Money Saving Monday: The Big Haul

i-love-saving-money-copyHappy Monday lovelies! Before we get down to business, I invite you to check out my newest page above: Coupoing Goodness. I’ve compiled links to all my couponing posts so they can guide you in your own adventures in saving money while keeping it natural. 🙂

I missed you all last week but given that I was travelling, I used my budget to buy food on-the-go. I grabbed some travel staples (larabars and the like) and easy-to-carry accoutrements since I knew I would be receiving breakfast and lunch each day but wasn’t sure what to expect. As it turned out, the meals were surprisingly adequate!

Anyway, being the end of the month, I slipped into my Couponing SuperStar outfit (which I imagine is pink and sparkly and spandex, of course) and geared up for some great hauls. And ladies and gents – great hauls I had!

Tip of the Week

Make the most of your trips to less frequently visited stores. For those who’ve been following along for a while, you know I used to be a Wegmaniac (Wegmans maniac for those who aren’t familiar). Its relative distance, the lower price of items at Whole Foods, and the consistent;y disappointing selection at the stores close to me, led me to cutting back my trips to about once every six to eight weeks. However, when I got home from my training, I had a $5 of any grocery (aka no produce) purchase of $25 or more coupon waiting. <–Pause: I ❤ coming home to presents! You know I had to use that. So I sat down with my coupons and figured out what were some products I actually could use (beans, yogurt, tissues), what coupons were expiring, and what, of those, would make good deals. A lot of this comes down to knowing prices and the fact that Wegmans doubles coupons. So coupons that gave me okay deals elsewhere are suddenly taken to a new level there. Some of the items I bought were planned splurges (e.g. the coconut milk yogurts and Mary’s Gone crackers). Other things I bought in huge quantities (e.g. beans). But all are things I’ll use and were at rock-bottom prices. I ended up saving 77%! *squee*

Target is another store I visit only occasionally. Knowing that we had no extra dish soap,I jumped at the chance to get Seventh Generation’s for only $0.94 (!). Again, since we don’t go to Target often, I got creative with the other Mobile Coupons (see below for sign-up instructions), using them to get things that, again, I use regularly and would be at rock-bottom prices. $0.04 bananas and $0.49 avocados? Yes, please! Contact solution for less than $3 a bottle? Sure! Dirt cheap toilet paper that I actually really like? Give.it.to.me. Though my savings was only 49% at Target, the trip showed how coupons can be used positively even without items that were on sale.

In short…know your prices, make the most of your trips, and shop smart. 🙂

Meal Plan

Oh my goodness how have I become such a poor meal planner?! Its a combination of having a minimal schedule + the beau’s laissez-faire-ness + his ability to throw meals together on the spot. Oh and heat which has made me crave smoothies, avocado toast, and not much of anything else. There will be lots of greens this week though because as good as the conference food was, it was rather carb-heavy. I’ve never craved veggies quite this much…

Oh and just because this post needs more photos, here are some from the food I enjoyed at training.

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EPIC oats…aka what happens when you let a vegan loose at a buffet bar with about 10 different types of fruit.

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Breakfast buffet + tupperware = so. much. fruit. for my daily afternoon snack.

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Celebratory dinner at Sticky Fingers after completing my training! #nomnomnom

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Project: Food Budget, Week 49

Holy crap we’re on week 50 49!  That means only two three official weeks to go.

Not that I’ll stop budgeting or meal planning or couponing.  So my question is: do you guys want me to keep going with P:FB-like posts?  Let me know.  😉

Weeks 48 and 49 47 and 48 were a bit *ahem* hectic.  The former was finals week and the latter was my break so I was home, spending far too much $ eating out and visiting friends and generally enjoying life.  I’m guessing that I was on-budget for the month of August, at least with my food budget, if not with my extraneous spending.  <–trying not to think about that!

Meal Plan

*Starred items are test recipes for the 4th Happy Herbivore cookbook.

