I’m in Kansas for the next week, which means that I am woefully unprepared to write my review post this week. We were supposed to get into Kansas City on Thursday night, of course, thanks to delays in our flight from London we missed our connection in Philadelphia by like 15 minutes and didn’t get into town until mid-day on Friday. So, as a result I haven’t been able to make a visit to Costco yet. I’ve decided to re-post reviews that I’ve written about things that are currently on offer in the Costco US coupon book. These are some of my favorite things in the current coupon book that I’ve bought before. Certainly since it is time to start thinking about doing your taxes, I also included TurboTax because it makes doing your taxes so much easier than trying to wade through it all by yourself with IRS forms.
Intuit Turbo Tax Home & Business – We have been using TurboTax for years. We tried something else one year but quickly realized it was a mistake. The other reason we like using TurboTax is because we also use Quicken and the two work nicely together and that cuts down on some of the time we have to spend entering numbers from one place to the other. It’s so easy to use though because it asks questions in normal, everyday language instead of IRS speak, so it is very understandable. I think the interview type format also helps you out by coming up with deductions and other things that you might miss or not even think of on your own. Of course, if you really like looking at all those forms and line 12B and 23C things, you can go directly to the forms too. Also, as you are going through the process it keeps a running tally of how much you owe or how much your refund is; so you always see it. Which could be a good thing but sometimes makes you just want to cry. The other good thing is that they help you accurately value any charitable donations you might have made (obviously, the non-money donations) so that instead of you thinking that the old jeans were worth $2, they’ll tell you that indeed they are worth $20 (or something similar). And maybe the greatest thing is that it checks for errors and your likelihood of being audited before it lets you file. So, the audit risk meter lets you see things that may flag you for an audit and make sure that the information is accurate and correct. Plus, you get to do your e-filing of your returns for free (up to 5 returns), which used to cost around $10, I think. The software will work for either Windows or a Mac. The Home and Business edition, includes some extras for self-employment tax filing for consultants, contractors, self-employed, single owner LLCs and sole proprietors. Obviously, this isn’t the version that the average person would need; the Deluxe version is $29.99 – $39.99 depending on if you need to file state taxes or not and the Premier version is $62.99. You can also order this software on Costco.com, and get the $10.00 off, though you will need to pay $4.99 for shipping. $69.99 ($79.99 – $10.00 coupon). Item #: 474321. [Original Posting: January 10, 2010]
Alexia Sweet Potato Fries – This is the first time in ages that I’ve seen an actual french fry type product in the freezer section of Costco. It amazed me so much that I had to buy them. Well, that and the fact that I like a good sweet potato now and then too. These are really a nice little fry and make a good companion to just about anything you’d regularly pair a potato with. Somehow they seem a little bit more acceptable than having regular french fries with something like salmon too. However, if you want them to be crunchy or even semi-crunchy, you really need to cook them for no less than 20 minutes with a good shaking and flipping in the middle. Also, we found that they needed a little bit of salt. So, I have found that if you sprinkle on a little salt when you flip them over that works out the best. I also like to add a little sprinkle of ground chipotle or cayenne pepper to the mix. The good news is that they are a bit healthier than normal french fries since they have 3 g of fiber and 100% of your vitamin A in just one 3 ounce 150 calorie serving. So, perhaps if you’re looking for something a little better for your kids but all they really want is french fries, this might be the perfect thing for you. 4 pounds for $6.59. [Original Posting: January 4, 2009]
Don Miguel Cantina Grill Variety Pack – Okay, for fake Mexican food frozen item number two, we have this variety pack from Don Miguel. These are the same people that make the flautas, empanadas, and mini tacos that you can find in the Costco fridge cases. We like their stuff, authentic or not, and buy the flautas quite often. This must be a new item to Costco because I definitely haven’t seen the variety pack before, and this item also had a coupon this month which usually signals something new for things like this. In the variety pack you get 16 chicken and 2 cheese (Oaxaca and Cotija) empanadas, 12 chipotle chicken and cheese flautas, and 25 shredded steak mini tacos. The flautas and the empanadas definitely seem smaller to me than the ‘regular’ sized ones that they have in the fridge section, I’m less positive about the mini tacos. In any case, they are all delicious but my favorite is probably the mini tacos. And conveniently they all cook at the same temperature for the same amount of time; very easy to put a bunch on a cookie sheet and bake. 53 items (3.4 pounds) for $8.99 ($11.99 – $3.00 coupon). Item #: 352474. [Original Posting: December 13, 2009]
Bellatoria Garlic Chicken Alfredo Pizzas – These are one of the items in this month’s coupon book – $3.00 off. These are a really nice thin crust pizza that you can have cooked and ready to go in like 15 minutes (including the time it takes to heat up your oven). I love the really crunchy thin crust! But the topping is nice too, especially if you don’t like or just need a change from the regular tomato sauce based pizza. There’s a whole lot of cheesy taste from the mozzarella, Asiago and creamy garlic Alfredo sauce and then there’s a great oregano and basil spice blend too. The chicken is even good because it is all white meat chunks that are moist and the perfect match to all the cheese. The pizzas aren’t big by any means, they’re about a pound each weight wise, so you know that it isn’t like ordering a large pizza from Pizza Hut, for sure. I think they’re about 11 inches in diameter. But it does make a good quick meal if you’re not inclined to whip up a meal. The coupon makes the price fairly reasonable for the three pizzas that you get in the box at Costco. 3, 11″ diameter pizzas for ($12.99 – $3.00 coupon) $9.99. [Original Posting: January 18, 2009]