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Couponing- I don't get it - Page 2

post #21 of 49

Sorry I don't have time to write a lot but you can usually find good Qs online for healthy foods. Also e-mailing companies that you like will usually get you some $$ off :) You can get great deals for healthy foods you just need to work a little harder and stuff might be $1 or $2 not *free* like the other stuff.

 

For example there were a TON of Qs out for Kashi products (I don't know if you consider that "processed") I got great deals on their cereals and bars last fall that I'm still eating. 

post #22 of 49

My SIL is an extreme couponer.  She often goes shopping and the store owes her money!  I was intrigued by it at first, and wanted her to show me how she does it...until I saw her pantry.  Full of soda, chips, cookies, canned veggies, canned fruit, etc.  Now, we're not health nuts by any means but no way do I want those things to be a regular part of our diet.  I also refuse to drive to 3-4 different stores to complete my shopping.  Luckily my favorite grocery store (Publix) has really great BOGO deals each week that include many healthy items.  That's good enough for me!

post #23 of 49

I do some couponing and am starting to get into it more, but I don't buy foods I wouldn't normally buy.  Donating sounds like a great idea, but wouldn't realistically happen in my house. :-D  Especially if it was something yummy.  If you don't use anything processed at all (ie only produce and meat) there are a few coupons you could use, but maybe not enough to make it worth looking.  I get coupons for things like cereal, organic soup, eggs, pasta, rice, yogurt, etc.  I skip the coupons for cookies (usually).  Also there are a TON of coupons for personal care stuff, it's worth it just for those if you're not too picky about toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, shaving cream, soap, shampoo, etc.  I only go for these if they're brands I like, but I do have several favorite brands.  If you have a RiteAid and/or a CVS near you and are willing to stockpile a bit, you should be able to get all those things for free or nearly free.  Others will have better tips, i'm not very good at it yet. :-D

post #24 of 49
I don't coupon, because we only eat "real" food, but I do go to the farmers market right as it's closing and ask my favorite stands what they have that they would like to sell me for a reduced price. I can usually get more than a weekly CSA basket for less than $15. Maybe 10-12 lbs of great organic produce.
post #25 of 49
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the replies, everyone!  I had a chat with DH and reinforced the list of forbidden food and asked him to leave the useless deals (such as pregnancy tests irked.gif) on the shelf.  He begrudgingly understands.

 

As far as donating junk food goes, I'm hesitant about that.  If I'm concerned about obesity, I would be doubly concerned for the people who only have access to food with little nutrition.  Our way of contributing to people who really need it is through harvest parties.  The couponing guys have started attending our local harvest parties and have a tendency to compete to see who can pick the most, so now I not only have 12 tubes of toothpaste in my bathroom thanks to their couponing antics, we also have 70 pounds of broccoli sitting in my kitchen.  We're going to freeze some of it for winter and leave the rest on our neighbors' porches.  The harvest party food is totally free and half of what we gather goes to a food pantry, so it's cool to get all sorts of fresh veggies and also contribute to a healthier diet for those who can't afford it.  Yesterday we picked 170 pounds of broccoli- 100 pounds went to the food pantry (along with several hundred pounds picked by others) and we took the rest home to share with others.

post #26 of 49

Saving Naturally is a neat site that shares all of the organic and natural food deals.  I get the daily emails.  It's nice to have someone else do all the work for me!

 

post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklett View Post

Thanks for all of the replies, everyone!  I had a chat with DH and reinforced the list of forbidden food and asked him to leave the useless deals (such as pregnancy tests irked.gif) on the shelf.  He begrudgingly understands.

 

As far as donating junk food goes, I'm hesitant about that.  If I'm concerned about obesity, I would be doubly concerned for the people who only have access to food with little nutrition.  Our way of contributing to people who really need it is through harvest parties.  The couponing guys have started attending our local harvest parties and have a tendency to compete to see who can pick the most, so now I not only have 12 tubes of toothpaste in my bathroom thanks to their couponing antics, we also have 70 pounds of broccoli sitting in my kitchen.  We're going to freeze some of it for winter and leave the rest on our neighbors' porches.  The harvest party food is totally free and half of what we gather goes to a food pantry, so it's cool to get all sorts of fresh veggies and also contribute to a healthier diet for those who can't afford it.  Yesterday we picked 170 pounds of broccoli- 100 pounds went to the food pantry (along with several hundred pounds picked by others) and we took the rest home to share with others.



That's awesome!

post #28 of 49

Never liked coupons. I believe that good products don't need coupons - people will buy it anyway. I personally never use coupons. It's a bad luck.

post #29 of 49

 

Quote:
ut I do go to the farmers market right as it's closing and ask my favorite stands what they have that they would like to sell me for a reduced price. I can usually get more than a weekly CSA basket for less than $15. Maybe 10-12 lbs of great organic produce

What an awesome idea!  I think I need to try that!

