Why I Don’t Use Coupons Anymore

Why I Don’t Use Coupons Anymore

Hammer365: 103/262 Organized Coupon Clipping
Photo courtesy of David Reber.

If you have been watching my grocery shopping trips for a while now, then you know that I’m not using coupons on a regular basis anymore. In fact, I think it has been over a year now since I actually did a big coupon shopping trip.

In a world of Extreme Couponing, shelf clearing, regular coupon policy changes and unhealthy deals, you could say that couponing has left a foul taste in my mouth.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that using coupons is a fabulous way to save some money, and also save on healthy groceries at places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts and more. But I have found that I spend about as much money on groceries now as I was when I was shopping regularly with coupons. The only difference is that now I am not bringing home processed foods and chemical-ridden household items.

On average, in a regular month of organic and natural grocery shopping, I am spending what the average household spends in a week. On average, I am spending slightly more a week than a regular couponer. I probably spend $10-$20 more a week than an extreme couponer.

With so many people worried of the effect that Extreme Couponing is having on stores and their coupon policies, I have several principles of saving that I’m not worried about going away.

1. Check for Discounts Within Store.

Many stores offer discounts on items if they are being discontinued or are near expiration. Since organic items aren’t always the most popular, these items usually get discounted regularly at grocery stores. This means you can easily save 50%, just by looking for mark downs and manager specials.

2. Shop the Buy One Get One Free sales.

If your store does buy one get one free sales, you can shop these and automatically save 50%. And many stores allow you just to buy one item at 50% off, vs. having to buy two of an item. Consistently shopping these sales and stocking up means that you are always saving 50% on your grocery bills.

3. Shop in Season for Fruits and Vegetables.

Shopping for something that’s in season can mean the difference of paying $6.99 for something or $.99. When you get produce at the rock bottom price, you can stock up and freeze or can. Saving $6 on something is quite significant in the land of couponing, so it always amazes me that people don’t watch produce sales and stock up.

4. Grow Your Own Garden.

Even if you live in an apartment, anyone can container garden. By just supplementing a few of your fruits and vegetables, you could easily save anywhere from $20-$60 a month on produce.

5. Buy From a Wholesale Club.

I am now regularly shopping at Costco to save on organic foods. I’ve checked two other wholesale clubs in our area, and neither of them can really beat Costco when it comes to organic deals. So to me, that $50 membership is well worth it, because I can easily keep my grocery bill low every month.

Check the local wholesale clubs near you. They will let you come in with a day pass so that you can check prices. If the prices aren’t going to help you save significantly on healthy foods, then it’s not worth it to get a membership.

6. Find Local Food Outlets.

Food outlets get some amazing products (organic included), and offer steep discounts on items that are about to expire. Most of the time I find better deals at outlets then I can find at the grocery store with a coupon.

7. Join a CSA or local produce Co-Op.

Eating local, organic produce is the best way to ensure you are getting the best fruits and vegetables possible. This way you are also supporting local farmers, which is one of the best things that can be done to help your local economy.

8. Shop at Farmer’s Markets.

I consistently get fruits and vegetables locally for less than I would pay at the grocery store. Most vegetables are $1 or less per pound, and these are prices you will only see once in a while at the grocery store. And don’t forget that these are usually organic and locally grown. Just make sure and communicate with your farmers, and find out how their foods are grown.

9. Learn How to Effectively Shop Online for Organic and Natural Products.

10. When Available, Use Store Coupons and Total Purchase Coupons. Store coupons usually come in fliers or store ads, and are an easy way to save without a whole lot of work. If you can save $5 off a $25 purchase, use that for your organic and natural deals that you have grabbed using the other methods I listed above. This is an easy way to move your savings to more than 50%.

11. Use the Buy in Bulk Principle. While it may be more money up front, in the long run you are saving significantly. We are still using the 50 pounds of wheat I bought last September, and the organic oats (6 gallons) I purchased in March of 2010 (we eat oatmeal daily, too).

These are just a few of the methods that I currently use to save money without using coupons. I’m no longer getting the Sunday newspaper and clipping coupons, standing at the check out dealing with negative cashiers and managers, nor am I stressed about my deals and shopping.

Let me just reiterate that I don’t think there is anything wrong with couponing. It is a legitimate way to save, but to me it was just too stressful. And now that companies are changing policies and treating couponers more harshly without cause (many claim that Extreme Couponing is at fault here), I can still buy and shop relaxed while my family eats healthy.

What are some of your tips to help save money without using coupons? Are you currently still using coupons, or have you been saving in other ways? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

crystal collins signature

About the Author:

I'm a former sweet-tooth turned health-nut. After a difficult loss of a first pregnancy and having a second child with a heart condition, I became obsessed with health and wellness. I revamped our entire family's lifestyle, dropped seven pant sizes, and created a website where I could share our story and help support people wanting to make small changes day by day in order to live well. I also support my family by the work that I do here through advertising content, affiliates, and partnership/consultant links within content. When you click and/or order, it puts food on our table. Thanks for all your support, and may you live well and thrive!


