Summer Items May Never Get Marked Down
I love the end of summer deals at Costco. I begin to check out the fresh new merchandise to see what I may want to buy when the season starts to wind down. Usually in June and July we see those items that came in early and just aren't doing that well. Then in August it is fun time again.
So start to look at some of the seasonal items when they first arrive in April and May. Many of the furniture items are back again at full price. If you read my main article I point out my score on the complete outdoor furniture set and my final cost on the chairs was only $19.97. Since these have become a staple now for the summer, I don't see them being marked down anymore.
The last retail on these chairs in the summer of 2015 were up to $59.99. I watched them all last year and never saw them marked down. I have a feeling anything not sold goes back to their warehouse and will be brought out again the following year.
I noticed the same thing on the Garden Shears, that I was lucky to buy at only $9.97 one year and the next I got a few at $5.97. Now they simply disappear at the end of the season without being marked down. Same thing on 100' commercial grade hoses that I waited for all season long and it was never marked down, but just disappeared from their inventory.
Continue To Watch Rate Of Sale
It is important to watch the rate of sale on items you want to purchase. If you don't need them right away, wait. If you see a $200 item not really moving, it just might be a prime mark-down.
Summer season is short, not unlike Christmas, so put your list together now and remember, if you happen to purchase a seasonal item now and it is marked down within 30 days you can get a price adjustment.
As you read the rest of this article I will disclose one of the most important secrets on how to get the best prices and still reserve the items you really want, before they are all gone.
Making Things Easier
If you have already read my very popular article Secret Price Codes Will Save You Money At Costco, then you know that this article has not only gained in popularity with over 1.1 million reads and millions of others have learned the secret through reviews of my article and word of mouth.
I have decided to leave the main article as the original guide and create additional articles like this one, my updated Holiday article and another one that details other interesting facts about Costco you will want to know. Watch for that article coming soon.
I welcome your comments and as you can see my main article has now become a great place for all Costco shoppers to share their findings and ideas too.
Save Your Receipts - Shop Other Costco Stores Too
I would tell all my readers to do what I do and save all of your receipts from Costco including food items. This makes returns and adjustments easy to do and will save you lots of money if you shop at Costco often enough to follow the pricing patterns of items you buy. It enables you to even return food that might not live up to your expectations.
I love Costco and in these difficult times a regular shopper can score big on these mark-downs and also know they are protected by their price adjustment policy.
Prices May Not Be The Same At Every Costco
At the new store we noticed Poland Spring Sport Cap water was a dollar less then it is in our Hazlet store. It was $4.59 a case vs. $5.49, we thought it might have been a mistake and later found out it was not. Different Costco stores may sell the same items at different prices. The reason we were told was that the new Costco had a Sam's Club and BJ store in the area and they have to meet the competition. So they lowered their prices to compete. In Hazlet, there is no competition, so they can charge a little more. Good to know when shopping at Costco.
Marked Down Items may also vary from store to store.
Many Costco stores in a particular geographic region will offer similar items for sale. However, you may find that some stores, even those close to each other may have some different items. I found this true in the two stores in New Jersey I go to often.
Now Mark Down merchandise differs as well. Some stores may sell an item better then another store. Based on the demographics of the store and the location you can find a store that has marked down an item they couldn't sell and find the same item still at regular price at the other store.
I try to check the two stores on a regular basis and even today found one item with a 50% difference in the marked down price. Below you will see a 20 lb bag of iron supplement for your garden at the Hazlet store for $9.97, a great deal, right? Well at the Marlboro store, they didn't sell as well and they have a larger inventory, so I grabbed a few more bags there at only $6.97. Now that is a huge spread percentage wise, so if you have more then one Costco in the area and are a true Costco shopper looking for those great bargains, check out both stores and take your notes and watch for the mark-downs at both stores.
If you bought a sale item from one store and find it for less at the next store, buy the same quantity at the lower price and return it to the first store with your receipt for the higher price. They will not match the lower price at another store because each store has its own markdowns and there is no price protection from one store to the other.
Start To Watch Seasonal Items In May
See Something You Want Now?
I start to put my list together on items I may want at a marked down price in the beginning of each season.
I know that every year Costco will have garden ornaments and LED SOLAR LIGHTS. These of course are on my list for end of season clearance or mid-season promotions.
Now if I see the inventory starting to get low on some of my must have summer items, I may grab some now and hold onto the receipt and if it does go down, I can ask for a price adjustment if it is within 30 days or simply buy the new one at the final mark-down price and return it with my original receipt to get my refund at the original prices I paid.
If you don't do this, you can miss a deal and kick yourself because you did.
Moral of this story, when you see a great deal, no matter what the original price, grab it and don't wait. They could be gone, transferred to another store or taken off sale.
They Don't Mark These Down Anymore
Watch for Potential Mark Down Items In May
O.K. so you ask yourself, should I buy that ornament now for my garden or can I live without if for a couple of months and steal it later in the season? If you are a smart Costco Shopper there is only one answer...no just kidding actually two answers to that question.
