Learn the Price Tag Hacks That Can Score You Extra Deals at Costco

iStock
iStock

You’re pretty much always guaranteed to find a bargain while shopping at Costco, but you can score even bigger savings by keeping your eyes peeled for certain price codes, according to self-proclaimed Costco expert Len Rapoport. Writing for finance website ToughNickel, Rapoport broke down the secret signifiers on price tags that can inform shoppers which items are marked down, specially priced, or only available in limited quantities.

Regular items typically have prices ending in $.99, but Costco reportedly uses $.97 tags to identify products that haven't sold well and are now marked down for clearance. These indicate that you're getting an even better deal than usual.

The same idea goes for items ending in $.88 or $.00, which Rapoport says are usually displayed "on a flat truck" or in a special area of the store and are code for manager markdowns on returned (but still sellable) goods. The store is trying to get rid of the product extra-fast—and you might be happy to help them out, and save a few extra dollars while you're at it.

While price tags labeled with an asterisk in the upper right-hand corner don’t signify a discount, they do let you know that the item in question won’t be restocked, meaning it's a good time to stuff your cart with any remaining inventory before it disappears. (These products sometimes pop up on shelves again if they’re seasonal, so fear not if you missed out on splurging on Christmas decorations.)

Skeptical shoppers might think these hacks sound too simple to be true, which is why Snopes investigated Rapoport’s Costco claims. Store employees and managers alike verified his $.97 and $.00 discount and markdown theories "are in most cases correct," adding that, "It’s not really a code, more just a set of rules that we follow to track pricing and be consistent throughout the region."

They also agreed that asterisks are indeed used on tags for “deleted,” or discontinued items. "Sometimes that means Costco couldn’t get the same product at the same purchase price, or it didn’t sell very well, or a repackaging is coming," Snopes explains. "After the warehouse sells the product it has on hand in the store it won’t be restocked, so the average shopper should take it as 'get it now because that’s all there is.'"

Here’s to a future filled with sweet savings on everything from 36-packs of paper towels to electronic massage chairs.

[h/t ToughNickel]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]