As promised in my previous post here are some tips on saving on organic and natural foods and other items. Over the past few years it has become much easier to find deals on organic items. Wal-Mart and Target stores have even begun to cary more and more items that are organic. I check often to find out what they have that is new and I note the prices. If I am likely to forget the price I keep a list of items that I regularly buy and the prices I find them at in different stores. That way I know if it really is a good buy or not. I use the same principles as before in that I try to use store coupons and sales along with manufacturers coupons to get the best deals. When I find really great sales I stock up. Check your local Whole Foods for their store coupons too because they can be combined with manufacturer coupons as well and they have a great selection. If you have little ones Babies R Us has been a good place lately to find great deals and use coupons on natural and organic snack foods, diapers and wipes as well as cleaners, etc... Make sure to keep an eye out for store brand organics. They are often times the same thing for about half the cost. You cannot use coupons on them usually but it may still be a better deal than you would get with coupons on other brands.
More and more companies are offering printable online coupons. Some of the sites require that you sign up for a newsletter or just give them your email address to be able to print their coupons. I suggest signing up for a free email address (like gmail) that you only use for things like coupons and other promotions. That way you can keep it completely separate and check it only when you want to and not have your email always full with emails you need to sort through. I almost always unsubscribe from newsletters as soon as I can unless I know they will send valuable coupons that I will want to use.
Here are some of my favorite sites for natural and organic coupons:
Cascadian Farm Organic
Earthbound Farm Organic
Earth's Best Organic
Hain Celestial Group
Health E Savers
Santa Cruz Organic
Seeds of Change
Some other great ways to save are by buying in bulk on Amazon. They often times will have sales on organic and natural foods. Many of their items you can buy with their Subscribe and Save feature and save an additional 15% off the item right then. You can cancel the Subscribe and Save at any time. If you buy more than $25 worth on Amazon you can choose free Super Saver Shipping.
I have also signed up to purchase from Frontier Natural Products Co-Op. You pay a $10 membership fee to sign up. They have many different brands that you can find in the healthfood stores. They have both foods and personal items as well as cleaning and household products. They are all brands that you have probably heard of or seen (Burt's Bees, Seventh Generation, Citra Solv, Avalon Organics, and many, many more) . The savings can be as much as 50% off of these items. There is a $250 minimum to get free shipping so I get some friends to order together as a Co-Op and we end up saving a bunch. You can order their catalog here.
I highly recommend asking around and searching your local area for co-ops, farmers markets and farms that sell straight to the consumer. They are all great ways to find good deals on healthy eating products.
I love using coupons to save money! My poor husband is probably tired of me coming home from the store all giddy about my latest deals. I have been using coupons on and off since I left home for college. I am sure that is thanks to the example my mom set for me as far back as I can remember. Everytime we got the Sunday paper I watched her pull out the scissors and clip coupons. When my twins (now 10) were little I took a break from couponing because I needed to use the time it took for other things. I faithfully returned to it a couple years later and have been working on my system ever since. A few years ago I purchase a binder and filled it with subject dividers and plastic baseball sleeve holders to house the coupons. I would make my shopping list and then pull out all of the coupons I wanted to use at the store. I would inevitably forget a coupon or not have known to bring one that was for a sale item that I could stock up on for super cheap. So I have started lugging my notebook around with me. Sure I get a few stares but I just tell myself they are thinking "I wish I had all my coupons too!" I have found that by bringing it with me I am saving so much more money and am able to compare brands and take advantage of good sales. Thanks to Internet coupons you can often times print out at least 2 of each coupon and sometimes even more than that. This really helps when there is a good sale and you want to stock up. Friends and neighbors are another good way to get extra coupons. Many people get the paper but don't ever use the coupons so you can just ask around and see who you might be able to get them from. Another thing I have done is coupon swapping with play groups and other mom friends. After you clip your coupons pass the fliers around for your friends when you get together and ask them to save and bring theirs too. Chances are you don't use all of the same things and can use some of the coupons that they might otherwise toss.
One thing I do not do with coupons is buy things I don't need even if they are a great price or even free. To me, if I am couponing to save money but spend more of it on deals just because they are deals, I am defeating the purpose and might as well not be couponing at all. I also do not want to contribute to any extra clutter in my home and therefore think very carefully about what I bring into it even if an item is free after using a coupon.
