Costco Korea is CLOSED for Lunar New Year’s Day (Thursday, February 19, 2015)

February 16th, 2015 by Kimberly · No Comments

Since Korea will be celebrating Lunar New Year later this week, don’t expect to go to Costco for a normal visit this Thursday, because all Costco Korea locations are CLOSED for Lunar New Year’s Day or Seollal  (February 19, 2015).  However, Costco Korea locations will be open on Wednesday in case you need to pick up some last minute items for family celebrations or gifts or just your regular shopping, but they will be closing early at 7 pm.  All Costco Korea locations will resume normal business hours on February 20, 2015.  Also, don’t forget that there is currently a Lunar New Year coupon book (it runs through March 8, actually).

For those of you that are curious, here’s a little more information on how the Koreans celebrate Lunar New Year or Seollal from the Korea Tourism Organization or you can visit Wikipedia’s Korean New Year page to find out additional information, as well.

Seollal (Korean New Year’s Day on the first day of the first month by the lunar calendar: February 18 – 20, 2015)
Seollal marks the first month by the lunar calendar.  Korean New Year is typically a family holiday. The three-day holiday is used by many to return to their hometowns to visit their parents and other relatives.  It is a tradition for families and relatives to get together to perform ancestral rites and perform a traditional bow called sebe to the elders of the family. On this day, people have a bowl of tteokguk (rice cake soup). Many Koreans dress up in colorful traditional Korean clothing called hanbok. Though nowadays, small families tend to become less formal and wear other formal clothing instead of hanbok.

Another custom observed is the lighting of a “moon house” built out of burnable firewood and branches. This symbolizes the warding off of bad/evil spirits for the new year. Many also choose to add wishes they want come true in the next year to the moon house.

In Korea,  Ages are calculated according to the lunar calendar, and it is believed that each person becomes a year older after eating tteokguk. The soup is eaten with hopes for purity and longevity (the rice cakes’ white color means purity, and the long shape of rice cake before it is cut symbolizes longevity).

새해 복 많이 받으세요 (sae hae bok mani bad eu se yo)!

That’s “please receive lots of good luck in the new year” for all of us who are a little less proficient in our Korean language skills.  If you want to learn how to say it, check out this helpful TalkToMeInKorean.com video.

Costco Korea Lunar New Year Hours:

  • February 18, 2015: All locations closing early at 7 pm.
  • February 19, 2015: All locations CLOSED for Lunar New Year.
  • February 20, 2015: All locations resume normal operating hours.
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This Week at Costco: February 8, 2015

February 14th, 2015 by Kimberly · No Comments

It’s been a busy week!  If you didn’t see the news, and you’re a Costco US shopper, after March 2016 Costco and American Express will no longer have a co-branded card; Costco has yet to announce who the replacement will be though.  If you’re a Costco Taiwan shopper, don’t forget that there are special hours through Chinese New Year on February 19; for all the details see my post from yesterday.    I hope everyone has a nice Valentine’s Day!

Kirkland Signature Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Kirkland Signature Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Kirkland Signature Jelly Belly Jelly Beans – I think this is the first time Dave and I have ever had the giant canister of Jelly Belly’s from Costco, which is probably a good thing because you can’t just have two jelly beans.  In the enormous canister at Costco there are 49 different flavours (in the US version or 45 different flavours in the UK), all of which seem popular with someone in our household, and have quite a range.  They definitely have the basic fruity flavours with things like orange, peach, blueberry, and watermelon.  However, it is the more interesting flavours that I really like, things like chocolate puddings, toasted marshmallow and A&W cream soda.  But the one flavour that Dave and I both like best, unfortunately, is the buttered popcorn.  I don’t know what it is about that flavour but it is just delicious to both of us.  I wish they would sell a whole canister of just the buttered popcorn.  Yum!  On second though, maybe it’s better that I can’t get my hands on something like that.  Really, Jelly Bellys are a treat and there’s no way to act like they are anything but sugar, however, it is good to note that many of their flavours come from actual fruit, juices, or foods.  But I think we all realize that these aren’t fitting into a diet plan, they are just a sweet indulgence.  But if you know someone that is a big jelly bean fan, there’s no better (as in more affordable) place to buy them.  They are £4 or £5 more to buy at Amazon UK and almost $10 more to buy at Amazon US.  So if you need to get your Jelly Belly fix, save some money and get them at Costco, just remember portion control is your friend.  1.81 kilograms for £14.86 in the UK; item #: 730755.  4 pounds for $15.89 in the US; item #: 12173.

