My coupon use was always limited to what major brands sent me in the mail for free gifts with purchase. Free panties! Free lotion! Twenty-five dollars off a $75 purchase! These coupons generally made me spend more money than I would have, so I never considered coupons to be the Gift from God that they actually are.
As the country has gone on a budget, “coupon moms” are taking over. Oprah did a show about them and their amazing ability to get groceries for pennies or even free. I decided to become one; I hope no one is going to force me to bear a child in order to make it official.
You can check out the official Coupon Mom site and get an idea of all the coupons out there. One thing I saw on Oprah is they often use coupons on products that are already on sale to get the best deals. It might be worth saving those Yoplait coupons for a store that has them already on sale four for a dollar–I’m no math genius, but I think somehow you’ll come out with free yogurt.
It wasn’t easy for me to become a coupon mom. I get super loyal to particular brands, and using coupons religiously means sometimes you have to buy the Post Total instead of the Cheerios. But lately I’ve been relaxing my brand rules, because trying new ones not only saves money, it also forces me to try new things and not get food boredom.
The first way to get great coupons is get your Sunday newspaper (yes, the real thing, not the online version) and read all the ads. Clip out any you think you’ll use, and also note the sales at different stores. (You may want to take notes if you live in a three-grocery-store town like I do.) It’s worth making a few stops if one store has your favorite cereal on sale Buy One, Get One, and another store has red peppers ten for $10. It’s pretty much impossible to get coupons for fresh produce, so if you want to add more fruits and veggies to your diet without breaking the bank, your store ads are going to be your BFF.
Coupons usually apply to processed foods, so it’s important to be picky about what products you buy with them. It’s not hard to find a million coupons for Fiber One bars, but these icky things are, to me, like candy bars with Metamucil. Don’t get excited about saving 50 cents–save $3.50 and don’t buy them, period.
Some of the most common healthy item coupons:
- Olive oil
- Organic dairy
- Plastic baggies
If you are very loyal to a brand, do a Google search for its coupons. A lot of brands have coupons on their Web sites as well, so get clicking! I spent last Saturday morning printing out some good ones that I thought I’d share. (I went heavy on the organic dairy because it is one item that experts say is worth the extra cash–with coupons, it’s more affordable!)
- Stonyfield Organics You can print out coupons for large containers of plain low-fat yogurt, a staple on my grocery list, and for Okios Greek yogurt.
- Chobani Just another yummy variety of Greek yogurt to try!
- Horizon Organics I just love that cute cow on the package….
- Organic Valley More dairy, but this one has good deals for eggs and cheese.
- French Meadow Bakery These breads are usually found in the frozen section of smaller health food stores and Whole Foods; use the coupon as an excuse to try the hemp bagels which have an insane amount of heartiness and protein!
- Kashi Register with the site to get coupons! (And they are so nice, when I registered, and my computer froze before I could print the coupon, I sent them an e-mail and they were awesome and mailed them to me!) Use it to try the amazing pilaf, perhaps?
- Nature Valley Here are some granola bar coupons; they are also pretty common on the larger coupon sites as well.
- Vitamin Shoppe I always refer to this place as Ye Olde Vitamin Shoppe due to that ridiculous extra “e” but I think they have better prices than GNC; this site has updated coupons and coupon codes. You can also get a 20 percent off your entire purchase coupon here!
- Subway “Eat Fresh” Use the store locator to find stores in your area; click the “coupons” section if they have one.
- Nature’s Bounty Fish Oil Free Sample and Coupon If you don’t want to eat more fish, you can always take a supplement like this one.
- Nakano Rice Vinegar This is pretty cheap as it is, and it’s great to have on hand for Asian-inspired dishes.
- 8th Continent Soymilk For our vegan friends!
- Silk Soymilk Register with the site to get this one.
One way to get more coupons is sign up for newsletters and freebies. This can clog up your inbox, so I suggest making a new account like RachelSavesBigBucks@gmail.com that’s just for your money saving endeavors. Then you can check it weekly to see if any savings are calling your name!
The internet is an amazing tool for saving money on groceries–exploit it as much as you can!