  1. Sherry June 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    I took your new route about 5 years ago and have the same outcome you relate.

  2. Melissa June 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Ok LOVE your article…I thought it was just me that stopped using coupons. And you did for the exact same reasons I did. I love me some COSTCO, hard to beat with their organic selection and love prices.

  3. Tammy June 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    i started out gun ho and thought I needed to get every “deal.” I think I ended up spending money where normally I wouldn’t have. I’m looking for non-food products that I can get dirt cheap and as far as food items, I’m only using them on items I normally buy. I think getting the generic when cheaper is the best way to go.

  4. Tammy June 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    We do plant a huge garden, which saves a ton on vegetables.

  5. Becky June 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    I’m with you all the way and all for the very same reasons.

  6. Wendy June 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    I loved this piece! I started using coupons a little over a year ago and loved it at first…but lately I have almost stopped using them completly. I too have found other ways to keep our grocery bill low and have much healthier foods at home. We are now part of the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op and each week for just $15 we get a basket full of produce! Then, we are making all our own breads and baked goods at home which is cheaper and much healthier. I am also going to continue to can and freeze produce while in season. I am not a shopping super-star by any means, but we are feeding a family of four for about $70 a month…and eating very good, whole foods! Thanks.

    • Isabella June 29, 2011 at 7:17 am - Reply

      Wendy, I was shocked that you spent $70 a month, so great! But if you spend $15 a week for produce, that’s about $60 a month – do you eat anything else besides fruits & veggies?

      • Emily June 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm - Reply

        I’m wondering how you manage this, too!

  7. Deanna June 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Thank you. You mention a couple of things I want to check into (group buying sites and cash back sites, to name two). It’s so rare for me to find coupons for the sort of things we buy that it’s really not worth buying newspapers or spending the time to clip coupons. When I look at pictures of the great deals my friends got with coupons I almost never see anything I purchase.

  8. lisa June 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Crystal, I have always enjoyed your no-nonsense approach, but I thought I could never do the “extreme” thing – I just don’t have the time/patience. However, I’m a major bargain shopper and I suspect I do just as well, using many of the techniques you have described here. Thanks for being a voice of reason!!

  9. Marilyn Shipe June 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Well, I’m so glad SOMEONE finally saw the truth in just exactly what all those coupons are buying! I am fascinated by the TV show, Extreme Couponing, but when I look at the unhealthy “food” items they are bulking up on, I can see how many of the extremists are bulked up themselves with excess fat! Way to go, Thrifty Mama, in all of your comments and the time it took to write them.

  10. Anonymous June 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I completely agree. I stopped couponing when I found out I was allergic to wheat and rice. And I find that we eat so much better now than we did then, and I thought we were eating well before!

  11. Rachael June 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    I totally agree, It seemed that when I was using coupons I actually spent more because I was buying things I wouldn’t normally buy. Now I keep coupons only for things I use all the time. And shop sales on things I can’t get coupons for.

  12. Erin Vaughn June 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Thanks for all the info on buying organic and saving money. I used to clip coupons but our eating style changed and the coupons are for processed food and we buy mostly veggis, fruits and we decided to go gluten free for my son, who has been recently diagnosed with aspergers and ADHD. It has made a world of difference for him, it is expensive buying gluten free and organic but it is worth it for us to be healthy. I have been laid off and i have two girl in college so we are trying to get our grocery bill down to 100.00 a week, that is my goal. We are a family of 4, one is a teenage boy and the girls are not included in that number but we try to help out when we can.

  13. Jenny June 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    I completely agree with you! There are many other ways to save money other than couponing. Thanks for the inspiration :]

  14. Debbie June 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    To Wendy, WOW!! I am working on being right at where it sounds like you are. Just getting started.

  15. Heather June 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    amen! I really thought I was the only one who felt that way!

  16. Rina June 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    I agree as well. I only use the occasional coupon for things I normally buy (like cereal coupons) or would like to try but 90% of my coupons are for cleaning products!

    • Jess June 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      I started couponing and looking for deals about 2 years ago when we moved, and kept it up for a while. I have found recently though that since by husbands and my own food tastes are so different, neither one of us really like foods we use coupons on anymore. Most of my coupons anymore are just for shampoo, razors and…well, general toiletries and toiletpaper stuff. I stocked up on cleaning supplies last year, and we haven’t bought any since then.

  17. Abi June 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Agreed….lately the main things I have been excited about is paper products, personal items, diapers, and stocking up on meat and produce when it is really cheap. Still love writing companies tho for items that don’t have coupons so I can get those discounted too plus a sale!

