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OOP$!  Was I Supposed to PAY for that Chicken?

One of my favourite $ 0 Out of Pocket items to look for when I’m out grocery shopping is chicken breasts – we bbq them weekly all summer long, and the kids enjoy chicken salad wraps in their lunch boxes.  That means we easily go through 6 to 8 breasts in a week for our small family of 4, and if we’re hosting a dinner or going to a potluck, we’ve cooked 12 at a time.  So if I can get high quality skinless boneless chicken breasts for FREE, I am willing to make a few runs to the local grocery store.  (if you wouldn’t, the rest of the read isn’t going to appeal to you!)

It all started when Maple Leaf introduced their Prime Portions to the market.  They’re individually vacuum packed chicken breasts – great for when we go camping and want them to stay frozen and dry in the cooler for a few days.  As with many NEW products, the company included a number of coupons in the package, some even had had peelies on them at one point (the universal pet peeve of couponers is when folks steal the peelies to use at a later date).  And what drew my eye to the product was that our local Food Basics had them marked down 50% because they were due to expire in 2 days.

This is how my love affair with FREE chicken began!

Package #1 Maple Leaf Prime Portions Chicken Breast 4 pack Reg $7.93, reduced 50% = $3.97   (in my naivety, I thought this was a bargoon!)

When I opened the package at home, inside were three $5 coupons for various Maple Leaf chicken products including the SAME Portions packs! So, unable to resist the allure of getting something FREE (that US Extreme Couponing show had just begun to air in Canada and we were all in disbelief that it could be done!), back to the store I went!  We’re very lucky; we have a Walmart Superstore, Shoppers Drugmart, Food Basics & Independent Grocer all within a 2 minute drive from our house, so it was a no brainer.

Package #2 Reg $7.93, reduced 50% = $3.97, less $5 coupon = FREE!

Package #3 Reg $7.93, reduced 50% = $3.97, less $5 coupon = FREE!

Package #4 Reg $7.93, reduced 50% = $3.97, less $5 coupon = FREE!

Package #5 Reg $7.93, reduced 50% = $3.97, less $5 coupon = FREE!

I opened each package after paying for it right there at the cashier to take out the coupon for the next purchase.  It was late at night (our Food Basics does its mark downs between 9-10pm for meat that expire 48 hours later), so I didn’t even have to worry about holding up fellow customers with 4 separate transactions.

I floated home with 16 more chicken breasts to freeze and still had 11 $5 coupons for other Prime Chicken products to use by June 30th.

I’ve used a few of the coupons to score Packages #6-8 of FREE Seasoned Flattened Chicken and the Stuffed Chicken breasts;  both were reduced reduced 50% and the $5 coupon made them FREE.  And I’ve traded a few of the coupons over on www.couponspare.com for other grocery item coupons that our family uses on a regular basis.  Our freezer can only handle so much chicken at a time!

The basic adages of couponing apply here:

  1.  Check your packages when you are unpacking your groceries to see what kind of coupons, contests, offers are inside the package.  There’s nothing worse than opening a box of cereal to discover that you could have gone to the movies for FREE if you’d opened the box to check when you first bought it, instead of sticking it in the pantry.
  2. Always carry your coupon binder (even a trip to the store for milk is worth walking via the meat dept to see if there are any reductions that match your coupons)
  3. Save your coupons to use when you can have an OOP$! Moment (that’s our way of saying $0 Out of Pocket.  YOUR pocket!)
  4. Only buy what your family can use in the expiry period (chicken is fine in a chest freezer for up to a year!)

And the love affair continues….

Starting this Friday at Food Basics, Maple Leaf Boneless Skinless Breasts will be on sale for $5.  We’ve got 5 coupons for that, from our Portions fling. And I can use them all for Packages #9-13 in one transaction this time, making the FREE feel even better!

So check your freezers, maybe you’ve got a Prime Portions Ziploc pack with $15 in coupons inside.  Here’s hoping!

Christa Clips

March 28, 2012.

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