How to Save Money » Coupons

Why I’m No Longer Clipping Coupons

Why I Stopped Clipping Coupons

Over the last few months, many people have asked me why I no longer post my own personal shopping deals on the site. I do still post them, but not often, and it’s because, in all honesty, they’re really not that impressive (meaning, I don’t save a heck of a lot of cash).

I rarely use coupons anymore, and this is why my savings has been plummeting at the grocery store. I still do well at Shoppers Drug Mart (I am obsessed with the Optimum program!), but as far as regular grocery shopping goes, I’ve been flailing around for months now, trying to find my new normal in terms of grocery savings.

If you’re a longtime coupon user, I’m sure you’ll agree that decent coupons are few and far between these days. Sure, there are a ton of coupons still circulating, but not many that we’ll use. We don’t eat much processed food at all, I don’t eat animal products and we’re not huge fans of household cleaners that are loaded with chemicals.

Even our pets are on special diets, so we can’t take advantage of pet food coupons, either.

What I do with coupons now

I still collect tear pad coupons, just in case an item becomes a mail in rebate item and I can make money off of it, and I’m always getting coupon inserts in my paper, but most of them – I’ll never use. I refuse to buy something just because it’s a “good deal”. I only buy what my family uses (unless it’s free – then I will get it and donate).

I also still use Checkout 51 and Snap Saves when I can. Just like with coupons, though, most of the rebates are for items we don’t use, so I’m lucky if I manage to save $10 a week with these apps (combined).

When I receive new coupons now, I immediately discard what I’ll never use, keeping some “just in case” coupons that I have a feeling will end up being free when matched with a sale, and then throw the rest into my “coupon bin”, which is just a big plastic container I bought at the dollar store (I made some dividers to put inside, so I can at least separate my coupons by category).

I gave up my coupon binder because I found that I never ended up needing it when out shopping.

Where I’m shopping now

I’ve even been avoiding Walmart lately, because the only reason I go there is to price match, and I’m usually only price matching produce (and the quality produce isn’t usually there at Walmart). So – I’ve made friends with Sobeys. Their rewards program is awesome, it’s a 5 minute drive from our house, and the produce is often spectacular.

Though Sobeys does have some fantastic sales each week, not everything that we regularly purchase is always on sale, so sometimes, we do have to pay full price for things (some examples: salad greens and/or spinach, kale, bananas, milk, yogurt).

This extra cost is one we’re willing to pay for better quality produce and the convenience of a store that is just minutes from our home.

On most shopping trips, I use less than 5 coupons. Often, I use none. I do “shop the sales” though, and try my very best to only purchase items that are on sale, but like I said, sometimes the items we regularly buy are not on sale, and we have to bite the bullet and pay full price.

Fruits and Veggies

Here’s what a typical grocery shopping trip looks like for us now (weekly):

  • Salad Greens and/or Spinach
  • Kale (I eat this every week!)
  • Canned Beans (I’m going to start soaking my own beans soon, to save money)
  • Milk (Not much)
  • Almond Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Greek Yogurt (for my husband)
  • 3-4 Types of Vegetables (whatever is on sale that week) – not including the kale/spinach/salads
  • At least 10 Bananas (I use these for baking a lot, and we all eat them, too)
  • 3-4 Types of Fruits (whatever is on sale that week) – not including the bananas
  • Tofu
  • Vegetable Broth

I visit a health food storeΒ once or twice a month for the following items:

  • Rice Cakes (I only like a certain kind, sold at this store)
  • Soy Delicious or Almond Dream Ice Cream
  • Butter Spread
  • Cheese Shreds
  • Veggie Burgers
  • + Extra (I always give myself $5 or so to try a new product)

We also visit Costco about once per month to stock up on these items:

  • Almonds
  • Honey
  • Agave
  • Mary’s Crackers
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Larabars
  • Rolled Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Coconut Oil
  • + Fruit/Veggies (if they’re a good deal)

And of course, we make a trip to the Bulk Barn about once a month (whenever there is a gift card promotion of $3 coupon). At this store, we stock up big time on:

  • Nuts (Cashews, Pistachios, Pecans, Walnuts, Peanuts)
  • Flax Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • + Extra (I always give myself $5 or so to try a new product)

This is what works for us at this stage of our lives. I hope that I can learn to love coupons again, I really do – but right now, they’re more of a pain than their worth, at least for me.

How do you feel about coupons these days?

Comments

  1. Chelsey

    I feel that im in the same position, i only use a few coupons now on products we use, unless the product is free, we shop the sales and stock up that, and i don’t remember the last time i went to walmart for something other than to pick up pictures i ordered.

  2. Pam

    fantastic post! I eat very similar to you and shop very similar too. I have noticed over the last little while I collect the coupons and then just dump them in a bag. I use a few here and there. Also, just so you know, Costco carries many nuts-more than just almonds and they have ground flax too. It is usually a better price I find.

  3. Nicole

    Thank you for posting this. I have slowed down on my couponing as well because we also dont eat a lot of processed food and there are never really any coupons for fresh fruit and veggies. I still price match every time I grocery shop and I do end up saving a good amount of money just from that alone.

  4. cara

    I totally agree!! I rarely use coupons now sadly because I found most coupons are for junky food and cleaning products that we don’t use. I do order a few here and there and have some tear pad ones but like you I price match to get the deals.

  5. jenn0021

    I’m with you on this. I have been using less and less coupons lately because they just aren’t for things we use. Since going gluten and dairy free, we have changed our eating habits drastically and I find that coupons and a lot of sale items just don’t fit into our new diet. It’s definitely a challenge to still save money but I do my best. Thanks for sharing!

  6. dena

    thanks for posting, we too have not been using coupons as much, as we find that there are not too many good ones out there

  7. Jesse

    I agree completely with your statement that coupons are more of a pain than they are worth. The only useful coupons I’ve been finding lately are for diapers and sometimes wipes. And not everyone has a baby.

  8. Patou

    I feel the same way , doing less couponing , more time for me and the grandkids . Always the same coupons are coming back unless it’s free . To read that now i know i’m not alone doing that . ( sorry if my english is not perfect ) From Qc . Have a nice day .

  9. Pam

    I’m definitely with you on this one; I won’t purchase a product just because I have a coupon. I don’t purchase convenience foods – I’m not criticizing or judging anyone who does I just prefer to make my own from scratch and I’m fortunate enough to have the time to do so. I like to know what is in my food and prefer to keep preservatives and additives to a minimum. We do purchase meat, hubby would just die (or thinks he would) without it, I could easily do without it. I buy very few cleaners, I use a steam mop to clean the floor and mostly use vinegar and baking soda for other cleaning.

    I go through the online flyers and compare prices and make my grocery list from the sales flyers. I use some coupons for cereals (when I can find them) and crackers (again when I can find them)and try to stock up when their are sales on items that we use often.
    I don’t have a cell phone or an iPad so I can’t take advantage of Check Out 51 or Snap Saves.

    I recently made the decision to purchase a weekly produce box from an organic farm, it is more expensive than purchasing from the grocery store but I want to try it to see how it goes;I feel good knowing that the produce will be free of chemical pesticides. Again I realize that the cost is prohibitive for many people and not an option for anyone on a low-income or restrictive budget. We may not be able to continue to do this for long periods of time either.

    I know everyone has to do what works for their family but I agree coupon clipping isn’t something I do much of anymore.

    • Jamie

      You don’t need a cellphone or iPad to use SnapSaves. πŸ™‚

    • Joy

      Checkout 51 now allows you to use a computer if you don’t have a smartphone.

  10. Jan

    Great post. I’m in the same situation although I still use coupons here and there. Just a suggestion- I know some people who use Ontario Natural Food Coop. If you have a buying group of at least 5 adults, you can order from the wholesaler directly. Apparently, buying in bulk is quite cheap. All the staples, oats, spices grains, nut butters etc. You’d have to check out there website. I’m thinking about starting a buying group in my area. Who doesn’t want good food, especially staples at a good price?

  11. Courtney Humes

    I too feel the same. I stopped using coupons about a year ago when I transitioned to a plant based diet. I got away from packaged foods as much as possible and also stopped shopping at Walmart as often. I still do about once a month for dry goods etc., but find myself at Costco, Bulk Barn, the Health food store, farmers market or Fortino’s instead. It is a shame that the coupons are normally for the ‘garbage’ food or unnatural chemical cleaning products that I do not want to eat/use.

    I can’t wait to see more posts on Cassie showing the sales at health food stores, healthy foods, as well as more easy and healthy recipes.

  12. Jodie

    I find the value of the savings on the coupon has gone down…seriously 50 cents on Tide? Yes its 50cents and if its on sale…but Tide is expensive to start with. Its not like it was that is for sure…and I am in the same boat, 90% of my coupons are used at SDM on sale items and hopefully pairing it up with 20x points days.

  13. Anon

    A question for Cassie:

    How has this affected your stockpile, if at all?

    • Cassie Howard

      Our stockpile is still a decent size, because we do stock up on things when they are on sale (nuts, broth, paper products, health & beauty items, crackers, honey, etc.).

  14. Ruth Ann Swansburg

    I am in the same boat! We shop at the local markets and I definitely eat way healthier now.
    I still promote coupons for those starting out trying to save a bunch. They are the people who still throw a $4-5 deodorant in their grocery cart…must help them see they do not need to spend that kind of money πŸ™‚
    Through meal planning, batch cooking, baking and such, you can save a huge amount of $$. We still stay within our budget, but have chosen to shop local whenever we can. Local butcher shop is awesome as well, for those who eat meat.
    thank you for the post!

  15. Shelley

    I was just thinking that the other day. I have a few coupons to use but my binder is pretty empty. My stockpile of shampoo etc is still full and I am trying to deplete what I have. I am not spending much lately while emptying the pantry and freezer. Guess I just want to put more money on my mortgage before the end of the year then build up my stock again. Miss the good coupons πŸ™

  16. Jessica

    After reading your article I realized I was hardly using coupons or checkout 51 anymore too. I used so,e brand saver ones recently but that’s it! For me I’m just finding coupons offered are not for the products I want. Similar to you I buy only fresh not processed foods.

  17. Nicole

    Have to agree with you and Jessica. We haven’t used many coupons at all lately because we switched a paleo lifestyle and don’t eat processed food. I wish there were more coupons for fresh fruit, veggies and meat but unless you buy the processed stuff to get them it’s very unlikely πŸ™

  18. Debra

    Ditto, here. I share my coupons by joining some coupon trains and getting back coupons from my ‘wishlist’. If I a product is free after coupon, then I give it to friends/family or donate them to the local women’s shelter.

  19. 050937k2

    Being Gluten free and mostly vegetarian there are hardly ever any coupons out there πŸ™ The best ones I can find are from the Healthy Shopper. They have $1 off Nature’s Path Cereals (including the Gluten free kind) and they go on sale for $3.33 – $1.00 = $2.33 for a box of gluten free cereal is pretty good! Nature’s Path is a great company with quality products as well.

    • Jen

      Just looked up The Healthy Shopper now! Thanks for sharing – several great coupons for my next shopping trip πŸ™‚

  20. Shelagh

    Ohh good there are others like me. I have found in the past few mths that there is NOTHING for me in terms of coupons. I am getting super “picky” about what coupons I take. Heck, I don’t even check the coupon boards at RCSS etc anymore. Although I did grab a bunch of the Jane’s coupons a few wks ago. I am lucky if I use 1-5 coupons a shop. I still do price match as often as I can. My family has a pretty good stock pile of food right now and we have been living off of that (replenishing when there are sales on the stuff).

  21. Sara

    I find your post hits home entirely I was so in to couponing i feel like it was such a big part of me, then if was tired of crap produce to price match and not happy with what we were eating. We also now, don’t buy any meat products, shop mostly at the bulk barn and Lococs my favourite place in the world for produce, and a speciality store for some crazy priced gluten free snacks for our daughter.

    I truly love your honesty because my husband and friends keep asking me what’s with the lack of coupons and I guess I never was able to answer the question with out feeling almost guilty that I was not taking advantage to some savings on crappy boxed food. I love your simple answer there is so few high value coupons anymore and our family is in a different stage of life.

    Thank you for your honesty!

  22. Sonia

    Yes, I’m finding the same. Most of the time I purchase what we use/need based on what is on sale. I used to use around 10 coupons per shopping trip. Now, I may use 1 coupon or none.

  23. Arteme

    I enjoyed reading this, although I personally feel like I’m just finally hitting my stride with coupons. I save $20-30 every time I shop, which I consider quite successful. I don’t buy products that I wouldn’t otherwise buy, either, unless it’s something new I’d like to try.

    However, I think it’s important to remember why one is couponing, and not lose sight of the big picture – supplying your household with things you need for the best value possible. Great article!

  24. Heather S

    I thought I was alone in this…It’s been a few months since I did a grocery store trip. I’ve been laying low on the coupon scene and fb coupons (I find it is a lot of scrambling for a few cents off of something, totally not worth the stress to be one of 1000 people that day to get a coupon!). I’ve been watching my prices and sticking to Costco for a lot of my groceries and Shoppers for their 20x events. With having the executive membership at Costco, it is enough for me to buy my milk there and save the 2% onto my membership for next year πŸ™‚ The only processed foods we buy now are mini pizzas, KD, and granola bars/treats for the lunch boxes. The rest is as fresh/frozen as can be πŸ™‚

  25. Diane

    Totally agree on the coupon thing. I usually look online for products like shampoo, laundry detergent, yogurt or sometimes bread.

    Just to let you know though on the Greek Yogurt – you are paying a premium when all it is, is strained yogurt. If you were to buy reg yogurt and strain it yourself with cheese cloth and a siv, you’d save yourself about 2 bucks and have a lot more yogurt. πŸ™‚

    Thanks

    • teachermum

      I agree–my son wants Greek yogurt (plain) but I refuse to pay the price. I buy the Astro or Dahl or whatever the other is with odd writing on it when they are $1.88 for 750g and strain them through a coffee filter several hours or overnight. You can choose how thick, almost like cream cheese if you wish! Easily 2 tubs will fit into one when you are finished. We then add honey or maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon.

      • SeriousSally

        @teachermum, I love learning something new everyday and your tip on making thick Greek style yogurt is awesome. Will have to try soon, drooling over the honey and cinnamon combo. Thanks and Opa!!

        • teachermum

          Have fun!

          And when you trip over organic baby food pouches for 50Β’, half of one of those also flavours a small bowl-full very well! Just don’t tell my son…

      • Joy

        The Greek yogurt has much more protein in it though.

  26. Connie

    WOW! I cant believe someone is going through the same thought process as me! I felt like that was me talking. In the beginning I would hoard all coupons and use them on everything and classify it as “snacks” for lunch, ex: cookies, crackers etc. And also, back then the coupons were in such high value that with overages I would get some fruits etc.
    Now, we eat much healthier and we try to stick to an all-veggie diet, and no dairy… therefore all the coupons that were GREAT back then are useless to me now. I have been noticing that I have brought my binder to a couple of shopping trips and I have used maybe 3-5 coupons (mostly on household items or vitamins)… it used to be 20+. I try to cut costs by price-matching the veggies (and yes, walmart produce is garbage) but like you said Im disappointed with the quality. I find myself going to 4 different stores to get all the nutrients we need at a better price: Fortino’s organic foods sections, bulk barn, walmart (for the basics) and sometimes the odd Food Basics or RCCS.
    I really do think that they should offer more coupons for produce… more people are going plant-based than ever!
    I think you should have a part of your website based on a plant-based diet. =)
    Thanks so much for your work and helping us save!

  27. jessielyn

    The only thing i used coupons are shampoo, toothpaste,and dishwashing soap.Yes i noticed the the value of coupons are much more lower.Once a month we go to a big chinese store because their veggies and meat are much cheaper and fresh than walmart or no frills.

  28. Melissa

    I’m doing the same, especially after being diagnosed with diabetes a few months back. I’ve got my stockpile of staples – condiments, a few processed things (canned soup, bagged pasta) in case of emergency, enough toilet paper and soap to last us several years – and that’s about it.

    I make our laundry soap from Fels Naptha (have to stock up in the States, I can’t find anyone who carries it here!) and use baking soda for shampoo. I go through about one roll of paper towels per year and use vinegar for most cleaning. We compost everything too, so I save a ton of money on garbage bags (plus I don’t need to buy fertilizer in the spring time). And I grow my own tomatoes, and have already given away most of our patio pavers to make room for grapes and beans next year.

    I spend 80% of my weekly budget on seasonal veggies, and I bulk buy beans and rice when they’re on sale (Cedar lentils this week at Food Basics, woo!!). We live simply and within our means, so the lack of coupons for what we buy tends to wash out in the end.

  29. Canadian Gal

    What a great article, Cassie! I was feeling guilty myself for not using as many coupons, but the reality is that once I went gluten-free, I just don’t eat the same way I used to! I’m not as good as everyone here in terms of staying away from processed food. I still watch for sales on items I actually want, and use Checkout 51 on a semi-regular basis. The rest of the times, I just buy fresh!

  30. Ann Freele

    I am glad to see I am not alone! My couponing has dwindled to almost nothing. ( today was a BIG coupon day to buy peanut butter, woohoo , 3 coupons used at RCSS), but my grocery list is also almost non-existant.
    With a 50×20 ft garden, canning, dehydrating and making bread products from scratch, etc…I find there is very little out there in coupons that I want/need

  31. JD

    I am in the same boat exactly! I started couponing 5.5 years ago and have I seen a drastic change in coupons! You are right, they are certainly not at such a high value anymore. But with awful shows like extreme couponing you have people who will abuse coupon use and therefore ruin it for other-hence low value coupons. So it’s not worth my time anymore. Another thing is that my lifestyle has changed. I now have a 6 year old and a 2.5 yr old and to take time away from them to search and clip coupons to save $5-$7 per week isn’t worth it to me. I’m glad for this article. I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t putting “all my efforts” into couponing anymore but now I know it’s okay. I’m doing what works for me and my family right now!! Thanks!

  32. kayla

    I never was a hardcore couponer, because, although it’s a valuable way to save money, there are better ways. my coupons are a compliment to my frugal life. A coupon to me, is only worth it if there is no cheaper option available. I garden, I wait for sales, I’m obsessed with optimum points and I apply for every freebie available. I make my own toothpaste, cough syrup etc all in the name of saving money.

    • Linda

      I have seen instructions for some things (lip gloss and laundry cleaning), but nothing for making toothpaste or cough syrup! I should search online.

  33. teachermum

    Welcome to my world!!! I never really have used many coupons for our family. Processed foods make us wheeze/sick so I never have used many. Most cleaning and h/b products have horrid scents so can’t use those either. I would say 95% of my couponing is for donations. I can’t use degree or lady speed stick as they have no unscenteds but the food bank is thrilled to get a bagful and I can buy tons if they are only 50Β’. Same for cleaning products (seriously I don’t know what everyone does with so many!!!).

    I shop the sales for produce, chicken, fish, nuts (we are well stocked with $2 cans of cashews from Food Basics now!) and staples, and use the bulk barn coupons for spelt flour and oatmeal. We get 1/2 grass fed beef order…and no there is nothing cheap about that! I hope to find a better source for chicken one day too.

  34. MZ

    I agree….it’s a lot of work for not much saving. Could Cassie possibly give quick run down of how snap save works. I haven’t heard about it until today!
    Thanks for yet another great bit of info!

  35. Amanda

    I am also not using coupons as much.

    I find that the majority of coupons I get are for cleaning, laundry or personal hygiene, and there is only so much stock piling I can do with that. Also I don’t use a lot of the products, so why would I spend money on it?

    What would be nice is if you could find more coupons for produce, meat dairy etc. It seems that the only food coupons you can easily find are the unhealthy snack foods that are full of preservatives.

  36. Susan

    Thanks for your honesty…makes me feel better about my shopping trips.

  37. TJ

    It seems ironic when this whole blog is centered around couponing.

    • Erica Ashley

      yet it’s not centred around couponing. It’s centred around saving money. Couponing just happens to be one of the ways to do that.

      • Theresa

        I agree with TJ.

  38. Nancy

    I find I use price matching more than coupons, because as mentioned there are more and more coupons for cleaning products and yes you can only stock pile them for so long. I also find that the stores are not accepting the coupons as they should be or as their policies suggest. I also use Checkout 51 on a regular basis and have started to use SnapSave but don’t have the hang of it just yet with how their deals work. At least with Checkout 51 your new savings are posted every Thursday.

    On average I save $10-$20 per week on price matching! Better in my pocket then theirs!

  39. Tina

    I stopped little over a year. I haven’t been to your blog ever since. I totally understand what you are saying. I just price match, use checkout51, snap save. I also find couponing very time consuming. I rather spend that time with family and friends instead of spending trying to save few bucks.

  40. Marie

    I do it most of the time thanks to you i save save and let friends know about it.Whish the companies that make health food would have coupons for their products.

  41. Maegan

    i decided to kick coupons about a year and a half ago because even though i was getting the good deals, i had to drive at least 45 min to the nearest store like walmart or shoppers. Now I only sale shop in my town, which only has an IGA and a Coop. I still manage to keep it un der 50 a week somehow though. And of courae i still use FPC’s cause it would be silly not too lol. I definately know how yoy feel though!!

  42. xzu

    I just wanted to say, it’s probably worth paying a little extra for the canned beans than to go through the hassle of preparing dry beans. Believe me, it takes hours to go through them all to make sure none of them are bad, not to mention the time it takes to soak them. Canned beans really aren’t all that expensive and the time you will save using them is worth those extra pennies.

    • Cassie Howard

      I thought the same thing at first, but we eat beans pretty much every day, and that really adds up in terms of cost.

      • Debbie

        I used to think the same thing about dried beans, but now I buy a huge bag, do them a bunch at a time in the crockpot, then freeze them. Easy peasy, super cheap and I like that I know there’s no sodium or anything else in there. We use alot of beans and I love using dried beans now. :). The main ones I always have on hand are black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans and kidney beans.

      • Amy

        Cassie, can you tell me how you incorporate beans into your diet? I’m trying to do that but find it challenging to find tasty recipes, especially ones the kids (4 and 2 yrs old) will also like. Thanks!

  43. Rebecca

    Wow! Thanks for your honesty! I too am a reformed couponer!!LOL!! I find I don’t use hardly any now. I was ending up with too much stuff we didn’t use or that really wasn’t that good for us. I cleaned out my pantry and threw out a lot of expired stuff and decided I wasn’t saving money if we weren’t really using it. I have always shopped the sales and use the occasional coupon but nothing like before.

  44. Teresa

    I thought I was the only one who was slacking on coupons, so nice to hear I am not alone. Like most of you I am just getting ones for cleaning products which I don’t use. I use water and a microfibre cloth from Norwex. Check out my website if you are interested. It cuts down your cleaning time by 75% as well as saves you money and the environment.
    I too would like to see more coupons for the products I use. I either shop Safeway, Costco or sobeys. I have already got $205 saved up on my sobeys card which will be used for Christmas time. I seem to fight Walmart every time I hand them a coupon and it takes them forever to read it and decide if I can use it or not 9 times out of 10 I can’t. So I just go to another Walmart and they to take it. So I’m either wasting my time or wasting gas. Walmart in South Edmonton common actually told me that they do not like ppl coming through the line ups with a handful of coupons because it takes up to much of their time making sure it is legitimate. So I had to ask myself is saving .50 cents really worth this hassle and ppl behind me saying not nice things (if you know what I mean).
    Thank you for the opportunity to vent.

  45. claudia howard

    Having lived in the states and canada, couponing is just not the same except for one similarity…coupons are usually for processed foods or cleaning products. I am a vegetarian with diabetes. So, I also stay away from sugar and wheat. My grocery shopping is almost identical to Cassie Howard’s (no relation…at least I don’t think so πŸ™‚ ) On top of all that I live in a remote town on the northern end of Vancouver Island so we don’t get tear pads, nor do we have much choice in shopping. But, I shop the sales and use coupons when I can. My favorite coupons are for toilet paper, kleenex, bladder leak protection, k cups and most of all Yves Cuisine and Gardien products.

  46. Shawna

    I am feeling the same way lately. I don’t use coupons that often. I realized that what I was using them for wasn’t the healthiest or best choices for my family and I. I would rather spend the money and be healthy.

  47. Heather R

    Cassie as someone who follows your meal plan to get ideas for my weekly meals I would LOVE if you did a post on your new vegan lifestyle and information in regards to that. I really love all the healthy recipes you’ve been posting lately. We eat lots of vegetarian meals around here, and I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegan, but have yet to take the plunge. In part due to a lack of knowledge. Good for you for bettering the health of you and your family!

    • Cassie Howard

      I will be writing about it soon. πŸ™‚

  48. Lumeena

    Glad to have read your article. I’m in the same boat. I suffer from PCOS and had to do a ratical life-style change to try to get healthy again. This means, I had to stop buying and eating processed foods. I now follow the paleo diet which means that I only eat real fresh foods, fruits, veggies, meats and fish, eggs, milk, butter, and nuts. I had to cut out all other things. There just isn’t any good coupons for fresh food out there….I almost think it’s a gimmick or conspiracy to keep ppl eating processed and junk foods. I, for one, am glad to have made the change. I still keep an eye out on freebies and coupons for things like vitamins, or toilet paper/kleenex, pet food or cleaners.I check my flyers each week to check who’s produce have the best prices and I always price match.

  49. Kelly

    I look mostly for coupons for things like Shampoo, Deodorant and Cleaning Products (yes we aren’t quite green) but as far as food savings, I do purchase Kraft Samplicious for usually cheese products etc, and I look for coupons for Greek Yogurt but I found Costco is cheaper for an Iogo products. But again I use Checkout51 as do others as well as I have my PC Points and my Optimum Points.

    So I wonder how much you spend weekly on food for your family? I have 2 kids 12 and 15 and a husband to feed and we are trying to get healthier but it can be quite expensive. We currently spend no more than $150 a week but I’m concerned about how much it will go up.

    • Cassie Howard

      We try to keep our budget around $500/month, but sometimes we will go up to $600 if there are a lot of good stock-up deals.

      • Kelly

        Even with the healthy stuff? I got quite a bit of fruits and veg and only a couple of (crap) things for my husband.

        I managed $91 today but I stocked up on a few things and spent $134 but got my daughter something that was on sale (special container).

  50. Suzie Irwin

    I hear that sister! I feel EXACTLY the same. We shop on the outside isles mostly too. Processed foods are out, and while we’re not vegan, we don’t eat much meat. We enjoy lots of Yves veggie cuisine (Yves? Are you listening?)
    I feel creepy as our grocery lists are so similar.

  51. Tania

    I’ve never been a huge couponer either and even less now then before myself as well, so I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. I still come on Cassie almost every day in case an awesome coupon comes out or a freebie opportunity!! I also find that coupons are not as exciting as they used to be. I still buy items on sale as much as possible. I love Mrs
    January because of all the saving tips!! yes couponing is one of them, but their are so many other interesting ways!!!!

  52. SeriousSally

    Cassie, if you haven’t already, be sure to scour the supplements section at Costco. In the past I’ve been able to purchase Chia seeds in containers(they came in a 2 pack, about the size of small peanut butter jars) for a very reasonable price. Oddly though it was sold in the vitamins section. And they also have an incredible selection of frozen fruits perfect for smoothies and baking.

    I’ve been loving Sobey’s as well, can’t beat 24 hour shopping and avoiding long lineups when everyone else is shopping during peak times. I also have a Club Sobey’s card. I’ve been automatically having my Esso Rewards convert to Sobey’s points and they start to add up pretty quick.

    • Cassie Howard

      Thanks for the tip about the chia seeds at Costco. I will definitely have to take a peek the next time I’m there!

  53. Pam

    Well I must admit I am disappointed with the comments posted above. Nope I generally don’t use pre-packaged items but lately I have been getting good coupons $2.00 and more. Like hey it was Thanksgiving, whipping cream was on sale for $2.49, you HAVE to have whipping cream with pumpkin pie. I had a $2.00 coupon so whipping cream cost me 49 cents. In the 40 years of marriage I can’t recall spending just 49 cents for whipping cream. I recently bought Black diamond cheese on sale for $2.88 minus $1.00 coupon from the back of a bag of milk. So I only paid $1.88 for a large block of cheese. Cleaning supplies with the exception of Toilet Duck I don’t use but this product regularly $2.99 is on sale for $1.99 and I have a coupon for buy one get one free. So I get two bottles for $1.99 and that is a savings of $4.00. Sorry I am couponing and loving it! And it won’t change.

  54. Karen Hanes

    Your shopping list and position on coupons is very similar to mine. I save a ton of money paying for a meal plan from Happy Herbivore which gives me a very smart plan with a shopping list so I don’t overspend on produce and stuff we’ll never eat. These meal plans typically call for wholesome real food rather than products meant to look like food. I’m now a vegan and save a ton of money not eating meat (I do it for better health reasons mainly). I have simply reduced the number of products I need for cleaning and don’t bother with many brand name items. The Independent grocers near me don’t price match but tend to have better prices than the health food store on other items I would buy but the Wal-mart across the street does price match and has the best deals on certain products and cat food. Between those two stores and Freshco, I do pretty well with food bills. I like to use Michael’s coupons for large specialty craft items but Dollar stores really seem like the best deals on those types of items. Bulk Barn publishes a $3 off coupon regularly when buying $10 or more — great for more unusual items that I like and can only be found there.

    • Karen Hanes

      I live in a smaller central ontario town that does not have a Costco so I always have to weigh the cost of driving versus picking up deals in cities or towns 30 mins or more away. Simpler living is still the most cost-effective way.

      We moved to a smaller town, invested in a property that was half the cost of our urban house, has wood we can cut down to use in our woodstove, etc.

  55. Brandi

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one! Your grocery list looks exactly like mine. I started clipping coupons but became very frustrated that there was nothing we used. I do find that the free magazine often given away in the natural foods section at Zehrs has some usable coupons for almond/coconut milk and supplements. Also, Earthbalance and tofurkey sometimes offers coupons on their websites if you take a look. Best of luck!

  56. Brandi

    …also a word of caution buying nuts from the bulk barn, check through them carefully. One time I accidentally brought home pantry moths as well and have struggled to get rid of them since. They invade everything!

  57. amanda

    My story EXACTLY. i was EXTREME couponing before (saving 50%ish per week) but now that i eat very healthy i doont really like walmart and like sobeys better. i do sobey, costco and bulk barn (with an occasional loblaws trip).

  58. Julie

    Hello Cassie,
    I know you use to buy whatever was a good deal and am glad to see you have changed your ways. You are a good role model for those you are thinking of becoming healthier and maybe you need to modify your site to reflect the healthier lifestyle you are now leading. I think it would be great to go to a site where I could interact with like minded individuals and see how they are saving money and being their healthiest too. I have always struggled using coupons because I do not buy the processed, sugary convenience foods that most of these big companies are trying to sell us. There are deals out there for healthier foods and natural products….I seem to find them a lot of the time. I would hope you consider changing up Cassie to reflect this new lifestyle!

  59. Lynette

    I also feel the same way. But I do price match at Walmart. Companies never really give coupons for things that we need, which is too bad. But I still manage to save about $100.00 a month on things I do use. Couponing take time and effort and is many times not worth the effort.

  60. Kim

    I shop in the U.S. because I’m at the border and it’s convenient and they are more customer orientated. For instance Target Canada is issuing a ten dollar card for 50.00 spent but if you use coupons it’s after your coupons in the states they give it to you before your coupons. Shoppers use to do this and changed there policy but things are slow in Canada. Cassie I do love sobey’s it’s like shopping in the states at Kroger.

  61. Nancy K

    Hi Cassie

    We hardly use coupons for prepared/processed foods now, too. I noticed that you have Larabars on your shopping list & thought you’d be interested in this recipe for homemade Larabars I came across earlier this month, under Vegan recipes at Leite’s Culinaria online: http://leitesculinaria.com/88638/recipes-homemade-larabars.html

    We are not vegan as we occasionally still eat some meat, but we definitely don’t feel deprived when enjoying a hearty root vegetable stew on quinoa/cous-cous, pasta, or legumes/beans with a nice fresh salad!

    The idea of coupons is to use them to offset costs of items one buys, rather than to spend more on items one doesn’t use (unless they are donated)! We all use them differently, and that’s okay for us all. πŸ™‚

  62. Sue

    I have been using coupons (free items, B1G1, cents off, etc.) for a few years now, but this is the 1st year I have kept a record of our savings. From Jan.1/13 to date my husband and I have saved $836.03. I think I will always use coupons considering that’s a good chunk of money in todays economy.
    We are also trying to be a bit “greener” and to eat healthier. Your homemade recipes for everyday items have inspired me to try making some of them to save even more money! Not so sure about the vegan idea but some of your healthy recipes are likely to made. Thanks for having an informative and fun website πŸ™‚

  63. Wally

    I’ve actually found the opposite to be true. I’m impressed with all the companies that are now providing coupons because of the increased use in them. Eggs, Milk, Meat, Baking supplies… I have never or rarely seen coupons for these and in the last year see them popping up more and more.

  64. Linda

    I have been getting more disillusioned about coupons. They have changed (or I have) and are for things that are not for our household / lifestyle anymore. I have been trying to get myself in better shape (organized, cleaning routine, shopping for only what we’ll use, etc) and most coupons are not geared for that goal. I do still use some coupons, but they are easily found (usually in the flyer packs) and I am not searching for a great deal. I have not looked through all your recipes, but I love the oatmeal (porridge) and make it and tout it to all who will hear! lol Anyway, thank you for your site and all you do. There is still much more than coupons here!

  65. Nancy

    I notice that companies are making coupons much less appealing and are not giving them out as much. For example Finish quantum used to offer free products with a mail in rebate. Now that us reduced to B1G1. Tide used to give $1 off coupons. Now they give 0.50 cent coupons. Colgate no longer wants to give anything when you contact them.

  66. Kris

    Thanks for posting Cassie. Will you be posting reader’s shopping deals anymore?

  67. Jennifer L.

    I’m completely in agreement. Our focus is on healthy food and non-chemicals products so coupons don’t help out much. I shop the sales and cook from scratch instead. I think the changes you’re making are awesome! I love seeing your healthy meal ideas.

  68. Marianne

    I’m blessed to live minutes away from a Real Canadian Superstore with good produce, great staff, and the most welcoming attitude to price matching and couponing you could imagine. Having stocked up on house cleaning supplies and toiletries, and working towards eating more whole foods, I do find I am using fewer coupons, but partly because I am usually buying fewer items … mostly my fresh products each week and then stocking up on one or two hot deals on non-perishables or household items.

    While the dollar value of some coupons has dropped a little, I am actually finding that there is a greater variety of coupons available, especially with social media allowing smaller companies to promote items more easily. There are coupons for many more unprocessed foods(particularly baking ingredients) and the specialty food market (including organic and gluten free companies) are coming onboard with couponing too.

    I still take my binder with me every time I grocery shop. But I am being more selective about the coupons I keep in my binder … just ones that I am reasonably confident that I will use. Like you, the others I store in a plastic tub to trade or mostly to give away to others who are just getting started couponing when I do a meet up to help teach others. And I can always pull the coupons back out of the bin if I find a steal of a deal I’d like to take advantage of to donate. (For instance, our family doesn’t eat All-Bran cereal, but I was happy to pull out a dozen $2 All Bran coupons I’d picked up left over from a coupon swap and use them to buy Jumbo boxes of cereal to donate to my school’s breakfast program when RCSS had a blow out sale with hundreds of the jumbo boxes on for only $2!)

  69. Joanne

    I still clip coupons, even for things I know I’m not going to use. I have two envelopes that I sort them into – mine, to be put in my coupon holder (but only stuff that I know I’m going to use) and the second one I drop off to the Food Bank. They really appreciate getting coupons for a large variety of things.

  70. avy

    I must say..i love this post. It was only last week i was thinking that the excitement of coupin shopping has gone out the door. Just like you i only clip ehat i need and i dont use all those chemical cleaners or air freshners. Being from the caribbean we have been taught to open up the windows and let the fresh breeze in. There is hardly any food coupons and certainly my caribbean heritage does not encourage me to eat processed food, we like fresh!

    To echo your sentiments, I hope I too will start to enjoy coupons again.

  71. laurie

    I fully agree, coupons are not what they used to be even 6 months to a year ago. I only use maybe 5 a week. Hardly price match anymore as the deals are not out there anymore. I love Shoppers Drug Mart and find myself shopping more there each week than anything fruit and veggies (wish they did) I find the deals there esp on food items quite good esp snacks for lunch and cheese, and I love they send me deals and coupons meant just for me, I can really load on the points using the coupons that are emailed to me each week. It is disgusting the cost of food these days esp here on the west coast, we do not have Sobys , RCSS I hardly shop at, produce is crap, line ups too long and staff unhelpful. I will shop a bit at No Frills, Walmart for a few things but hate going there now since they expanded the mall and parking is a pain unless you go very early or late or the line ups are long and not enough tills open I honestly dont get it that on a busy weekend afternoon Walmart has maybe 5 tills open do big companies not care that people are busy with life and do not have time to stand in line?

  72. sara

    i am glad to read this post because I never understood coupons. there were rarely any coupons for anything that I bought. if I do buy processed food, usually the on sale store brand price was better. I don’t frequent sobeys, just a local produce store, Costco, a health food store and the wonderful shoppers drug mart. if only one day there were coupons for carrots, not carrot cake bear paws….

  73. Joy

    Thank you for posting this and being so honest. I have always felt this way about coupons. My diet appears to be quite similar to yours now. I have never used packaged or prepared foods. I don’t understand why people buy jar pasta sauce when it’s so easy to make. Even if I get a coupon for pasta sauce I won’t use it. All the extra unhealthy ingredients isn’t worth it.

    I use Almond Fresh almond milk as I like the taste better. I often find coupons for this product so be on the look out.

  74. Eve

    This is an excellent post! I started couponing about two years ago when we could still stack. I also tried a bunch of things I had never bought before. As most new couponers I bought too much and then stocked up my adult childrens pantries. Now I am on a very strict diet. I seldom shop at Walmart anymore as prices are too high and too processed. I go to health food store once a month, Bulk Barn when the $3 coupon comes out. I shop food on three day sales. We have a new No Frills only a few blocks away and pick up their specials that we use plus they price match Superstore. I watch all flyers. Still love SDM. Dispensing fee is high but we get points and I pay for our many drugs with a SDM gift card.I see the points easily retrieved for food-eggs,cheese milk etc. I rarely buy processed foods anymore.So I find very little use for coupons. I still keep coupons but rarely cut out except the ones I will use.It seems every month I use less.

  75. Christine

    I totally agree with you. I have been making lots of soups, stews etc instead of using coupons for packaged foods. So much healthier. We don’t have a Sobeys here but we have been shopping the local vegetable/fruit store – buying local is very important to us. We are blessed to live in a farming area and I feel it is important to support Canadian farmers.

    I love reading your blog.

