Monday, December 12, 2011

Clip and Save

To coupon or not to coupon. That IS the question...

I spoke briefly about coupons the other day but I just wanted to touch on the subject once again. Though my family is trying our darndest to make good choices about the food we eat, we are far from perfect. My husband still insists we have Tostitos scoops for his bi-weekly chips and salsa binges. My kids will only eat Old El Paso Stand 'n Stuff Taco Shells because they don't fall over. I buy Ziploc bags because I haven't made enough fabric snack bags to accomodate our needs. I battle daily to make the choices that are best for our family, weighing both the price and the environmental costs of our purchases.

I find myself defending my coupon use on a regular basis. How can you spout off about real food and chemical additives if you are using coupons for fruit snacks and white bread? I will concede that about 60 percent of coupons are for processed, over-sugared, you really shouldn't eat it, food. But the other 30 percent of those coupons can help you stock a reasonably healthy kitchen for a fraction of the cost. By pairing store sales with coupons, I save a bundle each month.

Don't believe me? Here are a few things I picked up this week at our local grocery store. Keep in mind that my grocery store values all coupons at a dollar.

2 Dole Premium Salad Kits 2/$3
used $2/2 coupon
Total Price: .50 each
2 Birdseye Frozen Vegetables (I got peas) $1.79
used .50/2 coupon
Total Price: $1.29 ea

Yuban Coffee $8.99
used $1.50/1 coupon
Total Price: $7.89

2 Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth $2.00
used 2 $1/1 coupons
Total Price: $1.00 ea
Seeds of Change Organic Quinoa and Brown Rice $2.89
used $1/1 coupon

Total without coupons (not including taxes) $22.46
Total with coupons (not including taxes) $15.36
Total savings of $7.10

Seven dollars saved. If I shop weekly, that turns into $28 a month. And that turns in to $336 a year! This trip was nothing, savings wise. My average savings hovers around 60 percent. I don't buy things I don't need, and I don't buy things just because there is a coupon for it. I have used coupons for eggs, produce, nuts, meat, cheese, butter, milk, bread, flour, honey, and beans, all of which are staples of a "real food" kitchen. Coupons may not be for everyone, but right now, they're right for us.

If you have any questions about getting started with coupons, please ask! How do you keep your grocery budget under control?

(This post is linked to the Green Resource.)


  1. I've never shopped with coupons. I have no idea where to start, or where I get them. In the grocery store flyer? We've started eating more meatless meals to save money, and are a lot more creative about leftovers. We're finding it noticeably harder to feed our family of five, even just in the past year. Things I used to always have on hand (berries, for instance) are now rare treats because of the price. I don't suspect it's going to get any easier. So coupons might be helpful for us!

  2. I have never shopped with coupons before. I do not buy processed foods so that cuts out, like you said most coupons. I buy in bulk and lots and lots of veggies. Now if they had coupons for whole foods I will be all over that! Good for you for finding some "real" food with your coupons! :)

  3. Hear, hear! I use coupons, too! There are coupons for real food. I've had coupons for organic milk, organic cheese, organic eggs, produce! And on and on. I do a lot less clipping and more printing, but it is possible to find coupons for real food eating. Nice post!

  4. I started a coupon binder, but we don't buy a lot, so I don't use them much. It is good to hear that there are coupons out there for real food. That's what I'm holding out for!