Friday, March 23, 2012

No Coupons? How do we survive?

For a while I really got into that reality show from TLC called:

I was so excited and on fire to try this out in my area. I made phone calls to stores to find out their coupon policies, asked friends and neighbors to save their papers, scoured the internet for couponing tips and ideas, and even ordered coupons from ebay. I gave this a very fair attempt.

So what were the issues then?

First of all, I struggled to find coupons for products our family even used. With us being an all natural family, we discarded all coupons for laundry soap, body soap, toothpaste, cleaning products, etc. Okay, so that left us with coupons for prepackaged name brand foods. Well, with our size family we don't use prepackaged products, and even if we did the savings were just not there. None of the stores in my area do double coupons, and even with the coupons on the name brand it still was not as inexpensive as the generic brands. In many cases you'd have to buy 2-4 products to save $.75.

Also, they portrayed on the show that you could get more value from your coupon by getting the smallest size possible. Guess what? The retailers have caught on to this little trick and now put size minimums on most coupons.

Last of all, but by no means least, is the coupons I got for a clothing store saving me 50-75% on any item. We got an entire booklet of similar coupons at one of our favorite clothing store. However, after reading the print we realized each coupon represented a different day. I mentioned before that we live 20+ miles one way from shopping. We would have to travel 40+ miles on each day to save a pretty good amount on ONE item. Sound worth it to you? I've mentioned before that my time is precious to me.

So the conclusion? Coupons ended up taking up my time, telling me how many I had to buy, what day I had to buy it, what size I had to buy, and what brand I had to buy. It sounded more restrictive and controlling to me. Please don't think I'm bashing the couponers. I am sure there are areas out there that make couponing worth people's time. If you live in a "coupon friendly" area and don't care what you eat, drink, and put on your body, then couponing may be for you.

For a family who does not eat meat, prepackaged foods, and uses all natural products, couponing just isn't worth it. So for our family, we will be finding other ways to save.


  1. For the most part, I agree with you. Now that I carefully read ingredients, I've become brand picky. And seldom have I found coupons for the actual brands that I like and use.

    However, it's not a bad idea to keep an ear on the couponing world. The toothpaste that I use is a non-fluoride organic type that costs around $5 each. Turns out there was a coupon out there for $3 off. So I stocked up on toothpaste (which for me was only 3 tubes). Also, I was able to get oral-b toothbrushes for free, so I bought a whole case of them. You can never have too many toothbrushes! I also was able to buy boxes of tampons for $0.04 each, so I bought 2 cases of them. I don't use tampons often anymore, but I do now and then, and it's always good to keep some on hand for guests.

    So now and then, there are things out there that are worth it.

  2. We don't use toothpaste anymore. Ruby C. has taught us how to make our own using baking soda, salt, black walnut, and white oak bark. I agree on keeping an eye open in the coupon world, as I would love to find some coupons for trash bags, razors, toothbrushes, etc. My girls still use pads and tampons, but I have only been using the ones you made for me. I love them! It's not realistic for my girls to use them as they are in school.

  3. I'm so glad that they are still working for you!

    Tell me about the black walnut and white oak bark. I know about using baking soda and salt, but I'm curious about the other ingredients.

  4. Wendy, I will be doing a post with this another time, but for now, here is the exact recipe is as follows:(keep in mind we do much larger batches)
    3 T + 1 t. Baking Soday
    5 t. sea salt
    2 capsules of black walnut
    1 capsule of white oak bark
    the black walnut kills fungus and the white oak bark removes plaque. We buy our capsules from Nature's Sunshine

  5. I just found your blog via The Minimalist Mom. I actually did a green extreme couponing challenge, and surprisingly, there are SO many coupons for organic, unprocessed, natural foods. Feel free to check out my blog and use the search function for "coupons" or "couponing". Otherwise, is a fantastic site that links coupons and store ads. Good luck!

    1. So glad you posted these links - it does seem like there are opportunities out there to save even on the natural brands as they become more mainstream.

      I'm embarking on my first serious attempt to find more coupons for things we actually do use and eat.

  6. Thank you! I will check it out! =)

  7. Have you checked out the Diva Cup instead of tampons and pads?

  8. In general I tend to agree with you, but I am finding that the coupon world is changing and there are more coupons for natural things out there - where there were none at all before.
    I do keep an eye out for coupons we can and do use such as for coffee, herbal tea and batteries at 2.00 and 4.00 each those make a big dent in the budget.

  9. I love this post! It's funny that so many of us come to the same conclusion about coupons without comparing notes. I wrote a very similar post here: But seriously-- if you're living as healthily and naturally as possible, coupons are unnecessary and a waste of time. The exception would maybe be batteries and household goods... but overall, for me, I just don't have the time or energy to deal with them. And I don't feel bad about that! :)

    ...Aaron and Rebekah, I've heard good things about the Diva Cup but haven't used one yet myself.