I really like finding a good coupon! On our last shopping trip a coupon saved us one dollar off a pound of organic butter. The parsnips we bought were less expensive with a coupon, and so was the milk… and it was Tuesday, when the store doubles some coupon values, so that was nice too.


Bumblebee on musk-mallow

If there is a coupon for an item I want to buy, I certainly will use the coupon to take advantage of the savings. I don’t, however, play the coupon game. The reason… I don’t buy processed foods.

I read recently that most Americans spend ninety percent of their food budget on processed food… and this probably explains why the majority of coupons are for convenience and processed type products. On the surface taking advantage of these coupon deals sounds like a great idea. Who doesn’t want to spend less for groceries… who doesn’t want to get items for free?

It would be easy to just go for the savings. It would be easy to let ourselves believe the advertising and not think too much about what we’re actually eating if we eat processed foods. It would be easy… and in this time of increasing grocery prices, it would be less expensive.

BUT…

The manufacturers don’t tell us that seventy-five percent of these processed foods contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. The manufacturers also don’t tell us that these processed foods contain other questionable or untested ingredients… or about their possible dangers or side effects. That’s information we have to find out for ourselves.

The next time you have a coupon and it’s for a processed food, take the time to read the product label before you buy the product. If you don’t know what the various listed ingredients are, take the time to look them up. Many people already avoid soy and gluten and the more controversial additives like high fructose corn syrup, aspartame or MSG… but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Do you really want propylene glycol or disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate or… you fill in the blank… to be a part of what your family regularly eats?

I KNOW I don’t.

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Comments

Sharlene

I don’t, either. Most of the coupons are for items I don’t really use and wouldn’t normally buy — so, it’s not a bargain for me. I use my garden and buy fresh meats. Still trying to show folks that animal fats are far healthier than putting petrol (vegetable — w/no vegetable anything in them) in your bodies, a practice that has increased clogged arteries since the 1980s, but it’s a slow process.

Philippa

I’m with Sharlene. We also don’t find a whole lot of use for most coupons. The vast majority of food items in my grocery cart are very basic. There is relatively little markup in most staples, so producers have little to gain from coupons and similar promotions.

Katarina

I just read this and then I went and read the label on the HEALTHY soup I give my kids and I couldn’t believe what is in it. It made me feel ill, it really did. This is a real wakeup call for me. I am going to take your advice and start really looking at the ingredients and I can tell you I won’t be buying some of the things I have been. Thank you for this post and for this really really wonderful blog.

Christa

Very good and sensible advice. If you use a coupon for something you want to buy anyway, great. If you let a coupon convince you to buy something you wouldn’t normally buy, not so great. I read labels before I buy too. It really cuts down on the amount I buy! Some of the ingredients in our food supply are disgraceful.

I enjoy this blog so much.

Angela

Loved this post! In fact, I was just going through a coupon site the other day and had the same thought because there wasn’t a single thing I would actually buy & I had to question myself for a moment if I was just being too picky. I’m definitely trying to save where possible, but my thought is that there is really no bargain that’s worth the price of your health in the long run.

Marie

Me Neither! and as I edge more toward organics, homemade cleaners and fewer products in plastic packaging, coupons will become even harder to find. wish me luck!

Michelle

A big THANK YOU to you for being another advocate of sensible shopping. My husband wonders why it takes me an hour or so to go shopping. Hmmm…propylene glycol…yum! It’s in everything that is soft and is supposed to stay soft! Coconut, dog food, snacks for humans…! I’d rather spend a lot of money for items without the chemicals than save a few bucks. I take the time to make our foods. I buy some cleaners, TP and very few foods that are processed. My husband wanted a good window cleaner for the car windows the other day. I handed him my h/m vinegar cleaner. ‘That’s not XXXXX (brand)’. Nope. That’s better!

Gina

You’re so right on with this.

My husband is always on me to cut down our grocery bill, but how? We don’t eat things like Bagel Bites, Red Baron Pizza, and whatever else they have coupons for.

We eat mostly whole foods, and if we eat something that’s junk, about 90% of the time, I’ve made it with my own two hands so I can control what goes into it.

There simply aren’t coupons for a lot of the things we buy. They don’t exist. Today, I was able to use a coupon for Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, and that was a VERY rare find!

For other items like shaving razors, many times, even with a coupon, it’s just cheaper to go with the store brand item.

Coupons are complicated, and no stores where I live have coupon doubling days, or other couponing specials.

People on the Extreme Coupon show are setting bad examples for everyone else, and lately, my stores have been hit by extreme couponers who completely clean out a shelf of a single item, leaving none for anyone else. I’m sorry, but if they know they are going to need something in large numbers, they should call ahead and have the items pre-ordered for their use.

I could go on and on all day about this.

Thank you for making this post. I’ve enjoyed finding someone who is a kindred spirit.

Brenda

Wow – love your site. I’m from Australia nad couponing is not so big here but all the major store catalogues come our each week with major ‘savings’ on food items. BUT, guess what. It’s always the ‘foods’ I would never buy. There’s never specials or two for the price of one on healthy whole foods, organic items and fresh unprocessed foods. It’s always the junk. I’m with Michelle above, I’d rather pay more for decent food than save a few dollars and eat chemical cocktail filth. It shocks me to see what some people will put into their kids mouths, and saddens me too that the world has got to this stage. I’m just starting to learn about frugal living though have been unhappy with my physical and emotional clutter for years. I grow as much as we can, but gee we eat a lot!!

Marybeth

One of our local chain grocery stores prints a coupon in the local paper about the first of every month, giving a $10 discount on a $50 purchase. Nowadays it doesn’t take many staple items to add up to at least $50. I buy things that I would normally buy every few weeks anyway, so getting them at the right time and using that coupon makes sense. I rarely use a manufacturers coupon for anything.
All of those food additives are making people very sick, and I don’t want to be one of them.

Pea Green

I’m with Brenda on this. Here in Australia we don’t get so many coupon type offers, but when we do it is for Junk foods. I use vinegar for almost everything – even air freshener with a couple of drops of mint or lavender oils. My dog eats only fresh raw meats and I cook veges in a no-additive stock for her too. Unfortunately, my other half is a junk food and ice cream junkie. Well, I guess we can only lead by example. *sigh*

Maureen

I have many friends that drive all around the city to use coupons or find specials and honestly believe they are saving money. While they are doing laps around the city I am going for long dog walks, enjoying yoga classes, volunteering and still have plenty of time to keep my house in order and make home cooked meals. I shop primarily at our local grocery store – sure I may spend a little more on groceries but the time, gas and wear and tear on my car (it is an easy walk back and forth to the store) I save far outweighs the deal they may have scored on items I mostly wouldn’t buy anyhow.

And a note about extreme couponing – have you seen what they buy? A ridiculous amount of processed and junk food and more cheap shampoo than you could use in three lifetimes – I just don’t get it. Where is the victory in buying super cheap crap you wouldn’t and more likely shouldn’t buy. Just saying …