When I was looking to buy a car last year, my stomach would churn with every trip to the dealership. It was hard not to feel like I was getting a terrible deal, no matter how many times I hemmed and hawed and the salesperson made a better offer. But when my sister-in-law suggested I look at Costco, I had no idea what she was talking about—despite being a long-time member. “The place where I buy bulk apples and cheap chicken sells cars!?” Well, not exactly. But the great, no-negotiation-needed deal you can get is just one membership perk you might not be taking advantage of.
1. CAR HAGGLING ON YOUR BEHALF
More than 3000 dealerships are part of the Costco Auto Program, which means they agree to sell new and select pre-owned vehicles to Costco members at low, set prices. When I finally found out about the program, I called to check out the Costco rate I could get at a nearby dealer—and it was nearly $2000 below the “best offer” I’d been able to negotiate on my own.
2. WATER DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR
Take your pick of H2O: Spring, purified, and artesian water can all be delivered to your home or office, starting at $6 a (large) bottle. Dispenser rental ranges from $1 to $3 a month, depending on your membership level.
3. FREE EAR AND EYE EXAMS
Members can take advantage of free hearing tests at Costco’s Hearing Aid Centers—along with free follow-up appointments and hearing aid cleanings. You can also get your peepers checked out for free at Costco Optical.
4. DEEP TRAVEL DISCOUNTS
The same bulk rates that allow Costco to sell giant packages of toilet paper for less also allow the warehouse club to negotiate better member rates at all-inclusive resorts and theme parks and on airfare, car rentals, and cruise ships.
5. TECH TROUBLESHOOTING
Whether you’re befuddled by your flat-screen TV, printer, exercise equipment, or security system, if you purchased the gadget or appliance at Costco, you can call the concierge line for free over-the-phone tech support.
6. PRESCRIPTION DRUGS THAT DON'T COST AN ARM AND A LEG
If you don’t have prescription insurance—or it doesn’t cover all of your meds—check out the list of drugs included in Costco’s Prescription Program. Many meds cost just $5 for members, and you can pick up scripts for Fido as well.
7. CHECKS CHEAPER THAN YOUR BANK
Sure, it probably takes you forever to run out of personal checks these days, but when you do need a refill, you’ll pay about half as much if you have them printed at Costco instead of your bank. The warehouse club also offers business checks, ink stamps, and tax forms for small business owners.
8. BULK MOVIE TICKETS
Film fanatics can make quick work of a four-pack or 10-pack of discounted movie tickets, but even casual moviegoers can get in on the savings, because these tickets never expire. They’re also good for any movie at any time or day of the week.