Why I Don’t Use Coupons Anymore
Several years ago, I was a self-proclaimed coupon queen. I cut my grocery budget for a family of five from nearly $1000 per month to around $300 a month. My pantry, fridge, and freezer were full and I was looking into more storage options to house the overflow. My bathrooms were filled with toiletries and cleaning products; many of them products I had never tried before because they did not fit my budget. Now I was getting them for half-price or even free.
Today, I’m proud to say that I rarely use a coupon when I shop for food or other products. In fact, I’m more proud of my lack of couponing than I was of my incredible savings when I was using coupons.
Why did I give up the incredible savings? Well, it wasn’t because couponing is time-consuming. It is, but I truly enjoyed searching for, collecting and clipping coupons. I didn’t stop because it was overwhelming. It can be, but I was super organized and, for me, couponing ran like a well-oiled machine.
And Then There Were Health Issues
Yes, couponing was an incredible experience for me. I loved every moment of the planning, organizing, and shopping and was so delighted with my bargains that I’d come home and take pictures of my haul after almost every shopping trip.
That is until I discovered the truth about the products I was buying. I realized quickly that they are so incredibly worthless that even being paid to put them in my cart and take them home to my family was much too expensive.
Food manufacturers and grocery stores can afford to give us this food for a sale price or even completely free because it doesn’t cost them much to make. These lifeless, health-robbing food-like products are lining the pockets of a handful of corporations and causing Americans to fall into chronic diseases such as infertility, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
And that’s exactly where I was. I won’t go into detail in this post, but I developed health issues after a year of eating boxed, bagged and canned foods.
Yes, even the “healthy” foods. You know, the ones that promise heart health, digestive regularity, wholesomeness and added vitamins and minerals.
I wasn’t sitting around eating chips and drinking soda all day. I thought I was making healthy choices because the words on the boxes told me I was.
They’ve got us where it hurts, folks.
You know, I was so thankful for couponing when my grocery budget was reduced after we experienced a job loss and I didn’t know how I would feed my family. I was able to get so much for so little. I was thankful to the grocery stores and manufacturers for their sales and coupons.
I had no idea that they were essentially poisoning me and my family. And I was glad to pay them a few dollars each week to do it.
How I Feed My Family Real Food On a Budget
Now that the boys are older (two teens and a preteen), my grocery costs have gone up. Still, I’ve managed to keep my grocery budget for a family of five under $600/month while eating a real food diet. (Except for an embarrassing real food grocery budget challenge I did a few years ago. My priorities were all wrong then!)
Here are some of the ways I save without using coupons:
- I feed my family real food on a budget by eating organic produce from the dirty dozen list and not wasting money on organic produce from the clean fifteen.
- I grow my own as much as possible.
- We eat less meat. For example, instead of serving whole portions of meat as the main dish, I make casseroles or cut the meat into bite-sized pieces so that there is some meat in every bite.
- I make my own snacks and desserts so that I know what’s in them and save money at the same time.
- I buy local. I paid only $3.00 per pound when I purchased a quarter grass-fed beef from a local farmer. I don’t know if you’ve priced grass-fed beef at the grocery store recently but . . . well, I got a steal!
- I buy in bulk.
- I shop online. Thrive Market and Amazon make it possible for me to feed my family real food on a budget. (See my favorite real food products to buy on Amazon.)
I can’t give my farmer a coupon for our raw milk, pastured eggs or grass-fed beef. There are few, if any, coupons for the produce we buy at the grocery store, and certainly none for what we buy at farmer’s markets. From time to time I get a coupon for cheese or organic chicken or some other product I use from Earth Fare, but I’ve never used a coupon at our local health food store.
Many of the pantry staples I need are bought online at a price cheaper than I can get them at the grocery store or health food stores, but there are no coupons for these products.
Somehow, though, we still eat really well on a reasonable budget and are healthier than ever. There are no boxes or bags to pull from the freezer or pantry when we’re in a hurry.
I must cook or otherwise properly prepare even the simplest snacks. But the value of the foods I’m serving my family is much more than any $3.00 box of cereal. The feeling I get from knowing that I am putting our health first is much more exhilarating than the feeling I used to get from getting that $3.00 box of cereal for free.
When it comes to couponing you truly are getting what you pay for.
Find out more about how I feed my family a real food diet on a budget: