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Coupons are attractive…it feels like free money and of course we all want that! But are they worth it?
The decision to use coupons or not is a personal one, and depends on the types of foods you want to buy. If you keep a Price Book, you can save a bundle on every item you want to purchase, whether it is an apple or a package of soy dogs!
I use coupons, but in a very controlled way. And, when I was just shopping for my husband and myself, I usually only used coupons on non-food items. I found I could save the most money on food by making as much as possible from scratch, as the cost of basic ingredients was a fraction of the price.
I currently get 1 Sunday paper delivered for the coupons. In the past, I had subscriptions to 2 newspapers, but I grappled all the time with the wastefulness of all that paper I discarded. I went for a long time without getting a newspaper at all, and solely used printable coupons. Only recently did I start up the delivery again, as my husband wanted a digital subscription, and it was only $12 for year of the Sunday print paper and the digital one!
Today, I feed hungry teenagers who want more “snacky” type and mainstream vegan foods. Coupons for more processsed type vegan foods help me save money on those items. I’ve used Gardein, So Delicious, Daiya, and Kite Hill coupons that have been available recently.
I regularly use coupons on items like Soy and Almond Milks, Veggie Meats and Cheeses, Coffee, Tea, Cereal, Larabars, etc.
When I use coupons, I always verify that the price is worth it with my Price Book. Otherwise, it is not worth buying, as it will not keep my grocery expenses at their lowest price.
Sometimes, an item will be free or near free with a coupon, and I love that! It is exciting to get something for free and try something new, and that is money you won’t have to spend elsewhere.
Update 6/14/20: For Food Bank Donations: Couponing can also be an amazing way to help others, especially now during our COVID Pandemic. For example, my friend Jessica at Learning to coupon recently purchased 30 boxes of cereal to help the homeless in her area. The cost to her was under $3 with coupons, but those boxes of cereal will go a long way to help others.
I save my newspaper coupon inserts until they expire. Often a deal will come up down the road that we can pair with a coupon. I write the date on the front, and the name of the insert for quick reference later. For the deals that I post that include coupons, this will make it easy to find a coupon if you do this too. For example, my post may say “Use the newspaper coupon in SS 3/17”. This means it is from the Smart Source set of coupons that came out 3/17.
Where to get coupons? There are many you can print online, and the Sunday newspapers will have some of the ones that are identical to online ones and many that aren’t. Some people are even savvy enough to get free Sunday coupons in various places by asking. You can find my weekly lists of newspaper coupons HERE.
Coupons can have their place in reducing your grocery expenses or helping others, and by knowing the lowest price you can purchase something for, you are well on your way to saving money the Penny Pantry Way! 🙂