So today I was in the checkout line at Whole Foods, and right before I had to pay, I handed the check out lady my wad of coupons, and she said “You purchased all of these items today?” as though she has never seen such a large pile of coupons before. This had me thinking I was onto something! She asked where I get them from, and my good ole straight-to-the-point self said “internet.” Then a lady came up behind me in line, and was also shocked about my big stack of coupons (Whole Foods doesnt have the best couponing system, so I have heard from the poor workers who have to type in all my coupons, therefore it was taking awhile.) So I finally told her some of the websites I use, and they both had out a pen and paper scribbling down every word I was saying. Needless to say, I thought I should share my findings with you! Organic food isnt cheap by any means, and being a college student in this crappy economy and trying to buy for a 100% organic lifestyle, every penny counts. Luckily, because of this crappy economy, Organic Food companies are putting out more coupons to keep people buying it (my theory anyways. and everyone should be buying it regardless!) Here are my three favorite websites:
http://www.mambosprouts.com ~ its run by coupons.com but for organic and natural foods only. I check there on a weekly basis, as things often change.
http://www.iloveorganicgirl.com ~ this is the website for OrganicGirl Lettuce- If you sign up for their newsletter, you get a $1 off one coupon just for signing up- no limit on how many you can print!!! and they send you emails with more coupons every once in awhile without flooding your inbox with crap (always appreciated!)
http://www.earthboundfarms.com ~ this is the website for Earthbound Farms Produce. They have this thing where you can “Take a Step”, and every day they have a step you can take. Every week or two they have a “Save $.75 Off Any EB Farms Product” Usually featuring some kind of lettuce. The only down side, is you get an email everyday with that days step- sometimes its really yummy looking recipes though! I have a whole separate email just for newsletters, and I keep my “real” email separate from couponing. (This obviously is a very serious hobby of mine.)
Pacific Natural Foods has a coupon page too on their website- But you can only print 2 of each until they put up new ones (per IP address, that is) 😉
These are the first places I go. If you have a Whole Foods nearby, they have the Whole Deal- their coupon book for their store. I use this a lot too, but you can still sometimes find better coupons for the same products online. So keep checking!
I also look for all the name brand things in my cupboard, and go to their website. If they have a newsletter- sign up for it! (using your special couponing email, of course!) You will often get coupons emailed to you!
I had also read that if you go to these websites, and send them a little email on how much you love their product they will often send you coupons. I have tried this with some success- but honestly didnt find it as rewarding as couponing- but its something to consider.
There are other ways to buy Organic on a budget. The thing that I just read about on Pinterest somewhere and have started doing is to start shopping from your pantry. I cant tell you how many times I go to the store and think “Do I have rice? I cant remember, Ill just get some anyways…” Then you get home to find out you have 16 pounds of rice (exaggeration, but you know what im talking about!) Its AMAZING how much money you can save by doing this.
Also, Home Make EVERYTHING you possibly can. I understand that we all live in a busy busy country, and we are non-stop types of people, but it is so.much.cheaper. to make things yourself. And 9 times out of 10, its healthier too. For instance, you Gluten-free friends out there- it is SO much cheaper to buy brown rice, stick it in the blender, and make brown rice flour versus buying the bag (which you usually cant find organic anyways!) Same thing goes for French Fries, Cut up some potatoes, throw them in the over with a little Chili Powder and you got yourself some french fries- way cheaper than buying the bag, and its not processed! It takes an extra 3 minutes to chop them up, and the money you save is worth it.
Next thing: (I have this down to a science). Grocery Shop 1 week at a time. I would love to do this for 2 weeks, but unfortunately fresh foods dont stay good for that long. I actually try to shoot for 10 days at a time, with a little tiny trip in between to restock fruits and water (we get the filtered kind that you can refill at the store.) Limiting your trips to the store, forces you to spend less money, and to be more organized. Then, organize your menu to eat the fresher things first- like salads or tacos and then save your spaghetti for the end of the week since its good forever.
The most important thing, (if you ask me) Go By Yourself. I cant tell you how many times ive said this at the checkout “how did this pie get in the cart?!” I love my husband, and he is one healthy eater, but my oh my does he have a sweet tooth! And my oh my how those sweets are NOT cheap at Whole Foods! Leave the hubby, and the kids at home, until they are old enough to understand what “No” means, and can do math (going to the store with my mom was one of the biggest learning experiences for me as a child! Even then, try to go at a time when you can have time to discuss WHY this brand is the better deal, and what not. Enough on my parenting tips- back to budgeting.) You will save so much without extra people sneaking things in your cart, or begging you for the extras that arent on your list.
Also, many places like Costco or BJ’s are starting to bring in a LOT of Organic stuff. Especially Frozen Fruits and Veggies. We make a lot of smoothies, and get all of our organic fruits from Costco for a fraction of the price. But again, get only whats on your list- nothing more. You can easily get sucked in to their deals.
If you are into Frozen Dinners, or Convenience Meals of that sort, Take a day. What I mean, is go grocery shopping for a whole month (my mom used to do this, and it was AWESOME). Cook all your meals ahead of time- take a whole day to do this. Then put them in glass tupperwares, and freeze. Then, on busy nights, or if you work nights and your family needs dinner, they can pop them in the oven and dinner is ready in no time. This way, they have the freshest possible, least processed, healthiest food you can provide for them. And, nothing beats home cooking!
We have just started trying to take our one meal and make it two. This may not work if you have kids- but id give it a try because it has saved us a TON of money. Instead of downing the whole pot of spaghetti, serve a salad before hand, and some fruit, and then only eat half of the pot of spaghetti. Repeat tomorrow. I have found (in my 2.5 years of marriage) that my husband will eat anything I put in front of him. So, if I give him fruit, he will eat fruit, and not as much spaghetti.
I think this is all I have. If you have other ways that you save money, please share! 🙂 And if you have any questions, Please Ask!
Hope this was helpful! Happy Shopping! 🙂