Costco has been open in the Quad Cities for over a year now, but it's still pretty new to some of us and there may be more first time Costco shoppers out there along with me. My friends, Kim and Joyce say the store is huge and so is everything in it, but they say don't be nervous, Costco is your friend. I asked a few questions.

Did you know Costco will give you WAY more than just your shopping list in bulk. Here are 7 Costco hacks you should consider to make the most of your membership (and in some cases NO membership) and Costco shopping experience according to MSN (and my friends, Kim and Joyce :-).

  1. Rent a car - Among the many perks available to Costco members, is discounts on car rentals. Through Costco, you can book a rental car from nearby Enterprise, Alamo, Avis and Budget locations at a discount and get great savings for your next road trip.
  2. Book a flight - Consider booking your dream vacation through Costco. Costco Travel offers members some great vacation packages that include hotels, flights, excursions, car rentals, cruises and more. Executive members also receive extra perks and discounts.
  3. Share a membership - Both regular and executive memberships come with two cards. This is generally meant to be for another household member, but if you have trouble affording a membership by yourself, you can split the fee with a friend and each have a card handy.
  4. Get in without a membership - If you can’t justify the yearly membership fee, you can ask friends or family who do have a Costco membership to get you a Costco Cash card. Costco Cash cards are basically Costco’s version of gift cards, and showing one will allow you entry. The best part is that even if your total comes out to more than what’s on the Costco Cash card, you can just pay the difference.
  5. Free tech support - All electronics purchased at Costco come with free technical support, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. EST at the help number 1-866-861-0450, with the exception of holidays. All you have to do is make sure your have your membership number, purchase date, item number, serial number and model information on hand.
  6. Get Your Eyes Checked: Costco stores have an optometrist on site and you can schedule an appointment whether you're a member or not. The downside is that you need a membership to buy Costco's offering of glasses, contact lenses, or other eye-wear.
  7. Buy Alcoholic Beverages: Most states prohibit the forming of alcohol or tobacco "clubs", so you can tell them at the door that you're there to just buy alcohol and they should let you in.

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