  18. Ryanne June 28, 2011 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I totally agree…I use coupons but I first plan my big shopping trip and bring only the coupons I plan to use–bringing the whole box encourages me to search for coupons in store for things I didn’t plan to buy.

  19. Dorothea June 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    SO excited that others agree. I haven’t couponed for this reason. SO many coupons are for processed foods–even ones for Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Just because the food is bought there doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy. Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE Trader Joe’s and WF. Although I would love to buy organic more, I do shop at our local Super H Mart. Great buys there.

  20. jen June 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    I am totally with you!
    I used to be a coupon junkie,
    and found myself spending more money.
    Now I just stick with online printable coupons if there is something that I actually do use and buy on the regular.
    I once saw a lady buying 5+ sticks of deodorant
    with her huge coupon binder in the cart…
    I just shook my head.

  21. Laura June 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Good for you, Crystal! I’m hopeful that I’ll get to the point eventually where the foods we eat (not to mention my knowledge of healthy cooking/diet) are more easily bought without coupons. It’s a lengthy process, but I hope to slowly replace the items that I’m currently buying with coupons with more healthful alternatives. I can’t just make the jump to eating solely organic/shopping at Costco because I just don’t have the knowledge (or make the time) right now to do more cooking from scratch, but I’m hoping to get there eventually!

  22. Jenna Burns June 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    After working for a major coupon site I came to the same conclusion. I spend the same money and eat way better scratch cooking. The local corner store is nice enough to give me the inserts from the Sunday papers on Mondays so now I only clip out what i know we will use and I don’t even always wait for the sale. I am not a fan of boxed food. If I am capable i make it from scratch. I just got overly excited about a molasses coupon this morning..lol

  23. alicia June 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    ok-THANK YOU!! I have just recently began couponing because of the xtreme couponing show, but this wasn’t the first time. It’s probably the fourth time I’ve tried couponing. And IT’S JUST SO STRESSFUL! I’ve been thinking about quitting AGAIN! I’ve bought the last two sunday papers and haven’t even opened them yet because I’m dreading it….
    Now I know I’m not alone!! I’m just not “cut out” to coupon!! lol

  24. Renae June 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    I agree with you and have reposted this to explain to my friends why I don’t ‘coupon’ anymore. Although I do still teach others to coupon, I no longer do I for my family.

  25. Julie June 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Crystal I have to admit that reading this made me feel so much better!! I’ve felt “guilty” after having stopped couponing after the birth of my 2nd child. I find that markdowns, buying in season, and buying generic is still producing a decent grocery bill-without all the hassle of couponing. With 2 kids now, there’s other ways I’d rather spend my time! While I do keep the Extreme Couponing show as a guilty pleasure, it’s rare that
    I find any of their steals to be healthy. A closet full of soda? It’s cheaper just not to buy it.

  26. Tara June 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this great post. I have been frustrated by trying to save money with coupons since 1. We eat a whole foods, mostly organic diet, and I will not buy the processed foods and chemical household products that you usually see coupons for, and 2. My children have a number of food allergies and intolerances and I have to buy very specific brands and foods for them. I love your tips on saving money on healthy foods. Too bad we don’t have Costco in upstate NY!

  27. olga June 28, 2011 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    This is a great article and I’m glad to see the “other” side of couponing. I employ many of the same tactics you do to save money, but I still coupon regularly. By no means do I go the “extreme” route, but if I’m able to save 20 – 30 bucks off my bill at whole foods in addition to “other” tactics I employ, I’m a happy camper. I am new to couponing, but one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t chase every deal and you don’t need to stockpile stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily use. Now I just go after the deals that get me the stuff that I use anyway. This helps a lot. I also watch that show and think to myself, why in the world would I buy 100 bottles of soda, when we shouldn’t even BE drinking soda to begin with. I commend those that donate that food, bc there are a lot of hungry mouths to feed.

  28. Katherine June 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    You have answered one of the questions that I have had since I started couponing a month or so ago -which is – wait, isn’t it cheaper to shop at Costco and Grocery Outlet for my organics? Love your blog. Thank you.

  29. Michele June 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    I feel the same way too! My kids have food allergies and reading labels for EVERY single thing I buy has made me so aware of what we bring into our house. It seemed like the better the “coupon deal” the bigger the list of ingredients & chemicals! I try to buy in-season produce & make most of what we eat from scratch…saving money in the long run by doing both!

  30. Michele June 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    I feel the same way too! My kids have food allergies and reading labels for EVERY single thing I buy has made me so aware of what we bring into our house. It seemed like the better the “coupon deal” the bigger the list of ingredients & chemicals! I try to buy in-season produce & make most of what we eat from scratch…saving money in the long run by doing both!

