How to snag a major deal on a Costco membership, just before the holidays

Costco is great (read: amazing) for a lot of reasons, from things you need, like food for a party and stocking up on necessities, to things you don't need, like giant lobster claws and 7-pound buckets of Nutella. There's one problem though—if you don't have a Costco membership, you can't get in. Conveniently, just before the holidays, Groupon is having a major deal for first-time members.

The most basic Costco membership, a one year Gold Star Membership, will run you $60 and you'll receive one card for the household. Currently on Groupon, however, you can get the same membership for $60 with an additional $80-plus in perks for free.

Deal: Costco Gold Star Membership + Extra Perks, $60 ($148.98 value)

The added freebies include: a second card for anyone 18 and over living at the same residence, a $20 Costco gift card for in-store purchases, free Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean HE Laundry Detergent Pacs (valued at $17.99), free Kirkland Signature Create-a-Size® Paper Towels (valued at $15.99), $25 off a $250+ online order and $10 off fresh meat. You can find more info on the Groupon offer here.

It's a pretty good deal, considering all of the holidays coming up. Here's how we'd use a new membership to help with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and everything in between.

1. Halloween candy

The Oct. 31 holiday calls for buying candy in bulk, and there's no better (or cheaper) place to do so than a wholesale store like Costco.

2. Snacks and appetizers

The frozen aisles at Costco are filled with appetizers like shrimp, meatballs, pinwheels, pizza bites and more. There's something for every occasion.

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3. Thanksgiving turkey

Before the big day, you can order your turkey from the wholesale club (and use one of those free $20 giftcard towards your purchase!). If you're not much of a cook, you can get a full, easy-to-prepare Thanksgiving meal that serves eight for only $104.99 or a ham dinner of the same size for $94.99, if that's more your style.

5. Desserts

If you don't have time or the skills to bake a few cakes, cookies and pies, stock up at Costco. Snag pie flavors like apple, pumpkin and pecan, or go for this "mile high" 6.8-pound chocolate peanut butter cake.

6. Travel

Whether you're flying or driving to see family or friends this holiday season, snag a deal on airfare, rental cars and even gas at Costco. Costco's travel site even has the option to book cruises for a steal if you want to totally get away.

7. Stocking stuffers and other gifts

Find candy stocking stuffers, gift baskets, flowers and more for your friends, family and colleagues this holiday season. From this adorable wine-shaped dried fruit and nut board to a 6-pound tray of cookies to gift baskets created by occasion, there's a gift basket for everyone on your list.

8. Stock your bar cart

Kirkland, Costco's in-house brand, has a wide selection of wines (we recommend the malbec). You can also stock up on craft beer and liquor, too.

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