Monday, February 16, 2009

Coupons vs. Shopping Carefully.

Raindrop on the maple. It's still stormy. I love days like this...

Times are hard. I'm sure we can all agree on that. And seeing as how my husband is a contractor, we're feeling it...a lot. As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Sadly enough, though I am pretty frugal every day, when finances are NOT as tight I do tend to get a bit lazy. I don't shop around...I don't use coupons (which I don't use a lot of anyway...BUT I did last week and saved an additional $5 off of my grocery bill...I may be a convert!) and I get stuck in the rut of making the same meals all the time. However, and this is not the first time we've had to be extra frugal with the budget, I find that when I have less money to work with, often times our meals are more creative. I find that when I have to shop places like the Grocery Outlet and the 99 Cent Store my meals are based on the great deals that I find...not on the recipes I'm familiar with. Because these stores don't always carry the same things. They carry the overstocks...so you never know what you might find! Shopping for bargains forces me to think outside the box and create menus based on inexpensive ingredients. And honestly, it's fun for me! I enjoy the challenge. (And surprisingly my family enjoys the variety! I guess they're NOT as picky as I think they are!) Don't get me wrong...I don't like being unsure of our financial future. But I do enjoy the challenge of seeing how inexpensively I can feed my family a HEALTHY and filling meal. Notice I say HEALTHY. This brings me to one more challenge to add to the game...

Not only do I have to feed my family on a tight budget. I also want the food I prepare to be healthy. This means no HFCS, no MSG, no partially hydrogenated oils, etc. I do buy things containing these ingredients from time to time...but I try not to. I make exceptions with soda...because we still like to drink it. One thing at a time, people...one thing at a time! But as far as the other ingredients...I'm as careful as possible and I read the labels. Sometimes something gets past me because I scan at this point. It's almost like my eyes are trained to zone right in these key ingredients. But every once in a while...one does gets past me. And we eat it anyway. Because I don't like to waste.
ALL of this to say...the reason I'm not super crazy with the coupons is because in my experience it seems that coupons are for foods that are convenient. You know, the packaged foods in the center aisles of the stores. And, most times, these foods contain many of the ingredients I'm trying to avoid. So for me coupons aren't so beneficial. Seeing what some women can do with their coupons is so impressive, though. It's tempting to just throw the whole "healthy" aspect out the window to save a few more bucks! I mean, dang, some of these women come out of the store with more money than they went IN with! But, I don't give in. Rather, I up the challenge: Healthy, pure AND cheap!
How do YOU save money?


1 comment:

ThyHandHathProvided said...

We are on a tight budget, too, since we are living off student loans. We garden/preserve, buy generic brands, frequent discount stores, choose not have cable/cell phones/video games (more than just a money-saving tactic), rarely go out to eat, etc. Another thing we do is ebay. If we need something (like homeschool curriculum, a tool, etc), we first sell something that's laying around the house. When we have enough accumulated in paypal, we can make our purchase with no money taken out of our bank account:-).