What to Expect When You Sign Up for a Costco Membership

Did you recently sign up for a Costco membership? Here is what you can expect if you did or are thinking about signing up there are a few things you should know about the process.

I’m still new to shopping at Costco. I am a long time BJs member and still love shopping there. There are some things I wish I would have known before my first day of Costco membership.

costco membership expect bag

The bag

When you sign up for a Costco membership you will receive a little bag filled with services Costco offers to you at a discount rate. You will get your Costco booklet of the sales for the current month.

It looks something like this.

costco membership expect bag
costco membership expect bag

The Talk

Be prepared for a lot of upselling. At least this happened to me at our local Costco. I was intrigued anyways and learning to share with you all. Yet I didn’t find as much upsell at BJs. It seemed to come naturally to the two Costco employees helping me.

There are only three options for a Costco membership. The membership options at Costco are:

  • Gold Star
  • Business
  • Executive

Executive Membership:

  • $120.00 Annual membership fee ($60 membership fee, plus $60 upgrade fee)*
  • Includes a free Household Card
  • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide
  • Annual 2% Reward on qualified Costco purchases (terms and conditions apply)
  • Additional benefits and greater savings on Costco Services
  • Extra benefits on select Costco Travel products

Business Membership:

  • $60.00 Annual membership fee*
  • Includes a free Household Card
  • Add Affiliate Cardholders for $60 each*
  • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide
  • Purchase for resale
  • Business Members must provide Costco with the appropriate resale information

Gold Star Membership:

  • $60.00 Annual membership fee*
  • Includes a free Household Card
  • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide

The Executive one is the one employees urge you to sign up with because you will earn your $60 back. You get paid to shop with an annual 2% reward up to $1,000 on qualified Costco purchases. This 2% reward comes to you in the mail as a check. Personally I like at BJs the reward is loaded to your membership and when you are checking out you can just redeem it.

The best way to figure out which membership is right for you is to think about the actual items you will be purchasing regularly at Costco. If you have multiple kids in diapers the upgraded membership may be the better option in this season of life.

Show Membership at Door

You will need to show your membership card at the door every time you shop. For a long time BJs shopper this is new to me. The first few times I felt annoyed simply because it is a change of routine. Now I’m programmed to have it out and ready. Not a big deal.

Carts are outside

Is this at all Costco clubs? I’ve only been to one my entire life! I walked in and walked around and walked back out-asking where the carts were. Yep the carts are outside and you grab one before you walk in.

Easy enough grab your cart put your purse down and scoop out the membership card.


If you are getting your Costco membership during warm months when you can plant flowers and such, be sure to check out the garden area. That’s what I’m calling it, no idea if it has an actual name.

I’m sure someone will let me know in the comments below. The first time I missed this and saw all the plants in shoppers carts. Now I know to grab my cart, show membership card and take a sharp right to the plants.

The selection at Costco over BJs is much larger for flowers.

The Options

costco membership expect bag

If you are brand new to wholesale shopping it’s going to feel overwhelming. All the options! Do you head straight for the middle where your brain doesn’t know why you are here?! Or over to the grocery section? Or maybe you need to check out the new kitchen accessories?

It took three separate shopping trips at Costco before I felt like I had a handle on where things are. The first time be prepared to go in and get a feel for your store. Try to purchase only the things you needed like the toilet paper and diapers. You wouldn’t want to break the budget on your very first trip to Costco.

The Aisles

Costco doesn’t have normal aisles labeled with what is down each one. You’ll find numbers. Once you have been inside the store a few times you will quickly learn grocery is on one side household on the other and meat/deli cheese is in the back. Or however, it may be laid out at your store.

Just don’t expect to know where things are by checking the aisles.


I’m all about the clearance items! Very similar to BJs I found more than a handful of all different items marked down during my Costco trip. From clothing to grocery to bath mats! I’m so excited to share my weekly Costco markdowns with you right here on the blog!

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    You will want to look for sale prices as well. They will be in the booklet and in store like below.

    costco membership expect bag

    Kirkland brand

    If you haven’t heard of Kirkland brand before, it’s Costco’s premier brand. The brand everyone goes crazy for. I am beginning my Kirkland brand journey and once I try and taste more Kirkland items I’ll share it with you here. For now, I’m sharing the Costco craze on the internet and all the mighty reviews on how amazing Kirkland brand is.

    costco membership expect bag

    The Checkout Process

    I was puzzled when they took my cart at checkout. I was also a little sad to not see any self-checkout aisles like BJs. Be prepared to have your membership card or grab your purse while the Costco employee takes your cart to the other side and puts your items on the lane or starts scanning in your cart.

    It’s different than I’m used to but it moves the line fairly fast.

    costco membership expect bag

    Gas Discount

    Don’t forget being a Costco member gives you a discount at their gas station. When compared to local gas stations Costco is usually cheaper. Before you leave the store- if you are standing in line to check out there is a current gas price sign near the Food court area.

    I found on my last trip Costco’s upfront gas price was cheaper than BJs, but with BJs gas promotions BJs was the better deal.

    That’s all I have for this new Costco shopper to share for other new Costco shoppers.

    What tips do you have for first time Costco Shoppers? Leave a comment below.

    Total Comments (2)

    1. Jessica Andersen October 21, 2019
    2. Josh May 22, 2019


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