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Couponing- I don't get it - Page 3

post #41 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comtessa View Post

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. 

 

By using your same logic, merely shopping at a chain grocery store or any store, really, outside of a mom and pop shop would be "buying into the systems' ideals".  Shopping at a mom and pop shop isn't my reality.  If it's your reality, that's wonderful, but otherwise, we're all part of the big consumer game no matter how you slice it.  Sure, you can have your goals for how you can lower your impact (which I think is great), but until or unless one is fully self-sustainable, we are all part of the "game".

post #42 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulvah View Post

 

By using your same logic, merely shopping at a chain grocery store or any store, really, outside of a mom and pop shop would be "buying into the systems' ideals".  Shopping at a mom and pop shop isn't my reality.  If it's your reality, that's wonderful, but otherwise, we're all part of the big consumer game no matter how you slice it.  Sure, you can have your goals for how you can lower your impact (which I think is great), but until or unless one is fully self-sustainable, we are all part of the "game".


Mulvah, you are totally 100% right.  If my post came across as "holier-than-thou" that was totally not what I was intending.  I absolutely "play the game" with everyone else -- I shop at the big corporate discount store with everyone else because I can't afford the "mom and pop" groceries even if we still had any around here.  My cart contains quite a few more HCFS items than I like to admit.  I mostly don't buy organic.  Et cetera.  And I still do clip the darn coupons when they're for a product I already buy.  I just try to avoid the "extreme couponing" because I found that it was encouraging a consumer behavior with which I was really uncomfortable.  So I wasn't saying that I have a solution to "the game," or even suggesting that I have any good ideas for beating it.  I was just expressing my ethical/social concerns about the extreme-couponing trend.  When I was doing a lot of couponing, it felt like I was celebrating the system rather than tolerating it, and that just didn't feel like a good place to be.  KWIM? 

 

post #43 of 49

I coupon, but not "extremely". We eat a variety of foods, not just whole foods, so we are able to save money, but not a ton. Most of my savings food wise come from keeping track of sales and stocking up when prices are rock bottom. We would never use a coupon for pop tarts, but we do clip coupons for olive oil, pasta sauce, pasta, cheese, bread, yogurt, cereal, etc. 

post #44 of 49
Quote:
We think we're beating them at their own game.  We're not.  We're playing their game. 

 

 



I do think of it as a game in order to preserve my sanity. A game that has certain parameters, as you mentioned such as the sharing of personal information with corporations, the purchase of name brands and patronizing huge corporations. Those make me a little uncomfortable, but at the moment I'm prioritizing feeding my family as cheaply and healthily as possible. We're on one income at the moment.

 

I think I use less than 10% of the coupons that are available, because we use all natural cleaning products and mostly natural body products as well as try to eat somewhat healthily. I still am saving lots of money. There are frequent coupons for many of the natural and organics brands: Seventh Generation, Kashi, Stonyfield Farms, & Newman's Own all spring to mind. Whole Foods issues its own store coupons. Most WF locations also accept manufacturers' coupons, and some of those let you "stack," or use both a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon on the same item. Do that on an item that's on sale and now you're getting some cheap healthy stuff. Another way I save on natural/organics is by having a Safeway loyalty card. Although loyalty cards are disagreeable to many, I have mine because Safeway monitors my purchases - and gives me big discounts on items I buy, like organics and produce. I've been buying my Safeway store brand organic yogurt for $2.88 for 32 oz, which is even a teeny bit cheaper than Trader Joe's. Of course, if I'm at TJs, I just buy it there. The best tool is to know your prices, either off the top of your head or via lists.

