Couponing- I don't get it - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 49 Old 08-22-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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Thanks for mentioning Saving Naturally, Josie. http://savingnaturally.com/


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#32 of 49 Old 08-22-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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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!
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#33 of 49 Old 08-23-2011, 06:05 AM
 
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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?

 

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#34 of 49 Old 08-23-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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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!

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#35 of 49 Old 08-23-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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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!

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#36 of 49 Old 08-23-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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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.


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#37 of 49 Old 08-23-2011, 10:01 AM
 
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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.

 

 

 


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#38 of 49 Old 08-23-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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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!


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#39 of 49 Old 08-23-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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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. 

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#40 of 49 Old 08-23-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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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.

 

 

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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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#41 of 49 Old 08-24-2011, 05:47 AM
 
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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".

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#42 of 49 Old 08-24-2011, 06:44 AM
 
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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? 

 


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#43 of 49 Old 08-24-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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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. 


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#44 of 49 Old 08-25-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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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.

 

 

 

 

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#45 of 49 Old 08-25-2011, 07:41 PM
 
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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.


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#46 of 49 Old 08-28-2011, 06:50 AM
 
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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).


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#47 of 49 Old 08-29-2011, 11:46 PM
 
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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.

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#48 of 49 Old 08-30-2011, 04:25 AM
 
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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!

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#49 of 49 Old 09-09-2011, 03:57 PM
 
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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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