Kirkland Signature Chocolates of the World

Kirkland Signature Chocolates of the World

Kirkland Signature Chocolates of the World – I have seen the Chocolates of the World for a number of years at Costco but I’ve never made the purchase for various reasons.  But this year I got these as a gift around Christmas and am glad that I finally had the chance to try them.  As the name suggests, these are chocolates from around the world: Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, France, Switzerland, and the US.  There is plenty of variety to please lots of different tastes, and for us it was good because it was a mix of milk and dark chocolate (I like milk and Dave prefers dark chocolate).  Even though it isn’t my favourite, the dark chocolate that they’ve used to make these is really nice and not at all bitter, which is what usually puts me off.  I think between us we enjoyed all of these, and thus it is almost impossible to pick a favourite.  However, if pushed, I think I would say that I like the milk chocolate hazelnut, milk chocolate pistachio, and the malty milk truffle the best.  The dark chocolate ganache and dark chocolate gingerbread are really good too.  Honestly though, they’re all really good.  I love that they are individually wrapped because that makes them perfect for filling up a bowl or container at the holidays or anytime of year.  There are some that are filled with Grand Marnier and Kahlua but I’m not sure they actually have any alcoholic content.  The Kahlua one definitely says it is non-alcoholic in the ingredients but the Grand Marnier ingredients list isn’t as specific.  Funny enough, the Kahlua one tasted the most like it had alcohol in it.  In any case, these chocolates were a really nice treat with a lot of variety.  These would make a really nice gift at the holidays too, I mean, I certainly enjoyed getting them.  2 pounds for $11.59 (UK: £7.53).  Item #: 912498.

Kirkland Signature Organic Strawberry Spread

Kirkland Signature Organic Strawberry Spread

Kirkland Signature Organic Strawberry Spread – I love strawberry jam or preserves and this is a really good version.  It’s thick and lovely with lots of strawberry, not just strawberry flavour.  It’s made with 40% more strawberries than most preserves so it has a thickness and a flavour that is hard to match in other spreads.  The other thing that is nice is that this is made with fresh, organic strawberries that have never been frozen.  Since the strawberries haven’t been frozen I think that might help the texture too.  But I think the fact that the strawberries and the sugar that they use to make this spread are both 100% organic is something people find really appealing.  So many jam, preserves, and fruit spreads are made with frozen fruit or even worse just juice from concentrate, that it is definitely nice to find something that is more like what you might make at home if you were enterprising.  I’m not that enterprising, so I’m glad that Costco makes such a nice strawberry spread.  There are just four ingredients in this spread, so you don’t have lots of fakery sneaking in, it’s just strawberries, sugar, fruit pectin, and citric acid.  The taste is really strawberry with just the right amount of sweet, not overly sweet, which I certainly prefer.  This is great on toast but also nice to add to plain yogurt to make your own fruity yogurt (I suggest the Fage greek yogurt which you can also get at Costco).  I think this would be great to add to crepes or pancakes too or even to put on ice cream as a strawberry sauce.  It’s not super thick, like other jams or jelly, so you have a bit more flexibility.  That slightly runnier texture also makes me feel like I don’t need as much when I put it on my toast.  If you haven’t tried this, and like strawberry jam or preserves, I would definitely suggest this.  The jar is big, there’s no doubt about that, but it seems to last quite well in the fridge.  We got this in the US, so I’m not sure they have it at other Costco locations, but I certainly hope so. 42 ounces for $6.99 (UK: £4.54).  Item #: 421793.

