What Does an Asterisk Mean on a Costco Price Tag?

How to decode Costco's prices to ensure you get the best deal, every time.



When you shop Costco as much as we do, you like to think that you are in the know. You know which days are best for easy shopping and which times of day help you avoid the crowds. You know how to be a polite customer and respectful shopper.You know to check the unit or ounce price when comparing items and not just the total price.

But do you know what the prices actually mean, how to use them to get the best deals, and what the heck that asterisk means when you see it on a price tag? If you don’t, you are about to!

A trending TikTok video from user @frankieniu spilled all the secrets, and even we—self-proclaimed Costco experts—learned something knew. Here's what you need to know when it comes to shopping smarter at the big box store.

The Secrets Hidden in Costco’s Price Tags

Deciphering the pricing system at Costco can be a great tool for making sure you are always getting the best deals, and that you're making smart decisions. Here is what we've been able to glean from trending videos, as well as our own shopping.

Any price that ends in .99 is at full price, so that will always be the most expensive option in that category.

If you spot a price that ends in either .49 or .79, then there is a special promotional pricing that is set by the manufacturer and will always be a limited time offer before returning to a .99 number.

If the price ends in .97, it's on clearance or manager discount, so you will want to snap it up: That is always the lowest possible pricing on most items.

If the price ends in .00 or .88 be sure to check it out closely. It usually means that stock is low and the manager wants them cleared out, so they're typically priced lower. However, it may also mean the item was a return, so make sure it is undamaged before you buy.

And What Does the Asterisk on Costco Price Tags Mean?

And now we turn to the asterisk—that mysterious little detail on a Costco price tag. Here’s the scoop.

Any item with an asterisk on the price tag means that item is leaving Costco soon. That could mean either the item will not be restocked because Costco decided to stop carrying it, or that the item was discontinued by the manufacturer, so it will no longer be available anywhere.

This is most common with seasonal or limited edition items, but may be the case for any item in Costco. These are the items to really load up on if you love them, because you may never see them on the Costco shelves again!

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