Breakaway to Vegas with Costco Canada and MasterCard

March 17th, 2015 by Kimberly · No Comments

Viva Las Vegas!

Viva Las Vegas!

Costco Canada started a fun new contest yesterday for a great trip for two to Las Vegas.  So, if you’re a Costco member living in Canada, you should definitely take a chance on winning.  You can sign up by following the banner link on Costco.ca or by going directly to the contest site, BreakawayToVegas.ca.  Entering to win is quick and doesn’t require anything more than your membership number and contact information.  Well, you also have to assure them that you’re not a robot (a CAPTCHA checkbox)…you’re not, right?

After you originally enter, then you can gain an additional 145 tokens by completing other tasks such as sharing the contest on Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog or in emails, alternatively you can correctly answer quiz questions or follow Costco.ca on Twitter.  You can also gain tokens by signing up to receive emails from Costco Canada, which you can do right on the initial entry page.  In addition to all of those ways, you can get 15 additional tokens when you get a special PIN code at Costco warehouses that you enter on the contest site.  After you’ve got at least one token then you’ll need to play the slot machine at the contest site and see how lucky you are.

Upon registering and logging into the Contest Website, you will be presented with a game board, which will feature a game wheel (the “Game Wheel”) with three (3) individual wheels (each a “Slot”). Each Slot will be populated with five (5) images. You must use one (1) of your Tokens to start the game.

Simply toggle the “spin” button and the images on all three (3) of the Slots will start to rotate. If the three (3) Slots contain the same image once the Game Wheel ceases to rotate, you will earn one (1) Grand Prize Entry.

As you can see, there’s a bit more to getting an entry than just signing up and getting tokens.  But I’m sure the thing that will get everyone interested is the great prize.  Here are the details:

The Grand Prize is a trip for 2 (two) to Las Vegas with an approximate value of CAD$10,000, but will vary depending upon the location of the Winner’s residence and airfare fluctuations.

The Grand Prize includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare for two (2) people from any destination in Canada to Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Hotel accommodation at a premier MGM resort for three (3) nights total for two (2) people
  • Car service between the airport and hotel on arrival and departure for two (2)
  • DAY 1:
    • Welcome reception for two (2)
  • DAY 2:
    • Spa service for two (2)
    • Pre-show dinner at a renowned chef restaurant for two (2)
    • Exclusive access and tickets to a Las Vegas show for two (2)
  • DAY 3:
    • Pre-show dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant for two (2)
    • Premier tickets to a Las Vegas show for two (2)

It sounds pretty good and definitely like something I’d like to win!  This contest is open for entries between March 16 and April 26 (11:59:59 ET) and the drawing for the winner will be held in Ottawa on April 28, 2015.  As always, I suggest you read the contest rules to know all of the details of the contest.

If you’re a Costco member that is over 21 years old and a resident of Canada, head to the BreakawayToVegas.ca contest site to sign up and try your luck!

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Costco UK Coupon Book: March 16 – April 5, 2015

March 14th, 2015 by Kimberly · 1 Comment

The new Costco UK coupon book starts on Monday and runs until Easter, April 5.  There’s more than £400.00 worth of savings and there are some decent deals.  I’m not overwhelmed with the new coupon book, but there are still some good deals and even a few for things that I’m now glad that I didn’t get on our last trip to Costco.  There’s an emphasis on getting your yard in order, as well as a special Kirkland Signature section.

Costco UK Coupon Book: March 16 - April 5, 2015

Costco UK Coupon Book: March 16 – April 5, 2015

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.

