Maintaining a Costco membership can be a smart financial decision. At Costco, you have an opportunity to save money on groceries and household essentials all year long.

Now, there are certain staple items you can expect to find at Costco no matter what week or month you shop. Things like milk, eggs, paper towels, and laundry detergent will generally be available year-round unless your local store just happens to run out.

Certain Costco items are only available on a seasonal basis. During the winter, for example, you’re likely to find coats and gloves. But those items are unlikely to be spotted on the shelves in June. At that point, you’ll generally find things like swimsuits and beach towels.

If you’re fairly new to Costco, it’ll help to familiarize yourself with the chain’s seasonal sale cycle so you know when to snag the items you want. Here’s an overview of what to expect.

When seasonal sales begin

Costco’s seasonal items usually hit shelves about a month to two months before the start of the season in question. So basically, if you’re looking for summer clothing, you should start to see it popping up by the start of May. For winter gear, expect new items on shelves by early November.

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A lot of Costco’s seasonal sales also revolve around different holidays, and the same general rule of thumb applies — only in some cases, you might start to see holiday-specific items as early as a full two months before the holiday itself begins. In the context of Halloween, for example, you might see candy displays as early as late August. And you might see Christmas candy hit the shelves as soon as Halloween is over.

When seasonal sales end

Costco’s seasonal sales typically end mid-way through the season. And a given seasonal rotation might end earlier than that due to inventory being scooped up.

For example, you can generally find summer gear at Costco starting in May, but it may mostly be gone by early July. And you can expect summertime items to be cleared out by early August so Costco can make room for fall items.

Holiday items tend to work a bit differently. Usually, holiday items will remain on the shelves until the actual holiday passes, unless they get sold out prior. For example, you’ll usually find Christmas treats at Costco all the way up to Christmas itself. And while Halloween candy might hit the shelves in late August, you can expect Costco to carry it through Oct. 31.

The best time to snag a deal

Usually, the best time to get a good deal on seasonal items at Costco is right after the season itself. But you’ll need to get your timing right, because Costco tends to move inventory quickly to make room for new products.

So, let’s say you want to save money on swimsuits. By early July, you can expect Costco to start clearing those out. If there are any left over, you might snag a discount in early or even mid-July. But beyond that point, Costco probably won’t have any bathing suits left for you to buy.

Costco’s holiday inventory

Much of Costco’s seasonal inventory revolves around the holidays that take place during those seasons. You might find unique holiday items for a limited period at Costco, such as:

  • Valentine’s Day: floral arrangements, chocolate assortments, plus stuffed animals
  • Easter: gift baskets, floral arrangements
  • Halloween: costumes, bulk candy, outdoor decor
  • Thanksgiving: pumpkin-flavored products, indoor decor
  • Christmas: gift wrap, decorations, trees, lights, gift baskets, candy and chocolate assortments, a selection of toys beyond what’s usually available

How to stay informed about Costco’s seasonal deals

As a Costco member, you should get a deal book in the mail every month highlighting what’s new and what’s on sale. Read it. And if you toss it out by accident, you can pull up that information online.

But for the most part, the best way to find out about seasonal products at Costco is to visit the store regularly. You may find that within a given season, the rotation changes from one week to the next. So shopping frequently is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on items you want to buy.

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