Chili*
Corn Soup*
Parmesan Celery Salad  <–new favorite blog!  Thanks Emily!  And seriously everyone make this.  And yes, I used faux cheese.
Avocado Pasta with Zucchini Tagliatelle

Spending Savings

Wegmans: $38.03
Whole Foods: $33.72

Total: $71.75

Between an empty fridge, some deals that were too good to pass up, and the need for probiotics to help me recover from this weekend’s exploits ($16 on sale), it was a pricey week!

Total Saved: $19.76 (28%)

Steals & Deals

Wegmans
*Coupons up to $0.99 are doubled

2lb bag lemons: $3.49
Bananas: $0.49/lb
Organic Celery: $2.69
Salsa: $1.99

Barbara’s Shredded Wheat (29oz): $5.99
$1.00 Barbara’s cpn
=$4.99 = $0.17/oz = $2.72/lb

Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats (24oz): $3.79
-$0.75 Bob’s Red Mill cpn
=$2.29 = $1.53/lb

Cascadian Farms Frozen Spinach: $1.42
-$0.75 Cascadian Farms cpn
=FREE!

Silk Almond Milk (1/2 gal): $2.99
-$0.55 Silk cpn (here’s a $1.00 one)
=$1.89 = $3.78/gal

Whole Foods

Earthbound Organics Power Greens (16oz): $3.99 (sale price)
-$0.75 EB Farm cpn
=$3.42/lb

Olivia’s Organic Spinach (16oz)
-$1.00 Olivia’s Organics cpn
=$1.99/lb

That’s it loves.  Don’t forget to let me know if you want me to continue doing food budget posts once the project ends!

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Project: Food Budget, Week 46

So finals start tomorrow (!), a fact which I embarrassingly enough didn’t even know until Monday since I had put an older version of the academic calendar into my editorial one.  Between this fact + getting in late on Sunday from Passion Power, let’s just say my eating this week was less than ideal.  And this post will be rather short….mostly because I’ve had a heavy case of the procrastination-blues for the past…well all week.

Tip of the Week

Rain checks are your friends!  Please remember this folks…please?  Because I didn’t this week and ended up paying twice as much for cherries as I would have if I had thought, “Hey, while I’m getting my money back for this coupon I forgot, I should also get a rain check for the cherries since this is the second day in a row that WF is out.”  <–didn’t happen.

Meal Plan

Well…there was a plan.  Once upon a time (aka Friday before I left for NJ).  And that plan got tossed out the window…partially because I got lazy and partially because WF was out of ingredients I needed.  <–see above

To stay semi-healthy and energized, I still had a green smoothie every morning.  However, cereal made an appearance for dinner at least twice.  And dessert made at least two appearances a day.  =/

Otherwise it was quickie meals.  For example, I made this Monday morning while I got ready.  I heated the water while I prepped the ingredients, cooked the lentils while I showered, then tossed everything else in while I finished getting dressed, packed, etc.  Averie’s one-pot meals are some of my absolute favorite because they are truly quick, easy, budget-friendly (I used only pantry items to make this), and chock full of amazing flavor. 

I also discovered that if you stir raw spinach into pasta (because WF ruined your plan to make this after you already cooked the most perfectly fluffy quinoa ever…) it wilts a little.  This is a big win folks.  It means you don’t have to dirty a second pan and you can get away with calling your pasta dinner healthy because it has greens in it.  <–you know you love me.  🙂

Now onto that budgeting stuff.

Spending Savings

Whole Foods: $38.18  <–the price you pay when
Rite Aid: $4.24

Total: $42.42

I’m calling it a win.  Just go with it folks.  😉

Savings: $11.22 (27%)  <–not too shabby for shopping on the fly, dontcha think?

My favorite deal this week was getting two packages of Ziploc bags for only $4 at Rite-Aid.  They were on sale 2/$5 and then I had a $1 coupon from one of the Sunday papers.  Even though I try not to use baggies too much (and totally wash-and-reuse until they fall apart), sometimes you need them for storing things in the fridge and freezer.

