In a viral TikTok video, a creator shares the hack she recently learned for how to buy at Costco without paying for a yearly membership.
In the video, Mikayla Geier (@mikaylageier) explains that she only learned this because she noticed one of her friends was eating a cereal she knew was from Costco. So, she gushed to her friend, thinking they had a Costco membership, and asked if she could tag along on an upcoming Costco run.
Her friend’s response surprised her.
“Girl no, I don’t have a Costco membership. I just order it from Instacart. How do you not know about this?” the friend replied, according to the TikToker.
Geier says she felt like she was living under a rock for not knowing about this workaround earlier.
“How am I just realizing that you can get stuff from Costco without having a Costco membership?” she asks in the clip.
The video has more than 800,000 views and over 300 comments as of Tuesday morning. “Life changing information truly,” the caption read.
life changing information truly♬ original sound – Mikayla Geier
For those unfamiliar, Costco is a membership-based establishment, meaning customers must hold a valid membership card to enter the retailer and check out. Without that card, customers will be forced to leave their items behind or get a new card on the spot.
Several commenters pointed out that shopping at Costco via Instcart might actually be more expensive.
“It’s waaaaay cheaper just to get a costco membership though, you’re getting crazy markup prices without it,” one person pointed out.
“Insta cart marks up the prices, realized that after going in person to get the same items for less,” another said.
Some quick sleuthing found that Costco items can, in fact, be more expensive when ordered through Instacart versus when bought directly from the Costco warehouse. For example, a two-pound box of Cheerios costs $10.99 when delivered by Costco to a New Jersey address and $11.57 when delivered by Instacart.
Similarly, a two-pound bottle of extra virgin olive oil runs $18.99 from Costco and $21.05 when delivered by Instacart. With the cheapest Costco membership coming out to $5 a month ($60 a year), it might be more worth it to get a membership than pay the markup.
The basic tier for a Costco card is the Gold Star membership, which comes with a $60 annual membership fee, according to the retailer’s website. It includes a free card for household members to use and is valid at all locations worldwide. A $120 membership tier includes 2% rewards on Costco purchases and extra benefits on select Costco Travel products.
Other commenters shared there was another, potentially cheaper, way to shop at Costco without a card.
“[Buy] yourself costco gift cards and shop with those! they don’t require memberships to use and you don’t have to pay delivery fees + app markups,” a person suggested.
The Daily Dot reached out to Geier and Costco for comment via email.