 

post #30 of 49

I have mostly stopped using grocery coupons, for all the reasons already discussed, plus DH and I had a long discussion about how using coupons was sucking us into the whole world of seductive marketing, materialism and hoarding.  It was freeing to let go of that. 

 

IMO, we are already a nation (world!) of out-of-control consumption; couponing (especially the 'extreme couponing') just highlights the worst of it.  IMO, if I get garbage food for free, I and my family still pay a price for it, KWIM?  And using coupons gives us a sense of "beating the system" when, in fact, we are buying right into its most cherished ideals.  We hunt for brand names, we sign up for corporate mailing lists, we allow the stores to track our purchasing patterns.  We become their favorite kind of consumers.  We think we're beating them at their own game.  We're not.  We're playing their game. 

 

RE: getting end-of-the-day produce for cheap... I lived in an intentional community for a while and we had a policy of not buying anything we could get for free.  Once a week we'd take a shopping cart down to the local produce market at closing time and pick up all the 'reject' veggies tossed into the alley by the merchants there.  We'd have to cut off some bad spots, usually, but we frequently scored enough fruits and veggies to feed our 16 household members for the week, with enough left over to make 2 or 3 full meals for our soup kitchen.  We could have gone more often than once a week, but then we'd end up with too much food.  As it was, we had to be careful not to over-fill our shopping cart on our Wednesday 'shopping trip', or we'd end up overloading our compost heap at the end of the week.  It is absolutely astonishing how much perfectly good food is thrown away in this country.  It felt good to use some of that.  Some of my housemates got really good at dumpster-diving at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and we had marvelous food from there.  I understand that's probably a bit too extreme for a lot of folks (even I couldn't get with the actual diving, though I happily ate the spoils of their 'hunt').  But wow, talk about taking advantage of commercialism-out-of-control. 

post #31 of 49

Thanks for mentioning Saving Naturally, Josie. http://savingnaturally.com/

post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackies Ladybug View Post

I don't coupon, because we only eat "real" food, but I do go to the farmers market right as it's closing and ask my favorite stands what they have that they would like to sell me for a reduced price. I can usually get more than a weekly CSA basket for less than $15. Maybe 10-12 lbs of great organic produce.


Hmm I guess I feed my family fake food...


I buy frozen and fresh veggies and fruits, cheese, eggs, milk, flour, sugar, yeast, yogurt, granola, oatmeal, popcorn, nuts, dried fruits, spices, sauces, bread, juice and sometimes (gasp!) cookies! And I do it all with coupons. Yes, most of the coupons are for junk and personal and household products, but you can find coupons for good stuff if you are willing to work for it!
post #33 of 49

Mellisal  - could you provide more details about the Quaker Oats September deal?   We use a lot of it and I would love to spend less money on it.

 

I personally don't like coupons at all.  I wish the stores and manufacturers would just give their best prices possible.  I hate looking for and carrying out the coupons - I think it is ridiculous busy work.  Unfortunately, the high prices of the new area where I moved (D.C.) makes it a necessity.  Are they inflating prices because everyone is expected to coupon clip?

 

post #34 of 49

I do some moderate couponing, and I only clip for those products that I already purchase. Often, I find good deals on items like household items or toiletries (even though a lot of the stuff I use is natural/food-based). In response to some of the ideas that coupons are for junk products or drive up regular prices-- coupons are incentives. Manufacturers offer them to get consumers to buy new products or to switch brands, but I "outsmart" their wiles by only using coupons for things I deem important.

 

I think it's easy for some people to get sucked into saving money and forgetting about the health and environmental impact of eating heavily-processed food. Like many on this thread, I try to seek out coupons for healthier brands. Some shopping trips, I can save $10-12 with coupons; some trips, I save none. It's just about what my house needs at the time. I appreciate the links to some new coupon sites for healthier items and for some of the tips fellow members are offering!

post #35 of 49

A previous post mentioned this, but I thought it was worth emphasizing: you could suggest to your husband that he check out manufacturer websites for natural products that you use, or one's to replace those he is choosing; many of them post their own coupons. I've found them for Horizon organic milk (I think they might make yogurt too), Seventh Generation recycled toilet paper, and Earth Balance vegetable spread. Also check product boxes for coupons. I've seen them on Annie Chun's noodle soups, Yogi teas, and Peace cereals. He could also try writing to companies you enjoy and telling them how much you like their product. They will often send you coupons directly. 

