What An Asterisk On A Costco Price Tag Actually Means
  • Nov. 28, 2022 9:06 am EST

Is making a weekend trip to Costco one of your favorite things to do? Who could blame you, really? The big box chain carries everything you could possibly want or need. You can purchase grocery items, clothing, toiletries, electronics, and more. You can even grab a quick (and delicious) lunch from the food court while you do your shopping, or nibble on some free samples. And the best part is they carry in bulk, so you can stock up and save on your favorite items.

According to Costco's website, the store originally opened in 1976, but it only provided wholesale items to small businesses. It wasn't until 1983 that they opened to the public — and the public embraced the wholesale giant. If you are one of those savvy shoppers, you have most likely seen the price tags of many items in their stores. Have you ever encountered an asterisk on a Costco price tag and found yourself wondering what it means? The answer to that may have you scrambling to make a Costco run right away, as you're about to learn about a Costco shopping hack.

What do the Costco price tags tell you?

A few Costco shopping tips, like how to read the price tags, can help you score the best deals. According to Best Products, most prices on a Costco price tag will end in $.99. This means that they are at full price and will likely drop even more if the item doesn't sell out. If you see a price tag that ends in $.00 or $.88, it can mean that the item was returned to the store, or it could mean that it is low in stock (via Maui Family Magazine). You should check it for possible damage before purchasing, just to be safe. 

If you see price tags ending in $.97, that means that the item has been marked down and the price may drop even lower, but it's a gamble. Usually, this is the lowest price for the item. If you see an asterisk on a price tag, though, that means that the item won't be restocked. So, if you see your favorite skin cream, cookies, or toilet paper with an asterisk on the price tag, buy it while you can!

Benefits of a Costco membership

Don't go into a panic just yet, though, because there have been several Costco items (mostly food) that made a strong comeback after they were discontinued. Kirkland Signature Organic Creamy Peanut Butter, Almond Poppyseed Muffins, and Costco's All-American Chocolate Cake are just some of the foods that have been taken off the shelves only to make a comeback later, mostly in part thanks to loyal customers. According to Statista, the retail chain boasts over 100 million annual memberships!

If you do want a Costco membership, it will cost you an annual fee. There are two membership levels — Executive and Gold Star — and each comes with its own perks. Executive-level members will pay $120/annually, while Gold Star-level members will pay $60/annually. These fees generally pay for themselves as the more you shop at Costco the more discounts you'll get on items. You can even get cheaper gas from the Costco fueling stations, although you won't find an asterisk on those price tags.