At Costco there are deals that go beyond groceries, such as store and restaurant gift cards, movie tickets and local theme park tickets.

Large families have obvious advantages when they shop Costco. But if you are single and haven’t much living space to store your bulk purchases, is it worthwhile?

It can be if you share the advantage with a friend. Split up bulk packages of essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels, laundry products and other items that you buy routinely and you’ll both save money.

You can learn the Costco pricing codes that will tell you if an item is specially priced, discounted or not considered for restocking. In general, according to HubPages, the codes go like this:

• Prices that end in $0.97 have been marked down from their original price.
• Prices ending in $0.99 indicate the original price.
• Other odd pricing such as $0.49, $0.79 or 0.89, are generally attached to regular-priced items.
• If there is an asterisk (star) in the upper right corner of the price sign, that means the item will not be reordered. Stock up if it’s one of your favorites.
• If the store manager has marked an item down to move the product faster, the price will likely end in a combination such as $0.88 or $0.00.

Watch for Costco coupons. The store issues a monthly coupon book as well as the Costco mobile APP. Don’t bother clipping coupons. The cashier has copies at the register and will scan them when you purchase the discounted item.

Buy seasonal items before the season is over. Costco makes massive markdowns on such things as patio furniture and pool toys to free up room for the next season’s specials. After Christmas is an especially good time to look for bargains.

Even if you are not a card-carrying Costco member, you can buy alcohol at Costco stores in some states, and pharmacy and immunizations are available to you., as are eye and hearing exams. You can obtain a Cash Card without signing up for an annual membership. Such a card, however, must be obtained or reloaded by a member.

Aside from the bulk goods that you have in mind when you join Costco, there are deals that go beyond groceries, such as store and restaurant gift cards, movie tickets and local theme park tickets.

Eating out, especially with a family, is a budget-buster, but there are inexpensive alternatives at the Costco food court, such as the $1.50 hot-dog-and-soda specials or the $10 pizza

Kirkland products, the Costco store brand, offer great deals for quality food and grocery goods. Many of them come from the same name-brand sources as the items you’ll find at greater cost.
Make a list before shopping. Without one, you may be tempted to fill up the cart when you had just a few items in mind. And partake freely of free samples. The companies that made them want the store to pass out as many free samples as people will eat.

Twila Van Leer

Journalist/writer for more than 50 years. Pulitzer Prize nominee, 1983 for coverage of the first permanent artificial heart. More than 50 national, regional, local awards for news writing. Main writer for a memorial book for Deseret News' 150 th anniversary and for a book recounting the 1997 re-enactment of the pioneer trek from Omaha to Salt Lake City. Co-writer and editor of "True Valor," a book on the history of the artificial heart. Author of the book, Life Is Just A Bowl Of Kumquats, a wonderful story of a house wife and her trials with raising a large family.

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