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Today’s small donation to the Food Bank bin marks the end of a savings train that I’ve been riding for months:  saving $1.50 on each ground beef purchase thanks to the $3 OFF coupon on the back of specially marked Hamburger Helper boxes.  I know, the math doesn’t add up, right?  Read on!

These specially marked Hamburger Helper boxes hit shelves in our region (Eastern Ontario) in early spring 2012.  I paid $1.47 for my first box and clipped the coupon to SAVE $3 on my next combined purchase of Hamburger Helper PLUS ground beef.  

Hamburger Helper often goes on sale for $1.40-$1.70 here and it worked out to an average of $1.50 OFF of each and every ground beef purchase we’ve made in the past 6 months. 

“… our family doesn’t eat Hamburger Helper.” 

I know, many of you may be thinking “But our family doesn’t eat Hamburger Helper.” so this coupon is useless to us.  Well neither does ours!  This product doesn’t suit our sodium needs, so I threw out the sauce packet and used the noodles for soups, casseroles and even the odd craft for the kids!  And since I was often able to find packages of ground beef on clearance for $3 or less because they were expiring within the next day or 2, the coupon made for several OOP$ moments (that’s my way of saying $0 Out of Pocket!).  I encourage you to do some quick calculations on specially marked packages with coupons inside because even if you don’t use the product in full, the coupon might save you some money on future grocery bills.

Prior to the XL Foods ground beef recall, I always used to bring home my ground beef and cook it up right away, transfer it to a ziploc bag and toss it in the freezer with the date on it.  Since then, I’ve also started adding the UPC code, store name & location and packaging dates to my ziploc labels so that there’s no guessing whether or not it’s invovled in any recalls. 

I really like these savings trains that have coupons for related  products.  Old El Paso fajita and taco kits have similar coupons to save on meat, and Ziploc has coupons to save on bread, produce, and BBQ essentials.  I call them a savings train because the coupons require another purchase of their product PLUS the other product that you’re saving on.  The Bear Paws/Nestle candy coupons,  on the other hand, is what I call a savings circle:  you buy one to save on the other, then get a coupon to save on the the original product, and the circle keeps going until your pantry is full or the expiry date hits!  Be sure to read the coupon details carefully when deciding whether or not a savings train or circle will add up to actual savings for your family.  While we normally wouldn’t buy 2 bags of Nestle candy at a time (the coupons inside the Bear Paws boxes are SAVE $4 when you buy 2 Nestle 20 count bags), we saved us a tonne of money our Hallowe’en candy to give out next week.   And while I rarely pay full price for groceries, there are times that buying the first product at full price just to get onto the saving train or circle is well worth it, especially if the coupon has a long expiry date.  Be sure to watch for our articles on CanadianCoupons.net to keep updated on the latest savings trains, circles and specially marked packaging with coupons inside.

Sadly, today marks the end of the line for this particular train for our family.  The coupons expire on October 31, 2012 and Hamburger Helper is on sale at Walmart for $1.67 until closing tonight so I’ll be going and redeeming my last 2 coupons:  I’ll buy 2 boxes of Hamburger Helper for $3.34 out of pocket and bring home $6 worth of ground beef for $0 extra out of pocket.  That’s $2.66 in savings and I’ll drop the 2 boxes of Hamburger Helper in the donations bin at the front of the store.  (I wasn’t able to donate any of the other boxes since I had to cut apart the box to remove the coupon).  If you have some of these coupons to use but can’t make it out to Walmart today, Hamburger Helper is also on sale in next week’s flyers at the following locations:

  • Metro (starting Oct 26) – 2 for $4
  • No Frills (starting Oct 26) – $1.67
  • Independent (starting Oct 26) – $1.99

wait … what’s that I see in the Independent Grocer flyer?  New specially marked boxes of Hamburger Helper?  Looks like pickles, some kind of hot sauce, and Egg Creations.  If that’s at least $1 OFF Egg Creations, I might just hop on the new savings train – Burnbrae Egg Creations are on $1.99 Price Squeeze in the Food Basics flyer starting tomorrow and a $1 OFF coupon (dare we hope for higher?!) coupon would make for some really reasonably priced egg dishes for us next week (mmmm, quiche!).  Stay tuned for details on the new specially marked Hamburger Helper boxes – or better yet, if you have one, please drop a line in the comments box below and let us know what’s inside those boxes!

If you have purchased Hamburger Helper in the past year, be sure to check your pantry – you just might have a savings train to catch before the end of the month!  I’ll miss my ground beef coupons and will likely find myself scanning the meat dept. bins for ground beef packages marked at $3 or less out of habit for a while to come!  I do still have some of the Old El Paso chicken coupons though and will ride out that train until December 14, 2012.

Happy Couponing!

Christa Clips ~ October 25, 2012

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