Ah, the Costco run – the most exhilarating of suburban Saturday activities! The allure is multi-faceted. There’s the practical aspect, such as picking up a palate of paper towels and two 8 lb. bags of coffee; the spontaneous moments – “I know we don’t really need a waterproof digital camera, but it was only $50!; and the exotic discoveries – “Who knew they make wine in Ukraine?”
Filling up on cheap Costco gas while chewing the last bite of a $1 Costco hot dog provides the cherry on this consumerist sundae.
But Costco is more than a purveyor of fine bulk products and delicious rotisserie chicken salad.
The store is also a great place to shop for many specialty products that are often important to retirees. Here are seven examples:
Prescriptions. Costco’s prices are very competitive with the major chain drug stores. And get this: You can also have your pet’s script filled at Costco!
Vaccinations. Costco offers the lowest cost for immunizations for people without insurance, according to Consumer Reports. Flu and shingles vaccinations are available to non-Costco members.
Mobility aids. The stores carry a range of affordably-priced age-related items, such as walkers and shower/tub handrails. If getting around is difficult for you, make your selections on Costco’s website and have the items delivered. Orders of $75 or more are delivered for free.
Books. No one will ever confuse Costco with Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but avid readers should always take a spin past the store’s book tables. You never know what bestseller will be available at a deep discount.
Anti-aging cosmetics and supplements. Brand name products such as Perricone MD and StriVectin are often a bargain at Costco. The store’s Kirkland brand senior multivitamins are half the price of the comparable Centrum Silver.
Glasses. Eye examines are very affordable at Costco, and there are bargains to found on frames, too. Keep an eye on the mail for coupons that can increase your savings.
Hearing aids. Costco has some of the best prices on a range of hearing aids, including its own Kirkland brand devices. The stores also offer free hearing screenings.
Sea Cruises. Booking an ocean getaway with Costco can net you both savings and added perks.
Car Rentals. The rates are good, and Costco Executive members can add a second driver for free.
Passport photos. Start your next foreign adventure at Costco with a bargain-priced $4.99 passport picture.
Meat and wine. Costco should be your go-to store for entertaining. There’s just no beating their prices. There is a wide selection of affordable wines and tasty cuts of meat and poultry sold in packages large enough to feed a multitude.
Gift cards. Movie and restaurant gift cards go for 20% below face value, adding some oomph to your entertainment dollar.
Such great deals make Costco an excellent place to shop. But as a financial advisor, I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn you to shop wisely. Keep your impulses in check as walk those wide, beautifully stocked aisles. Make your trip a surgical strike – know what you’re after, get it, and get out.
You may, of course, help yourself to all the free samples you can eat.