Guest Post: A Few Favorite Items at Costco

December 18th, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

[I’ve got a guest post today from a fellow Costco fan from Reno, Nevada.  She’s a fairly new Costco member, since 2012 but has seen the value and found a few great products to share with everyone.   These are some great suggestions and some of them might even be the perfect thing to pick up for your holiday parties or get togethers.

Also, if you’re planning to do a bit of last minute online shopping at Costco.com, you’ve got to get your orders completed by 11:59 PST for delivery by Christmas!]

Recently, on a trip to my local Costco I found a few different items that I am pretty excited about and would love to share with fellow Costco enthusiasts. I enjoy each for its own purpose, and they’re all quite different.

Donsuemor Madeleines

Donsuemor Madeleines

First up is Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar. Growing-up I was always a fan of the nutrition bar. They’re conveniently packaged for totting around, and are so simple for an on-the-go snack. The down side? The traditional bars of my childhood are packed with sugar and perhaps not the purest ingredients, so I gave them up years ago. This is why I was so excited to stumble upon Nature’s Bakery bars. They have the same convenient packaging to be thrown in a purse, desk drawer, or backpack, but they are also made with no GMO, no dairy, 0G trans fat, dairy free and they’re cholesterol free. I hate to use the phrase, but delicious and nutritious definitely applies here. Costco price: $8.99 for a variety pack.

I am also a huge fan of coffee dates for catching up with friends, or just some quiet time between my coffee cup and myself. Now I have found the perfect coffee compliment that my friends have also fallen for: Donsuemor Madeleines. They’re a rich, buttery French-inspired dessert that can be eaten alone, or maybe dipped into a warm mug. Costco price: $6.99 for a 28-pack.

Again, I like to entertain and I found the perfect wine at Costco to share with my friends who also tend to be wine snobs. From the Napa Valley winery Whitehall Lane, Costco carries two delicious varietal: Sauvignon blanc for the white wine drinkers and Merlot for the red.  They’re affordable yet suitable to the fancy taste buds of my wino friends. Sauvignon Blanc: approximately $14.  Merlot: approximately $20.

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Costco Spain Coupon Book: December 15 – 31, 2014

December 16th, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

Costco Spain has a new coupon book out to get you through Christmas and New Year’s too.  The new Costco Spain coupon book started yesterday on Monday, December 15, and runs through the end of the year, December 31.  This new coupon book has just a wee €120.00 in savings, which isn’t bad since this only lasts two weeks.  There are just 19 coupons in this abbreviated book, but hopefully there’s something you can find that’s just right for you.  It looks like there are some great coupons for products that might make your holiday celebrations a little bit nicer or easier, which is always nice.

Costco Spain Coupon Book: December 15 - 31, 2014

Costco Spain Coupon Book: December 15 – 31, 2014

I’ve uploaded the new Costco Spain Coupon Book PDF (or view it in the Google PDF viewer).  Since they now post the coupons on the Costco Spain website, you can also download a copy of this coupon book from there.  I’d say that you can also get to the current coupon book from the “Promotions” page, but they seem to have not updated it since this summer.

I’ll be honest, my Spanish, even with help from Señor Google, is pretty limited, luckily there are pictures for everything though.  I particularly like the €19.99 off of the Braun MQ745 stick blender and mixer.  These are great because they have all of the attachments that you need for little mixing, blending, and chopping tasks in your kitchen.  And the Braun is nice because the attachments are all dishwasher safe and wash up really easily.  This is quite similar to my Cuisinart stick blender and I love it because it saves me from needing a full sized blender or my big food processor for all but the biggest of cooking tasks.  After the €19.99 off the Braun is €69.99, including IVA.

If you’re planning a big celebration for Christmas, you might be interested in the coupon for Quarters of Lamb for €2 per kilogram off of the regular price of €14.99, so a final price of €12.99 per kilogram.  This lamb comes from Castilla and León, so it originates in Spain as well, which is always great for meat I think.  Aside from the lamb, there are lots of other great food items discounted with this coupon book too, like mangoes and apples, fresh baked muffins, extra virgin olive oil, cheese, caviar, and several dessert items.  There are definitely a few items that you might want for your holiday celebrations.  And of course, there are a few coupons for wine and one for Limoncello too.

