Wednesday, October 29

Coupons vs. Bulk Foods

I am caught in quite the conundrum these days. I have been doing my best to feed my family healthier meals, and because of that my couponing-prowess has dropped significantly. Instead I have found myself trolling the bulk bins at my local grocer, so much so that I have even invested in burlap, cotton and netted sacks for my bulk buys.

I'm saddled with the question of whether it's possible to eat healthy AND coupon? Leafing through this week's inserts it certainly seems like most of the products attached to coupons tends to be highly processed. So what's a budget-conscious mom to do?

Find Healthy Food Coupons

This can be tricky if you are surrounded only by big-box grocers like WalMart and Kroger. But it is possible! Erin Huffstetler recently wrote an article called How to Get Coupons for Healthy Foods in which she discusses making the switch to a healthier grocery chain and signing up for their coupon newsletters. She also posts several links to print-at-home coupon sites that are dedicated to healthier living.

Buy Bulk Items At A Discount

I head to Winco for most of my non-organic buys (I do wish they had more organic options, and I am pleased to say that they are slowly adding them to shelves throughout the store). I absolutely LOVE their bulk section. Something I just learned though - I could be saving even MORE money by buying a full bag/sack/case of the items I'm bulk buying. According to their website:

We all know that just by buying from the Bulk Foodsdepartment we’re already saving money. But did you know about the insider secret that can help you save an additional 5%?
Here’s the secret: Many of the items in the bulk bins actually qualify for a 5% discount when they’re purchased as a whole case/sealed sack.

Coupon Selectively For Non-Food Items
I've gotten so addicted to the bulk section for my baking supplies, grains and pastas, that I have stopped shopping most other aisles. What our family does need those handy coupons for is all the household goods we use up. Toilet paper, paper towels, canning supplies, etc. all cost a pretty penny. It's almost always worth the cost of a Sunday paper just to clip the household coupons, especially when stores like Safeway have the holy combination of a bulk-buy sale & a coupon doubler.
Stock Up On In-Season Produce & Learn to Preserve
One of my new favorite things to do is to pick up several pounds of cheap, in-season fruits and vegetables and preserve my bounty for a later day. This fall I've learned a lot about making jam, pickling, and now I'm learning about drying foods, too. This is a great option for making sure you have access to those produce ingredients you want in the dead of winter without doubling-up on your grocery bill.

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