Coupons~The Real Cost of Food

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This is one of my most popular posts over at my old blog Blueberry Cottage.  The Farmers Markets are opening in our little neck of the woods and early produce, fresh and organic is available! Please patronize the local agriculture if you don't garden and produce your own:-)


I love coupons as much as the next person and I admit to trying to use them as often as possible, but I can honestly say that when I peruse the circulars of our local markets and hunt down the coups in the flyers, there aren't many I will use. Why? Well, there is not a whole lot of food I buy in stores, really. Now let me also say that we are feeling the lightening of our wallets just like the next guy. I am trying to figure out how to keep eating healthy, mostly organic food, reduce our carbon foot print and not go broke all at the same time. Yes, we do have to start growing more! 

Yesterday I wasn't feeling well and I put the tv on. There was a show on and two women were guests. Both were know as "crazy coupon mom", and "the coupon diva." My interest was piqued. The audience had to bring a grocery receipt to the show and the two women would shop for the same items and show how using coupons and going to different stores would save tons of money. The crazy coupon lady had a three inch, three ring binder full of coupons by category! Now, did they save money? You bet! I was amazed. One bill was around $175 and one of the coupon moms got the same items for $60. Then they emptied the shopping cart and Kraft mac n' cheese, grocery store brand hotdogs, bags of chips, candy, boxed cookies, Trix yogurt, bags of already peeled carrot stix, frozen grocery brand veggies, lunchables,  and all sorts of stuff I never buy was displayed. And I realized why I can't save money that way. I don't buy that kind of food.  In my opinion that is feeding my family junk. Now I do like the Pillsbury doughboy on occasion and I do buy what I call junk--heck, if Ben & Jerry's coffee health bar crunch is on sale, get out of my way 'cause I will knock you down to get the last couple of cartons!  But, as a rule we eat mostly whole foods that have had a mama and papa or are grown by us or a local farmer.  

So, I had to check out this couponing stuff they were talking about and I came across the website Money Saving Mom.  She is big in the coupon world and makes a living pushing coupons.  The link is to the post I am going to talk about.  She broke down her shopping trips to three different stores. Her haul at the health food store didn't look too bad. I could do about the same at Trader Joe's. Her trip to Aldi was impressive, but look at all the packaging! Plastic bagged tomatoes and corn. Wonder how far the tomatoes had to travel and the corn, well if it isn't organic then your eating corn treated with round up by  Monsanto,  a.k.a. evil empire. Also, bagged and already shaved carrots---those suckers are dipped in a bleach solution to keep them fresh for their journey from whenever.  Her third trip was to another store and again I am not impressed. Her two heads of lettuce were pricey and wrapped in plastic so we have the travel/health/environment factor there. The beef was $3.69 a pound and it was in the shrink wrap stuff I think...bad, bad, bad.  My friend has a beef farm so I know my burgers are from one big boy who had a great diet and had a lot of room to graze and move. That hamburger in the package may have been from 100's of cows and filled with ammonium and then injected to retain color.  So, I will pay $6.50 for a pound and know the beef I buy locally won't hurt us.  I can get an organic melon for $8.00, two heads of organic lettuce for $3.00 ea and my beef for $6.50 per pound. My cost for the same, organic, healthier items would be about $33.50.  Yes, that is $10 more, but the food is good for us, it isn't shipped from across the country costing more in fuel costs and I just helped support local growers. Now, I also grow my own lettuce and that can be done in a pot on the porch, so eliminate the $6.00 for lettuce and I only spent $27.50.

{photo credit Sarah, aka Farmama-her blog is now closed, sadly} 

Please tell me you would rather have the veggies in the above pic!!! These are from Farmama's blog. They are famers in CO and bring their produce to their local farmers market. Sara is also trying to reduce plastic and promote reusable bags--and it's catching on!

{photo credit Sara, a.k.a. Farmama}

Just look how fresh and REAL it all looks!  Your local farmers work hard! Patronize them. Learn about where your food comes from and what is in it before you clip a coupon. What is the answer to saving money and eating healthy at the same time? I am not sure, but I am going to start a series , hopefully, on how to eat healthy without breaking the bank.  I need help too so if you have tips send them in! Just consider the real cost of the food you buy. Who grew it? A local farmer or some guy in Australia or China. How far did it travel and what did the fuel cost to get it here, nevermind what had to be sprayed on it to keep it fresh looking. How much wrapping or plastic is around the item, plastic is nasty stuff for the most part and have you considered how it effects the environment. Some things to think about.

I am not against coupons and such and of course I want to get the best deal on what I need, but when I looked at some money saving websites they gave the impression that we must consume, consume, consume and get the best deal while doing it so we can afford to buy more. Well, that is another topic entirely now isn't it :-)

This post is linked up to Courtney, visit her at Women Living Well.


  1. are quite a creative blogger. This new website is wonderful! (Although...blueberry cottage is a pretty name still). I find that coupons cause me to buy items I don't really care for. And yes, they are all processed foods. I like to shop at Costco the best. And locally grown markets are becoming popular in my area. They are usually expensive, but the taste is great. love,andrea

  2. Music from The Donna Reed Show makes me smile every time!

    Occasionally our grocery will mail coupons for so much off from the dairy department, the produce section, the meat department, or for so many dollars off the total order. THOSE are coupons I actually use.


  3. I am with you. Our family is slowly starting to eat more healthy organic foods. The coupon thing sounds good until you become aware of what your eating. I am glad I stumbled upon your blog. I did not know that those little carrots are dipped in bleach!!!!! They should be MADE to put that on the ingredients list!!

  4. We grow as many of our own vegetables as possible, which isn't easy since my house is in the suburbs. (My deck looks like a jungle, with all of the container plants on it!) Although I do clip coupons, I mostly use them for things like toilet paper, baking needs and ingredients to make homemade cleaners. Last time I was at the store, I filled my cart with 12 gallons of white vinegar and a dozen boxes of baking soda, all of which were on sale, and all of which I had coupons for. I paid $3. That may sound like overkill, but I easily go through a gallon of vinegar and a box of baking soda a week just cleaning house!


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Have yourself a darling day,
Suzanne a.k.a. Not Quite Donna Reed