  31. Stacy B June 28, 2011 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    I am in the minority here, but I think couponing makes complete sense. Just because there is a coupon out there for it doesn’t mean you have to buy it. We shop organic, gluten/casein/soy free, and are also Feingold (no artificials or preservatives). If I can score $1.00 off Tom’s toothpaste, then that’s an extra $1.00 in my pocket! The basis of couponing is not to score $1000 worth of crap for $0.25; that’s why the show is called EXTREME (aka, NOT normal!) couponing. The basis is to pay less for the products you would normally buy. I don’t clip every coupon out there. I make my list, see what’s on sale and then search for coupons to match up. There are coupons everywhere for healthy brands – Ians, Stonyfield, Applegate, Annie’s Homegrown, etc. I spend 20 mins on it the night before my weekly trip and that’s it – and saved $53 at the store today. You just have to get a system set up that works for YOU.

    • Betsy June 29, 2011 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Same here!

    • Emily June 29, 2011 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      This is how I try to shop too, Stacy. The problem that I run into ALL the time is that the healthy/organic coupons are so rare. They’re almost never in the newspapers, and the printables almost never re-set. So I find that it is often a waste of my time to click around trying to find a coupon that I’ve probably already printed (months ago) and so won’t be able to get again. Do you have any tips for fixing this problem?

      • Jenna Burns June 30, 2011 at 9:19 am - Reply

        But what is your outgoing cost on the papers to get that one Tom’s toothpaste?? Organics and naturals are so rare I doubt it is worth it???

        • Stacy B June 30, 2011 at 6:14 pm - Reply

          Jenna – I buy the paper regardless, to read. I enjoy print over internet. So the weekly inserts are just a bonus for me.

          Emily – there are a few coupon databases out there (Common Sense with Money has one) that you can type in your product and it will search the internet for you. I usually make my weekly list off of sales and what we regularly use, then just search the database. It takes me less than 5 mins to go through my list. I also have a few places that routinely put out organic coupons (Living Without magazine, as well as my local health food store magazine). I hit those before the paper inserts, which usually don’t have a ton. The basic premise of couponing is to save where you can. You’re never going to have a coupon for everything on your list, but even if I walk in with $2.00 in coupons, that’s $2.00 that I can put towards something else. I never let my couponing interfere with my household or my family, it’s all done when the kids are asleep and my chores are done. So if I’d rather spend that time clipping than drinking wine or watching soap reruns…then to each her own, right? 🙂

          • Jenn K July 1, 2011 at 11:22 am

            Good points, Stacy! The Thrifty Mama also has a coupon database that you can use to plan your grocery trips, look up all coupons related to a certain product you need whether it’s “bread” or “Cascadian Farms Cereal”, find out what coupons are coming out in the next weekend’s paper and more! Check it out here: http://www.thethriftymama.com/coupons/coupondatabase/

  32. Leah June 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    I have become more savvy as well about couponing. I use newspaper Qs more for personal items, etc, than food. I went whole-hog couponing almost 2 years ago. I decided we need to be eating even more healthy. I print a lot a organic and natural coupons, plus find it on Manager’s special or sale for a great deal still! If anything, couponing has taught me to think “cheaply” when it comes to food. I’ve always cooked at home, but now I maximize what I have and can make from what is on hand. I will always use coupons, but for better things and things we actually NEED!

  33. Crystal @ Counselor Mom June 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Actually shocked to read this post, Crystal! I thought you were a faithful couponer! 🙂 I agree with everything you have said. That is why I can’t make my blog a coupon blog no matter how hard I try, my heart was not into it when I would rather shop the bogo deals unless there is a coupon to match. I have always cooked from scratch and the coupons never seemed that useful to me. I will say that I have noticed there are good coupons for cleaning items and beauty products, so I do use coupons for those things.

  34. Kristina June 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    I stopped for about 7 months when I found out I was highly allergic to wheat. I had gotten very sick and tests showed it was due to the wheat and then a couple months later I turned vegetarian. I have recently gone back to couponing but am very targeted. We do not buy newspapers, we just print coupons and use the ones we get in our mailbox and find in store. I get all my almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk for much cheaper with coupons. This last week I got a ton of produce deals with coupons, raspberries for $0.50, Organic Earthbound celery and green onions for $1 something each, bagged coleslaw for $0.19. This week we are going to get Earthbound Organic salad $1.50 each with coupons. We are also going to get a bunch of garden pasta for under $0.50 for my hubby and kids. I have found our closest Big Lots has healthy bread with no high fructose for $1 a loaf. We buy all our bread there. They also have great grocery clearance. We bought Kashi crackers for $0.80 a box this past week. Aldi has great deals on cans beans $0.55 a can and dried beans $0.79/lb. They have really great produce mark downs and can mark downs quite often. I find going to a few stores close to each other helps me to get low prices. I am thankful for printed coupons though, since using them again our grocery budget has stretched much further.

