Don’t Forget the Coupons

My husband and I used to pride ourselves on our insanely low grocery bills.  Filling our fridge and cupboards for just $25 a week, we put even our Costco-loving friends to shame.  By most people’s standards, our diet was even considered quite healthy.  Yet, in the past few years, we have taken food quality to the next level for our health and my food allergies.  Needless to say, while the food we eat has propelled upward, so has our grocery bill.  Though my coupon-clipping skills aren’t as useful as they used to be, both my husband and I do manage to find discounts in various places:

Don’t toss that paper.  We did stop purchasing the Sunday newspaper, as both the price and waste of each paper just kept going up.  However, my parents share the coupons from their newspaper with us each week.  True, there usually aren’t very many I can use, but products like Silk (soymilk, yogurt, etc.), Barbara’s Bakery (cereals, snacks, and cookies), Hain Celestial (soups, non-dairy beverages, etc.), and Florida Crystals (organic sugar) do make appearances.  Likewise, I often find great coupons for olive oil, and our standard household needs.  Even brands like Seventh Generation and Jason’s are known to make an offer or two in those circulars.  If you really like the coupon idea, go online and find a coupon train to trade with and multiply your benefits.

Just for natural foodies.  A little company called Mambo Sprouts has been creating a natural food coupon book.  Often discretely placed by the weekly add at natural food stores (including Whole Foods & Wild Oats) these free little booklets house a couple dozen different coupons each month.  On occasion, Wild Oats times their sales with the coupons, making for double-y good discounts.  When the $.75 off coupons for Almond Breeze emerged, and the store had it on sale for 3 for $5 – well, lets just say I stocked up!  Actually, if you like Rice Dream or Soy Dream frozen dessert, Mambo Sprouts has a $1 off coupon (book or online), and Wild Oats has both labels on for a very low price.  I think you could walk out with a pint of frozen dessert for under $1!

Printable coupons.  Mambo Sprouts actually has printable coupons as well that may be worth a look.  Many grocer’s websites link straight to other printable coupon sources as well.  Check out your grocer’s website, you may be surprised by what you find.  Even my local natural food grocer offers printable coupons each month. 

Go direct to the manufacturers.  Are there some products that seem to make your shopping list each week?  Is there a new cereal you are dying to try?  Go straight to the manufacturers website, cruise around for any discounts, and sign up for their newsletter if they have one.  Annie’s frequently sends printable coupons to newsletter subscribers.  I signed up on the Luna Bar website, and they mailed me a coupon for a free product and some additional coupons.  Turtle Mountain just loves giving away coupons.  In fact, I would never think of purchasing their delicious frozen dessert without a coupon in hand.  Sometimes the companies are even seeking people to test out new products for them, so this is a great way to find out.

Pick up a free magazine.  Every grocery store I go to, big, small, obsessively organic, whatever – has their own free magazine.  Don’t miss these, they are awesome!  Filled with recipes, an interesting article or two, and of course advertisements.  But food advertisements often feature a clippable coupon or two.  So enjoy the writing, recipes and some penny-wise bonuses all in one free little store gift!  I often find them located at the register, by the bagger, or on a stand near the store entrance/exit.

Obviously the above coupon ideas are for packaged goods or baseline foods (sugar, olive oil, etc.) when purchased in stores (more about where to shop on deck!).  While I do try to buy mostly whole food items (to be addressed in other posts as well), the pre-packaged are a convenience I find necessary from time to time.  However, I certainly won’t let these little luxuries eat up my grocery bill! 

I realize this blog is relatively new, but to all you who are already on board, comments and ideas are more than welcome! 

Tomorrow… back to cooking!