Bundaberg Ginger Beer

Bundaberg Ginger Beer

Bunderberg Ginger Beer – I really like ginger ale or ginger beer because of the gingery bite.  Ginger beer is actually different than ginger ale because it is brewed and usually this means you can actually see the ginger pieces at the bottom of the bottle, but it also means there is definitely more ginger bite.  I take some medicine that is hard on my stomach and often leaves me feeling a bit queasy but I’ve found that with some ginger, in some form, I can avoid feeling so yucky.  Right before our last trip to Costco, I had tried a bottle of the Bunderberg Ginger Beer for the first time and found it really good.  It has a nice gingery bite without being too harsh.  And then amazingly, when we were at Costco they had a case of it.  Usually I just have to buy it at the regular supermarkets, where it is much more pricey than at Costco, so I’m thrilled that they had this and I hope they keep stocking it too.  Bunderberg, an Australian company, produces a variety of brewed drinks, including root beer, guava, and peach.  They have a multi-day brewing process that really makes the most of the flavours.  For the ginger beer they have a four day process, which starts with dried ginger, grown in Queensland, Australia, that they grind into a ginger flour.  Next, the add this ginger powder to cane sugar and water and heat it up to release all the good flavours and break down the ginger starch into sugar.  Then, they add this to a special yeast and start the fermentation process.  After this they filter this into a concentrated ginger mixture that still retains some small pieces of ginger and they mature it until they get the right flavour.  Finally, to make the concentrate drinkable, they dilute it with water, sugar, and citric acid add the carbonation and put it into bottles.  I think this brewing process, that might sound a bit complicated and certainly more involved than what they do to create ginger ale or less ginger beers, really does make for a better ginger beer in the end.  The bottles are a good size too, at least for my purposes, but you should be aware that they don’t have a screw cap so you can’t seal it back up part way through.  At Costco the price is about £0.65 per 375ml bottle, as compared to £1.12 per 375ml bottle at Tesco or Ocado.  That’s a huge difference, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Costco keeps this on the shelves.   12, 375 ml bottles for £7.79 (US: $11.98).  Item #: 00707020.

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Costco Taiwan Special Chinese New Year Hours (February 13 – 19, 2015)

February 13th, 2015 by Kimberly · No Comments

Chinese New Year is coming up next week, February 19th, and to help you prepare for the upcoming celebrations, Costco Taiwan has special shopping hours through Chinese New Year.  From February 13 – 17, all Costco Taiwan locations are open until 10.30 pm.  On February 18, Costco will be open from 9 am to 6 pm.  Then on February 19, Costco will be open 10 am to 9.30 pm.  They’ve got a special flyer about their Chinese New Year hours on the Costco Taiwan homepage but I’ve pretty much covered it.

For those of you that would like to learn more about Chinese New Year and how it is celebrated, you really should check out the Wikipedia article about it.  There’s a ton of really interesting information, but here’s a short summary.

Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year”.

Don’t forget that there’s also a Costco Taiwan Coupon Book right now!

Costco Taiwan Chinese New Year Hours:

  • February 13 – 17, 2015: All locations open until 10.30 pm.
  • February 18, 2015: All locations open 9 am to 6 pm.
  • February 19, 2015: All locations open 10 am to 9.30 pm.
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Costco US Ends Relationship with American Express

February 12th, 2015 by Kimberly · 55 Comments

As I reported in December 2014, Costco US had begun looking for bids from others to provide their co-branded credit card and after the change in Canada, it didn’t really look too promising for American Express.  But today they’ve made it official, Costco US and American Express are parting ways at the end of their current agreement at the end of March 2016.  This change won’t affect anything until March 31, 2016, so this won’t change things at Costco US or Costco.com in the immediate future.

