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I really admire the people who can coupon well. My sister coupons for her family and she does an amazing job. I’ve looked into doing it a couple times and every time leave disappointed. Finally I came to the realization that couponing wasn’t for me. We just don’t work together. It’s like a banana stuffed bell pepper. Not good.
Below I’ve listed my top reasons for not couponing and then 8 things I do to save money instead!
So why don’t I coupon? Here are my top four reasons:
1. It’s primarily processed food.
Honestly, you can’t really eat clean when couponing. I’ve never seen fresh produce coupons even though my sister swears they show up every once and a while. Everything that’s listed (food wise) happens to be packaged in one way or the other and is something I just would prefer not to buy.
2. I end up buying things I wouldn’t normally buy or need because it’s “cheap.”
Oh look at this cool lotion that I completely don’t need and have never heard of but I have a coupon for! It’s normally really expensive, but this coupon is for $5 off! I swear, you see the deal in your hands and you start making up reasons as to why you need it. It’s a great way to spend more of your money on things you don’t need and will take up room in your house just sitting there.
3. Takes up a lot of time.
I can’t believe how much time goes into couponing. I would much rather use that time cooking and spending time with my family.
4. It’s all stuff that creates the most waste.
I’m working on producing less waste and all these items come in fancy packaging. Everything has a box, a bag, or is wrapped in plastic in one form or the other. Of course I still buy things that have packaging, but I’m trying my best to purchase things with as little packaging as possible. It’s just my own personal goal that I want to keep moving forward with.
Does it work for some people? Absolutely. But with my lifestyle it’s just a no go. If you’ve felt similar, I want to let you know it’s okay. It’s not for everyone and you shouldn’t feel guilty that you don’t coupon. There are a lot of other great ways to save money shopping.
Here’s eight things I do to save money instead:
1. Look for stuff on sale.
Just because you don’t coupon doesn’t mean you’re not looking for a good sale! Check out those flyers from various stores and find great deals on produce and meats. You can pretty much plan your entire weeks menu with items that are on sale. Search the papers over the weekend, write down the best deals, pull out some of your cookbooks or search through my blog for some amazing and compatible dishes. Go shopping and only get the items that are on your list. More on that later.
2. Buy and freeze
When you find something that’s a great price, buy more than one and put it in the freezer for later. I love it when chicken goes on sale. Today they had a 4 lb pack of chicken thighs for $3. I bought some chicken for the week and I purchased some to eat at a later date. I don’t have a super large freezer, but I like it in a way because it forces me to actually eat what I freeze. You don’t want to waste money and let it sit there and accumulate freezer burn. Eat it!
3. Buy in bulk
This works for both buying in the bulk bins and shopping at places like Costco. If you use a product a lot, buy it in bulk. It also cuts down on package waste. If you purchase from the bulk bins, you can also use your own bags and transfer to your own container. I highly recommend Simple Ecology Organic Cotton Muslin Product Bags if you don’t have any yet.
4. Grow what I can and make what I can
This may not be an option for some people, but if you can, I recommend growing food items if possible. Start small by growing your own herbs, you can even do this on your kitchen counter. This alone saves you about $2 every time you need fresh herbs. I spend about $6-$10 on herbs every week. This year I’ve made the decision to grow my own. When they’re ready to harvest, I’ll save soo much money. I used to have a rosemary bush and would collect fresh rosemary a couple times a week, It really helps to have the option available to you and it tastes great.
Also try making some of your own household items. You know exactly what goes into it and cut down on all the harmful ingredients. The initial cost may be more at first, but in the long run it’s so much cheaper!
5. Shop by season
Guys, we’ve completely forgotten how to shop by season here in America. We have so many available foods ready for us whenever we want. We aren’t enjoying what is fresh and delicious when they’re meant to be eaten. When you purchase produce while they’re in season, a lot of times they’re a lot cheaper than when they’re not. I’m not talking about cherries which are always expensive and only available fresh while in season, but things like melons, apples, lettuce, artichokes, etc. You can find amazing deals if you acquaint yourself to what is in season when.
6. Meal plan with overlapping ingredients
After you check out your deals from the different stores, try to pick recipes that have overlapping ingredients. Sweet potatoes are on sale? Great, make a casserole that includes them and then make some sweet potato fries to go with dinner another night. Buy a whole chicken and put it in the slow cooker. Pull the chicken and use the meat for a lettuce wrap and then make a waldorf salad for another night. This will save you tons.
7. Shop with a list
The list is your right hand man when going to battle in the grocery store. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING THAT’S NOT ON THE LIST. If you follow this one simple rule, you will cut down in spending. A lot of purchases we make are random, spur of the moment choices. Let’s not fall victim to this any more.
8. Only shop once a week
This seems like a weird one, but it’s surprisingly effective. If you shop only once a week, you will take it much more seriously. You will learn to pay attention to your list and what you actually need in your house. You will cut down on impulse buys and you will also save money on gas. Taking out the luxury of shopping when you want makes a trip to the store a lot more serious. You’re going to forget something one day, and you’re going to be frustrated out of your mind. Don’t go back to the store. You’ll make due and you’ll learn from it too.
As you can see, there are a lot of options for you to save money without couponing. If couponing doesn’t work for your lifestyle, don’t sweat it. You’re leading a healthy life eating fresh foods and not purchasing unnecessary items that will just clutter your home. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Try a few (or all) of the money saving methods listed above without clipping coupons. Shop with a list, buy in bulk, check out sales, and shop by season! You can do this! You’ll be amazed with how much money you can actually save.
Do you do any of these money saving suggestions? Did I leave anything out? What do you do to save money? Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet!