A Wife Loved Like The Church

Coupons? Maybe I’m too lazy

Posted on: February 24, 2009

I will be honest, I hate couponing. Perhaps I just don’t get it, or really, maybe I’m too lazy to put forth the effort. Whatever it is, I really don’t like dealing with coupons. Sure, I’ve used a few and liked the effects. But how often do I need Greased Lightning or Wacky Mac pasta? I’ve found that every time I get a coupon, I have to go out of my way to buy a certain brand, most of which contain HFCS or other chemicals I’d rather just avoid.

But, alas, I really, really need to work on our food budget. And I’m wondering how to go about doing this that will 1) not take loads of time to do (like spending hours searching the internet for .50 cents off), and 2) allow me to keep purchasing items that I will actually use. I’m not partial to name brands (save for Cheerios… don’t ask why), and am willing to branch out on just about everything.

Ideas? Suggestions? How do you cut your food budget? Where do you get good coupons?

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9 Responses to "Coupons? Maybe I’m too lazy"

haha, well, we usually eat good and healthy for the first three weeks and then the last week we squeak by on the remaining $17 that i have and eat whatever we can! 🙂 still trying to figure that one out.

i heard that ambre sautter had a hookup with someone who saved all their coupons from the paper and she would pick them up once a week. someone else told me that. not sure if it was true or not. maybe you could put something on craigslist. my mother in law and grandma send me their old coupons. however, i’ve recieved a half off coupon from the press citizen that you can get the wed and sat paper for 1.50 per week with a minimum of 16 week committment. then it it is delivered to your door. however, i don’t have a ton of luck with food coupons… i usually do pretty well with the toilet paper, paper towel area though….

i’m with you- do you REALLY save that much.
or is it worth all the time?
andy’s mom is a penny pincher and after MANY years
doing certain things.. like not even using her dryer…
they did the math and they weren’t saving hardly
anything. so now she uses it! 🙂
i’m not sure how to cut back on food budget either..
we don’t really go by a strict one or maybe not one
at all- i just try to use everything up in the house-
then when i need to go grocery shopping i go- maybe
every 2 weeks- maybe every 3rd week.
sorry probably doesn’t help much!
like how you think though! 🙂

So I almost never use coupons for the same reasons you’ve listed above- mostly I find coupons for foods I would not purchase in the first place. But I have come to realize that Mike and I have a very low food budget compared to most other people we talk to. To be honest, I’m not completely sure how we accomplish this, but when we got married we set an amount we though would be good and gave it a try and found it worked for us. I didn’t know any different until I started talking to people about this. We spend $160/month on food, or $40 per week for two people. Due to Mike’s busy schedule we do not often have people over to eat, and he is not the biggest guy in the world, so I think he probably eats less food than the average male. This does not include eating out, although that is rare, maybe once a month on average. (Or more if my parent’s visit, but then they pay 🙂 ) I also rarely buy any organic produce (or other organic foods for that matter), although I would like to. If we have the opportunity to increase our budget, this is where I would spend the money.
Some things I think help is to use small amounts of meats in our meals. Most of my meals involve chunks of chicken or ground beef/turkey as the meat, so I try to use a small amount and fill up more on the vegetables and noodles/rice, etc. We also do some meatless meals which helps. One thing I have been thinking about lately that may be helping stretch our budget is that I plan fewer meals each month, but make larger amounts so we eat leftovers. I did this mainly out of convenience, but I think it helps to have a smaller amount of recipes and fewer ingredients. Otherwise, I may be buying more ingredients each month, but only using a small portion. So then my food money is basically sitting on my shelf, uneaten. I don’t know if that is helping us at all, but this is a concept that makes a difference in restaurant food budgets.
I also buy generic as much as possible and try to compare unit costs. This is really easy at Wal-Mart, because they list the unit cost on the shelf next to the price. Not as easy at Fareway, but still can be done.
I usually do one big shopping trip at the beginning of the month to get all my staples for my meals for the month. I try to stay at 50% or less of my food budget for that trip, and then divide the other $80 over the next 3 weeks to stock up on perishables, like fruits/vegetables, milk, and eggs. The weekly trips for produce helps us cut down on waste. I buy only what I know we can use in a week.
I also stick to relatively basic produce and only occasionally splurge for more exotic (and expensive) fruits and vegetables. It would be nice to get more variety, but again, our budget is what it is and I would rather eat fruit and veggies more often, rather than less often but more expensive types. Same thing with meats, I stick to basic, cheap meats. We rarely eat steak or anything like that (I hate steak and Mike could go either way, so I’m lucky in that respect).
Oh- one tip- we have always used Dave Ramsey’s cash envelope for our food budget. This is what helped me stick with it when we first got married. We didn’t have any debit or credit cards and I was terrified of getting to the counter and not being able to pay for my groceries! I would have been so embarrassed! I used a calculator as I shopped in those days. Now I have my routine down, so I kind of loosely add it up in my head, but don’t really think that much about it.
Hope that helps. I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.

