Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Do you have any coupons?

From the laundry basket of the Homegrown Mama

Remember back when the rest of the Boothers and I shared our Eco-resolutions for 2012?  It was my goal to actually get my act together and bring my reusable bags to the grocery store.  I don't go to many places when I grocery shop.  Kroger, the butcher and a local country market.  I always remember to take my insulated bags to the butcher shop.  Even now, when it's cold out, I like to have my own bag with me because I can really stuff it full and even just toss it into the fridge when I get home knowing everything is contained.  

I had realized that if I was going to make the other stores and the bags work, I might just have to do it without extensive lists for the sale flyers at Kroger and probably also not bring the kids along.  For the record, I've only been successful about half of the time.  What's been a bigger realization for me in the last month, however, is that the sale flyers and coupons aren't really working for me.  I used to watch the couponing show on TLC and even got to attend a how-to for coupons a few months ago.  I left feeling very inspired and had high hopes of saving all sorts of money.

But as I clipped the coupons faithfully every Sunday afternoon, I realized that I was throwing away 80% of them because they don't work with the Real Food guidelines.  I know how to make croissants for the weekend breakfasts, so I don't have a use for any of the Pillsbury coupons.  I make my own beef stock so the Swanson coupons are also pointless for me.  Little by little, I realized that I really don't benefit from the coupon clipping.  Sure, it's nice to save the money on things like garbage bags and toilet paper, but I'll never have a stockpile of products in my basement that weren't canned by me.

But really, it's ok.  I don't need to have a stock pile of salad dressings that have a shelf life of years waiting for me to rotate through them.  I can whip up a quick dressing in less time than it takes me change a diaper.  Switching to Real Food takes some effort, but it's not without reward.  I'm not spending hours clipping and scoping for deals.  Instead, I've found bread recipes I love.  I didn't waste the chicken bones and made stock.  It's amusing to me that a few short months ago, I was all set to save money by using brand name items until I realized that I can save money just by continuing what I've been doing for years.  Even though I have yet to find a coupon for farm-fresh lettuce or 50 pounds of flour, I do sometimes purchase naturally branded food products.  And when I'm looking for those specific products from the natural product lines, I always scope out Organic Deals.  If you are looking at a Gluten Free diet or want to buy specific organic products, this site is wonderful.  

These days, my coupon box has coupons for Traditional Medicinals teas and free day passes to take friends with me to the local children's museum.  I keep my eyes open for deals in the grocery and I'm wise about what I purchase at the grocery versus at the bulk food store, but I rarely use a manufacturer's coupon.  I guess I don't really need those 40 cents off on Rotel tomatoes... there are still 4 dozen pints of my own canned diced tomatoes waiting for me to use them before this year's tomato harvest!


Michelle said...

We save so much money making things from scratch instead of purchasing ready-made items. I rarely ever use coupons. I do, however, look for what's on sale and sometimes am able to take advantage of some really sweet deals. Last month I was able to buy 5 or 6 organic zucchinis for a whopping $0.79! And that was for all of them, and not per pound.

Peace. ;)

Jennifer said...

I don't coupon because I'm just not organized enough to be able to whip out the right coupon on the rare occasion I need it. In the past year, I think I may have used one coupon for Seventh Generation detergent and two or three for Fresh and Easy ($5 off $25 or more in groceries). You're right that there's much less to use coupons for when you eat mostly real, whole foods. I get most of my groceries from the greengrocer in my neighborhood, so going into an actual grocery store is always a bit of a shock -- so much packaged food, so little that I actually eat.

Green Bean said...

Yeah, I'm not so much into coupons either. I tried for a while but I didn't want to buy anything that the coupons were selling! And right you are. Even Swansons on sale with a coupon is more expensive than homemade broth made from scraps. :)

Green Bean said...

Oh, and another confession, I don't belong to Costco. Same reason.

Elizabeth said...

Don't use many coupons beyond what can find for plastic or paper products or detergents. No coupons for staples are usually in the paper.

Was behind one of those extreme couponers in the grocery line the other day. What a bunch of junk she was buying. 10-20 of every item, like frozen dinners and lunchables and snack cakes and frozen garlic bread (who can't make garlic bread!!!), canned pasta meals, canned soup, gum and candy. Didn't see a single fresh fruit or vegetable. Hope she is using all the money she "saves" for checkups for her children for high blood pressure and cholesterol and diabetes.

Laura said...

There was one episode of the Extreme Couponing show where they featured a woman who was actually vegan. And that's how I found the Organic deals site. However, I don't understand how she did so well. Perhaps it was the area she lived in, but I almost never see good coupons for products I don't make myself that are healthy. If I were going to really benefit from coupons, I would be finding them for the bulk food store. Who wouldn't love 60 cents off a 3 pound bag of quinoa?


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