The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

How to Shop at Costco Without A Membership

How to Shop at Costco Without A Membership
Recently I found the perfect pair of table lamps at Costco thanks to a tip from a reader. The problem? I'm not a Costco member. And only members can enjoy the amazing deals that Costco has to offer. Or can they...?

As it turns out, there are many ways to shop at Costco even if you're not a card-carrying member.

Here's how:

1. Shop with a member. Members are welcome to bring their children and up to two guests into the warehouse. Only Costco members may purchase items. Thanks to a friend who is a member, this is how I was able to acquire my lamps!

2. Use a Costco Cash card. You must be a Costco member to purchase or reload Costco Cash Cards. Members and non-members may use the Costco Cash Cards to shop at any Costco location and online at

3. Use Instacart. If you have Instacart with Costco in your area, you may be able to buy select Costco items without being a member, delivered to your doorstop! My sister is a Costco member but also shops Costco via Instacart in the Chicago area.

4. Shop online at You don't have to be a member to shop online at, however a 5% service fee will be applied at checkout. Also, the warehouse has more items than the website (the lamps, for example, were not available online).

5. Just buy a membership! I was told by friends and readers that the membership basically pays for itself if you shop for things like gas, and get the Executive Membership.

Hacks that DIDN'T work for me:

  • Ask for a guest pass at customer service. I called two store locations and asked in person at customer service if I could use a guest pass (or get a free trial or something) and was told that I could browse the warehouse, but could NOT check out/buy anything.

  • Buy a Costco giftcard. I was told you could buy a Costco giftcard at the grocery store or drugstore and shop with that, but I couldn't find any in my area. Online at it says only members can buy Costco Cash Cards, so there's that.

  • Snag a discounted Costco membership from a deal site like Groupon or Living Social. I'm sure these promos/coupons exist but I didn't see any offers come up when I needed one. Still, worth a look if you're not in a time crunch.

    Gorgeous stacked crystal ball lamp set of 2 at Costco

    So there you have it! If you see something you really love at Costco but don't want to commit to a membership just yet, these are some of the workarounds I discovered. I'm so glad I did because I'm in love with my lamps (shown above). And I only paid $34.99 for the pair down from $59.99. I got the floor sample, last set! Yup, it might just be time for me to become a member...

    Are you a Costco member? What are your shopping tips/hacks for getting the most out of membership?

  • Comments
    hey I commented on those lamps on your Insta, I eyeballed them at the store, but since I didn't need lamps now...didn't buy. My spouse and I have a bad Costcohabit :-)
    #1 Isabella on 2018-02-07 17:32 (Reply)
    Haha thanks for sharing! That's why I'm hesitant to get a membership...I know it could save me money, but it could also lead to overspending on things I don't need. I almost bought a giant succulent container and it's like, no, I do NOT need that right now! :-)
    #1.1 The Budget Babe on 2018-02-08 08:52 (Reply)
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