Costco shoppers already get great savings on everyday products via low prices and discounts. But finding those deals ahead of time and taking advantage of them before they expire requires a bit of careful planning — or a few really good apps on your phone.
Over time, as I’ve been shopping more frequently at Costco, I’ve discovered essential apps that tell me when deals are happening and how to get extra cash back on products I’m already buying. This list isn’t exhaustive, but if I had to carry only five apps on my smartphone for Costco, it would be the following.
Like, duh, right?
Honestly, I didn’t discover the Costco shopping app until this year. And while it’s not the most impressive shopping app, it’s certainly impressive for a retailer that has been terribly slow in unrolling its own mobile technology.
A few things I like about this app: You can store your membership, check your rewards balance (for Executive members, who earn 2% cash back on Costco purchases), and create shopping lists. The app will notify you of promotions and ongoing sales and even let you check gas prices at different Costco warehouses.
Recently, Costco announced that it’s planning on bringing more upgrades to this app, including the option to check warehouse inventory and scan barcodes. If “scanning barcodes” eventually means a scan-and-go function, this app could finally compete with Sam’s Club’s app.
2. Krazy Coupon Lady
I’m convinced there’s no Costco deal that Krazy Coupon Lady (KCL) doesn’t see. The KCL team is so good at finding Costco deals, I pretty much always check the app before going into a Costco warehouse.
When you download the app, you can follow popular retailers, like Costco. The app will then curate deals based on your choices. While some of these Costco deals won’t be available everywhere (some are location specific), you can get a good idea of what to look for on your next trip to Costco.
To be fair, sometimes the deals are overwhelming and might make you spend money. For example, recently KCL found Nike infant clothes for $2 at Costco. That’s a great deal and had me pretty excited — until my wife reminded me we have a chest of baby clothes and our families love buying them for us. Question the deal before you act on it, but if it’s good for you and your finances, take advantage of the promotions.
Ibotta is a free cash back app that gives you extra rewards for eligible purchases made at over 2,000 retailers, including Costco. It doesn’t give you cash back for every purchase. But for advertised products — mostly brand names — you could get anything from a few extra cents to a few dollars or more in cash back when you activate deals and scan receipts.
One problem with Ibotta is that it doesn’t offer cash back on Costco’s Kirkland Signature products, which arguably have the best value. If I want to buy something really specific and name brand — like a box of Larabars — the app can come in handy. But it doesn’t guide my shopping decisions, nor do I use it every time I shop in-store. It’s just a useful tool I keep on my phone.
If you don’t want to get stuck in Costco shopping traffic — or bump carts with other anxious and hurried shoppers in the warehouse — having Costco groceries delivered through Instacart could be the way to go.
Of course, you’ll pay a premium to have them delivered. Instacart prices are higher for the same Costco products purchased in-store. On top of that, you might also pay service and delivery fees. It’s more expensive than doing the shopping yourself, but if you can’t get out of the house, it might be worth downloading.
5. Fetch Rewards
Like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards is an app that gives you points when you purchase certain products and scan receipts. When you’ve accumulated enough points, you can exchange them for gift cards at popular stores, like Starbucks or Amazon. Every receipt gets at least 25 points, but every now and then, certain brand name products, like Colgate’s toothpaste, will earn you more.
You can find some of these brands at Costco. Since you don’t need to activate rewards on the app, just scan your Costco receipts. You’ll get at least 25 points, plus a little extra if you bought something that’s part of a promotion.
All in all, these five apps can help you stay on top of ongoing deals, get extra rewards and cash back, and have Costco groceries delivered to you. And if you haven’t tried the Costco shopping app recently, give it a download. As Costco continues to upgrade the app, it will become more useful for your shopping.
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