In the last few years, couponing opportunities for people who do not eat much processed foods or who consume organic and natural products have expanded tremendously. There are several techniques that couponers can employ to maximize their savings while providing more wholesome meal choices for their families that don't break the budget.
1. Focus on coupons for base ingredients rather than on coupons for the finished product.
For example, seek out coupons for canned tomatoes rather than for spaghetti sauce. Convenience foods are exactly that - convenience - but in general are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like sky high sodium, or unhealthy fats. Making a pot of spaghetti sauce from scratch and freezing them it in family sized portions will allow your cooking to be more wholesome in the long run. Typically a couponer will be able to feed their family in a healthy manner if they focus on couponing for base ingredients.
2. Collect hot coupons for processed foods that you know you won't use and offer them for trade in the trading forums here at WUC
. If you are in the store and come upon a really good coupon for something highly processed you know you won't or shouldn't use, don't ignore that coupon! Collect a few and offer them up for trade. Just because you are avoiding Pop*Tarts doesn't mean everyone is avoiding them! In your post offering the coupon up for trade, make sure to state what you are looking for, specifically. Salad coupons? A tearpad for $ off meat? Though it can limit who responds to your post, being up front is the way to go. Point to your wish list and list the types of coupons you are looking for in it. Also, if you have more than 50 posts here at WUC, you can offer them up for a Paypal payment, and supplement your grocery budget that way.
3. Focus on couponing for health and beauty items ( HBA ) and other non-food items ( paper goods, cleansers, etc ) to free up money in your budget for organic or natural foods.
If you can obtain a stockpile of free or nearly free HBA items or other non- food items, you will free up a significant portion of your monthly budget to spend on pricier meats, fruits, and vegetables. Gather non-food coupons eagerly. Trade for them, search them out.
4. Use WUC's Organic and Natural forum to access Internet Printables for organic or natural foods.
Our forum here at WUC is an excellent resource for couponers who want to eat in a more natural and less processed manner. We have several members who regularly post IPs ( Internet Printables ) for organic and natural foods. Also, matchups are done for some of the supermarkets ( like Whole Foods ) that focus on less processed products. Check it out here: Organic & Natural Living - WeUseCoupons.com
. WUC Moderator Foggy is the leader of the O&N forum - please feel free to stop by and post in the threads if you are looking for advice, or have something O&N to share.
5. Use Catalinas for OYNO when you buy processed foods
. This one is a little different, so bear with me. If you hear Safeway is running an amazing sale for Pop*Tarts and offering a Catalina
( for example ) for $5 off on your next Safeway order - and you have a bunch of Pop*tart coupons...go for it! Nobody said you have to eat those Pop*Tarts
. Give them away. Donate them. Send them into work with your husband to share with his office
. Whatever! The point is for you to have in your hand that $5 Catalina
that you can use to purchase fresh fruit, meat - anything you want.
6. Use wine hangtags or other hangtags / tearpads for savings on meat or fresh produce when you buy something else.
If you live in a hangtag state ( some states do not allow hangtags - like Maryland! ) actively search them out. They are valuable to the O&N couponer. These hangtags can be for just about anything: $3 off fresh meat when you buy product X. remember, you can use a coupon for product X AND
the hangtag for the meat in the same transaction - the two are useable together as they cover different items!
7. Don't be afraid to purchase marked down meats and fruits
. This one tip - and for some people, a psychological hurdle to overcome - can be a big one. If you are going to cook ground beef tonight, or will be able to cook it immediately upon returning home...why would you purchase the meat full price? Walking past the "seconds" area of the vegetable area...why would you purchase a pristine piece of fruit for full price when you can get the same piece of fruit with an easily removable bruise on it for 1/2 price?
8. No time or ability to garden but know someone who does? Offer a partnership!
If you know someone who actively gardens and has spare fruits and vegetables every summer, you'd be wise to offer them a deal - their excess fruits and vegetables for a grab bag of the free HBA, non-food, or even processed foods you gather. It's a win-win for everyone. You get fresh vegetables for nearly free - home grown and as organic as can be...they get rid of excess veggies, and get useable products in return! Don't be hesitant to make this type of arrangement. You never know until you offer!
Do you have a tip or strategy you use to save money on more wholesome food choices? Please - share it with us. We'd love to hear it!