It definitely feels like Spring is just around the corner with things starting to bloom and flower and the temperature rising.  And of course, that means that it is the perfect time to do a little bit of work around the yard.  There are a couple of coupons that will be perfect to get you going too.  There’s a coupon for £4.00 off Weedblock Heavy Duty Weed Control Fabric, which makes it £19.18 (with VAT) for a 1.22 m x 45 m roll.  We have always used this when landscaping because it makes it so much easier to maintain weed-free beds, not to mention it also keeps your mulch from just sinking right into your soil.  If you’ve already got plants in a bed it is a bit harder to put down but definitely worth the effort.  There’s also a coupon for Gro-Sure All Purpose Compost, so you can keep any new plantings looking great for the Summer.  You can get three, 120 litre containers for the price of two, or £14.37 with VAT.  If you want to keep your grass looking as good as your plants, there’s also a deal for £3.20 off Aftercut All in One that feeds your grass and kills weeds and moss.  A bag that covers 500 square metres of lawn is just £15.34 (inc VAT) after the discount.  There’s another yard project coupon for £5.00 off a pack of 8 solar powered Tribute Large Solar Pathway Lights; final price of £27.58 with VAT.  Solar powered lights are a great way to add some light around your yard without messing with any type of electrical work.  The only downfall to solar powered lights like this is that you do need to have the lights in a place where they will get adequate sunlight to charge the batteries or else the lights won’t work their best or at all.  So, with all of these coupons your yard is sure to look perfect for the nice weather I’m hoping our Summer will bring.

Some of my very favourite sweet treats are having coupons in this new book, just in time for Easter baskets.  There’s a coupon for £2.70 off a pack of four, 200 gram boxes of Lindt Lindor Truffles; final price £9.94 (inc. VAT).  I just love their melty, creamy chocolate centers.  Yum!  And, the pack at Costco has four different varieties to choose from.  Also, I will point out that the price at Costco is an incredible deal when compared to other supermarkets and retailers.  Normally, you would pay £4.50 for a 200 gram package of these truffles.  So, at Costco it is like you are getting two free boxes of these truffles.  That’s a great deal!

As I mentioned, there’s a special section of the coupon book highlighting some of the great Kirkland Signature products.  Of course, the product that stands out to me is the very excellent Kirkland Signature Vanilla Ice Cream.  You can get a two pack of 1.89 litre containers for a final price of £8.99 (no VAT).  This isn’t just your run of the mill ice cream, the KS stuff is comparable to a very high quality premium ice cream.  It is creamy with the perfect vanilla flavour.  If I had a bigger freezer I would certainly be picking some of this up, unfortunately for me, I just don’t have room in my tiny freezer.  This ice cream is excellent for making nice thick milk shakes too or just in a bowl with chocolate sauce on it.  I’m not really an ice cream person but I will make an exception for the KS vanilla, because it is just that good.

Lastly, I wanted to point out that there’s a deal on Michelin tyres this month.  Costco UK doesn’t have tyre coupons all the time, like the do in the US, so I try to make a special mention of these when they come around. If you buy two Michelin tyres you can get Costco shopping vouchers for £10, £30, or £50 depending on the size of the tyres.  And if you buy a whole set of four Michelin tyres you will receive a Costco shopping voucher for £30, £70, or £100, depending on the size.  So, this is perhaps the perfect time to kit out your car with a new set of tyres.   There’s also a few pages in the coupon booklet to tell you how great and safety-minded the Michelin tyres are, if you need convincing.

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Kirkland Signature Swimsuits by Miraclesuit

March 12th, 2015 by Kimberly · 2 Comments

It is getting to be that time of year when you might need to start shopping for a new swimsuit or two.  Summer is right around the corner and so are summer vacations and trips to the pool.  But hopefully, Costco can make the dreaded swimsuit purchase a little bit easier this year, and maybe even more satisfying.  I really hate swimsuit shopping, so anything that makes it less annoying, is a good thing in my eyes.

I was perusing the Costco.com website this morning when I noticed that they now have a line of Kirkland Signature swimsuits.  Even better, they are made by Miraclesuit.  So, what makes these swimsuits so miraculous?  Here’s a quick explanation from the Miraclesuit website:

Look 10 lbs. lighter in 10 seconds®… the time it takes to slip on a Miraclesuit®

The Miraclesuit® heritage of fit, form and function begins with our unique and innovative fabric, Miratex®. Exclusively ours, this fabric delivers three times the control of ordinary swimwear fabrics, without relying on inner linings and constrictive control panels to shape and trim. The high concentration of Lycra spandex means that Miraclesuit®’s keep their shape… and yours.

