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Extreme Couponing for Healthy Food Experiment – One Year Later

One year ago, I started couponing again. In the past, I didn’t save as much money with coupons as I should, because I often used the coupon to buy an item because just because I had a coupon for it.

This time, I was determined to do it smarter. I tried the extreme couponing practice of buying and stocking up on items when I can buy it when it is on sale AND with a coupon. Coupon people call this stacking.

I made some personal green extreme couponing rules  for myself to make sure I was still trying to buy healthy food and snacks for less than regular price (our house rule is no trans fats, no high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated oils) and the green cleaning and health and beauty products my family prefers.

I have better luck finding online printable coupons here (affiliate link) for the items my family normally uses than in the weekly flyers.

I started saving 40% or more once I subscribed to We Use Coupons. That way I can scan sale and coupon match up information when I check my email because they let you know what the coupon and store limits are for the stores you shop. 

Extreme Couponing Pros

An example of the items I bought on sale or with a coupon or both.

  • I average 40% savings on my groceries. My goal isn’t to get carts of junky food free. My goal is to pay less than full price for the ingredient type food my family eats so I have money to put toward the green and natural items that don’t go on sale or issue coupons.

  • I actually read the weekly sales fliers and shop according to the sales – for the most part. However, if we are out of staple items like milk, eggs, etc. I’ll buy them whether they are on sale or not.

  • I save money on fresh produce because I try to time our need with my grocery store’s good monthly produce sale (that I did not realize they did.)

  • I’m a seasonal shopper more than I thought I was. I now know there are items such as vinegar that I didn’t think went on sale will go on sale if it is the right time of year - before Easter and at the end of summer for canning season.

  • We can afford some food that we thought was to expensive to buy regularly because I buy them in season and they are on sale. Hellllllo fresh summer berries!
Husband likes flavored creamer to save him from the spendy coffee shop coffee near his office. I bought the cheapola sale vodka to make lavender essential oil from the lavender in my garden. I bought all of the fresh vegetables via a 10 for $10 get the 11th item free sale!

  • The money I save on ingredient type food I can put towards healthy and green items that do not go on sale. Although some of these items go on sale during Earth Month that is when I may buy an extra one for later.

  • I’m surprised that there are more coupons and sales for the ingredient type food and green products I buy. It pays to skim the weekly Smart Source flier I get if I want it or not and monthly printable coupon databases.

  • Now that I have a few extra items in my pantry, my grocery shopping trips aren’t as frequent or as large as they were a year.

  • I saved money to put toward Blitzkrieg’s chemotherapy treatments by eating from the pantry and not grocery shopping (besides milk and a few things for Blitzkrieg) for the past month and a half. 
Extreme Couponing Cons

  • In the beginning, grocery shopping took forever because I was looking for certain things and went to more grocery stores.

  • In the beginning, I got “the fever” even though I swore I would not. Fortunately, going to more than one store every weekend got real old real quick. Fortunately after Earth Day the match ups and my needs decreased to a more normal every other week kind of thing.
We don't eat prepared foods. I bent that rule for the frozen perogies which had a serious deal going because it was Lent and Frozen Food Month.

  • Since I’m selective about what I buy, there are weeks that it’s more miss than hit. That’s fine because it helped me get over the "coupon fever" and thought that I was missing out on something (I hate missing out on anything.)

  • I got burned a couple of times on ingredients because I didn’t check the ingredient list on the product until I got home because the deal was good on some BBQ sauce, steak sauce, and salad dressing. 

  • Sometimes my family did not like the stuff I bought.  Fortunately, I did not clear a shelf and buy tons of stuff. I never do. See my rules. 

  • Carrying around a bunch of store loyalty cards is a blessing and a curse. A curseful mess until I organized the loyalty cards on a key ring in my purse. A blessing because of the extra savings and in the case of the Godiva card, one free truffle a month just for showing the card in the store. Woot!

Do you coupon? What is your honest review?

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Michelle said…
That's AWESOME! I found your post on House of Hepworths. I started couponing because I didn't think you could really save money with it. I do get some junk, but its not junky junk :P I found I can get the HFC free bread for so much cheaper couponing. I love that I was able to stock my dd for a year on feminine supplies for under $5! And toothpaste. Haven't paid for that in more than a year LOL
suzyhomemaker said…
This is a great example of couponing for better food. I rarely coupon because I always see coupons for junk. But maybe I will pay a bit more attention now and see if I can get some good things. I like how you term it "ingredient type food". When I buy packaged I want the least number of components in it.
Shiloh said…
I love to shop sales as well, and my freezer is almost always full because I stock up on what's on sale. Lol, right now, it happens to be mostly fruit, and not so much meat.;) I don't coupon because it's mostly stuff I can't eat due to diet restrictions as well as all the convenience foods.
Heather H said…
I recently started dabbling in the coupon world and I've been pleasantly surprised with the healthy coupons. My favorite so far is Earthbound Farm (ebfarm.com). When you sign up with their website they send you daily steps and pretty almost weekly I'm able to score two coupons for organic produce. That turns out to be free bags of carrots in my neck of the woods!