March 9, 2010
Normally, I do my grocery shopping on Mondays, but due to a little work schedule change, today was my shopping day for this week. I shop once a week, for the whole week, so it definitely takes some planning. I don’t have a pantry that’s stacked to the ceiling with non-perishable items, and neither is my refrigerator always fully packed, but we definitely don’t go hungry.I didn’t grow up shopping like this. I don’t quite remember what my parent’s grocery shopping schedule looked like, but I do remember shopping trips being BIG. I also can remember deciding it was time to hit the grocery store after standing in front of the half-full pantry and lamenting that there was nothing to eat.
When I began shopping like I do now, I wasn’t motivated by a desire to be green. I wasn’t trying to cut down on waste, or gas, or anything like that, it was purely a matter of budget. My husband and I decided on a fairly slim weekly food budget, and it was my responsibility to stick to it. So, in order to be able to stick to that budget, before I even start thinking about what to put on the menu for this week, I look in the fridge and see what items are still left from last week. Now, however, I have become a little more environmentally motivated, and am proud to say that we rarely throw away any type of food. It doesn’t sit around long enough to expire.
Making sure that I use up all of the food items I have purchased helps me stay close to my budget, but coupons have been a big help too. Today, I’d like to share with you a few coupon sources I’ve learned about along the way!#1: Printable Online Coupon Sites
There are some really good websites out there dedicated to bringing you good coupon savings. Coupons and Coolsavings are a few good ones, and Valpak offers you coupons for not only groceries, but everything from restaurants to carpet cleaners in your neighborhood. Another great way to access these coupons is through a point-earning program. I print my coupons.com coupons after logging into my MyPoints account. Then I get the savings from the coupons, as well as earning points for printing and redeeming them. Once I have enough points, I can cash them in for things like restaurant gift certificates and such. I love MyPoints!
#2 Grocery Store Flyers and Website
Many grocery stores offer discounts with a discount card, but some offer coupons directly from their site. I normally do my shopping at Whole Foods Market. Since they don’t carry many of the same brands that most of the larger chains do, it’s sometimes difficult to find coupons on the printable online coupon sites. Thankfully, they publish a free bi-monthly magazine that’s full of recipes and coupons, as well as having some of those coupons available to print from their store website.
#3 Go Directly to the Source
I actually did my grocery shopping at Kroger last week. Since I knew I was going to stock up on a few Healthy Choice frozen dinners, where did I go? You got it, healthychoice.com. Many product websites offer discount coupons. This morning I had Almond Breeze on my list, so I headed on over to the Almond Breeze website and printed off my coupon. Not all product websites offer promotions, but many do. If you have the time, it’s worth the effort to check. (I also like to check out restaurant websites before heading out to eat. Many restaurants offer coupons to individuals who sign up for their e-mail list.)
Shopping the way we do does take some time up front, but it saves us from having to “run to the store real quick” throughout the week, and that saves more time and gas money.
I hope you found this post helpful, and I’d love to hear about any other money-saving tips you might have to share!
*Confession – When I travel home to visit my parents, I do like to stand in front of the open pantry and marvel at the vast selection. 🙂