American Express released a statement this morning making the announcement that they were unable to come to terms with Costco US on a new agreement.  American Express will also be holding a live audio webcast today (February 12, 2015) at 8:30 am ET to discuss the implications that the termination of the co-branding agreement with Costco US will have on their business.  The live audio webcast will be accessible to the general public through the American Express Investor Relations website at http://ir.americanexpress.com.

I was pretty sure this might be the way that things would shake out after Costco Canada replaced American Express with Capital One last year.  However, I had thought American Express might have put up more resistance in the US because of the huge financial gains that being the single credit card accepted by Costco US locations affords them.  That relationship gave them a very large and captive audience for years and I can’t imagine that this is good for their business.  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.  Ouch!

Costco US has not announced who their new co-branded credit card partner will be, since this announcement was just made this morning.  I’d think Capital One might be a favourite given they are the new partner in Canada, but you never know.  I’ll keep everyone informed about the new co-branded card as soon as I hear anything.  For now though, you can continue to use your American Express cards to make purchases at Costco US locations and on Costco.com.

For more information:

 

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Costco Taiwan Coupon Book: January 30 – March 15, 2015

February 10th, 2015 by Kimberly · 1 Comment

Costco Taiwan Coupon Book: January 30 - March 15, 2015

Costco Taiwan Coupon Book: January 30 – March 15, 2015

I’m sorry that I’m a bit more than a week getting these posted.  However, better late than never perhaps.  The latest Costco Taiwan Coupon Book started on Friday, January 30 and runs through March 15, 2015.  In total there are 83 coupons for you to take advantage of over the next month and a half.    You can view and download a copy of this latest Costco Taiwan coupon book.  They have a nice way of presenting the coupons online, however you can also download the coupon book as a PDF.  I’ve had some problems downloading the whole booklet as a PDF, but I think that might be a language problem (as in I don’t read/speak the right one).

The coupon books in Taiwan are a little different than most of the other locations because it actually covers two months, though the coupons are separated into one week-ish periods.  So there are coupons for each week or so of the coupon books validity dates.  The good thing is that they have coupons for two weeks that have a few days of overlap; they seem to always overlap on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I like the overlapping because that means you can shop from two savings from two weeks instead of just one.  That makes for more efficient coupon shopping.

There are, as you can imagine, lots of great coupons every week.  I find it an interesting mix of things that I’d see at my local Costco in the UK or US, and things that are clearly Asia-only items.  But no matter, there are excellent deals in food and cleaning supplies, health and beauty products, as well as a variety of household items.  I will say that there seem to be a lot of meat and fish coupons, with one or more (mostly more) each week it seems.  The best selection of coupons falls right before Chinese New Year, from February 6 – 15, which isn’t too surprising since that is a big celebration time.

There are tons of great coupons, throughout the whole book but a few that really grabbed my attention.  In the coupons currently active, you can get boiled snow crab and a terrific assortment of mushrooms, both of which I would totally get.  Then the first week of March they have a coupon for chopped black chicken, which I know is supposed to be very tasty and good for you too.  The final week of the coupons has a deal on a Crocodile Mosquito Mat that I’m really curious about.  I have never heard of such a thing, but I think I can kind of guess what it does and how it works.  I would definitely be getting this because I’m always the mosquito magnet, no matter where I am.

They only have one coupon that spans a much longer time period and that is for canvas artwork and it runs until February 15th.  What I can’t figure out is if you can get the deal on your own canvas photo prints, or just on stock canvas art.  I’m sure someone that can actually read the coupon book would know though.

During the Chinese New Year period Costco Taiwan will have special operating hours.  From February 13 – 17, all Costco Taiwan locations are open until 10.30 pm.  And of course, there are special hours right before Chinese New Year as well.  On February 18, Costco will be open from 9 am to 6 pm.  Then on February 19, Costco will be open 10 am to 9.30 pm.  They’ve got a special flyer about their Chinese New Year hours on the Costco Taiwan homepage but I’ve pretty much covered it.

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