That’s all folks.  Hope my feisty-ness didn’t scare anyone…that’s just my Inner Passion DIVA being coy.  Or something like that.  😉

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

 

 

 

Project: Food Budget, Week 43

Happy Thursday!  I was done shopping bright and early on Sunday so you guys are in for a treat…a FULL post! Yay.  🙂

Tip of the Week

At the end of last week I found myself out of flax and cereal <–it was tragic, running out of nutritional yeast, and in need of mascara that didn’t get gross ten minutes after applying it.  I thought about it and decided I was going to make the VitaCost plunge.  If you’ve never shopped here its like a natural food lover’s dream come true.  A lot of bloggers prefer iHerb but I spent a lot of time researching and time and again, Vita was cheaper.  They also give you free shipping on all orders $49+ so I recruited a friend.  I view shopping online the same way I view shopping at club stores: its a bit scary to put out quite a bit of money but you know that its an investment that will last you a while.  For example, I have almost 2 lbs each of nutritional yeast, flax, and cereal coming.

Don’t disregard online natural food stores for products that you use often.  But also don’t assume they have the lowest price.  Chia, for example, is actually still cheaper at Wegmans so you can guess where I’ll be getting it.

Meal Plan

I fell in love with a new food blog this week: Raw on $10 a Day (or Less!).  You’ll see that reflected below…and on Pinterest.

Tomato and Basil Soba Noodles  <–I used basil only and subbed different Asian noodles.

https://yogabeautylife.wordpress.com/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=2038&tab=gallery#Avocado Soup <–I had one lone avo that needed to be used.  This was outstanding and super filling.

Green Goddess Nachos – Happy Herbivore’s Queso Cheese Sauce over steamed kale, sauteed onions + zucchini, and blue corn tortilla chips

A ridiculous amount of Indian food including veggie samosoas and pakora, garlic naan and some other bread.

So this cookie truck is right outside the metro stop every Monday.  I usually resist.  This week, I have a sinus infection.  Therefore cookies = medicine.

Hummus on Tomatoes  <–the zucchini I got were rather large so I made a double batch of this hummus and used my extra squash to make muffins. YUM.

Crispy Edamame  <–I subbed nooch for the cheese.  These are so so delicious!

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip <–It didn’t last long enough for photos.

Spending Savings

From L-R, starting in back: Frank’s Hot Sauce, Romaine Hearts, Late July chips, Kale, (7) Blue Diamond milk, (5) Goya beans, (6) cucumbers (they’re hidden)), Cunchmaster Crackers, (3 lb) almonds, Alter Eco chocolate bar, yellow tomatoes (3lb) bananas, GIANT basil, (4) zucchini, (4) peppers, (3) tomatoes, (6) peaches & nectarines. Not shown: Neturogena spot creme, mascara, Ecover spot remover, 26 oz each Mesa Sunrise cereal, nutritional yeast, and flaxseed

Wegmans: $18.24
BJs: $13.81
Whole Foods: $9.97
Farmer’s Markets: $19.00
VitaCost: $19.23

Total: $80.25 😀

Before you think I went crazy putting that smiley there, let me explain.  This week is half July, half August.  I had $35 left for July and $40 for the first week in August plus $5 left on my WF giftcard.  Which means I went exactly $0.25 over.  Not too shabby, if I say so myself.

Eligible Spending (excludes Farmers’ Market: $42.02
Savings: $15.79 (36%)

I did well this week in that I only bought packaged items that I had a coupon for.  The fresh produce was almost all purchased at farmers’ markets which means I got more bang for my buck as well.   Gotta love farm-fresh veggies.  🙂

Steals & Deals

Wegmans

Goya Beans, $0.79-0.99
-$1.00/5 Goya cpn
=$0.59-$0.79/can

Late July Tortilla Chips, 2/$5.00
-$1.00 Late July cpn
=$1.50

Crunchmaster Crackers,2/$5.00 (reg $2.99 ea)
-$1.00 Crunchmaster cpn
=$1.50

Blue Diamond Coconut/Almond Milk (32 oz), $1.99
-$0.50 Blue Diamond cpn
-$0.50 (Wegmans doubles coupons)
=$0.99 ea or $3.96/gal

Alter Eco Chocolate Bar, $3.49
-$1.00 Alter Eco cpn <–I had one that was expiring
=$2.49

Neutrogena Spot Cream, $5.99
-$1.50 Neturogena cpn <–no longer available
=$4.49

BJ’s

Almonds, 3lb bag: $10.97
Bananas, 3lb: $1.49

Nature’s Greens (16 oz), $1.99
-$0.55 Nature’s Greens cpn
=$1.44

Whole Foods

Blue Diamond Milk (32 oz), $1.99
-$1.00/2 Whole Foods cpn <–no longer available
-$1.00/2 Blue Diamond cpn
=$0.99 ea or $3.96/gal

Earthbound Farms Romaine Hearts, $2.79
-$0.75 Earthbound Farms cpn
=$2.05

A Food Discovery: Coconut Banana Oat Bran

Ok so I realize the title of the post is unnervingly vague.  I hope it did its job and drew you in!  😉

A while back I stocked up on some free oatsAnd I mean a lot of free oats.  I’m sad to report that five months later I’m finally coming to the end of my stash.  That being said, I had a container of oat bran staring me in the fact that I had gotten on a whim because hey…it was free.  Now I’ve tried Mama Pea’s oat bran recipe and didn’t love it but for some reason that darn container was calling my name last night.  So I listened.

And I’m so happy I did.  The result was this bowl of deliciousness (seriously can anyone make oat bran look amazing?).  Yes the inclusion of pb & j ab & j may seem odd but I figured coconut tastes good with just about everything so what the heck.

Also, in case you were wondering…Thursday is oatmeal-for-dinner night.  I go to a late yoga class and usually don’t eat until around 10 pm so I want something comforting and, well, not veggie-filled.  Its my version of thirsty Thursday but, IMO, way better.  <–yes I realize that made no sense.  Just roll with it folks.  😉

Banana Coconut Oat Bran

1/3 c oat bran
1/2 c milk of choice
1/2 c water
1 small banana (or 1/2 a large one)
1-2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp+ ground ginger
1 tsp+ vanilla
1 Tbsp nut butter (optional)
1 Tbsp jelly/jam/preserves (optional)

  1. I prepare all my oats using Kath’s life-changing method.  It involves the 1:1 ratio of milk:water and cooking the banana in.  Follow her all the way up until she does the add ins.
  2. Once you remove your oats from heat add in coconut, ginger, and vanilla and mix it in, tasting to see if you want more.
  3. Top with nut butter and jam if you desire.

I wouldn’t suggest trying this with regular oats.  I’ve found the addition of shredded coconut gives them a really weird taste and so I’ve stayed away from that combo since once bad day.. 😉  With the oat bran though, the coconut blends in seamlessly, leaving you with nothing but pure deliciousness and the perfect texture.

As a random aside, some alternative dieticians believe that banana and coconut are great ways to help tighten the lower esophageal sphincter aka the muscle at the base of your esophagus that sometimes allows bile to come up and cause heartburn.  I try to stock up on these two items.  Placebo effect or not, I’m happy to oblige. 

Have wonderful weekends everyone!  Mine involves a garden party, grocery shopping + cooking, and lots of studying for my next midterm.

Yoga/beauty/mmmmm,

Kait xo

 

Project: Food Budget, Week 42 + An Announcement

Welcome to another edition of what I ate, what I spent, and what I saved.  This week marked the beginning of mid-terms (!) and as I write this I’ve spent the past many hours relaxing with cooking round two and watching episode after episode of Brothers & Sisters in a post-exam celebration.  I’m enjoying every second while I can since I have another exam next week so its back to the books tomorrow.

