Thursday, December 6, 2012

6 Tips to Save $$ on your grocery bill!

Have you watched any of those Extreme Couponing shows?  The ones where these, generally unhealthy looking individuals treat shopping for groceries as it they were trying to compete in the Olympics   The same people who's pantry's are so full of food that they have to give it away or bury it in preparation for the zombie apocalypse   Who in the hell needs 86 boxes of mother f*cking FRUIT LOOPS??  Are they playing Hansel and Gretal and trying to lure kids into their roach filled lairs with all their sugary goodness.  Those are the people who make me sit back and think to myself where in the world did Evolution just totally take 2 steps back.  Find me ONE extreme couponer who is trim and fit and I will show you an igloo in hell.

Let's face it: eating either vegan OR healthy is NOT easy on the budget.  The Sunday papers don't come stocked with coupons for Organic food.  Noooooooo.  Why?  Because the big bad food industry wants you to think that eating Special K bars first thing in the morning will help you drop that last 10 lbs.  Or that shoving Pop-Tarts into your kid's cake hole is going to make them healthy and smart.... because, oooooh, some have Whole Grains!  In order to force feed us this shit, they give us.....drum roll please....COUPONS!

Coupons, save money!  They are tiny, neat little pieces of paper with a barcode that screams, "I just got my Kellogg's cereal, laden with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, for ONE dollar OFF!".  Well holy shit!  Sign me up!

It doesn't happen that way.  I clip coupons for razors, the occasional non-dairy 'milk' beverage and a select other few items.  That hardly makes up the amount of food my family consumes.  I have found, though, that couponing is NOT impossible when you eat a pretty healthy diet with minimally processed (vegan meats!) foods.  Here's how:

1.  Know when your local grocery stores have their sales.  For example, Winn Dixie changes sales every Wednesday.  Every Thursday, Publix has new sale items.  My local health food store changes sales almost monthly.  

2.  Plan dinner according to what is ON SALE.  Not what you feel like making.  For example, I have a friend who I went shopping with and I was horrified at her food bill!  She planned a weekly menu without looking at the sales, spent a small fortune and then complains about her food bill being so high and money being tight.  No, no, no!  If brown rice and veggies are on sale, why the hell do you HAVE to make stew tonight?  Change it.  Try a stir fry instead.  Buying the cheaper items will obviously cut cost.  Plan menus only after you see whats on sale.  

3.  Stock Up.  When an item you like and either will eat tomorrow or will eat a month from tomorrow is on sale for BOGO (Buy One Get One Free), you BUY IT!  Stock up!  You can buy a cheap fridge or deep freezer on craigslist if you need to.  I have 2 full size fridge/freezers.  One in my kitchen and another in the garage.  I also have an additional deep freezer.  They are all always full.  I am almost a food hoarder.  If organic frozen veggies are BOGO, I am going to buy a minimum of 8 bags probably.  When you are always stocking up on things you will actually eat, planning dinners becomes an easy task.  You simply open the pantry and choose whats for dinner.

4.  Use Coupons.  For the past month or so, Publix had a coupon dispenser in the frozen food aisle for Gardein.  (These are not 'healthy', but they are a good 'transitional' food when switching diets and the kids love them!)  

These go on sale BOGO every so often and the coupons in the dispenser didn't expire until Jan 2013.  So, I grabbed several.  (Don't grab them all!  It's rude.)  But, grab a few every time you go into the store.  I stocked up and had about 20 coupons.  Then, last week Gardein was BOGO!!  When an item is BOGO, you are buying TWO, even if it is for the price of one.  Because you are buying TWO, you use TWO coupons.  So, essentially what this means, is   the Gardein package which costs $4.29 at Publix, is now TWO for $4.29 PLUS I get to use TWO $1-off coupons, so I just bought 2 bags of Gardein for $2.29.  That's $1.15 a bag!  I was happier than a pig in shit.  I also bought 20 bags.  =)

After purchasing a few other items and more BOGO sale items, this  is the actual photo at checkout.   That means my bill WAS $88.28 and I got it for $33.48.  Booyah!
5.  Mambo No. 5!  Mambosprouts is the ultimate source for coupons for food that is healthier!  Check them out.  Print them out.  Save money.  Simple as that.  

6.  Write to Your Favorite Companies!  Have you written to a company to tell them how pissed off you are about them?  How about the other way around?  Have you ever written to praise your favorite brands for being so awesome?  I have.  In fact, I did it 3 weeks ago to prove it to you.  I wrote to 6 companies. You have to write a real letter.  Pay the .49 to mail it and see what happens.  It's like Christmas every time I open the mailbox!  They will, almost every time, send you, at the very for money off.  Often, or about half of the time, they will send you coupons for totally FREE products.  Now, karma is a bitch.  Don't do it over and over and to products you don't love JUST to get free stuff.  If you spend a ton of money on a particular product, write them and tell them how much you love.  Feel free to ask for coupons.  They will likely send them.  

Happy $aving!