Couponing- I don't get it - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 49 Old 08-14-2011, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband is a SAHD and recently he has gotten together with some other SAHDs to embark on an "extreme couponing" adventure.  Even though it's incredibly cute to see a group of guys with black binders filled with coupons, scouring the coupon diva site and chatting about their most recent deal at Rite Aid, I'm having a hard time understanding how this benefits us.

 

It looks like most of the coupons are for processed junk the we stopped eating over a year ago.  We eat whole, unprocessed foods and have experienced some really dramatic weight loss becuase of it.  It looks like DH is getting some great deals on stuff like shampoo, razors, toothpaste, vitamins, etc., but how are people able to cut their grocery bills in half but still maintain a healthy diet??  DH has been bringing stuff home from the market and justifying the purchases by saying that it was free becuase he had coupons, but it's stuff that is almost always banned in our house- things like cake mix, frozen pizza, etc.  I almost went through the roof when I opened my freezer and saw some of the stuff in there.

 

Is there anyone out there who does a lot of couponing and still maintains a healthy diet?  How do you do it?  DH is having fun doing this with the other guys and he is saving us money, but I'm worried that he's going to start bringing home more and more junk.


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#2 of 49 Old 08-14-2011, 04:02 PM
 
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They do it by buying the junkie, processed foods, for the most part. I'm active on several coupon boards, and I'm often horrified by the eating/drinking habits and paper/plastic product usage of a lot of couponers. Of course, it's absolutely forbidden to mention this--if you do, you are skewered and referred to as the environmental police eyesroll.gif (Not that I'm bitter or anything, LOL!)

 

Anyway, your DH has just gotten sucked into the newness and treasure-hunt appeal of it all. I did the same thing when I started (several times!). It's fun, and it's a high to score great deals, and it feels good to know you're working directly to help your family's finances. Talk to him about it and be excited with him about it, but also point out that some of the things he's buying might derail your family's health priorities. Ask him to look for deals on things your family will truly use. And maybe you can gently convince him to donate the stuff you don't want to use. 

 

Couponing can be very valuable if you're careful about the deals you participate in. DH likes to have good razors, so I recently stocked up on really good ones for 50 cents each (could have gotten them free if I'd been faster!). I prefer Finesse conditioner, so when I catch a good sale, I can get that for free (usually more like 99 cents each). Each September Quaker runs a promotion that allows me to stock up on plain rolled oats for the year. But by far my best scores this year have been using the checkout coupons called Catalinas--I received $150 in checkout coupons for one local store for buying gift cards to the gas stations we go to anyway. I made $10 profit last week buying Degree deodorant with coupons and getting the checkout coupons at checkout. All those big deals go toward buying staples--organic milk, some natural meats (on clearance!), cheese that we like, etc. He needs to keep his eyes peeled for things like that. It won't save him 50% on the grocery bill, but it will put a good-sized dent in it!

 

Good luck. He'll eventually get over the newness of it and start making smarter choices. Ask me how I know! LOL!

 

 


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#3 of 49 Old 08-14-2011, 04:30 PM
 
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I think, like the pp said, he's sucked into the newness of it and it's fun.  Maybe suggest he donate some of the items to a food pantry.  And keep a few things for "treats".

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#4 of 49 Old 08-14-2011, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This makes sense- thanks!  I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.  And the knowledge that he'll eventually settle down is comforting.  I think it's awesome that a bunch of dads are doing this, but they seem too attracted by the junk food.  He recently scored a few cool deals, like boxes of organic cereal for 50 cents each, but there's no way I'm going to allow my family to eat pizza rolls all in the name of saving a buck.  He bought ten yogurts for my lunches, which was a nice gesture, but they were all full of HFCS and I just can't bring myself to eat yogurt that magically tastes like Boston cream pie.  *shudder*

 

It seems like such a shame that there never seem to be any coupons for fresh produce.  Our local farm stand has actually started running a coupon for 30% off, which has been fantastic, and we discovered that if we pick our own blueberries at a local farm instead of buying them, we can get a pound for less than a buck.

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#5 of 49 Old 08-14-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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if you sign up with driscols (sp) you can get produce coupons for berries.  (you can print 2 each time)


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#6 of 49 Old 08-14-2011, 06:55 PM
 
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I totally agree with others about donating the freebie junk food to a food pantry. While some may disagree (there were other couponing threads where posters said they would only donate food they themselves would eat to a food pantry), there are may pros to it. What about the kid who comes home from school to an empty house because mom works long hours at a low paying job? Frozen pizza rolls are really easy to make in the microwave. Or the family whose breadwinner just lost his/her job or had his/her hours cut but makes too much to qualify for any kind of assistance but still has little money left over once the main bills are paid?

 

I do a lot of couponing, and I donate stuff I can get free to a local food pantry. On their website, there was a quote from one of their recepients. It was something to the effect of how her young child was having a birthday, but there was no money to buy a cake. Mom cried tears of gratitude when she found a box of cake mix and frosting in her weekly bag of groceries from the food pantry.

 

I started a bag of items that I get free or for pennies that will go to the food pantry. Once its full, it gets donated. One of your local food pantries may have a fridge or freezer, so they may be able to take stuff like the HFCS yogurt. You may want to talk to your husband about how much he's allowed to spend on the banned foods (which will be donated). Just because he can get a frozen pizza that normally costs $5.99 for $1 doesn't mean that its a good deal, even if he's donating it, because that $1 most likely comes out of your own food budget somewhere else. (And those dollars add up- Even if he saved $50 on the regular price of frozen pizzas, that's still $10 from your food budget that could have been spent on fresh produce. And then add to that the other deal where he paid $3 for 10 yogurts that you won't eat. And so on. I'm all for being generous, but you can't be spending more on donations than you are for your own family's grocery budget just because its a good deal.)

 

I have found that I will sometimes buy something I really don't need, just because I'm getting "paid" to take it after coupons. For example, last week at Rite Aid, I basically paid sales tax on a bunch of Bengay. For every 6 or 7 I "bought", I got a $10 reward to use towards my next purchase at Rite Aid. (Don't worry, I didn't clear shelves like on tv. I went to multiple stores and left some for others.) I found out that a family member uses Bengay, so I gave a bunch to him. As for the $10 rewards, I bought some of my dd's more expensive school supplies with that. (At the drugstores, sometimes you have to buy relatively useless stuff, just to "roll" your rewards so that they don't expire.)

 

You'll find that with your husband getting stuff like razors, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc for free, it will free up room in the budget for food items as you won't be spending money on those. This is what I do and how I justify spending $5 on a dinky little pint of vegan ice cream for DH and the kids (ok, and me too). I also look at it if I can get a natural/organic product with a coupon for the same or less than the regular price of its unhealthy garbage-filled counterpart, I think I'm doing pretty good.

 

Mambosprouts.com is a good rescource for organic/natural foods coupons. Recyclebank.com also has coupons for Earthbound produce (normally the packaged lettuce). I've seen printables for $1 off Olivia's organic lettuce on coupons.com too. There's some great coupon databases (southernsavers.com has a good one) where you may be able to find more natural coupons.

 

Remind him that there's more to "extreme couponing" than getting 8 carts full of groceries for $6. Just like every other reality show, this one is staged too. The nutjobs on there are encouraged by the producers to get as much stuff (no matter how unhealthy or useless) for as little as possible, just to be "extreme" and for the shock value. The people on the show do not save this kind of money every single week they shop. There'd be no show if they followed someone around the farmer's market while they spent $60 on fresh produce or went to their back yard to pick fresh veggies. 

 

HTH!

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#7 of 49 Old 08-14-2011, 07:12 PM
 
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he's also not out drinking or sexting. It's a  good hobby.

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#8 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 05:08 PM
 
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Assuming you can afford the food you like to eat, and he isn't wasting a lot on his new hobby, I would encourage it. Tell me he is couponing for charity. =)

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#9 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 05:16 PM
 
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I have just started getting into the couponing thing. Well, the more "extreme" version however I don't buy items in excess or things I will not eat. I am searching for a coupon exchange site or group as well as any advice on how to find good coupons online. I am a graduate student with a 5 year old son. I would say I am a single parent (my son's father lives in another state and hasn't seen his son in a year and a half now) but my current boyfriend pretty much is our provider. I feel that since I am not working outside of the home my job is to keep the home in tidy order as well as save us as much as I can on those things we use / eat. Thanks for any help! -- Kara --

 

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#10 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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he's also not out drinking or sexting. It's a  good hobby.



You never know!  Couponing today.. sexting tomorrow! ROTFLMAO.gif


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#11 of 49 Old 08-16-2011, 07:28 AM
 
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It might be a cool/cheap way to collect Christmas gifts.  A pretty basket filled with floss, tooth brushes, toothpaste, razors and shaving cream would be a great gift for anyone older than a teen.  or pickup sand buckets on clearance now and fill with kid toiletries.  My kids love getting new tooth brushes!

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#12 of 49 Old 08-16-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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he's also not out drinking or sexting. It's a  good hobby.



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#13 of 49 Old 08-16-2011, 02:01 PM
 
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This is perhaps tapping into a primal desire to hunt for his food ;-)  And since there are a *group* of guys doing this it might have a competitive thing going on.  there seems to be way more to this whole couponing thing, on an emotional/mental level, than saving a few cents.  

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#14 of 49 Old 08-16-2011, 02:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by laura163 View Post

It might be a cool/cheap way to collect Christmas gifts.  A pretty basket filled with floss, tooth brushes, toothpaste, razors and shaving cream would be a great gift for anyone older than a teen.  or pickup sand buckets on clearance now and fill with kid toiletries.  My kids love getting new tooth brushes!



Do you really think people would like to receive these things as gifts?  My kids and I are both kinda picky about these things.  but maybe we are just picky.


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#15 of 49 Old 08-16-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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I'm a fan of coupons.  However, when I buy things we don't eat, I simply donate it.  I just love getting free or near-free food; it's fun for me, as pathetic as that sounds.  wink1.gif  Perhaps you could indulge your husband in this new-found adventure and also help others out by donating the food you won't eat.  

 

There are coupons out there for organic and natural brands, though obviously not as many.  There are websites to help with that and you can also go to the manufacturer's website.

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#16 of 49 Old 08-17-2011, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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

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#17 of 49 Old 08-18-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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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


Hahahahaha!!!

He needs a support group.

 


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#18 of 49 Old 08-18-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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That is the best ever!!!  Maybe there is a crisis pregnancy center her can donate too. Or maybe sell them on ebay.  Oh how I would love to be there when he tells the guys about his score. LOL


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#19 of 49 Old 08-18-2011, 02:39 PM
 
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I have been able to get healthy food using coupons- stuff like almond milk, bagged salad, Greek yogurt.

 

Also, around January, the newspapers run "healthy" coupons because of the whole New Year's resolution thing. So it's a good time to stock up on healthier non-perishables.


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#20 of 49 Old 08-19-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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I do the couponing, and we do try to do more whole foods, and the foods we do buy prepackaged, only get bought with coupons when there is a sale. (in our house, that is chex mix/chips and cereal/bars, mostly for hubby, and a little for the kid)

 

the coupons I do use are the cheeses, yogurt, dairy, etc, the frozen steamers type veggies, canned fruit, sometimes soup (for work lunches) baking stapeles when they come up, sometimes meat

 

I try to get coupons for organics online or at my co-op.

 

I don't even cut out the cookies and junk anymore. And I'm gluten free, so no bread products either. We go to the co-op at least once a month, and the regular grocery too.

 

Maybe have a discussion about what foods you do and don't want to focus on. And he'll just have to get creative. And no, you won't cut your bill in half if you stick to whole, unprocessed foods, because there usually aren't coupons for that...

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#21 of 49 Old 08-19-2011, 03:55 PM
 
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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. 


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#22 of 49 Old 08-19-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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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!


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#23 of 49 Old 08-19-2011, 06:14 PM
 
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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


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#24 of 49 Old 08-19-2011, 06:15 PM
 
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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.
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#25 of 49 Old 08-19-2011, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#26 of 49 Old 08-19-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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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!

 


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#27 of 49 Old 08-20-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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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!


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#28 of 49 Old 08-22-2011, 12:09 AM
 
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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.

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#29 of 49 Old 08-22-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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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!

 


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#30 of 49 Old 08-22-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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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. 

 

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. 


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