I have been couponing now for about 2 1/2 years. It is amazing how much money I save and how well I am able to feed my family. Not only am I able to save on food, I am able to save on toiletries, paper products, etc.
When I found out Brody had food allergies, I thought, "That's it, I am not going to be able to save money when food shopping; I am going to have to shop at Whole Foods." I returned most of my unsafe, unopened, non-perishable food to Publix (they were so great about it). I went to Whole Foods looking for safe food for myself (since I was nursing at the time) and for Brody. I was SO overwhelmed by having to shop milk, egg, wheat and peanut free. The first time I went to Whole Foods, I don't think I bought anything. I just walked around writing down prices and feeling sick to my stomach. I ran into another mom who pointed out safe butter (Earth's Balance) and we exchanged information (We now keep in touch. It is funny the instant connection you make with others who have to deal with food allergies). Once I started processing the whole food allergy thing, I started finding products (this is how Allergen Free Please started) and realized that if I cooked mostly from scratch, I could control exactly what was going into the food (obviously this cannot be done for everything...and that is why I found go-to products, but try to use coupons when I buy them).
The Sophie Safe Cookbook (free of the top 8 allergens) got me thinking about the family recipes that I had that I could change ingredients and cook for my family. She has great recipes in her book.
Back to coupons....you can buy good, allergy safe food (Muir Glen, which has organic tomatoes, paste, and sauce has coupons out all of the time...I am able to get some of these products for almost free when the company puts out their $1 off a Muir Glen Product coupon). My favorite site that has a bit of everything is Southern Savers. Jenny matches up coupons/products and stores for you. You can even print your list right from her site. IT IS AWESOME!
I buy two newspapers a week for my family. I try to find out which place is selling them for $1 (or I buy them on Monday at the Kroger near my house because they are $1). The "rule" of couponing is to buy a paper for each person in your family, but for right now, two works for us.
I cut out the coupons that I KNOW my family will use. We try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fat, dyes and of course egg, milk, wheat (we do give Brody some wheat now and he is doing great with it) and peanuts. I save tons of money each week and buy healthy food for my family...coupons are not just for junk food...PROMISE! I get Soy milk coupons, frozen vegetable coupons (great for soups), salad coupons, orange juice coupons, etc, not to mention paper products and toiletries. Now wouldn't you use these? By time grocery stores double the coupons (most up to .50)...you have paid for your paper and much MORE!
Another frugal tip...I have found that Kroger has a great selection of safe food in the organic section for my family. They double coupons up to .50, which makes the price come down quickly. I find safe food for Brody all of that time that has been marked down as "manager's special" and I am even able to find organic meat marked down (getting ready to expire), put it in freezer bags and freeze it for later use.
The Thrifty Momma matches up Whole Food Deals if you shop there (click on categories at the top of the page and then scroll down to Whole Foods). I will run into Whole Foods for my Kid's Fish Oil, Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for baking and any other deal I can score. Don't forget that Whole Foods has the Whole Deal book of coupons that you can combine with a manufacturer's coupon if you have one.
Buy the newspaper this Sunday...there is going to be a ton of coupon inserts. Clip your coupons, head over to Southern Savers for all the details on how to get started and start saving money in 2010!
My favorite (not all grocery deals) site that I love for all kinds of deals is Hip 2 Save!
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