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Coupon Coaching: Cilla’s Deals Saved Valerie Over $80 on Her Organic Groceries!

September 24, 2011

Valerie's Publix receipt - she saved even more at Whole Foods!

People love reading my savings totals.  I’m not being arrogant here – I know how many hits I get on my blog posts so I’m just telling the truth here folks.  ;)  People also think they can’t do it.  They think they don’t have enough time.  They think they can’t save on buying produce, organic items, etc.  I love to prove them wrong.  :)  When I first began my blog and began sharing my savings totals, I had several friends and family who said, “Cilla, I would love to coupon but I buy mostly organic food and I doubt there are coupons for that…right?”  Wrong!

Allow me to introduce you to Valerie.  She is not the average consumer.  She buys almost exclusively organic products for her family, plus probiotics, homeopathic products, etc. – all of which are pricey and can really add up FAST.  Her family consists of her husband, one year old daughter and herself.  She spends $500-700 a month on grocery and household goods.  Ouch!  I think my wallet just cried a little.

Over the past week I served as a coupon coach for Valerie, teaching her about coupon sources and practical coupon organization, having her create her shopping list for the week and then helping her find coupons to save on her grocery list items.  I helped her prep her coupons for our shopping trips and then we were off to Whole Foods and Publix on Monday night for some real-world application.  :)  The results are below.

*= item was on sale, had a coupon or both

First we went to Whole Foods:

  • 1 toddler probiotics (This was the most expensive item at $17.79)
  • 1 homeopathic toddler product*
  • 2 organic cottage cheese*
  • 2 organic pasta*
  • 2 organic cheese sticks*
  • 1 bag frozen organic broccoli
  • 1 bag frozen organic peas
  • 1 small half and half*
  • 1 mineral/natural lip gloss*
  • 1 parmesan cheese*
  • 2 organic whole grain bread*
  • 7 organic almond milk (shelf-stable)*
  • 3 organic hemp milk (shelf-stable)*
  • 2 organic whole wheat kids’ snack crackers*

$115.53 before sales and coupons
– 48.84 sale prices, coupons and reusable bag refund=
$66.69 after sales and coupons

Percentage saved: 42%

Then we went to Publix:

  • 1 family-size hummus
  • 1 lb organic carrots
  • 2 organic yogurt 32 oz*
  • 2 toddler organic yogurt 4-packs*
  • 2 dozen cage-free eggs
  • 2 all-natural chicken sausage*
  • 1 feta cheese*
  • 1 organic cream cheese
  • 3 lbs bananas
  • 2 multigrain crackers*
  • family-size organic spring mix salad*
  • 2 all-natural granola*
  • 1 pita chips*
  • 1 sprouted grain tortillas
  • 1 baking powder
  • 1 large bag brown sugar
  • 1 large bag powdered sugar
  • 2 bags chocolate chips* (can you sense a baking project coming up in her future?)
  • 2 large containers of salt (I think she uses this for all-natural cleaning)
  • 1 bottled lemon juice (for all-natural cleaning)

$82.70 before sales and coupons
– 33.17 sale prices and coupons =
$49.53 after sales and coupons

Percentage saved: 40%

TOTALS COMBINED

$198.23 before sales and coupons
- 82.01 sale prices and coupons =
$116.22 after sales and coupons 

Percentage saved: 41%

So, how does this measure up?  To couponers, spending $116.22 in one week is definitely still a high number for a small family, but you have to consider that Valerie stocked up on some of their common grocery items when they were a great sale price (especially the hemp and almond milks).  By doing this, she will not need to buy these items again as soon as normal and will begin trying her best to buy those items only when they are on sale.  This was also her very first time couponing, so although she did use a coupon on most of her regular-priced items, she still needed several things that did not have coupons and were full price.  She chose mostly store-brand for the full-price items, which is always a great way to cut costs a little.

Over time, as she begins to stock up on her household’s needs while items are on sale and/or have great coupons, she will be able to gradually decrease her weekly spending.  I always tell beginner couponers that it can take two to three months to begin developing a good stock of your common needs, allowing you to lower your spending in future months.  Valerie also did not buy much meat during these trips (except for some BOGO chicken sausage) because she already had some in her fridge/freezer.  When it comes to meat purchases, she will begin to shop the sale prices to buy meat when hormone and antibiotic-free options are on sale, have a coupon or both.  She will buy more than she needs at that time, freeze it to use as needed and reduce the number of times she will end up buying meat at full-price.

For those of you who’ve always wondered how long I’ve been couponing…I began my coupon journey just about one year ago.  Yup, that’s it.  I’m now at a place where I rarely ever have to pay full price for our most common grocery and household needs.  I’m living, blogging proof that this is possible, even with organic food.  And now, Valerie is proof too.

Are you interested in a coupon coaching service?  If so, email me at cillasdealsblog AT gmail DOT com so we can develop a plan customized for your grocery needs!

-Cilla

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2011 1:36 am

    That is great! That’s really true I’ve only been couponing for about 3 months and have a really good stockpile going.

  2. September 25, 2011 12:17 pm

    Interesting.. would love to hear where you are sourcing coupons for organic items, especially manufacturer’s coupons for those not living near a Whole Foods or Publix.

    • September 25, 2011 1:30 pm

      Hi Lesley, other than Whole Foods store coupons, my other fave source for organic coupons is Mambo Sprouts. http://www.mambosprouts.com They reset with new coupons near the beginning of each month and have a lot of coupons for items that both Valerie and I use. This is where she got coupons for her Rudi’s organic bread, YoBaby, Organic Valley creamer and I think a few others. Manufacturer’s websites and Facebook pages are also good sources for coupons. For example, Stonyfield Farms and Organic Valley both offer coupons on their websites, and the lip gloss coupon we used on the lip gloss at Whole Foods was on that brand’s Facebook page. Recyclebank is also a favorite of mine, a site where you earn points (it’s quick and easy) that you can redeem for coupons that you print at home or are mailed to you (depending on the coupon). This is where I get coupons for Kashi, Back to Nature products and Earthbound Farms organic produce, among others. Here is a post I wrote a while back that explains how Recyclebank works: http://cillasdeals.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/how-i-saved-76-at-whole-foods-part-one/ I also try to post when I hear of other great coupons for healthy and organic items, especially organic produce coupons. Like my FB page or subscribe to my blog via email so you don’t miss out on organic savings opportunities! :) Thanks for reading!

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  1. Weekly Totals: 95% Savings at Whole Foods + 71% Savings at Publix! « cilla's deals

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