Most everyone can agree that they want to eat healthy. Of course, there are exceptions to this but, in general, it can be assumed that eating healthy and feeling great are goals most people have for themselves. Yet, purchasing healthy foods isn’t always the cheapest. In fact, if you aren’t careful, you can end up spending a lot of money on health foods that either go bad before you get a chance to eat them, or later find that you don’t enjoy them at all and end up being unable to finish them.
Luckily, there are many ways to save a buck in the grocery store. In fact, money saving has almost become its own sport in America with couponing becoming more popular year after year. In fact, US consumers have redeemed 3.5 billion in coupons and saved approximately 4.6 billion in 2011 alone. This is a 12% increase since 2010; however, are these savings helping people eat their best or just save money?
Although couponing and eating healthy may seem like two totally separate topics, they actually work very well together. Of course, you have to know how to best use your coupons and be able to identify what foods are worth the savings.
To coupon for health, consider doing the following :
Plan your meals first, coupon second
Couponing takes a lot of work! And although it’s tempting to make your meal plan fit with the coupons you find, you may find it to be more beneficial to your health to plan the other way around. Start by planning out your meals. Make sure you incorporate a wide variety of foods. Then, after your list has been created, look for coupons and discounts on the foods you already have planned. It’s okay to swap out a few of the ingredients for those that are on sale the week of your shopping trip, just make sure that they still come from the same food group to avoid a meal that is deficient in nutrients.
Stock up on Staples
Bulk items are ideal for coupon usage. They have a long shelf-life and you know that if you buy in large quantities to take advantage of a deal, you’ll use up all the inventory that you buy. Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, beans, and dried fruit are just a few examples of such foods. Score a coupon for these, and you can save big.
Don’t Be Brand Loyal
Coupons for brand name items seem like a good thing, and many times they are. Yet before you use your coupons to save on these brands, be sure to compare their discounted rate to the price of their generic counterparts. Often, the generic varieties are still cheaper or also on sale.
Avoid the Urge To Clip Coupons for Foods You Won’t Use or Eat
Couponing can be down-right addictive. It’s easy to start clipping just for the sake of clipping or come up with ways to convince yourself that you “need” the particular item in question. If you coupon with your meal plan in mind, you should be able to avoid this. After all, couponing should be about getting the best deal and not about stocking up in case of unforeseen emergencies.
Be Coupon Smart
As the coupon trend continues to rise, be wary of the small print. To meet demands, marketers have modified coupon characteristics, shortened expiration dates, and often require multiple purchases before the discount can be claimed. Be smart, save big and enjoy a little extra money and a little extra health.