Kirkland Signature by Miraclesuit Swimsuits

Kirkland Signature by Miraclesuit Swimsuits

They also do some very smart design tricks that keep you looking slimmer, even without the miracle fabric.  The Kirkland Signature swimsuit has a wrap top design which is flattering to just about every figure, plus it has a bit of ruching at the side to do a little clever camouflaging action too.  At Costco you can find five different fabric patterns to choose from, all of which are quite nice in my opinion, though I probably like the Dippin’ Dots and Happy Place designs best.   Here are some of the features:

    • Miraclesuit® is constructed to shape and contour the body
    • Surplice neckline
    • Scoop back
    • Built-in soft cup bra
    • No bulky linings or girdles
    • Innovative fabric, Miratex® provides triple the holding power
    • Sizes 8 – 18
    • Back and Underfront: 54% Spandex / 46% Nylon
    • Front Drape: 83% Nylon / 17% Spandex

One of the designs is a bit different with a square neckline, adjustable straps and a hidden underwire bra, but is is still made with the same fabric.  It’s actually the Happy Place fabric that I like.  You could get two swimsuits with a different design so you wouldn’t even feel like you’re wearing the same suit all the time.  And all for less than a single Miraclesuit swimsuit would cost you someplace else.

If you’re familiar with the Miraclesuit lineup, you’re probably also familiar with their rather high price tag of around $100 and up for a suit.  So, here’s the best part about getting your Miraclesuit at Costco: it’s just $34.99, including shipping!  And if you can get them in your local warehouse, they should be even a bit cheaper there.  I am really amazed at the price because these are normally so expensive and the price at Costco is reasonably inexpensive even if this were just a run of the mill cheaply made suit.  I know I’ve easily paid this much for swimsuits that didn’t do anything miraculous for my figure.

Generally, everything I’ve read about the Miraclesuit swimsuits is that they actually live up to the  hype and do make you look slimmer.  Plus, they’re even comfortable enough to swim in and wear for more than ten minutes.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a swimsuit that you felt comfortable in and made you look good too?  What a nice change!  I think it is even better when you don’t have to pay a fortune.  That way you’ll have money left over for a fancy poolside drink.

So, if you’ve got a beachy vacation coming up or you just want a comfortable suit to take your kids to the pool, you should certainly think about getting one of these from Costco.  Happy swimming!

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Costco’s Second Quarter Earnings Beat Expectations

March 10th, 2015 by Kimberly · 2 Comments

Costco reported their second quarter earnings last week, and the news was good.  And way better than analysts were expecting.  Costco reported net earnings of $1.35 per share or $598 million, which represents a 29% increase over last year’s $463 million or $1.05 per share.  It was also better than the estimated $1.18 per share that analysts had been projecting.

The really good news for Costco is that membership numbers continue to go in the right direction: up.  They have had an increase in the number of new memberships and renewals in the last quarter.   In the last quarter, new memberships have increased 9% with Costco adding 700,000 Gold Star members and 100,000 primary business members.  The total number of members has risen to 78.7 million, up from 73.4 million in the same quarter of last year.   Membership renewal rates have ticked up just a bit too.  The biggest growth has been in international renewal rates which are up to 87.9%, but still a bit under the 90.7% renewal rate seen in the US.

Costco has plans to add another 20 stores by the end of their fiscal year 2015.  The majority of those are in the US, but the rest are planned for Japan, Australia, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan and the UK.  And of course, that means that new membership numbers should continue to climb.

The growth for Costco is outstripping competitors like Walmart and Target.  Sales at Costco stores open a year or more increased 8 percent in the last quarter (this is excluding changes in gasoline prices and foreign-currency exchange rates). However, in comparison, Wal-Mart reported a 1.5 percent increase in U.S. same-store sales for their last quarter and Target posted a 3.2 percent gain in their most recent quarter.  Even without excluding the negative impacts of falling gas prices and currency fluctuations, Costco’s last quarter sales increased 4% overall, which is still stronger than their competitors.