  35. Meg June 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    I loved this post! I have been feeling the same exact way. I just don’t see coupons for food I want to feed my family. I am not sure what it is about our area, but I almost NEVER see markdowns for anything, let alone healthy foods. I have just resigned myself to the fact that we will spend a little more to feed ourselves the right way.

  36. Tammie Renz June 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Hmmm, just call me the odd man – er, um, odd woman out. I have been using coupons strategically for a long time and save so much money it has allowed us to pay down some of our bills.
    Do I buy processed foods? Yes, but only if I get them free. You see, some people out there are so hungry that a processed meal would be like manna from Heaven for them.
    I give away more than I keep, mainly to my church, who gives away more food than any other entity in the state of GA.
    I NEVER turn anything FREE down; if I don’t use it, someone will. I only buy 4 papers and my neighbor gives me his, so I only get five items per week on items that are either free or nearly free.
    I cringe when I see people clearing a shelf in one swoop and they don’t care that they do. I think people who have 1,000 rolls of toilet paper, dish soap, body wash, etc., should donate a LOT of them. There is a mentality that is it hard to let go of your stock pile because you are so proud of it.
    When I teach coupon classes I give away a lot of my FREE toiletrie items – and all the gals love it.
    I cannot see me shopping without coupons, it would feel wrong to me. Couons are money in our pockets, so why throw money away?
    If a person can get items free, especially ones they need then I think they should take advantage of rock bottom prices with several stackable coupons.
    I am not putting anyone down who does not use coupons – we are all allowed to make our own decisions. We all have different eating habits; some have allergies, others don’t. I don’t eat processed foods either, but I WILL get them if they’re free, and like I said earlier, I will donate them to my church.
    Blessings to all!

  37. autumn June 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    Love your article. I have a large household and I do use coupons but there is definitely a down side to couponing. When I first started couponing I looked around my house one day and it was full of “junk food” and all kinds of cleaning products that were full of who knows what. I had to rethink things. I now use coupons for bathroom items such as shampoo/toothpaste and for food items such as ketchup/syrup. There is no need for cleaning coupons because I use vinegar and water for an everyday/everything cleaner, I make my own windex, and use baking soda for scrubbing. Healthy living is a learning process and you are an awesome teacher. THANK YOU!

    • Tammie September 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm - Reply

      You are to be commended for making your own cleaning products, but you DO have to buy vinegar and baking soda, so if there is a couopn for these items, and they’re at their rock bottom price, then you would get them free, or nearly free. I can’t remember the last time I paid for items such as – toothpaste, tooth brushes, floss, deodorant, body wash, hand soap, dishwashing liquid, dishwashing detergent, shampoo, conditioner, Poise panty liners, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.
      I only buy 4 papers per week and my neighbor gives me his circulars, so I easily pay for my papers due to the immense savings I score week in and week out. One does not have to buy processed foods if they don’t want to; but there are many products out there that are NOT processed, such as organic milk, which I always have coupons for and pay pennies on the dollar.
      PLEASE keep in mind that if your tummy is empty you will eat what is given to you. In todays economy, so many people would love frozen pizza, boxed foods, canned goods, processed cheese, etc. I NEVER turn down a FREE offer. I get baby formula free from WalMart and then take it to my church food pantry – not every woman CAN breast feed.
      I am not knocking you, or anyone else who ues coupons. I am merely trying to show a different view point you may not have thought of.
      Blessings to all!

  38. Jenna June 28, 2011 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    The thing on coupons though– unless you get the coupons free your savings a month has to be greater then your outgoing costs for the papers. I live in a rural area and would buy 2-4 papers a week. It is $6 round trip to hit a major supermarket and it costs $32 a month in papers. Do I pocket the $56.00 a month or do I coupon? This month I only clipped the products I would use and it hasn’t added up, yet and that is waiting for the sale.

  39. Wendy June 29, 2011 at 12:14 am - Reply

    I love all the comments and while I was honest about rarely using coupons anymore for food…I do still rely on them for FREE shampoos, soaps, makeup and a few other cleaning items…I know I should go organic with those too…but I haven’t made a full switch yet. Maybe soon…I was thinking about trying my own laundry soap next week. The stuff I am buying at the store is doing a number on my littles skin and seems to be really hard on her cloth diapers…who knows. Thanks again for the post!

  40. susan June 29, 2011 at 12:50 am - Reply

    You can save money without coupons by simply taking all of your sales ads to Walmart and price matching the fruits, veggies, and meat. It is an option for those of us who do not have co-op or wholesale stores.

  41. Isabella June 29, 2011 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Crystal, I was pretty shocked to see that you don’t use coupons! I’ve tried couponing for the last few years and every time I start, I stop within a month or 2. The fact that I have 2 kids under 2yo doesn’t help. Nowadays, I try to follow websites like yours to know how to save on organic/natural items without couponing. Sometimes you have to think about the time it takes to clip all the coupons and organize them: time=money. It’s not worth it to me, I’d rather be spending time with my babies.

