It’s no secret that couponing is all the rage these days. The extreme examples we’re seeing all over television definitely get people excited about the deals that are out there to be had. But coupons are still solidly focused on processed foods, which are items many of us would rather not buy. With a little digging and a different perspective, a little coupon knowledge can actually support your quest for a healthy and balanced life.
Where do the healthy food coupons reside?
My good friend Chrystie Corns, Editor-In-Chief of I Love To Gossip.com and TLC’s Extreme Couponing, says sites like Mambo Sprouts and Recyclebank are dedicated to coupons for healthier foods. While Mambo Sprouts offers free printable coupons for organic and gluten-free products, Recyclebank rewards users with high value deals and discounts on products when they engage in green action. “By performing green activities ranging from watching informational videos to taking pledges, users earn points,” Corns explains. “Points can be redeemed for coupons such as a $2 off Kashi product coupon.” Cheaper healthy food for being more environmentally conscious? Sounds like a good deal to me! In fact, I think I may need to get my kids cracking on this site right away.
You don’t need it if you don’t eat it.
When I was a young stay-at-home mom, times were tighter and couponing helped me keep more food in my pantry than if I had paid full price for everything. Buying items you don’t need or use just because it’s a deal, however, is never a good plan. By skipping the items you probably wouldn’t consider were it not for the coupon–irrespective of the deal you’re getting–you can spend that money on something far more useful that coupons generally don’t cover, such as fresh produce or local meats.
Clip every household item, cleaning supply, toiletry, paper and plastic goods coupon you find.
Saving on non-food necessities like soap and laundry detergent, plastic bags and even coffee frees up more cash for healthier food choices. Less likely to affect your health than the food you eat, I believe you have some wiggle room here. Even if you’re like me, preferring natural or plant-based cleaning supplies, there’s good news: manufacturers regularly provide coupons in newspaper inserts and online for these items and I very often find them with instant coupons at the store. I also shop for natural household items at Drugstore.com, and with free shipping and manufacturer’s coupons often integrated into the site, I save money and the UPS driver delivers them to my home.
If it’s a staple, it’s on the table.
Knowing your staples and stocking up when a deal is available is critical because it helps you better avoid unplanned trips to the grocery store for that one item you need (which invariably morphs into three bags of groceries, if you’re like me). “Coupons and extreme savings for healthier food do not come by as often as we’d like,” Chrystie explains. “However, all items are on a sales cycle and usually go on sale every 4-12 weeks, so buy enough at the sale price to get you though until the next time it’s on sale.”
Our bodies and our wallets benefit from keeping staples like rice, olive oil, canned beans,seasonings and baking supplies, which allow us to more easily cook from scratch from home. Refrigerated items like low-fat yogurt and string cheese for the kids or buttermilk and butter for baking have long shelf lives or can be frozen; they’re worth buying in bulk when the coupon and the sale are in effect. “Check before going to the store to see if there’s a coupon,” Corns suggests. At any given time, her site’s coupon database has thousands of coupons available, and as of this writing, the very first page has coupons for cheese, nuts, organic eggs, natural yogurt and even grapeseed oil.
Connect to your favorite brands with social media.
“It’s not often that smaller organic brands partner with the larger coupon distributors due to cost, but it hasn’t stopped them from releasing coupons via their website and Facebook page,” Corns explains. By following your favorite brands online, you stand the best chance of finding your favorite brand’s deals. Don’t forget to follow your favorite coupon gurus on social media as well. You can keep up on Chrystie’s deals by liking the I Love To Gossip – Coupons, Deals, and Freebies Facebook page and follow her on Twitter @ilovetogossip.
Every couponer knows that saving money takes a little legwork, but the pay-off is worth the effort. Putting the effort towards the search for deals on healthy, Guiding Star-earning ingredients, pantry staples, and household good that free up money for veggies is even more worthwhile. With the right approach, you’ll find that coupon-clipping will improve the health of your budget and your family at the same time.