For more information:

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This Week at Costco – March 1, 2015

March 7th, 2015 by Kimberly · 2 Comments

I can’t believe it is already March!  But I am glad to see that there is actually some sun and warmer weather too.  I’m hoping this is really the first little blush of spring, which I am so much more than ready for this year.  If you’re in the US, don’t forget that a new coupon book started on Thursday and there are some good deals to check out.   Also, US and Canadian readers, don’t forget that it is that dreaded time of year when you have to “spring” forward an hour and lose a precious hour of sleep because it is the start of Daylight Savings Time.

Rians La Crème Brûlée

Rians La Crème Brûlée

Rians La Crème Brûlée –  Dave and I both love crème brûlée but it’s one of those things that I just don’t make from scratch very often.  It’s not even that it is hard to make, it just seems like there needs to be more than two of us for me to want to do it.  So, these are a really good compromise because we can easily have two of them at a time and have some time before we need to eat the other two.  The texture is almost as good as what I would make or what you could find in a restaurant.  I think it was a bit stiffer or thicker and didn’t have quite the same super silky, smoothness, but it was still good.  There’s a very nice vanilla flavour and like all good crème brûlée there’s just the right amount of sweetness.  Really you get the sweetness from the packet of brown sugar that you sprinkle on the top and then heat to get that cracking sugar layer on top.  Each cup comes with its own little packet of sugar and then you just need to either use a little kitchen torch or place it under the grill/broiler to get the sugar to melt into a delicious hard layer on top.   They must have a better grill than I do because I couldn’t get my sugar to the right stage in the three minutes that they suggest on the packaging, but ovens vary so use your eyes instead of your timer for this step. Since that is the only preparation involved, these would be a great way to save yourself a bit of time and hassle if you were having friends over for a casual dinner.  Or, like I mentioned, it’s great for a quick dessert treat, even when you don’t want to actually make anything.  The crème brûlée comes in four individually sealed glass containers so you can have just one or all four.  And certainly for the fairly small price, you couldn’t get crème brûlée at a restaurant for even one, let alone four.  4, 96 gram cups for £2.99 (US: $4.56).  Item #: 0034263.

Kirkland Signature Chicken Enchiladas -These are HUGE!  Seriously, the the sheer size of  these enchiladas is amazing.  They put two of them in the standard black plastic container that most of their deli items come in, and they are truly filling the entire space available.  I’d say they are like 9 or 10 inches long and 4 or so inches wide.  They are made with wheat tortillas and packed with chicken breast meat, along with  other delicious things like cheddar cheese, spicy refried beans, and a nice spicy sauce.  The real star is the chicken, of course because it is so moist and they aren’t chintzy with it either.  I had thought they used the rotisserie chickens to make these but they don’t specify that, so now I’m not so positive; maybe that was an older version.   Pickings are slim here in London in the Tex-Mex or Mexican restaurant area, this is actually one of the best things going unless we make something ourselves, which we do sometimes but it is nice to have someone else cook dinner every now and again.   And these are actually quite good.  Sure, it’s not in any way authentic Mexican food, but it tastes good and that is the most important thing.   We actually popped these into the freezer when we got home and had them in there for a few weeks before we thawed them out and ate them.  Because they are so dense and big, the thawing process took a while in the refrigerator.  I think it took them a full 24 hours to properly thaw.  They are really easy to cook too because you can just keep them in the black tray and pop it into the oven for about 25 minutes and you are good to go.  For me, one of these enchiladas is dinner and lunch the next day; for Dave it’s just one meal.  So, if I think about these being 3 meals, it really is a great deal.   You could easily feed four people with these if you added a few things to your meal, like a salad and vegetables as well as maybe some rice or even a quesadilla (any excuse for more cheese, I say).  I think these are perfectly spicy, neither too hot nor too mild, but if you’re not into spicy things I’m not sure how you’ll judge them.  They didn’t make my mouth feel like it was going to catch fire or anything, but they weren’t like eating a plain tortilla either.  I regret that I somehow missed these when taking my photos, so I don’t have one, unfortunately.  £6.52 (US: $9.93).  Item #: 0080245.

