefits and savings for members.

So, if you spend more than $6,000 a year at Costco, your 2% cash back would cover your annual membership fee of $120.

Can I get a day pass to Costco?

Costco doesn’t offer free day passes to shoppers.

If you want to buy from the store, you’ll need a membership, which is why paying for one is so valuable.

Can you let someone borrow your Costco card?

If a person lives in your household, you can allow them to borrow your card.

Costco gives each member a free household card for a household member to use, so that’s the card you’ll give them.

Unfortunately, you’re not able to share this card with a friend or relative who doesn’t live in your home with you.

If you’re looking to borrow a Costco card from someone, it’ll need to be from a roommate or household member who has a membership.

Save Money on Your Costco Membership

Hopefully, these tips help you find some savings on your Costco membership for the year.

And if not, remember that you’re saving just by shopping at Costco!

Your savings will quickly cover the cost of your membership, probably in just a couple of Costco shopping trips.

If you know of other people who are looking to save at Costco or on a membership to Costco, feel free to share this post with them to let them in on some tips!

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