I usually take one evening a week to plan ahead my meals and shopping lists. I also use that time to clip and sort coupons and remove expired ones from my binder. I sort coupons by sections like Produces, Dairy, Baking, Cereal and Breakfast foods, etc... That way I am quickly able to find what I need when I am in the store. I also have sections for specific store coupons and I love to combine store coupons with manufacturers coupons to get some amazing deals! Target is a store that is great for doing this because they put out their own coupons online and you can often times find manufacturers coupons for the same items.
Here are some of my favorite sites for printable coupons:
Great blogs for money saving coupon tips and current deals:
Since I like to buy a lot of natural and organic foods I will post again about how to find some great coupons for those kinds of things. Fortunately they are becoming easier to find. Happy Couponing!
Monday, April 26, 2010 at 5:59 PM
Some things about being a wife, mother and homemaker are just plain hard. I will be the first one to raise my hand when asked if I often look for more efficient ways to do things. I am constantly evaluating my methods and looking for ways to become a better manager of my home and time. The problem is that there are plenty of things that will never have a short cut or become easier by trying a new method. Loosing weight is one of those hard things. We all want a quick fix but the fact of the matter is that the best success in that area will never be achieved with a shortcut. It takes time and work...lots of work. Cleaning our homes is another example of something that takes work. I mean, we would probably all have house cleaners if we could afford them because of how much time and hard work it is to clean and maintain a clean home. Sure there are great inventions like Roomba Vacuums and Scooba (robot vacuum or mop, highly recommended by me of course) and they do make the tasks easier but unfortunately we don't have a robot for all of the cleaning stuff (yet). So even with all of the Swiffer products and daily shower cleaner sprays and all of the other gizmos and gadgets it is still a lot of work to clean a home regularly. These are just a couple of things that take a lot of physical work. Being a great friend, a great wife, and a great mom are also a lot of work that there are not really shortcuts for. Really listening to others is work. Spending good quality time with them is work. Meeting their needs is work. My point is this: If we keep looking for the easy way to do things we are going to miss our opportunity to be present in our lives. We will never loose the weight, we will never keep things clean, we won't make time for important relationships and on and on. We will just be searching and looking ahead for that easier way that may or may not ever come. I have been guilty of living my life this way before and let me tell you that it comes with lots of whinning (and I'm not talking about the kids). I love Nike's "Just Do It" slogan. When I don't feel like doing something because it is hard sometimes that is what I need to hear. Yes, it is hard, but it is necessary and you will feel great when you accomplish it. So "Just Do It!" Not what you were expecting was it? I so wish I could say that I have discovered that one amazing secret to making all of life easier but that is not what life is about. I have never met anyone who was happy, healthy and whole that didn't have to work at it. So the easy way to tackle the hard stuff is to just dig in and do it. You'll be happier and enjoy life more when you do.
Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 6:17 PM
This post is greatly influenced by my mother. She is visiting me and I am so enjoying talking with her about being a mom and her experiences with us (all 10 of us) growing up. It really helps me to understand mommyhood better when I hear her "been there, done that" stories. I can learn from both her successes and failures. While I feel like I have my hands overwhelmingly full with 6 kids, I simply cannot imagine managing life with 10 children. Tonight my mother and I discussed needing to take time everyday to recharge. Usually, that time happens during nap time or "quiet time" (that's what you call it when your kid won't nap anymore but you need to so they have to stay put in their room quietly). I have often felt guilty about needing that time and have felt like I am neglecting something. But the reality is that I need that time both physically and mentally to be able to face the rest of the day. So it is really good for me (and my kids) for me to take that time to recharge. Being a mom is very hard work. It takes so much energy and endurance and we really do need to give ourselves permission to have some down time every day to rest and build our energy back up. I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten to the end of a busy day without a break and have just gone into a melt-down the minute my husband walks in the door. That can't be good for my marriage, my kids, or myself. So, I am giving myself and every other mommy, who wonders if shushing the kids and locking them out of her room for a while is going to hurt them, permission to take a break everyday. They'll honestly thank you for it. Well, it might take a while but when they grow up and have their own kids and ask how you got through a day they will be so grateful when you say they should just take a break. Thank you mom!!
Friday, April 9, 2010 at 12:35 AM