    One thing someone else mentioned is contacting companies to tell them how much you like their items, I think it’s a good idea to get some coupons from them.

  42. Melissa McK June 29, 2011 at 8:07 am - Reply

    I do strive to get to this point 🙂 However half of the things you are doing now are not readily available where I am now. We have a Costco that is about 40 mins away (which may be worth it in some areas) but it is the only Costco in the area and it’s terrible compared to the ones in the south 🙁 I haven’t been able to find a Co-Op worth joining, not at $15 or even $20. We do have Farmers Markets, I am going to see just how much organic is out there and for how much. We do have 1 Trader Joes but I drive 25-30 mins which is worth it (same for WF). I don’t live in the sticks either, LOL! It’s crazy! I have one grocery store nearby and it sometimes has marked down organic and that’s where I score stuff. Bottom line is…I think we need to move?!?! 😉 Seriously!

  43. Sarah June 29, 2011 at 8:11 am - Reply

    I love this blog and appreciate this post, even though I don’t agree 100%. Well, I agree with all the tips for saving on healthy food, absolutely. But I have done really well getting organic foods with coupons in the past 6 months. I love that Stonyfield Farms (for example), has coupons for the yogurt that I buy my kids anyway. There are a lot of great places to get coupons for organic foods. My kids rarely eat any processed foods, and I would say couponing accounts for about 30-50% of my shopping. I also do farmer’s markets, CSA, amazon, and other ideas Crystal wrote about here.

  44. Dana June 29, 2011 at 8:53 am - Reply

    Great post, Crystal. I’m a couponer and even teach classes, but I am starting to lean more towards other methods of saving money. I haven’t entirely turned to natural cleaning and personal care products, so coupons have allowed me to stock up on those kind of things for free/super cheap so I can spend more on healthier foods.

  45. chasity June 29, 2011 at 10:53 am - Reply

    I agree. I’ve been couponing for over a year, and it hasn’t done anything but make me fat and feel like garbage. I’m now spending the time that I would have been clipping coupons preparing nutritious meals from REAL food for me and my husband. 🙂

  46. Judi @ Frugal Frolic June 29, 2011 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Thank you for such a wonderful post. I almost never use coupons, mostly because I don’t USE any of the items the coupons are for. With cooking from scratch, and only buying items we need, coupons just don’t fit for our family.

  47. Nicole June 29, 2011 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    I’m shocked, Crystal, but now that I think of it, I have seen your site evolve from being coupon and drugstore-deals based to a more global approach to healthy lifestyle. I love that. I barely use coupons anymore, and it bothers me to think I am spending more than I have to. But it got too stressful, too overwhelming, and too cumbersome. Plus most of what we eat we never see coupons for- fresh vegetables, natural meats, fish, whole grains in bulk, etc. Also, and I have not seen anyone say this on a budget site- sometimes it is more worthwhile to spend a little more for convenience sake so I can save my sanity or have more time with my family. I still love my coupons, and always have one for restaurants on the rare occasion we eat out. And around here there are super double days (up to $1.99 face value!) all the time, so I try to take advantage. I love saving money. But I decided to focus on getting good healthy food at the best price without running myself crazy over a coupon.

  48. Kimberly June 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    i find couponing more of a headache, and too time consuming. I take about 1/12 hours a week shopping at about 3 different grocery stores for our budget of $100 in food items. I do use coupons on all paper and cleaning products, and toiletries (in which i mailny end up using at dollar general or walgreens) We’re a family of (almost) 7 living in a small space, and my time with my family is more important to me (not to mention I don’t have the room to stockpile unhealthy food!) I freezer bake and cook so we can eat healthy!! 🙂

  49. Paula June 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I still coupon. If I can save 47 percent off my grocery items, then I’ll take advantage of it. I still remember a high school history teacher that taught me one thing: it take 2% of the people to ruin it for everyone. So, to those 2% of the population tha tare EXTREME couponers – thanks!

  50. Cheri A. June 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Add me to the list of people that found themselves buying lots of extra junk that we didn’t need. I have found that it is better for us and more economical to buy whole foods in season and on sale. I stopped using the cleaning coupons years ago due to all of the chemicals. I now use baking soda, vinegar, etc. , which is super cheap when you buy the big bottles at at wholesale club.

    Life is a journey for all of us, and everyone is at a different stage. The last thing for me to tackle is the toiletries. My family thinks I’m crazy, but I love the no-poo shampoo/conditioner. I am currently working on deoderant and will probably tackle toothpaste next.

  51. […] junk that there are always coupons for.  Anyway, Thrifty Mama, from the Atlanta area has a post about couponing that is interesting.  I’ve never done couponing on the level that some […]

  52. Barb June 29, 2011 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Does anyone have a salvage grocery store near them? I can save more money with a scratch and dent or salvage grocery then some coupons. They always have organic. It’s alot of fun to find the deals there!

