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Costco is a great place to shop and save money throughout the year. But it doesn’t make sense for everyone to put a warehouse club membership on their credit cards — especially for people who don’t live near a Costco or who don’t often need to buy the items the store is selling.

If paying for a membership out of your bank account is not something you want to do, you may still be eyeing Costco’s great Black Friday deals with envy as the store has a lot of special bargains on this retail holiday.

The good news is there are ways to take advantage of those special prices, even if you aren’t a member. Here’s how.

1. Go shopping with a friend

The easiest way to take advantage of Costco Black Friday deals when you aren’t a member is to simply go shopping with someone who is. Any Costco member with a card is allowed to bring up to two people with them on each visit — including during special sales events, such as Black Friday.

Your friend will need to make the purchase for you, though, as only members can buy. And Costco has cracked down on using other people’s membership cards at the self-checkout, so don’t even consider borrowing a card unless you want to run into problems.

2. Get a Costco member to buy you gift cards

If a friend buys you a Costco Shop Card, you’re allowed to shop with it in the store even if you are not a member. Only members can buy these Shop Cards, though, so you will need someone to get it for you before Black Friday. The good news is, these can be e-delivered so you can receive it pretty quickly and may even be able to take advantage of some of Costco’s early Black Friday deals that are going on already.

This approach can work best if you have a good idea of how much you want to spend, so your friend can buy a gift card for the right amount. However, if the gift card isn’t enough to cover the full cost of whatever you are purchasing, you can pay the balance with cash or a debit card. You cannot, however, use a credit card to pay any outstanding amount due so come prepared for that.

3. Pay the surcharge and shop online

If you don’t have a friend willing to help you take advantage of their Costco membership, you can still score Black Friday deals by shopping online. You’ll have to pay a surcharge as a non-member and prices generally are higher online (sometimes up to 20% higher). And you won’t be able to take advantage of any in-store-only deals.

If you’re considering this approach, compare how much extra you’ll pay due to the surcharge with the cost of a Costco membership (which starts at $60). You may decide buying the membership is worth it, or if you won’t shop there at all for the next year, that paying the surcharge and higher price still makes more financial sense.

And of course, you will also want to compare the deals at Costco with those elsewhere to make sure you’re getting the best overall deals on the Black Friday products you’re buying.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Christy Bieber has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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