Last year I’d written about one of my extreme couponing moments involving breakfast cereal–Lucky Charms, to be exact, which my daughters had had a renewed interest in after Brittany on the show “Glee” wished for a box with marshmallows only in it. After that post went live, one of my faithful readers emailed me to congratulate me on my great buy but also to ask if I could tackle the topic of extreme couponing for healthy food. In fact, I’ve had other readers ask me about this as well, and I figured, why not?
For the past few months I’ve been trying to focus at least some of my couponing efforts on saving as much money as possible on healthy food. While I still haven’t mastered an extreme couponing coup of getting healthy food for free, I have re-educated myself on how to find coupons for healthy food and how to use them to save the most on healthy food. Here are some of the ways I’ve been able to extreme coupon for healthy food.
Just this week my supermarket was having a deal whereby if you bought five boxes of a certain kind of cereal, you would get a coupon for a gallon of free milk, up to $4.50. What a great way to get a free gallon of healthy fat-free milk! I had coupons that would have me saving about $8 upfront on the cereal already so I would be saving in all aspects of this transaction. Because I’d read the supermarket circular closely, I knew that the coupon for free milk would print out at the end of my transaction and would have to be applied to a “future” shopping trip. But I wasn’t about to go back to the store for my free milk. So in order to get my free milk that day, I broke my shopping order into two transactions. I bought the cereal first, got the coupon for the free milk, and then applied it to the gallon of skim milk in that second transaction. Of course, it was free!
You can save on other healthy food in the dairy aisle as well. Coupon inserts lately have been littered with offers for Greek yogurt–a healthy option–though I don’t like Greek yogurt. It’s something about the consistency. You can find coupons for other kinds of yogurt, too. Today I saved money on low-fat yogurt, which was marked down to $.60 per cup. Then I applied a coupon I had to save $.40 on six, which doubled to $.80. So for six cups of yogurt, I paid $2.80 or about $.46 per cup. I get my best yogurt coupons, when they’re available, by the way, via Coupons.com.
My extreme couponing in the dairy aisle doesn’t end there. I’ve been able to save money on Silk almond milk, thanks to coupons, too. As far as eggs go, both Eggland’s Best and Land O’Lakes offer coupons that you can use to save money on organic, cage-free eggs.
Speaking of organics there are coupons for products within the organic niche. Newman’s Own has coupons all the time for its salad dressings and salsas–both organic–and recently I printed out coupons from SmartSource.com for Muir organic tomato sauce. The coupons were for $.75 and $.85 off. The cans of organic tomato sauce cost $1.99 each. My supermarket doubled each of the coupons I presented–$.75 became $1.50 and $.85 became $1.70–meaning that my final cost for each can of sauce was $.49 and $.14.
Good coupons and sales for healthy frozen food don’t happen all that often. But when they do, you can get some great extreme couponing done in the frozen foods aisle. Just recently I was able to get Boca Burgers on sale and with a $1 off coupon, and whenever Green Giant frozen vegetables go on sale, I dig out my coupons. Last week a nearby supermarket had the boxes on sale five for $6 or about $1.20 per box. I had a coupon for $.60 off five, which would double to $1.20 off five. That meant that my final cost for five boxes of frozen vegetables was $4.80 or $.98 per box. In the off-season, when fresh vegetables from my garden isn’t an option, this is a great way of being able to continue to offer vegetables at dinner and at a savings.
I’ll admit that finding coupons for fresh produce is probably the biggest challenge when it comes to couponing. That’s why most extreme couponers use Catalina coupons–the ones that print out at the end of your shopping order–to offset the cost of fresh produce. That is, if they have earned $4 off their next shopping trip, in their budget they’ll “apply” it to the cost of fresh produce. However, coupons for fresh produce do exist.
A few times last year I was able to get a $.75 off coupon for Dole fresh pineapple, and just before the holidays, there were tons of coupons for Cuties Clementines. In case you’re not familiar with them, this brand of California clementines launched in late 2011 with a huge PR push along with coupons in the paper. My kids love clementines, so I got extra copies of the Sunday paper on those weeks when the Cuties Clementines coupons were in there. Then, when Cuties Clementines were marked down at my supermarket–from $7.99 to $4.99–I used those coupons that I’d been stockpiling. The most valuable one was for $.75, which my supermarket doubled to $1.50, and allowed me to buy five pounds of clementines for $3.49 or about $.69 a pound.
FYI, I’ve been in touch with the Cuties Clementines’ PR people on Twitter (@cutiescitrus), and they tell me that there will be more coupons for Cuties Clementines in Sunday newspapers starting in February 2012. You’ll want to stock up on those coupons so you can do some extreme couponing for healthy food–or at least for Cuties Clementines.
So now that I’ve shared some of the ways that I’m able to extreme coupon for healthy food, how do you do it?