  53. VickiRae June 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    I prefer shopping at Costco and using their mail coupons, we just don’t eat most of what manu. coupons come out with.

  54. JuliB June 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    I save about $5/week on average from coupons, from 2 papers (my mother and I share coupons). It takes me so little time and I buy only what I would, although I will buy new things to try. I’m not sure why spending 20/minutes a week is that hard… I shop only for myself and my SO – weekend meals only since I travel for work a lot.

  55. Virginia June 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Cuponong has gotten to b ‘trendy’ in our area. I live in country without paper delivery, by the time I get 2 town on Sunday morn, all papers r gone. I have been finding less bargins and I believe that the ‘extreme cuponing’ on TV is runining it 4 regular people. Hardly worth the trouble any more.

  56. chrissy June 29, 2011 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    As with anything…couponing can be just a portion of your overall plan, it is wise to not let it take over and dictate to you. You can go on sundaycouponpreview.com to see which inserts are going to be in the paper (assuming you have a large local paper, I don’t know how this will work in rural areas, I live in a city) and then, on that same site, you can look at the actual coupons that will be in the paper. I will only buy papers if the coupons in the paper that I will use (less than 2 or 3 per insert, typically) make it worth my while. Basically…the inserts better have 3 $1 off coupons or it is a no go. And then my SIL and I trade inserts and I get more of the same ones and she gets the ones I didn’t want. I never buy more than four papers because one of my local stores limits you on the same coupons in a transaction and I have better things to do than line up several transactions or go back repeatedly. I have three kids under the age of nine…things are poppin’ in my life! lol Anyway…I freak out over a baking soda coupon but you couldn’t pay me to take an Oreo Cakester coupon….that company needs to be discouraged! lol Those things are vile! Cleaning products are largely a created need…very few of them are as healthy or superior to vinegar, hot water, baking soda, lemons, borax and a nice pile of microfiber cloths that scrub great and last forever. Not to mention that anything scented is a nightmare for people with allergies…who might be coming to your house and get migraines. I know I do at other people’s houses! Okay…this is too long…

  57. Melissa June 30, 2011 at 11:36 am - Reply

    I clicked thru and want to give you credit, your Neerg linky is broken.

    I still use coupons but not too many for food products, mostly just for health/beauty products. There are certain things/brands I like that I can’t get at Costco. Things like toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo/condit., Bounty select-a-size paper towels and the TP my hubby is particular about, so I collect those coupons. I also save coupons for things that I’m not going to make myself like mustard, soap, shampoo. And since manufacturers coupons never expire at Target, I can collect them until I need them w/out worrying about expiration dates.

    And I’ve been finding more and more “crunchy” coupons in the Sun papers. Coupons for things like Almond milk, though I do make that myself.

  58. Shelly June 30, 2011 at 11:36 am - Reply

    This is such a timely post! I have also been getting a bit burned out on couponing and have also noticed that my weight was creeping up because of all the free ‘treats’ I was getting that I never would have bought before (hard for me to turn down free chocolate!).

    I was just on another popular blog that had posted about the free Downy Unstoppables product. I was like, what IS this stuff??? Just more chemicals that we can cover ourselves with? When it a good deal NOT a good deal? Are we willing to compromise our health and environment just to get something free? Your stance is quite refreshing. I haven’t read your blog for awhile, but I’m going to put it at the top of my list! 🙂

  59. Stacy B June 30, 2011 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    If you just buy newspapers for the coupons, then no – it probably will be a waste of your money (depending on the cost of the papers). I get 2 every weekend – one from my small town and one from the larger city nearby where my husband works. They are home delivery and I get them because I READ them. I don’t watch tv and have limited internet time, print is my lifeline to world news. The coupons really are just an added bonus for me. And the couponing trend is TOWARD organics and naturals. I’m seeing more of those than I am juice and cookie coupons lately. More and more companies are going away from chemicals and preservatives (Frito Lay just recently announced that they will be reformulating over 70 products to eliminate artificials!). It’s become trendy (finally!) to eat healthy and the major manufacturers are slowly picking up on this. And the papers aren’t the only source for coupons – I get a ton of printables online (I print on the back of scrap paper) and the store puts out coupons as well. My last trip had coupons for Applegate Farms and Silk at the store – $1.00 off each. These were completely free.

    Donation is always an option as well. I DO keep a lot of coupons for things I don’t use because they could be moneymakers (ie, something is on sale for $0.50 and you have a $1.00 off coupon for it, you get the $0.50 in overage). You can pay for all your fresh fruits and veggies this way, and just donate the items that you purchased to make the extra money with. This is why warehouse stores are NOT a great deal on many items – your bulk price is cheaper, but if you buy the smallest package at the store in multiples, your cost will always be lower – IF you use coupons (ie, this may not always apply to fresh fruits, meats and veggies). But for toilet paper and the like, the store always wins if you play the game right.