So, even though there aren’t a ton of different coupons over the next couple of weeks, there are some really nice deals.  Be sure to take a good look through before your next shopping trip.

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Costco UK Coupon Book: December 15 – 31, 2014

December 13th, 2014 by Kimberly · 1 Comment

It’s the last coupon book of the year for Costco UK!  The new Costco UK coupon book starts on Monday, December 15, and runs until the end of the year, December 31.  This new coupon book has just a wee £200.00 in savings, which is clearly less than a normal coupon book, but this one only lasts two weeks too.  There are just 39 coupons in this abbreviated book, but hopefully there’s something you can find that’s just right for you.  There seem to be a lot of coupons for wine and beer, 12 coupons in all, I guess that’s so you can get ready for New Year’s Eve.

Costco UK Coupon Book: December 15 - 31, 2014

Costco UK Coupon Book: December 15 – 31, 2014

I’ve uploaded the new Costco UK Coupon Book PDF (or view it in the Google PDF viewer).  If you didn’t get your book or never do, you should stop by Customer Service and make sure that they have all of your mailing information correct and that you have allowed them permission to send you things in the mail.  Also, while you’re there, ask them for a copy of the latest book if they didn’t hand you one when you walked in the store.  In the UK they print the coupons on both sides of the pages and without the codes and they just automatically deduct them after they ring up your items.  I love this method of couponing and I’m glad to see that it seems all Costco locations in the world are following suit.  I do still find it useful to have a copy so I know what to look for because I don’t always notice the signs that they’ve posted to let you know what has a coupon.  Of course, they often hand you a copy of the coupon book when you walk in the store or have them sitting there so you can grab one as you enter. I usually download a copy of the PDF to my phone before I go to the store so that I can easily reference it while shopping.  If you sign up to receive emails from Costco.co.uk, they will send out an email that lets you know that the new coupon book is available online, usually the weekend before the new book starts.  Since they now post the coupons on the Costco UK website, you can always download a copy of the latest coupon book from there; you can also find a link to it on the Warehouses Offers webpage.

As I mentioned, there are 12 coupons for beer, wine and other assorted alcoholic beverages with discounts of £1.50 to £5.00.  So, if you’re planning a New Year’s Even party or holiday party of any kind, this would be a great time to save a bit of money on your festive beverages.  If you were thinking of having fancy mixed drinks at your festive celebrations, there’s also a Ninja Mega Kitchen System blender and food processor that might be able to help you out with everything but adding the little umbrella.  You can get the Ninja for £30.00 off for a final price of £119.98 (with VAT).

There are a couple of things that caught my attention though.  Dave loves M&Ms, so whenever there is a coupon we pick some up.  M&Ms seem really high at the regular supermarkets, so they’re always a much better deal at Costco, but especially so when there is a coupon.  You can get £1.25 off a 1 kilo bag of Peanut M&Ms, that means that they’ll be just £4.48 (with VAT).  At regular supermarkets and retailers, you’ll pay from £1.50 to £2.00 for a small 165 gram bag, which I’m sure I don’t have to point out is much much more than you’ll be paying at Costco.

There’s a£1.50 off coupon for Honest Earth All Natural Creamy Mashed Potatoes for a final price of £3.49.  Yes, these are instant mashed potatoes.  But they’ve really come a long way with these because they taste like potatoes and have a great fluffy texture too.  The potatoes are really all natural and pretty much just what they say: dried potatoes, butter, and sea salt.  So you don’t have to be worried about what kind of crazy stuff you are eating either.  We’ve been buying these for a few years now and really like to keep them on hand.  If you make them using milk and butter, as the instructions suggest, they are really delicious and creamy.  You get 8 packets in the box and each packet makes enough for 4 to 6 decent servings.  Sometimes I use them to thicken up soup too and it is perfect for that because you can get a creamy texture without actually using cream.

The last coupon I’m going to mention is for Duracell batteries which usually are an imperative at holiday time for all of the battery operated gifts.  I don’t know if that is still the case, but figured I should mention these anyway.  You can get £2.13 off a 16 pack of AAA batteries for a final price of £7.63 (with VAT).  Or, you can get £2.75 off a 20 pack of AA batteries for a final price of £9.88 (with VAT).

