Shopping at Costco is a great way to save money on groceries and items for your home. But before you shop, there are a few things you should know. Go shopping armed with these tips to maximize your savings:

1. Avoid, if at all possible, shopping at Costco on the weekend. On Saturdays, you can hardly find a parking spot, and the check-out lines are ridiculous. We don’t shop on Sundays, but we’ve driven past there on Sunday, and the parking lot is full!

2. Stay out of the center section of the store if you don’t have disposable income. The food, office supplies, and household items are usually on the outside aisles. The middle section is a rotating display of eye candy. Clothing, cutesy serving dishes, toys, books, small appliances, and more are all displayed in the middle. And yes, the prices are decent…but if you walk in to buy groceries and walk out with a Carters blanket sleeper or lovely knife set every time you shop there in a year’s time, think about how much extra money you’ll have spent.

3. Compare apples to apples. Yes, the Hellman’s mayonnaise may be a great deal, but if you usually buy Meijer brand mayonnaise on sale, then compare the Hellman’s price to the Meijer brand sale price. Or the Cinnamon Toast Crunch might look like a good deal, but if you usually buy it on sale with a coupon, then make sure you take that into consideration.

Head over to Cooking Up a Sale for 7 more great tips!