Savings Alert: Living Social offers Costco membership deal

By Tod MarksConsumer Reports

If you've considered joining Costco, but didn’t want to spring for the annual $55 Gold Star membership fee, it may be time to finally take the plunge. We spotted a deal on Living Social that makes the offer more tempting by tossing in a multitude of perks for your $55 investment: a $20 Costco cash card, a free store-made rotisserie chicken and apple pie, 30-pack of toilet paper, and three-months of identity theft protection from Identity Guard (if you decide you don't want it, you’ll need to cancel the service after the trial period to avoid a recurring $13.49 monthly charge).

Costco, which operates 663 warehouse clubs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and says it has more than 71 million cardholders, has ranked high in Consumer Reports ratings of supermarkets, eyeglass stores, drug stores (you don’t have to be a member to use the pharmacy), electronics and computer retailers, and small appliances. Buying advice is free; Ratings are available to subscribers.

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The fine print: The offer is exclusively for new members; you can’t renew an existing membership. You must redeem your membership voucher by Dec. 15. And coupons for your free Kirkland Signature (Costco’s store brand) chicken, pie, and toilet tissue will be mailed within four weeks of membership activation.

The Living Social offer expires about Sept. 15.

—Tod Marks

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