Oh- thought of something else. Check out this website. I’ve been recommending it to my patients.
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/

Hey Sarah,
There are a few ladies at our church who have started doing a coupon swap on Wednesday nights before church. That way, everyone actually gets the coupons they need. I ALMOST NEVER use coupons on food items since I but mostly produce, fresh meat and store brand canned goods. But, they do come in supre handy for toilet paper, cosmetics, hair and personal care products, etc. This is where I find the bulk of my weekly grocery budget goes to. It’s that non-food side of Wal-Mart that makes the budget squeal!!! Anyway, I just buy the Sunday paper on Monday when I grocery shop anyway. It’s only $1. I cut coupons that work and take the rest to the coupon swap. That seems to be helping a little. I can’t say that I’ve ever been like some ladies and saved $30. Shoot, I’d be happy to save a whole fiver! But, I do what I can and some weeks, I just say, “Whatever” and just shop for the best deals. My big saver secret is shopping Aldi. It’s clean, it’s efficient and they carry a nice selection of fruits and veggies so it saves me a lot there (even though they’re not organic… blah). That’s about it! What I would do if I could is go to Whole Foods every week with $200 and just have fun. Maybe someday…. SP

Wow! great ideas, almost too many to list. Luckily they’re already listed 🙂 I think that Sarah and I could use a little more insigths in this area for many reasons. Primarily for me, I grew up in a house that could spend 800 to 1000 a month on food and “the other side of Wal-Mart”! I know its crazy, but that’s what I saw growing up. My dad routinely cooked extravagant meals to feed an army on the weekends and by Tue everything went in the trash because nobody ate leftovers. Also, I think there was an unspoken entitlement where even if we couldn’t live in the dream home or go on that dream vacation, we could still eat like royalty. All that to say, I know that I saw an unbalanced way of budgeting food and extras growing up. And Sarah saw the complete opposite in parts of her life like adding water to skim milk to make it go further.So needless to say, we definitely have a rough and unbalanced concept of eating well (expensively) for a variety of reasons.

I think that a couple of years back when we saw Dave Ramsey’s video about budgeting and applied it to our food budget, we ate rice and beans 4 nights a week. And it was good. The only problem was that we were trying to get out of debt and now there seems to be little urgency. I really enjoyed everyone’s thoughts and look forward to talking with Sarah about how to incorporate these ideas into our lives and maintain the same effects of the urgency we felt everyday.

When we first got married, I cut coupons. Then I realized that I was saving about as much in coupons as I spent on getting the paper. I enjoyed looking for the deals, but it was always a pain to sort through my coupons and find the ones I’d actually use. And I often ended up buying name brand things for a little more than the store brand things or buying more expensive shampoo for a little more than the cheap kind. Two things I like coupons for: batteries and band aids. Batteries are so expensive, and I’m always afraid that the cheaper ones won’t last as long. And I don’t like cheap bandaids because you have to replace them so much more often.

I also realized at one point that we eat a really wide variety of foods and try a lot of new recipes with new ingredients. For a while, I decided to have breakfast for dinner (eggs and a bread-ish food) and pasta once a week. I limited myself for a while to one new recipe a week, so that I wasn’t constantly buying spices I might not ever use again.

Lately, I’ve been looking at the grocery adds and basing my meal schedules around those. This works well with HyVee since their ads are online and we live really close to one. However, I prefer to buy a lot of things (especially produce) at Fareway since I feel like I most often get the best deal there. But, they only have a corporate ad online and we don’t live super close to one anymore, so it doesn’t make sense to get their ad, come home and look at recipes, and drive back. We’re still working on this one too.

[…] Tags: Frugal learning, I must be crazy, Windham Familia Not to long ago we established that I am lazy but really need to be more mindful about where and how I spend our grocery money. So, last night I […]

Came across this website today and thought of this post.
http://www.5dollardinners.com/

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