There was yet another article about couponing, this time in “The New York Times Magazine,” (May 3, 2012) featuring the folks at Fabulously Frugal, and yet again, I’m astounded at how a topic like couponing can get people so riled up (read the comments, they are more entertaining than the actual article). Many of the misinformed comments that come after the article prejudge people who use coupons as unhealthy hoarders who are a burden to those who don’t use coupons.
I’m not sure people were so fired up about couponing before that dang TLC show about extreme couponing came along. But every naysayer thinks that people who use coupons buy loads of junk food one step up from the fast food chains. (Oh, how I wish I could find out how many people who write negative comments about coupons frequent McDonald’s or other fast food establishments I wouldn’t be caught dead in… I’m sure more than a few…). Here’s the reality of most couponers (not those on television): we save money on non-grocery and grocery items using coupons, and so we can buy good meat and fresh produce. If I can get razors and toothpaste for free-ish using coupons, that money goes towards fruits and veggies. Most of us are not like the woman in Erie, Pennsylvania, featured on “Extreme Coouponing” who has a locked door to a special room in her basement filled with cookies and snacks, called “Mom’s Cookie Room.”
One Canadian blogger tried to explain her healthy couponing in this informative, helpful article–and then she was lambasted by a reader in the comments section–you may want to read her gracious reply to this reader. Another healthy couponing article by Shape Magazine listed Lean Pockets as a healthy food to buy with coupons. I would never be caught dead with a package of highly processed Lean Pockets in my house. The article also lists Yoplait yogurt, which I know is high in sugar. My take away from these articles: we all have different definitions of what eating healthy means for us–some of us prescribe to healthy-enough while others are more strict. We don’t have to agree with each other, but let’s have a healthy level of respect for one another.
Most of us have heard health advocates, such as the Mayo Clinic, say to avoid any inner aisles of grocery stores food. So, besides buying cereals, pasta, crackers and decent cookies (when I don’t make from scratch) inside the store perimeter, ingredients for tomato sauces, and always flour, sugars, oils and other baking and condiment needs, my own cart is filled with perimeter groceries. It is most definitely not filled with fruit roll-ups (tons of coupons for those) and the like!
Speaking of perimeter groceries, there ARE coupons and sales for those! You have to find the store in your area that holds the best perimeter sales. Thankfully, ShopRite has produce Super Coupons, and besides that, I’ve been able to use manufacturer’s coupons to buy almonds, raisins, protein bars, orange juice, cheeses, yogurts (favorite is Activa), organic eggs, organic milks…with coupons matched with sales! Maybe there are not coupons and sales for all the items all the time, but most of the time, I’m able to frugally shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
Here’s a small sampling of recent purchases using coupons/sales at ShopRite for fresh/healthy foods:
- Sale: $1.29 a pound for organic apples
- Super Coupon ShopRite: whole pineapple $1.49
- Super Coupon ShopRite: broccoli or cauliflower .99 cents a lb.
- Coupon + Sale: Blue Diamond Almonds (not in perimeter but healthy) for $1.50 a can.
- There’s always BOGO sales on potatoes, carrots, and onions–which reminds me of the bags of baby organic carrots for $1.66 each on sale, no coupons needed.
Here is a short list of alternative coupons I used to get healthy items:
- Groupon to Whole Foods ($10 for $20 worth of items and I bought meat and poultry)
- Fairfield Coupon to Fountain of Youth ($9 for $20 worth of items in this organic store in Westport, and I plan to buy produce and/or meats)
- I use the coupon booklets from Whole Foods, as well. Sometimes you get amazing deals, as you can read about in one of our posts.
It’s always possible to buy frugally around the perimeter using coupons and sales, or just sales. To all of the coupon critics: Buy frugally around the perimeter by simply reading the store’s sales flyers!