4 Costco Products You Should Never Buy at Full Price

Over my time as Costco member, I’ve found three main ways you can save money:

  1. You can buy household necessities in bulk at a cheaper per-unit price.
  2. You can take advantage of Costco’s discounts on services (car insurance, home improvement, pharmacy).
  3. You can buy certain products when they go on sale.

In regards to the latter, Costco is very, very predictable about which products it promotes through a sale. So predictable are its promotions, in fact, it would be silly to buy certain Costco products at full price. Like these four.

1. Southwest gift cards

Costco loves to sell its Southwest gift cards at a discount. Normally, you’d pay $449.99 for a $500 eGift card, which is in itself a steal. But if you wait until Costco runs a promotion, you could snag this gift card for $429.99 — a $70 savings.

You have to be quick, however, as the promotion usually doesn’t last but a few days. For instance, the last time this promotion ran was June 22 to 23 — a whopping two days to get your gift card. Before that, it was May 2 to 5.

Note: Costco members can buy up to five Southwest gift cards, but are limited to one transaction. If you’ve already purchased this gift card, you won’t be eligible for a second purchase. If you have the means, purchasing five gift cards at $429.99 would save you about $350.

2. Macbook Pros

Costco may not have the widest selection of laptops, but it does sell the latest model of Apple MacBook Pro. While its prices are usually on par with (or slightly below) other vendors, its MacBook promotions can make it the best price around.

For example, let’s say you’re looking for a 14-inch MacBook Pro with the following specs: M3 chip, 8GB memory, 10-core GPU, 1TB SSD storage, and the color space gray. Both Apple and Best Buy sell this exact model for $1,799, while Costco normally (that is, without a promotion) lists it on its website for $1,749. That’s $50 of savings right off the bat — and that’s without a promotion.

With a promotion, you could easily save $200 on your MacBook. For instance, from now through July 21, 2024, Costco has several MacBooks on sale, with discounts ranging from $150 to $200. For example, the 14-inch model from above is currently priced at $1,599.99, saving you $200. Since this is a hefty purchase, you could also earn some significant cash back by using one of the best credit cards for Costco.

3. Any brand of tire

Costco regularly offers promotions on sets of four tires. These promotions usually apply to a specific brand, like Michelin or Bridgestone, and can range between $50 and $100. What’s more, Costco typically applies the discount directly to your purchase. This instant savings differs from other tire shops, which often give you a mail-in rebate or prepaid card.

To be fair, the promotions are typically offered by the manufacturer and thus can be found at other tire shops too. But Costco has a leg-up in the sense that it waives installation fees. Since these fees can run up to $80 for a set of four at other tire shops, you could save more by buying at Costco even when you can find the same tire deal elsewhere.

4. Tempur-Pedic mattresses

Costco also loves to promote Tempur-Pedic mattresses. While it doesn’t always give you a discount on the mattress price itself, Costco typically gives out Shop Cards when you buy certain mattresses. For example, you can get a bonus $300 Costco Shop Card now when you buy a Tempur-Pedic mattress online. This deal is valid through July 7, 2024 and your Shop Card will arrive within four to six weeks of your purchase.

How to stay on top of new Costco deals

To get updated frequently on deals, download the Costco shopping app and enable push notifications. This means you’ll get pinged when Costco has new deals. The app has improved significantly over the last year and can keep sales top of mind, preventing you from buying something at full price.

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