  60. Patti 58 July 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    Looks like I’m in the minority. I only use coupons for items I regularly use. Not just to buy junk food or stuff I have no use for. I have been shopping some of the sales in my area where a store offers 10/$10.00 items. I have probably saved $50+ in the past 6 wks by using coupons. I can buy fruits, veggies, meats, whatever usually doesn’t have coupons (for which I generally can’t afford, so more vegetarian than would think) for a treat/freezer. My mother used coupons to stretch the budget years ago and I have used to stretch my own budget for 40+ years. Extreme Couponing TV show is just that — TV–. It’s false in so many areas and too bad for those that really need to learn the good/right use of coupons and how the savings can build if you are able to put the savings away. And many of the Big Box Warehouse stores DO accept coupons. $1.00 to me is $1.00 more than I had to help me rubberband my limited budget. For me $5.00 for $10.00 worth of items is a big deal.

  61. Patti 58 July 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Read on ‘nother site for coupons that at BJs U can use a coupon for single item on a multiple item purchase. U know, 4 comes in the package–U can use 4 coupons for each item in that package. Never knew. And I have been seeing coupons for veggies, fruits, etc. It doesn’t take me that long either, never did. Part of my Sunday paper time/breakfast-coffee time. But each to their own. Guess lots can afford not to find savings where they are.Wish I had the budget to do that. And when it says ‘any’ on the coupon, Gluten Free is included. There are even GlutenFree coupons out there because I have a few and use them. Can’t hurt.

  62. Toni OHara July 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    I use coupons for laundry det, deoderant, shampoos. But I too have found that looking for the managers specials and BOGO sales save alot of money. So I incorporate the 2. I used to raise a garden and it was great knowing how my food was raised and that I was saving at the same time. This year however my husband is very ill and I don’t have the time to spend outside tending the garden. Hopefully next year I will get started with that again. It’s grea to have canned and frozen fruits and veggies and homemade juices.

  63. […] I love them but I am not in love with the hassle. I am not ready to throw in the towel yet and say I don’t want to use coupons anymore […]

  64. Amanda July 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    I totally agree with you. I love coupons but have realized how stressed I get if I don’t have a coupon for every single item and don’t have time to cut them all out. I have started trying to change my mindset and feed my family healthier foods. I so applaud you for this article and appreciate all your input and advice. God bless.

  65. Sara November 4, 2011 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    This is my first visit to your site and this piece couldn’t have hit home more…well sort of. I am hoping just to get some resolution on an issue I have been having…so alot of people around me coupon and the bug was catching. I kept thinking everytime I checked out at the grocery that I needed to be couponing. I am extremely organized, housewife, stay at home mom, yadda yadda, the usual gig. After a few dozen websites, trying to learn the ins and outs of this money saving world and subscribing to all the coupon emailers there are I realized a few things.
    1) Not only does my family NOT consume over half of the stuff that there are coupons for (nutritionally lacking cereal, sugary snacks, sodas, frozen entrees, etc)
    2) I completely hate wasting time in a dozen different stores (CVS for great makeup deals, Safeway for this, Ralphs for that)
    3) I am a Costco member (best 50 bucks a year I spend!)
    4) We are avid farmers market shoppers, the kids love it and it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon on top of fresh, cheap produce.
    5) My husband is gone alot since he is a Marine so it’s just me and the kids so we really don’t need much
    Well, naturally still wanting to save the money my husband works so hard to bring home I kept trying to see if there was a way I could coupon. I think the most I ever saved was 2 bucks on a Kashi pizza, the 75 cents on 2 Yoplait yogurts for kids…hmm yeah guess that’s about it. I guess what I should boil all this down to is a simple question? Am I on the right path of thinking that while couponing works for some it’s not what works for my family? I also think that store brand products are just as good if not better (I love up&up and great value) than name brand and by the time you look at price vs price w/coupon isnt it about the same? Any comments, advice would beyond appreciated! I feel like I need all the help I can get these days!

    • Crystal Collins November 4, 2011 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      Sara – it sounds like you are moving in a good direction. You actually sound a lot like me and my family. I love Costco, and try to shop locally as much as possible. I save a significant amount of money each month, and my family eats healthy. If couponing isn’t your think, don’t stress about it and feel like you have to do it. You can still benefit from some couponing like I do. That’s why on my site you will see coupon match-ups for health food stores, and organic groceries. I also have a Costco Organic Price List. Don’t forget about the Coupon Database either. You can use it to look up printable coupons easily, so that you can just print them and go to the store. Hope this helps and you stick around! Nice to “meet” you and I’m happy to help in any way I can!

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