Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where did all the coupons go?

They are still sitting in the newspaper stand. While couponing taught me a lot about smart grocery shopping, my cart was often filled witth boxed, processed foods, and cleaners containing harmful chemicals. It did allow us to start saving money, and learn how to budget, well couponing and Dave Ramsey at least.

However, in the past 6 months, our shopping cart has changed drastically. We still manage to stay in our grocery budget, $2oo a month, but what is in our cart has changed. If you were to look in it now, you would not see any cleaners, any boxes of processed foods, no disposable diapers or wipes, it is filled with bread flour instead of a loaf of bread, organic meats instead of marked down meat from the discount section, organic fruit strips instead of "fruit" snacks, organic milk that is not ultra pasturized instead of free gallons of regular milk for buying processed cereals, whole oats and organic cereal instead of Frosted Flakes and Apple Jacks, whole grain rice, whole grain pasta (which I will be making soon), and real maple syrup instead of maple flavored high fructose corn syrup.

We fit this in to our budget by making our food from scratch. We don't buy or eat as much meat, but the meat we buy is better quality, hormone free, and organic. I am not spending $5 on 5 things of deoderant at a good price, I am making our own for around the same price. We don't buy boxes of pancake mix, we make it, normally from soaked whole wheat flour. I have found that 90% of the coupons in the paper, are not for items we regularly by anymore.

Every now and then there will be a coupon for a safer toothpaste without artificial colors/flavors, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), or a cereal without artifical colors/flavors such as Cascadia Farms (I can get this for normally under $1.50 a box with coupons, and we stock up!!), Annies Mac And Cheese which also has no artificial colors instead of Kraft glowing orange mac and cheese. Why consumers think we need all of these aritifical ingredients in their food are beyond me, honestly all of the artificial colors and flavors are covering up how crappy the food really is. They put them in there to make it more appealing to consumers. I could go on forever, really I could. I still love coupons, but only for products that we will use and are safe for my family.

Instead of spending money on "deals", for foods that will not be "deals" for our health in the long run, we are putting our money to better use. We have a small garden (and I do mean small, remember we live in a condo), we shop at local Farmers Markets 1-2 times a week, and we preserve the fresh organic produce that we can get right now in season. Through canning and freezing. I will no longer have to buy cans of tomatoes that have BPA in the lining, or spend a fortune on safer, organic, canned tomatoes. Instead, I spend $10 for a bushel of fresh, organic, tomatoes, that shoudl last us through the winter. I may still buy another if I can get it at a good price, but you get the point. I can buy better with the same amount of money. After the Farmers Markets are over in October, I may go through a breif periof of depression (jst kidding), but we will be signing back up for Michigan Door To Door Organics to supplement what we have preserved, so we can stilll have high quality, organic produce,throughout the winter. Maybe I can even find 3 more people to order from them with me, so we can have a co-op and get even better prices.

What started out as a small diet change for Jonathan, turned in to our entire family eating better.