Friday, April 15, 2011

Coupons and grocery budgeting

Just like everyone else, we have been hit hard with the rise in grocery prices.  I asked my dear friend and neighbor to help me revamp my budget a bit.  She gave me quite a few tips on how to save on my grocery bill with coupons.  At first glance I was giddy with how much I could save.  Even just a simple Google search sent me to articles where housewives everywhere can got their families groceries for less than $100 per month, and how I too can ‘get a years worth of toilet paper for free!’.  Yay!  Sign me up for free stuff!

But as I looked at the coupons that I could get, reality hit.  Couponing is work for those of us who are picky about what we buy and where we buy it.

Not one to give up easily, I started with the things I did buy that coupons were plentiful for.  Granola bars, yogurt, crackers, and other assorted ‘fast foods’ in my house were on sale all over town from every brand you can imagine.

Even with the crazy deals I was getting I asked myself these questions before each purchase: 

  • Is this food mostly whole foods?
  • Is this food free of hormones and pesticides? 
  • Does this food to come from a source that I trust?

I am 100% willing to pay for my food priorities. Even with coupons my food budget is going to be higher than the average and I am completely ok with it staying that way.... So on a search I went. A search for organic, whole foods coupons. What did I find?  Very (very) little.  I have discovered that coupon companies rarely put out coupons for foods that I would buy normally, and I also did my best to remember the top rules in couponing –

  1. “If you wouldn’t normally buy it, you are not saving money”.  
  2. “If you have to drive 10 miles out of your way to get it, you are just spending the money in gas that you would save in groceries”.

I did find some great links to wonderful savings and articles however, and I wanted to share those with you:

The Happy Housewife’s ideas on Extreme Couponing (fabulous!)

Organic Coupons with Money Saving Mom (not many whole foods, but some great deals on here and she updates weekly.)

Organic Valley Coupons

Frugal Living’s page of Organic and Natural coupons

With these ideas in mind, I have spent the last month revamping our whole menu binder.  Coupons help, but the biggest help is planning ahead.  Planning meals means money saved.  It is always easier to make a meal when you have everything on hand.  And when making a meal is easy, eating out (and eating junk) becomes less appealing and less frequent.

To Be Continued…



Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

A couple of years ago, I went to the websites of companies we like and I used the Contact Us function to tell them that I'd love to try their new products and asked for coupons. I left my mailing address. Within the week, I had TONS of coupons coming in. Some companies, like Amy's, even sent Free Item coupons. :D I basically C&Ped the same message to all of the companies I contacted and with just a little effort we did pretty well!

Sarah said...

Thanks so much for the links.
I have been out of work since January and its been really hard on our finances. The one place I can save is with our groceries but I find it hard to find savings on stuff we use.
There is another site I go to that has organic coupons
I havent looked on the coupons to see if they are only to be used in Canada but they have a good selection.

Frannie said...

I've been on the couponing wagon before and always fond myself putting the deal before nutrition. The time put into it to eat crap was not well spent. But, to find some good whole food coupons would be well worth the effort. thanks for the links!
I'm also working on my menu binder with your layout. I agree with you, I ALWAYS spend less when I'm prepared with a menu and grocery list. So, thanks for the menu binder lay out. It's wonderful, lots of work upfront, but wonderful!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Frannie - Fantastic! I love that it is helping. I am going to be giving more menu binder tips in the coming posts and I am so glad to get good feedback. :)

Michelle - I remember that! I will have to try it and see what they send me. Great idea!

Sarah - Thank you for the new link. :) I hope that you find some wonderful deals. <3

Jill said...

I have found this site somewhat helpful:, but mostly I use for deal info. Not all of the things on that site are organic/green, but she has a lot of helpful advise. I think what has helped me most with couponing is to stock up when the good deals come around. For example, by stacking both target and manufacturers coupons I was able to get Seventh Generation dish soap for about 60 cents each. I bought six and now we are stocked up for awhile. We are not nearly as green as I would like to be, but with being a stay-at-home mom to three kids 5 and under on my husband's teacher salary, we do the best that we can for right now. :) Thanks for sharing what you and your family do!

Sommer Clark said...

i stumbled upon your blog from a blog and i'm glad i did =) i loved reading this post! i too have begun really trying to save our family $$ by cutting, organizing, planning & using coupons and YES found that its def work! i also try to eat well and cook well for my family -also having 'good for you' snacks handy and found at first when using coupons i was caving into cravings -mostly my husbands- and buying things i otherwise wouldn't -like Poptarts! so what i am trying to remind myself is that if I can save on bathroom paper products, some 'good' food, personal supplies, even toys (bought my son a board game for $4 yesterday) & just being aware at who has the best $ on produce & such by reading over sale ads - I AM doing a good thing and saving! after all-is 50 boxes of sugary cereal really good for you even if you paid only an avg of a buck?
thanks for sharing- i hope to drop back by your blog and please feel free to do the same!

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