The first is wait and watch it. In another month the earlier Summer merchandise that is not selling will take its first mark-down. If it still doesn't sell by June into July, then in August it will drop even more. So if you wait and buy the first mark-down be sure to hold onto your receipt, because you have a 30 day price protection on your items.
The second method is not something Costco would like me to talk about, but if an alternative method which I describe in my big article and that is to hold onto your receipts if you purchase it at full price. As the price goes down and if it is beyond the 30 day price protection period, just buy another one at the lower price and return it using your first receipt showing the full price you paid for the first one.
Since Costco has a very liberal return policy, you can extend that 30 day price protection even further.
In June Down They Go - Examples of Past Scores
June Begins Summer Mark-Downs
In June they start to mark-down their early summer seasonal items. Yes, it is only June and you will see many items with a nice 97¢ ending now. In the past I was able to get a nice water fountain at $59.97 from $120, a 50% reduction on the regular price.
I noticed a number of other garden ornaments as well at very low mark-down prices this year and already have my eyes on a few of them. The ones that didn't sell. I am waiting on some of the same items I bought last summer at marked down prices.
Remember, on seasonal items, you will score. See how many of an item they have, if they have a lot of the item, wait and watch the prices. As it gets later in the season, the prices will drop. They must get rid of these items and they will keep lowering the prices until they are all gone.
Each Store May Have Different Inventory Levels, Check More Than One
Some stores may only have a couple of units remaining on an item and they want to clear them out, so they will drastically mark down those one or two units. I shop at two different Costco stores, one is my local store the other about 6 miles away but is the larger store I mentioned in this article.
When I bought my water fountain, at another Costco they only had two of the fountains remaining, so I bought one. Checking in at my local Hazlet store, they had at least 10 units all at the full $120 price. So mark downs also depend on the inventory on hand at a particular store...if you have a couple of Costco's in your area, check them all out when you are looking for bargains.
Are You A Smart Costco Shopper?
Lew on May 09, 2017:
Let me ask you this, Len....would you use a product like a pressure washer, etc and return it for a full refund? I knew a guy that bought a generator and used it for a camping trip then returned it....another guy waited until that last week of his Costco warranty to return a TV....he did this every time even though there was not problem with it. I have to agree with Sue...it'll be people such as yourself that put an end to a great return policy at Costco. Then we will all pay.
Len Rapoport (author) from New Jersey on December 03, 2013:
If Sam's is like Costco, you can cancel your membership there at any time and get a pro-rated refund on your membership fees. No reason to stay with Sam's when you can join Costco.
Len Rapoport (author) from New Jersey on December 03, 2013:
I can see your concern about their liberal return policy, but that would really be a concern if I were to do what others have done which is to return merchandise they have used for two years, like a vacuum cleaner or other item, then return it and purchase a newer model. I don't feel guilty extending the price guarantee that Costco offers. Many stores offer a price guarantee longer then 30 days. How would you feel if an item you purchased at Costco was reduced 30% in the 35th day since you bought it at full price. Lets be honest, this is not stealing it is simply utilizing the terms Costco has put into place. You can return an item for any reason if you are not satisfied up to 2 years, Would you really be satisfied or happy if the item you purchased was drastically marked down past the 30 day period, or would you feel really bad that you didn't wait and buy it at the lower price. They want you to feel good about shopping and I am sure having a customer that is not concerned about a mark down on an item they recently purchased simply makes that customer more secure in buying at Costco. They may not want to advertise this, but I haven't received any negative feedback from Costco at all.
Wendywen on November 08, 2013:
You are awesome! I love people that share how to save a buck here and there. It all starts adding up! Thank you for the time you take to help others!
lauryn on August 01, 2013:
Came across your article by chance online. It's fun to know all these tips when shopping at Costco! Now I can't resist going there about once every 2-3 days! How fun!
Sally on July 30, 2013:
Oh wish I knew this, just took SAMs membership
Anglea Landon on July 29, 2013:
Great info! I usually just wait for the costco coupon book to come in the mail or look at it online here: http://costco-coupon-book.com
I did not realize how many bargains there were in Costco besides what you see in the book. I will be sure to keep my eyes open during my next trip to Costco. Thanks!
Sue on July 25, 2013:
I like most of your tips. The only one I have a personal problem with, from an ethical standpoint, is buying something cheaper but coming back with the higher-price receipt and getting that money back - it seems to be an abuse of Costco's liberal return policy. But buying cheap and selling on Amazon or eBay . . . wow! Thanks for your informative articles and updates!
Robert Greer on July 19, 2013:
What a great insight to getting terrific buys at Costco. We needd more people like yourself reporting from other stores.
StanDavey on July 18, 2013:
I do shop at Costco, but I didn't know about the codes. I have bought several laptops for myself as well as family and friends and I usually buy the ones at end of life and watch for the price reduction, if any. Now I'll know better what to expect. Thanks.
Len Rapoport (author) from New Jersey on July 17, 2013:
If you follow my articles each season I guarantee you will save hundreds of dollars each year, enough to pay for membership and still have money for lunch each time you go there. :-)
FlourishAnyway from USA on July 08, 2013:
This is good information. I am not a Costco shopper but after reading your articles, I might become one now!