And you can use this hack right from your couch.

By Kara Cutruzzula
January 16, 2019
Getty: ablokhin

Fans of bulk goods and cheap-yet-delicious rotisserie chicken probably may know this already, but you don’t have to be a Costco member to shop at the beloved retailer.

We've previously shared the best way to shop at Costco without coughing up the cash for an annual membership: Asking a card-holding pal to buy you a Costco gift card, also known as Costco Cash, which can be used at any warehouse without a membership. 

But there are more ways to take advantage of the store’s low prices without having to find someone to buy you a Costco Cash card. Many Costco goods are sold through the grocery delivery service Instacart, which doesn’t require a Costco membership to place an order. (You can see if Instacart is available in your area; a nearby warehouse is necessary to place an order for Costco items.)

Instacart sells Costco products including perishable goods and items from their Kirkland Signature brand, and works by sending personal shoppers to local stores to pick up your goods and deliver them to your home.

Before you whip out your phone, however, you should know that Costco does often place much higher prices on Instacart items than those in your local warehouse. Mostly, it's to account for service and delivery, but also could be seen as a way to deter non-members from shopping without having to sign up for a membership.

The fee for delivery can also be steep—it can vary between $5 to $15 for orders—there’s the option of joining Instacart Express, which comes with free shipping (including same-day delivery) for all orders over $35. You can choose a two-hour delivery window, even for same-day orders.

An Instacart Express membership costs $99 per year, and allows you to order items and receive same-day delivery from many other local retailers, depending on your location. An Express membership could be a good value if you need other non-Costco items delivered as well.

More on shopping smart at Costco: 

But if you want to avoid the yearly membership fee, Instacart Express offers a two-week free trial period with no delivery or service fees. You could try out the service, stock up on Costco goods during that period, then cancel your subscription before the two-week trial period is over.

Michael Brochstein—SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Costco’s own website also offers same-day delivery for perishable goods or household supplies with a delivery order minimum of $35. You must be a Costco member—paying $60 for a Gold Star membership or $120 for a Gold Star Executive membership—to take advantage of this service.

Of course, another way to purchase Costco items without a membership is to make a trip to a warehouse with a friend who is a member. Costco allows members to bring their children and up to two guests during each visit. But be ready to Venmo your buddy: Only Costco members can purchase items in the store.

If you do commit to buying a membership, there are plenty of ways to save money every time you shop, from getting cash back rewards with the Costco Anywhere Visa card or by picking up one of their famously cheap rotisserie chickens.

Plus, there’s always the food court. Membership isn’t required to grab a meal and take it all in. Sometimes, snacking is the best shopping.

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