A Simple Trick to Keep You From Overspending at Costco

Don't want to spend a million dollars at Costco? Me either. Here is my secret trick to halting those impulse purchases.

Amanda Thomas
2-minute read

If you have a Costco membership, you probably know what it’s like to walk into the store with three things on your list, only to walk out with $200 (or more!) in stuff you didn’t know you needed. That store is dangerous for bargain hunters, because everything looks like a smokin’ deal! After a few years of shopping at Costco, I think I’ve finally come up with a method that keeps me from buying stuff that I really don’t need. It isn’t fool proof, as demonstrated by the $25 soft-sided cooler I walked out with last time because I didn’t want my dairy to get warm. But it has prevented me from impulse buying on a number of occasions. The best part is that it is stupid simple.

Here’s what you do:

Take a picture of what you want to buy, then go home.

Yep, that’s it. It’s that simple, but I kid you not, I have evidence on my phone of probably $1,000 of stuff at Costco that I thought I couldn’t live without when I saw it at the store, but I still haven’t had the need big enough to go back and actually buy it.

These tumblers?

I thought they would be great to get because they are leak proof and I could toss them into my purse. But when I got home, I saw all the water bottles I already own that I already use, and realized I don’t need more just because they have a handy straw.

This immersion blender?

I get pretty annoyed when I’m making a soup that needs to be pureed. The process of spooning half the soup into the blender, then into a 2nd pot so I don’t mix it with the unblended soup, and repeat until it’s all a mushy mess, gets old. I thought this immersion blender would be amazing, but instead of buying it, I took a picture of it. And you know what I realized? I don’t make that much soup.

I can’t tell you why it works, but I can tell you that I keep these pictures on my phone for months at a time. Every now and then I go through and look at the things I could buy, but don’t. Maybe it’s because the thrill of the find wears off after a few hours, or maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself, just delaying the option to buy. Whatever the reason, it’s saving me money and clutter around my house.

Do you do anything nutty like this? Tell me in the comments below or on my Facebook page. It will make me feel a little less crazy.