The Great Coupon Debate
My husband and I approach grocery shopping as if we are from entirely different worlds. My ways of cutting corners are: going to Trader Joe's, buying fruits and veggies in season, trading for them (see earlier post Fresh Fruit for Rotten Cheapskates), and doing lots of dishes that require rice, beans, lentils, etc. I have a juicer so I go that route, or drink tea, or water---all cheaply acquired. Shopping for the kids' lunches takes me into milk, cheese sticks, juiceboxes, and other lunch fare. Couple of nights a week I try to make something interesting that might require a special effort to purchase organic free range chicken or galanga root or tempura mix. And sure , I've flipped through my mom's Sunday Sacramento Bee but I've never found coupons that I could use for products I normally buy or am trying to buy except for some Aleve. Sure, there are Organic brand coupons every once in awhile, but when I'm at the market and there is locally grown spinach versus a package of pre-washed from a hundred miles away, I go with the local--even if it means .25--.50 more.
Enter my husband who has, on more than one occasion come waltzing in the front door at dinner time with a two for one deal on Lucky Charms cereal under his arm. They were on sale he says! And I had a coupon! The kids of course run up to him as if he were Santa Claus with his bag of goodies. (My kids didn't even know they existed until he sat them down and had a bowl with them. Geez, thanks honey. Talk about your gateway drugs...).
My husband is the quintessential coupon user. He has absolutely no name brand loyalty so it's emotionally easy for him to go from one brand to another and back again based solely on coupon availability for said products. Something in me fights this. Why go for a product you don't know when you like the one you do know? He's willing to give everything a try for the sake of saving us cash. I have to give him credit--when I send him to our nearest major grocery store (Safeway), he goes, armed with coupons from the Sunday paper, the Internet, magazines all in his backpack. On the receipt at the end he always has a tally of $35--55 dollars saved by coupons and 'club' membership to Safeway. Hmm...
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen I unload the groceries and find some things we use and a bunch of things I'm uncertain of. I'm a make everything from scratch kind of girl. Store bought dressings? A lifetime supply of Stouffer's Mac and Cheese? Hmm...I suppose a lot of this goes down to personal taste, but the majority of coupons in your Sunday paper are for processed foods made by giant corporations. It's not like I don't like processed food that's not good for you, it's more like I'm an addict and I don't want it around tempting me and the kids to indulge our collective sloth.
I keep searching for coupons for organic fresh produce and bio degradable products. They do exist. But they are far less frequent. I use them when I find them. But I have to admit my grocery list contains what I need, then what I want, and if I happen to find a coupon, I use it. My husband shops by coupon and deal only. The kids of course, don't care at all. But I wonder what this constant search for the deal does to our quality of life. Can we just enjoy? Is his way hurting our health? Is my way hurting our pocketbook? Which should we be worried about more? Is there a happy medium?
We are embarking on an experiment in November. He will purchase all groceries for the entire month his way. December we will go entirely my way and then we'll look at our receipts and journals of what we ate and see how we feel. So wisebread readers with spouses that lean in the opposite direction---do you have these issues? What do you guys do? What works for you? I'll let you know how the experiment went in a couple of months.
The husband offered these ebay links below where one can purchase coupons in bulk. Has anyone had experience with this as well? He also suggests
Free Rage Organic Eggs
Salads (fresh items)