 

 

 

 

post #45 of 49

I have to say not every large store, even if it is a chain is a huge nameless faceless corporation.   I work for one of the largest grocery stores in the midwest and while it is a big chain with corporate backing it is locally, employee owned.  I get free stock in the company and profit share. (average is 8 weeks extra pay a year) As an owner I know where every penny goes.  As a department manager I have the freedom to do as I please with certain pricing and discounting, buying and selling.  My pay is average, my benefits are spectacular (health dental and life come in at under $20 a month and they do full 401K matching.  health and retirement benefits are available to part timers as well.  Since we are the largest employer in at least two states BCBS gives us a heck of a deal).  It is fun to hate the big guy but what looks like the big guy in this case takes far better care of its employees and customers and community than any mom and pop I have ever seen.  (the "locally" owned grocery store got bought out by  us and we found out some of its long term full time employees were not even making minimum wage and not getting any paid vacations.  it was disgusting.  and fr the record, we not only hired on most of their employees, they kept all their longevity benefits.  My friend Keven walked in his first day with his 35 years of service and the 12 weeks of paid vacation and full profit share ad full stock ownership that goes along with that kind of service)  We also fully support several local family farms selling tens of thousands of pounds of locally grown produce every year (we are in the midwest, we can do that more easily than trucking it in LOL)  I have seen local businesses come in with product in the morning and seen my manager find a spot on the shelf within the hour for it.  So long as it is properly labeled we are willing to give it a shot.    And as for the community.  We offer free health services, community events, nutrition classes, free produce snacks for every child in the public elementary schools every single day and donate a huge chunk of change to an charitable organization every month.  I work at the starbucks in the store and we are not allowed to accept tips but people insist.  so all of tips get donated to charity and the store matches whatever we get.  

 

So I am telling you, it is ok to lose the guilt over that.  I work at a huge store but it is way better for everyone involved.  Far better than any little mom and pop grocer in town.  Far better than we treated our employees when I was part owner in a small business.    No need t feel bad or like you are buying into marketing just because you shop at a chain grocer.  but do know where you are shopping and what they are doing for their employees and the communities and what they offer their customers and how they work with local businesses.   Give the store director a call.  Don't be shy about asking.

post #46 of 49

I have friends who coupon very successfully and eat extremely healthy- all the time. It is a part-time (sometimes even full-time) job to do it...but it is possible and can be done with just good stuff. You just have to have the willpower to pass up the not so good stuff that is free (or nearly so).

post #47 of 49

My husband and I were watching that show and were grossed out by some of those peoples pantries! They have 800 bags of doritos for free? well thats nice.....haha

 

I've found the best way to eat healthy and save money is to see whats on sale and plan my meals and shopping around that. I'll buy whatever the cheapest organic is for instance if organic mcintosh apples are on sale ill buy those even though theyre not my favorite. If you like a natural foods company you can often find coupons on their websites and even email them to ask if they have any coupons. Buying in bulk and making more things from scratch is another way I've been able to save money on my groceries. We eat mostly organic and natural foods. We're vegetarian though so not buying meat probably saves us a lot too.

post #48 of 49

I have had very little luck with finding coupons for the things we actually like to buy. I rarely bother with them any more but I watch the local stores for sales and stock up when things we use go on sale. Instead of spending my time searching for coupons I asked around and have found some supply and co-op stores to shop at and that has saved me a lot of time and money, even with the extra time to get to one of these stores. I only go once every couple of months but I can buy locally milled flour and organic sugar for significantly less than I can get the standard grocery store cheapest  flour and sugar. I can buy local free range eggs for half the grocery store price of eggs and so on. They have dry beans in bulk for less than the bulk food store sells them.

 

The coupons I use most frequently are for gas. One of the grocery stores sells gas for less than any of the nearby gas stations. They give coupons for the grocery store based on how much gas you have bought. Those coupons add up!

post #49 of 49

I get good organic/natural coupons from mambosprouts.com  We eat mostly organic and my kids have food allergies so I often email companies asking them to mail me coupons.  I often go out to my mailbox and find 2 or 3 envelopes of coupons waiting for me :)  I also get on mailing lists for things like Silk coconut milk and the Driscoll's berries.  Lots of companies will have printable coupons on their site, Mary's Gone Crackers and Seeds of Change are two of them.

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