 

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Costco Profits Up in the First Quarter of New Fiscal Year

December 11th, 2014 by Kimberly · 1 Comment

I’m not a financial analyst, as is probably very evident, but I do like to share the earnings reports for Costco, especially when they are so good.  The results for Costco’s first quarter of their fiscal year 2015, are quite good and demonstrate how they are far outpacing their competition.  And I think the results were better than Wall Street was expecting too, which is always a good thing.

Costco profits up in Q1

Costco profits up in Q1

For FY2015 Q1 Costco reported a net income per share of $1.12 or $496 million, which bested the $1.09 per share that was widely expected on Wall Street.  That represents a rise in profits of 17 per cent from $0.96 per share or $425 million a year earlier.

New memberships are up with Costco making $582 million from those fees in Q1, which is up from $549 million a year ago during the same period.  Falling gas prices have also had a big impact on Costco’s earnings.  Gas prices have fallen to $0.61 per gallon over this time last year, according to AAA.  Costco might really gain by dropping gas prices because that could mean that members, who have just paid less at the pump, are more likely to buy more in their stores.

The good news is that Costco continues to do well, even when other retailers have been reporting slumping sales and weak numbers.  Costco should be able to continue to post such good results for the rest of their fiscal year 2015 since all indicators point to a growing retail market in the US again.  Same store sales at Costco (stores open a year or more) increased a very, very healthy 7 percent, when excluding changes in gasoline prices and foreign-currency exchange rates.   And that is far and away a much better result than what either Wal-Mart or Target have reported most recently.  For the most recent quarter, Wal-Mart reported a 0.5 percent increase in U.S. comparable-store sales, while Target posted a gain of 1.2 percent.

Woot-woot for Costco!

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Will Costco US Replace American Express Too?

December 9th, 2014 by Kimberly · 11 Comments

In September I wrote about Costco Canada replacing American Express with Capital One MasterCard as their exclusive credit card provider.  Now it seems that Costco US might be considering replacing American Express too.  This would be a really big step for Costco US, as well as a big change for all of the Costco US members.

Currently, Costco US accepts one single credit card, American Express, in their stores.  Although, you can always use your debit card or cash (you remember what that is, right?).  Costco US also has a co-branded membership card with American Express that a lot of members, including myself, have used for years.  But now it looks like there is at least the potential for a change in that relationship.  It has been reported that Costco US is accepting bids for both an issuer and a payment network for their co-branded credit card and stores.  I speculated that the change at Costco Canada could spell a cooling of the relationship between Costco and American Express.  This news definitely makes it look like that is indeed the situation.

Could this be the end of American Express at Costco US?

Could this be the end of American Express at Costco US?

For years and years, Costco has had an exclusive relationship with American Express, not just in the US but also in several of their other locations around the world.  This kind of exclusive relationship with a retailer is extremely rare, almost unheard of really, but it definitely represented a great way for American Express to build up their membership with a certain type of consumer and have access to the Costco demographic without much advertising or work.  The only reason a lot of Costco members have an American Express is because of the co-branded card with Costco.  If that is no longer an option, a lot of Costco members will probably just get rid of their American Express in favour of using an existing card or signing up for the new co-branded card.

This potential change could cause huge financial losses at American Express in 2015.  According to various analysts the loss of the deal with Costco US could result in a loss of anywhere between 15 to 30 cents of profit per share.  That kind of negative impact on earnings would prove very detrimental for American Express, and their shareholders.  And I’m not even sure that accounts for all of the other spending that American Express could lose out on if Costco members canceled their cards altogether.  That could be really huge.

Given that thinking, it is hard to believe that American Express won’t try their utmost to keep hold of the relationship with Costco.   This news came out about a month ago, but so far I haven’t heard anything to indicate that Costco has made a decision or a change to their credit card relationship with American Express.

I know a lot of people have expressed displeasure about how they’ve been treated by American Express, especially with regards to getting their rewards checks.  So, if Costco US does change card providers I’m wondering if people will be happy or sad about it.  I’m also wondering how this will change the exclusivity agreements that Costco and American Express have in the UK, Japan, and Korea.  I’ll be sure to keep an eye on how this develops and post about it as soon as I hear the outcome.

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