Castella Mediterranean Tapas Platter

Castella Mediterranean Tapas Platter

Castella Mediterranean Tapas Platter – We actually got this a while back when we were in Kansas visiting my mom and it was delicious.  It’s packed full of hot olive salad, olive medley, marinated artichoke hearts, seasoned feta cheese, provolone cubes, tri-color sweet peppers, and cheese stuffed zesty peppers.  The container is great because everything is sealed into its own little section and there’s also a lid.  Once you take the wrapping off though, it is ready to pop on the table to serve, so it is perfect for a party.  I think it is great that there is a mix of spicy things and non-spicy things too, that way there is something for everyone.  And of course, I liked that there was some cheese involved too.  I am a sucker for the cheese stuffed peppers, so those were definitely my favourite.  However, it was all really tasty.  All of the olives are pitted so you don’t have to worry about where to discard your pits or how to get them out of your mouth without breaking at least three rules of etiquette.  The packaged weight of this mix is 3.5 pounds, so you can imagine how much food that means you are getting.  If you are having it for a pre-dinner nibble, with a small group, like we did, you are probably going to have some left over.  And that’s what makes it so nice that there is a lid that you can just pop on and put it back in the fridge.  We also found that it worked great to use the leftovers for a salad the next day.  Basically, all you’ve got to do is add some lettuce and maybe some croutons.  It would also be perfect to add to some pasta for a quick, but wonderful looking, pasta salad.   3.5 pounds$14.69 (UK: £9.64).  Item #: 821230.

Kirkland Signature Trek Mix

Kirkland Signature Trek Mix

Kirkland Signature Trek Mix –  This is another US product, and I’m so glad I tried it because it is a really nice trail mix.  So, normally I’m not a huge fan of trail mix because they don’t get the mix right, in my opinion.  It is usually a lot of dry, not so flavourful stuff and even though it might be giving you lots of healthy energy, it tastes like eating wood chips.  So, Costco has made a few smart tweaks and ended up with something that is tasty and still healthy.  The KS Trek Mix is made up of:  cranberries, chia cinnamon granola clusters, roasted salted cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and KS chocolate chips.  I am so glad that they went with actual chocolate chips instead of the carob that you often find in mixes like this.  A serving size is 1/4 cup with 150 calories and is really filling too.  I find this a nice little post-exercise treat in the afternoon.  The mix is ideal for me because of the smart use of nuts and seeds along with the cranberries, so the mix isn’t too dry.  Plus, you’ve got the chocolate chips which add a bit of sweetness.  The chocolate chips are fairly small too which is good because you don’t end of having just chips or nuts at the bottom of the mix.  I’m impressed that they’ve gotten the mix proportions down so well, because you really don’t end up feeling like you’re having just a bunch of cheap oats with a smattering of the “good” stuff like nuts.  So many trail mix companies seem to err on the side of low-cost instead of flavour, so I’m glad to see that KS didn’t skimp.  I think my favourite bit is the chia cinnamon granola clusters though, especially when combined with the cranberries.  There’s just something about the taste that really hits the right note for me.  Last time I was eating some, I thought what a great breakfast cereal the clusters and cranberries would make (hint, hint Costco).  I usually just have a little bowl of the Trek Mix plain, however, I have also used it too perk up some yogurt.  I’ve been tempted to try it like cereal too but it’s a little too heavy on the nuts for that I think.   I’m glad I got a chance to try this out and I’m hoping they bring it to the UK stores as well but I haven’t seen it so far, unfortunately.   2 pounds for $7.99 (UK: £5.24).  Item #: 853197.

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