Coupons are only for junk food.

This is part 3 in my series on coupon misconceptions. Previously, I wrote about the erroneous assumptions that buying the store brand and shopping at Costco are cheaper than shopping with coupons. Today, I want to look at the very common misconception that coupons won’t work for you if you prefer to buy healthy, natural and/or organic food and household supplies.

I completely get where you are coming from. I shop the outer aisles of the grocery store, too, and generally skip the middle 6 to 8 aisles altogether. Between eschewing overly processed foods and the fact that so much of that food isn’t kosher anyway, I hardly even bother walking down the frozen food section or the “junk food” aisles.

Here’s what I typically buy: Fresh produce; eggs; Kashi or low-sugar cereal; pasta, rice and other grains; canned tomatoes and beans; and dairy products. (Okay, and some ice cream, too!) And guess what? I have coupons for every single one of those food categories. Just this week, I bought pasta, eggs, cottage cheese, and strawberries with coupons. Some of these coupons were clipped from the newspaper inserts, some of them I found online and some I got for writing to the company.

Now the truth is that shopping those outer aisles alone will save you a lot of money over buying prepackaged and ready-made food. But why stop there? Wouldn’t you like to double or better your savings? When Barilla whole grain pasta is on sale for $1 per box, pull out your $1/2 Barilla coupon and get two boxes for $1. (This is a target price for me, but consult your price book to determine the best price for your area.)

When California avocados are on sale for $.75 each, whip out your $1/2 coupon (enter zipcode 90210 if this doesn’t show up for you right away) to pay just $.25 for an avocado! MMMM, guacamole!

Do you buy exclusively organic? There are plenty of organic coupons out there. Some good sources include printing from online sites (like the ones I told you about here), emailing the company, or clipping from the Whole Foods newsletter, which is available by the check-out counters. (Note that these are manufacturer coupons, but they say good only at Whole Foods, so your mileage may vary if you try to use them elsewhere.)

Even if you aren’t convinced by the savings on wholesome, natural and organic food, you can definitely save a bundle on your toiletries and household cleaners, freeing up money to allocate to your food budget. Just think, if you could spend just $5-10 per month on toiletries and household items, wouldn’t that make your food category a lot more comfortable?

I never pay more than a few pennies for shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, dental floss, body wash, deodorant, razors, dish soap or dishwasher tabs. I’ve even got a stash of Method laundry detergent that cost me $2.50 per bottle. I can hear the “but…” already. You make all own cleaners with vinegar and baking soda, right? Well, first of all, good for you! And second of all, believe it or not, you can even score deals on these basics. Here’s a $.50 off Heinz vinegar coupon to get you started!

While clipping coupons does take time and a bit of organization, there is no doubt that it can save you money… even if you don’t buy prepackaged junk food! What do you think? Were you already a crazy couponer, or have I convinced you to try it out? Maybe you’re still dubious about the value of coupons? What other questions and assumptions do you have about coupons? Lay them on me!

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Comments

  1. My biggest issue is organization. I’ve tried multiple methods and all normally leave me with a pile of coupons on the floor in the grocery store.

    I know it takes time, do you put aside a certain amount of time each week to deal with your coupons?

    I save BIG every time I take the time to be prepared. But that time…is a luxury these days. So I often get mad when I buy something and KNOW I have a coupon for it…somewhere.

    Thoughts?

    • Yes, my coupons are certainly prone to becoming unwieldy very quickly. I will do a post soon on how I organize them because after 2 years, I think I have a good system that works for me. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Thanks for this post. I also thought that most coupons were for stuff I wouldn’t buy anyway.

  3. NotCinderell says:

    Just looked at the deals on Coupons.com, and honestly, I can usually do better buying store brands on sale and/or by shopping at PriceRite, which is a store owned by ShopRite but more similar to Aldi, and which doesn’t accept coupons. It’s still usually cheaper than going to Stop & Shop with coupons. Aldi also has great deals on things like sugar (doesn’t need a hechsher), vegetable oil, cocoa, orange juice, and eggs. I do buy things like whole-grain crackers with a coupon + on sale. my “point price” for Triscuits is no more than $2 a box, but I frequently get them for less. This week, a local IGA had Late July organic crackers for 99 cents a box.

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