In the meantime, I must say that I’m proud that I’ve been able to stay so on track with my eating given the change in schedule.  I am still stress eating in a way I wish I weren’t and though my choices are different (some would say healthier), the underlying problem is still there: I get to the end of the batch of (insert food here) and realize then that I’ve fallen into an old pattern.  It may have been grapes and whole grain bread this week but it is the behavior itself that is the problem.  One of my reasons for wanting to overcome this habit is so that I don’t want to pass it on to my future children.  Yes I think this way – blame it on the psychology background or anything else.

Anyway, enough about my emotional eating habits…let’s talk food!

Weekly Menu

*I am happy to announce that I’m recipe testing for Happy Herbivore’s fourth cookbook!  I am super excited that the HH team asked me back as a tester and I cannot wait to see what Lindsay creates this time around.  For those just joining, I was a tester for HH’s soon-to-be-released third book.  Each week testers are required to choose three recipes and provide feedback about each.  I cannot disclose recipe names or details to anyone but I can tease you with photos…on weeks I take photos that is.  😉  Test recipes are denoted with a star*.

Over the Rainbow Cabbage Salad

Shaved Kale and Avocado Salad (Crazy Sexy Diet)

Harvest Soup (Crazy Sexy Diet)

Curried Sweet Potato Soup (Happy Herbivore Cookbook)

Pesto*

Spending Savings

Farmers’ Market: $19.00
Trader Joe’s: $10.90
Wegmans: $14.54

Total: $44.44 (saved: $6.00)

I’m slowly but surely bringing that total down.  And I’m still well within my July budget. 🙂 Last week I literally ran out of food so this week I had made my mind up that I wouldn’t make the same mistake.  I also wanted to purchase some convenience foods (Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers, Alexia fries, microwave brown rice)for those nights when I just want to toaster-oven and go!

I actually purchased most of the convenience foods at Whole Foods.  My wonderful momma sent me a gift card and I wanted to get the most food for my buck so I ended up doing some massive couponing and had my best haul in a while.  In fact, I only purchased convenience foods if I had a coupon.  I don’t mind paying full price for produce, but if its in a box then I refuse!

Whole Foods: $19.29
Saved: $28.00 (145%) <–that’s what I’m talking about!!! 

Steals & Deals

Wow…its been forever since I’ve done this section.  I stumbled upon some awesome savings at Whole Foods that I wanted to share with you.  If you haven’t checked out my Guide to WF Couponing yet, now would be a good time. 

Seeds of Change Rice: $2.99 (sale price)
-$1.00 May/June Whole Deal cpn
-$1.00 Seeds of Change cpn
=$0.99 each

Pacific 7 Grain Non-Dairy Milk (32 oz): $3.19
-$0.75 July/August Whole Deal cpn
-$1.50 Pacific Foods cpn
=$0.94 each or $3.76/gal

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Milk (32 oz): $1.99
-$1.00/2 May/June Whole Deal cpn
$1.00/2 Blue Diamond cpn
or- 2 $0.50 Blue Diamond cpns
=$0.99 each or $3.96/gal

Saffron Road Frozen Meals: $3.99 (sale price)
-$1.00 July/August Whole Deal cpn
-$1.00 Saffron Road cpn
=$1.99 each  <–I had free product coupons but this is still a great deal, especially since they do have vegan options.

Alexia Fries: $3.49 (sale price)
-$1.00 Alexia cpn
=$2.49 each

I just realized its also been a while since I’ve shared the P:FB love!  Don’t forget to check out the other amazing bloggers who are a part of this movement.  Each of us has a different budget, number of mouths to feed, location, and belief about what food we should be eating.  🙂

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

A Simple Guide to Whole Foods Couponing

Source

***UPDATE*** Whole Foods recently released a Corporate Coupon Policy!  This is super good news because all stores, no matter where you are, follow the same rules.  And its the most inclusive policy out of the ones they used to have.  As usual, I suggest printing and having it with you when you shop.