  76. Rose

    I understand why you are not loving the coupons right now. I stopped clipping about a year ago and took a much needed break. I thought I would start again so have been picking up a few but they are just not producing coupons for the things I use. I am having some health concerns so no more chemical cleaners, after all breathing is required to live, lo. I make meals so processed food is not for us, I recently have stopped drinking milk and switched to almond milk but I even make that as well. With a young family running about from store to store I have always been amazed by how you are able to manage your personal life and still have time to coupon, blog. Do not give up just take a well deserved break. : )

  77. justine

    love love love Sobeys, especially now that Jamie Oliver is involved and they are offering hormone free meats and poultry!! I like shopping in a place that is primarily selling food, not clothes & household items. I appreciate that their customer service is excellent and they have experts on hand to help with questions about the best cut of meat for picky children, etc.

  78. Sharon

    I am impressed! I have always loved your site, and do “cruise” the coupon websites and order the coupons that I know I will use. I also love the Shoppers Optimum program; my most recent purchase with my points was a free Nikon camera. I do find that alot of coupons are for processed “crap” that is unhealthy and not a part of our normal diet. We are vegetarian/vegan, and what most people do not realize is that it is far less expensive to eat whole, unprocessed foods than it is to eat pre-packaged, processed foods. Kudos to you Cassie for posting this to your site!
    Sharon

  79. Mary @TheFlyingCouponer

    Awe, I totally understand you. I still clip coupons but not as much. Quality of the produce we are buying is also very important. There is no point of buying a yellow brocoli, I rather spend more to make sure we get the full spectrum of vitamins.

    As usual, I really enjoy your posts and your genuine nature. xo

  80. Catherine

    Hey, so happy to hear you aren’t eating animal products. No matter what anyone says, I am positive it’s a movement! I’ve been on a whole foods plant-based diet for 7 yrs and although I of course wouldn’t purchase many of the product deals posted, your site did big time help me to purchase my necessities (like toilet paper, razors, personal items, etc.) for cheap and I’ve been saving a ton of money. As someone else said, it allows you to off-set the cost of some natural, good quality food products, and/or vegan(cruelty-free) products like shampoo and other beauty items. SDM has tons of vegan products and it’s very easy to get the points purchasing them or waiting to get them for free during redemption. I also see vegan products on clearout there.
    I use Wal-Mart for buying the cheapest produce for the week and only cook with those foods (your suggestion!) with the exception of some bagged greens/salads as you said. Wal-Mart has way more organic produce though now and for cheap! It’s worth paying very little more, on top of Wal-Mart’s already bottom-dollar prices, to buy organic. Walmart has organic potatoes, carrots, and apples. Some fruit as well but those are affordable and on the ‘dirty dozen.’
    The Healthy Shopper has some great coupons specifically for use in health food stores… although last year’s coupons were better.
    Loblaws has a good natural food section, make sure you always buy ORGANIC tofu, it’s $2.79 at Loblaws. Soy is a MAJOR GMO crop and you do not want to be eating that junk. I noticed you finally posted the PC Green diapers for sale =) They go kind of unnoticed but they are the BEST deal on diapers anywhere.. $8 for 40+ diapers, plus they are biodegradable and do not contain chlorine bleach that will seep into the skin of a little one.
    Natural food stores often have good sales and put items on clearance because of the expiration dates so always look for the sale stickers or an entire clearance cart full of food! Thank you for teaching me to stock-up during these times!

  81. Shirley

    So agree with you. I too have a basket of coupons that are probably expired. We have Thrifty’s on Vancouver Island – started by a friend and partner. Glad to see that purchase by Sobey’s hasn’t changed their quality. Pricey, but watch for sales.

  82. relieved

    Thank goodness, less being held up by the dreaded coupon cutters and check book payers. Its a drag by itself going shopping without you lot in front of us. Your 10c saving costs me $$$. Check if your store has a web page or mobile app for electronic coupons. I occasionally use this, get to checkout, click ‘coupons’, and its done. Be sociable and pay with a credit card to have respect for other shoppers time. Move on and get out of that store. Ps since 2006 your check is scanned and instantly debited from your bank account anyway so get a debit card or a credit card. credit cards are safer.

    • Heather R

      I personally won’t be taking your advice.

  83. Caroline

    Hi Cassie – I am still going through the motions with coupons -although I ditched my binder long ago. If there is a really good sale such as the WalMart Anniversary Sale with great prices on personal care products, I will make it a project and pull out all the coupons I have to stock up my reserves – this year, I used $53 worth of coupons on a $100 purchase. Otherwise, I only do a large shop every 2 or 3 weeks and focus on specials which I build my menu around. Menu planning, cooking from scratch and knowing what is in your pantry and fridge saves more money than coupons for items I don’t use…Love your site:)

  84. Ken

    As a newcomer to couponing, I read this post about one month ago. Somewhat startled by it on a coupon site, I remembered it and came back to it today. It will never make exciting television, but through this post and your other articles I have learned that meal planning, flyers, knowledge, creativity and organization are more important than coupons.

    Thanks Cassie….your honesty was my first hint that coupons were kind of a gift to be used within a larger framework.

    • Cassie Howard

      Hi Ken! I don’t consider Cassie a coupon site, but a frugal living site. So yes, there is more to saving money than coupons!

  85. Carolyn

    Great ppst! I’ve found this is so true for me. I don’t understand coupons for expensive household cleaners! I use baking soda and white vinegar, a few dollars for months of cleaning supplies.

    Definitely recommend using dried beans! I buy them at Bulk Barn and then make big batches and freeze small containers. It.makes it as easy as using canned. A huge savings for very little time invested.

    • Cassie Howard

      Dried beans are great!

  86. Lindsey

    This makes so much sense to me. I’ve been couponing for a while and I feel like I’m sometimes spending even more than before I started couponing. I’m taking your lead on this!

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