 

As I'm sure he has already discovered, you can double those manufacturer coupons (up to 50 cents off) at Safeway, but keep your eyes open at other stores - where I live, Safeway has some of the highest prices on natural and organic foods, so it is often less expensive to just use the coupon on it's own somewhere else.

 

No matter what, I would encourage you to thank him profusely for the effort he is putting in. As someone who has alternated between being a SAHM and partner to a SAHD (who BTW was ten times the house-husband I was!), it is Super Hard and Stressful work being home ALL day, having your partner coming home from their work wanting to just relax, and you also want to have a break - any energy he's putting into something he seems to enjoy is so good for his spirit that I would definitely choke down a few tablespoons of HFCS in appreciation, and then encourage him to keep his eyes open for the healthy stuff. 

 

You could also suggest that he look into getting a CSA share at a local farm and figure out how much you'd be saving on produce that way. It could end up being an idea his whole club latches onto and works on finding recipes to use whatever's in season each week. 

 

Good luck!

post #36 of 49

We keep strictly kosher which means that the vast majority of processed foods (pretty much anything involving meat or cheese and most convenience foods) aren't available to us. While I'm not the strictest whole foods mom, I prefer whole grains and high fiber foods, organic milk, and organic produce. I mostly coupon cleaning products, laundry detergent, canned veggies (the baby loves them), and personal hygiene products like soap and shampoo and dental care. I do a lot of diaper couponing. One thing I will say is that I've had to "let go" of some areas, in order to prioritize the others. For example, we used to all use only natural and organic shampoos, conditioners, cleaning products, and soaps. But when I lost my job, we had to prioritize. We can afford to be strict about our food and the products we use on our son, but we had to start using conventional cleaning supplies and conventional products for ourselves. It was the only way we could afford the organic food.

 

In general, coupons don't always specify what product exactly it's for, allowing the shopper to choose which variety to get. For example: A Barilla pasta coupon will say 50 cents off one box of pasta, any pasta. Of course the plain white spaghetti is going to be the cheapest, sometimes even free, so you'd get more "bang for your buck" if you used  your coupons on white spaghetti. But Barilla also makes whole wheat pasta, or "plus" pasta with added fiber for a little more money. Instead of choosing the cheapest item and getting the pasta free, I go for the whole wheat and spend a little additional "pocket money." Sometimes pasta companies will actually have coupons specifically for whole wheat pasta because it's trendy and costs more than their average product. 

 

The savings I make on pantry items (the food we mostly coupon) allows me to afford the organic milk and organic produce.

 

Also, lately we've been shopping at Trader Joes and I've found that for regular week to week shopping, that's the cheapest place for me to get high quality products. The gallons of organic milk there are comperable to the gallons of regular milk anywhere else.

post #37 of 49

I've just starting couponing. Honesty, I don't buy much food with coupons. I'm gluten free, dairy free and refuse to eat/ drink HFCS. I hadn't done coupons before because of that. But then walgreens had some really good deals and I got hooked. I have found there is a little 'high' on getting things for free (which mostly isn't free I pay tax still) and I have to reign myself in to not buy more than I need/ stuff I don't need/ go to stores further away to get 'more' or a good deal. So far I've been doing well keeping that in mind.

 

I've 'bought' for free or less than 50 cents (name brand) deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, razors, shaving cream, hair ties &clips, DHA vitamins, crayons, markers, tape and shampoo and I've only been at it for a couple weeks.

I did buy two things of nail polish I'm giving away just because I 'made' two dollars for buying each one...but I only bought two. otherwise I've refused to buy things I don't need, that may change if I need to roll rewards though...

 

Its a fun hobby, but you have to watch nor to become an addict or a hoarder. I wish my Dh understood why I like coupons, but he doesn't do the bills.

 

 

 

post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklett View Post

Okay, I just have to share.

 

His newest "score":  HOME PREGNANCY TESTS.

 

Yes.  He did.  I am not pregnant, nor do I think I'm pregnant, nor do I plan to become pregnant.  But with x coupon and y rewards and blah blah blah, they were pretty much free. 

 

Maybe he's trying to tell me something???  lol.gif


biglaugh.gif I don't know, I think he did pretty well actually. I can't tell you how many times in the last five years a spare pregnancy test would have saved a little sanity around here! I actually don't mind acquiring stuff like that as long as it's truly free or nearly free (and not in large quantities). If we end up not needing it, we can always give it away. Recently, I passed up a deal for Ben-Gay that would actually have been a moneymaker for me, but I didn't feel like running around for something we truly didn't need. A week later, after all the sales were over, DH's ankle (he's a newbie runner) started bothering him, and what did he come home with? A $10 tube of Ben-Gay!!! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by huha View Post

Mellisal  - could you provide more details about the Quaker Oats September deal?   We use a lot of it and I would love to spend less money on it.

 

I personally don't like coupons at all.  I wish the stores and manufacturers would just give their best prices possible.  I hate looking for and carrying out the coupons - I think it is ridiculous busy work.  Unfortunately, the high prices of the new area where I moved (D.C.) makes it a necessity.  Are they inflating prices because everyone is expected to coupon clip?

 

Huha, I don't think we did it last year (I had to go gluten-free, and regular oatmeal was a problem for me, AND we still had a bunch from the previous year!), but here's what I remember. This really only works well if your stores double coupons, but depending on what deals you get, you may be able to make something work.

 

In the next week or so, look for Quaker coupons in the Sunday inserts. Typically, you want something under $1.00, because most stores don't double coupons that are $1 or more. Then, during the first or second week of September, watch for sales. I remember that it was during the week of 9/10 several years ago, because my DD5 was born and I missed the sale that year (I was so steamed, LOL!). Around here, the stores try to outdo one another on the sales, and there's often a Quaker rebate to go along with it. With the sales and the doubled coupons, most of the time the tubs of rolled oats end up being free, and the instant packets are close to free. 

 

My feeling for the last few years was that the deals were getting slightly less exciting, but were still good deals. When I first started catching this sale, I got tons and tons of both rolled oats and packaged instant oatmeal completely free, and was able to send in for a rebate too. In the past few years, I think the rebate was for purchasing a higher number of items (like, 8 or 10)--which made it less lucrative because we can only use four of the same coupon around here. 

 

I don't clip coupons. I can't bring myself to buy enough newspapers to make that worthwhile, and I don't use enough coupons to even recoup that money usually, so I get them on eBay or trade for the specific ones I need. You do pay a bit upfront to get your coupons (unless you can manage to get printables), so your items aren't completely and totally free, but you'd be paying for the newspaper anyway unless you know enough people who would be willing to give you their inserts. 

 

I've been noticing inflated prices on some things, but I suspect that's more the economy than anything else. Maybe they do inflate their prices in the anticipation of offering discounts, but I think that's simply the nature of selling products or services. I was looking at a deal on Mamapedia the other day for a meal planning service--10 weeks of service offered at $25 (50% off the regular cost of $50). However, when I went to check out the service, they actually offer it monthly for $13, or weekly for $5. So yeah, 10 weeks for $25 is 50% off the weekly rate, but only a much smaller percentage off the monthly rate. It's all in the marketing, and I think that's the case for any business.

 

ETA: Huha, if you want to PM me, I might be able to help you find some resources for your specific area. I found at least one coupon blogger that cover the DC area, but if you're just outside DC, there will be more options for you. If you have a Shoprite near you, they tend to have the best deals, at least around here. It looks like Safeway is the other big chain around there, so you'll probably want to look for a blog that details the weekly Safeway coupon/sale circular match-ups for your area. 

 

Also, look here for your local grocery store-specific forums:

 

http://www.afullcup.com/forums/grocery-stores/

 

And here's another blogger that does the DC-area Safeway matches.

 

http://www.moneywisemoms.com/2011/08/safeway-deals-and-matchups-817.html

 

HTH!


Edited by melissel - 8/23/11 at 10:45am
post #39 of 49

This site e-mails you deals daily:http://www.organicdeals.com/. Not just coupons but other organic purchases as well. I'll reiterate going to websites for those products you do use regularly. Many of them have coupons available all the time. 

post #40 of 49

I want to give a quick caution about dumpster diving at large grocery stores.  My store throws out so much produce and it breaks my heart.  However dumpster diving would be extremely dangerous.  While it looks like a normal dumpster on the outside it is really a high powered trash compactor that can go off at any time (i think it is probably locked outside but i can see someone with a desire to  forge being skilled enough to get in)  People use it 24 hours a day.  I am not saying one should not use the stuff thrown (with proper caution.  that food is coming into contact with botulism and bathroom waste) but please do be careful.  especially at large grocery stores.

 

 

AMEN !!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comtessa View Post

\

 

IMO, we are already a nation (world!) of out-of-control consumption; couponing (especially the 'extreme couponing') just highlights the worst of it.  IMO, if I get garbage food for free, I and my family still pay a price for it, KWIM?  And using coupons gives us a sense of "beating the system" when, in fact, we are buying right into its most cherished ideals.  We hunt for brand names, we sign up for corporate mailing lists, we allow the stores to track our purchasing patterns.  We become their favorite kind of consumers.  We think we're beating them at their own game.  We're not.  We're playing their game. 

 

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