***UPDATED*** Here is a copy of the Mid-Atlantic WF Coupon policy.  I suggest printing it and having it with you when you shop.  Check the comments for the North Atlantic  link.

If you are like me, you’ve undoubtedly heard this quip about Whole Foods.  In fact, now that I’m in grad school, I’m hearing it more and more.  Fact of the matter is, most of us are in a similar position: we’ve got tens of thousands of dollars in loans (or more), we’re living off of savings or loans, and we have no or minimal steady income coming in.  Yet being Public Health students, we want to live a healthy life.  For many of us, that means supplementing our Farmer’s Market trips with a stop at Whole Foods, the major option for organic products in downtown Baltimore (the two Trader’s are out in the county and otherwise its Safeway).

Lucky for my classmates, and all of you, I happen to be a budget-and-couponing loving shopper who truly believes that shopping at Whole Foods can be affordable with a little work + awareness + know-how.  I’ve figured out how to “work the system” to my advantage as much as possible and therefore save myself money while sticking as much as possible to my food values.

So here you are….my quick guide to making Whole Foods affordable.

Where to Find Coupons

  1. Whole Foods. Whole Foods has this great booklet that gets released bimonthly called The Whole Deal.  You can pick them up in store (usually right near the entrance with the weekly sales flyers) or print just the coupons you want right at home.  Each coupon is is good for three months.  For example, the coupons in the  the May/June Whole Deal don’t expire until the end of July.
  2. Online.  My favorite sites for all natural coupons themselves are Mambo Sprouts, Common Kindness and RecycleBank.  The latter two require accounts and are free to join.  RecycleBank is a website that allows you to complete tasks for points and then buy coupons with these points.  I was able to get Earth Friendly dish soap for $0.99 at Wegmans a while back thanks to this site.  I usually visit it a couple times a month and do a ton of activities in bulk.  Right now I’m also loving Earthbound Farms’ Organic Step Forward Program.  Again, it’s free to join.
  3. Online Part II.  Lots of “regular” coupon sites (Coupons.com, RedPlum, etc) also have all natural coupons.  To save you time + money, there are couponing blogs that do the legwork of finding out where such coupons are for you.  My favorites are Healthy Life Deals, Organic Deals, The Thrifty Mama, and The Greenbacks Gal.  Hip-2-Save also has an epic coupon database where you can look forcoupons for a specific product.
  4. The Weekly Newspaper.  Try to find a neighbor who gets the weekend newspaper and doesn’t use the coupons.  In Baltimore, the coupons come Saturday for subscribers and Sunday for those who just buy it at the store.  There won’t be a ton in here but hey, every dollar counts.
  5. VegFests, your local co-op, mom & pop natural stores.  This is where I get the bulk of my really good coupons.  If it is for a product I use a lot of, or can be convinced to use a lot of, I will grab a small stack.  It is important, however, to always ask before just grabbing away.
  6. The manufacturer’s themselves.  Goya lets your print coupons from their website once/month.  Attune sends out a monthly newsletter that almost always includes them.  Food for Life will mail them to you once every couple of months or so. E-mail the company, and check out their website and facebook page.  I was impressed at what I found.

How to Use Coupons

  1. Stacking.  Stacking coupons means that you use more than one coupon for the same item.  This is usually done by using a store coupon (e.g. one from the Whole Deal) with a manufacturer’s coupon (like one you get out of the Sunday paper).
  2. Combing coupons + sales.  I love doubling up on coupons and sales.  A couple weeks ago, for example, Whole Foods had Earthbound Farms Power Greens on sale for $3.99 (save $1).  Between that and my coupon, I saved a total of $1.75.
  3. Using both of the above.  This is the best deal you can get!  Not only is something on sale but you also have a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon for it, saving you the most amount of money possible.  🙂

Here’s an example to put it all together.

