Food

This shopping trick gets you into Costco without a membership

A new Costco shopping trick is out of the bag — and it means big savings without a membership.

For those who like to save on food, appliances and everything in-between, bulk stores like Costco are the stuff of dreams ... and that's not even touching on the free samples. There are so many foods that devout Costco members swear by, from fruit fiend-friendly Cotton Candy grapes to avocados that stay riper longer. But those who don't want to splurge on the $60 bare bone membership or more than $120 for the executive membership, may never get to try them. Right?

Wrong.

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Couple takes engagement photos at a Costco

Play Video - 0:34

Couple takes engagement photos at a Costco

Play Video - 0:34

Costco's gift card, known as the Costco Cash Card, is a free ticket into the store (cue happy dance). Once purchased by a member, it can be used in stores by non-members without a problem.

Yes, there is already one loophole that allows non-members to buy Costco groceries through the delivery service called Instacart — but it's not free. The Costco Cash Card hack is for anyone willing to be a little sneaky and source the help of their Costco-member pals.

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In-the-know non-members can roam the aisles at Costco.

Costco Cash can be purchased in the amount of $25 to $1,000 either online or in store, a Costco customer service representative told TODAY Food. Members have to purchase the card (that's where the help of a friend comes in) and non-members will have to go to the store to spend it. Unfortunately, non-members will have a 5 percent surcharge if they shop online using the card — but sometimes the savings may still be worth it.

There's still hope for those who don't have close friends or family members who are Costco members.

Periodically throughout year (often quarterly), Costco offers promotions through Groupon, the customer service representative told TODAY Food. These offer new members incentives like a free pizza pie, pack of Kirkland paper towels and a $20 cash card when they purchase the $60 Costco membership card.

Until then, cozy up to a Costco card-toting friend to take advantage of this smart shopping hack.

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