Eating At Costco's Food Court Before You Shop Is A Money-Saving Power Move

Going grocery shopping on an empty stomach is always a risky move. Browsing for food while hungry can make you more susceptible to impulse buys that will ultimately lead to a much higher bill than you originally anticipated. It's no secret that supermarkets intentionally design stores so you are more likely to encounter specific food items as you peruse the aisles. The candy strategically placed at the checkout counter becomes increasingly difficult to resist when your tummy is grumbling and a king-size Snickers bar looms temptingly within arm's reach.

That's why it's good to have a plan when you enter the store. If Costco is your go-to for groceries, eating at the chain's food court before you shop is a money-saving power move — especially since it has some of the best food court deals you can find anywhere, from the $1.50 combo meal featuring a hot dog and 20-ounce soda to $1.99 for a large pizza slice or $9.95 for an entire pie. One Redditor posting to the r/Costco forum highlighted some of the reasons why it makes financial sense to patronize the store's food court prior to, not after, filling your cart.

A food-first approach

Reddit user ChamoneLee conveyed that they have learned from experience that eating at the Costco food court before you shop offers several benefits — most notably that it allows you to address your hunger immediately, so you stick to your shopping list and don't succumb to impulse buys. Plus, it means you'll be able to take full advantage of the food court's drink refill policy, enjoying one cup for eating, another for shopping, and a final refill when leaving the store. Finally, you can always eat Costco's free samples in case you didn't order enough at the food court, and then you'll be able to push your heavy cart straight to your car instead of navigating it through the food court.

Fellow Redditors and Costco regulars weighed in, with many championing the food-first approach as key to combating profligate spending. "$6 for chicken bake and hot dog will likely save you more than $6 in extra food purchases you didn't really need," one person said. Others applauded the rationale while pointing out additional reasons the strategy makes sense, such as getting rapid-spoilage products such as milk, ice cream, and eggs home as quickly as possible. One contributor quipped that they visit the food court both before and after shopping. "Eat on the way in, eat on the way out. 2 hot dogs a day keeps the doctor away." And even if you do splurge on that extra dog, it's still only $3. That won't break the bank.