Nature’s Path Granola Bars: 2/$6.00 (reg. $4.69 ea) <–item on sale
-2 $2.00 Nature’s Path coupon <–manufacturer’s coupon
-$1.50/2 Whole Deal coupon <–store coupon
=$0.50 or $0.25/box <–awesome deal

Other Ways to Save

  1. BYOB. WF gives you $0.05 for each bag you bring to the store.  This includes reusable produce bags<–$ saver + good for the environment = big win
  2. Buy in bulk. If you buy a case of any item, you get a 10% discount. Products usually come in cases of 6 or 12 and you can find the exact number either by asking or looking in the lower left-hand corner of the price tag.  You can use coupons with cases but you will not get the discount if you get a case of something that is already on sale.  This may vary by store.

FAQs

  1. How much time do you spend doing all this each week?  I know it seems like a lot!  And at first it might feel that way too.  But eventually it becomes second nature.  I spend between 1 and 2 hours on finding + printing coupons, meal planning, and organizing my grocery list.  I tend to get lost in grocery stores and spend 4-5 hours shopping BUT when I’m not meandering the aisle I can do it in about 30 minutes.  I organize my list + my coupons by the rows of the store.
  2. What the heck do I do with those $x.00/2 items coupons?  Wait for the product to go on sale 2/$x,00 (like I did with the granola bars above).  Or use them with another coupon.  Or do both.  😉
  3. How do I know what’s on sale?  Whole Foods’ sales run Wednesday to Tuesday and the flyer can be found from their homepage.  There likely are more sales int he store than listed and this is where those coupon blogs come in handy again.  Each does a weekly match-up.Baltimore folks: I have yet to find a good match-up for our stores.  I will update this when I do!  For now, I suggest using Healthy Life Deals’ Cheat Sheet.
  4. Are there any couponing “rules” I should know about?  Here’s a crash course in Couponing etiquetteBe nice, be respectful, be honest, be fair.Do tell your cashier ahead of time that you will be using a lot of coupons andlet anyone who comes in line behind you know that it might take a while.
    Do not snap at the cashier if s/he isn’t sure what to do, steal all of the sticky coupons off the x container (sometimes manufacturer’s will put coupons right onto their products), try to use one coupon for another product, etc.  The grocery industry can easily pull these awesome savings out from under us at any time.  Don’t contribute to a negative couponing culture.
  5. So I’m going to start saving $100s with this, right?  Like on Extreme Couponing?  Um, not so much.  Consider this the part where I talk about managing expectations.  Some weeks I save more than I spend.  I try to do it every week but it still doesn’t happen.  Have I saved several $100s since I started couponing in the spring?  Undoubtedly.  But some weeks I save less than $10.  My thoughts are: if I want to buy x product and there’s a coupon available, why not use it?  I would have bought it regardless so all I’m doing is keeping extra $$$ in my pocket.  Understand that extreme couponing takes time…to learn and to dedicate to it.  For now, the basics will still help you out…poor grad student or not.  😉
  6. Ok but sometimes the sales price isn’t the best deal for that item.  What gives?  So true!  This is where unit prices come in.  I try to think of everything in terms of pounds, gallons, rolls, etc.  The 10oz package of quinoa that costs $3.99 is actually more expensive per pound than the 1lb bag that costs $4.99.  I like to pay less than $6.00/gal non-dairy milk, $0.25/roll of toilet paper or paper towels, etc.  You can calculate the unit price yourself or just look in the upper left-hand corner of the price tag.

There you go!  I hope this guide was super helpful.  I want to send a shoutout to Kristin for teaching me all she knows and opening my world to natural food couponing. Thanks girl!

Questions?  Leave ’em below and I’ll do my best.  😉

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo