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Over and over I hear people say that they can’t use coupons because they try to “eat healthy” and there aren’t coupons available for healthy foods.
We’re in the process of trying to get back to eating healthier like we were right before we moved back to the Carolinas. It’s not like we started eating horribly, just not as healthy as we like to. When God provides food for you, you don’t sit there and gripe because the bread products are white bread instead of whole wheat or because the veggies are canned and not fresh. You take what God gives and thank Him for it. Stephen recently got a pay increase to cover the cost of his gas though, so our grocery budget just got a little bigger. Praise the Lord!
So. Back to couponing. One local grocery chain just held a triple coupon promotion. I went every single day. Each trip I made I saved $20 to $30 on my final ticket – each time saving more than I spent.
The things that I bought were things I would have bought anyway. I went through my grocery list and looked for corresponding coupons. We eat tuna fish every week, so when I discovered that there were coupons for tuna, and that the tuna would be free, I made sure to use as many tuna coupons as I could each trip. This store has a limit of three identical coupons per trip, so I just got 3 pouches of tuna each time I went. Sure, I didn’t get 47 free things like I’ve heard of other couponers doing (they must be doing other sales – that wouldn’t be possible with this one. . .but that’s beside the point), but the ones I did get for free leave me that much extra in my grocery budget.
Other things I was able to get were rice, sour cream, and frozen veggies. The store had the Bird’s Eye Steamfresh veggies on sale, and combining the sale price with the coupons made each package about $.50 each (I had a couple different coupons). That’s roughly the price of canned vegetables. We like fresh better but usually buy canned because they’re cheaper. I chose broccoli and mixed veggies because they were cheaper than the green beans. Another nice thing about them was the bags contain more vegetables than one can usually contains. Especially if you consider the liquid that’s added to canned veggies (comparing a 16oz bag to a can).
Each triples sale I try to stock up on Splenda. I realize there’s quite a bit of controversy out there about the use of artificial sweeteners, but we are careful with the amounts we use so quite frankly, I’m not going to stress out about it. We use them in moderation. Usually I can get a box of packets or cafe sticks for around $.50. That sure beats paying the usual price of $2.79 or so. One of my trips they were out of the smallest boxes (the ones closest to free) so I got the 100 count boxes. They were roughly $2.50 after coupons, but even buying generic or at Aldi a box the same size costs over $3.50. So it’s still a savings for our grocery budget.
Some of the things I usually get are “splurge” items. We cook probably 90% of our food from scratch. But if I can get both a cake mix and a can of frosting for $1.34, I’ll get them. No, cake isn’t exactly the healthiest of foods, but S has a birthday 3 weeks from today. I can’t make it for scratch for that, and since I’ll be making a cake then anyway, it’s worth it. I also like to keep a few mixes in the house for when I need something quickly. That’s not that often, but it’s nice to have them.
I was also able to get some coupons for bagged lettuce, but the store I went to for triples doesn’t carry that brand. Hopefully one of the other area stores that doubles coupons on a regular basis (most around here do) will have them on sale soon. I know they carry that brand – I’ve seen it before. The coupons don’t expire for a while so I’ve got plenty of time to use them.
Yes, there are fewer coupons for produce, meat, and healthier foods. But they are out there – you just have to look for them.
Another thing I do is use coupons for toiletries. By buying our toiletries very cheap (or getting them for free), I have more to spend on groceries. I haven’t bought toothpaste in at least six months – by combining coupons with sales I’ve been able to get it for free. That works for me! I do the same thing with everything we use. I look for coupons for items we use and then look for those things to go on sale.
Really, I guess it’s all about being on the lookout for good sales and being able to combine coupons with those sales. I don’t spend a huge amount of time on it (triples takes me quite a bit of time, but it’s worth it), but the time it does take is well spent. I have the time to take the time, and our bank balance reflects that.