When every dollar counts, even when you're spending on necessities, saving a dollar here and there can make a big difference. What we've noticed is that it's much easier to find coupons for foods laden with high-fructose corn syrup and products chock-full of chemicals. But over the last few months, we've learned a few tricks about saving on our favorite earth-friendly grocery items. Here's how.
We've been saving about $5 on every trip to the grocery store—and buying most of our necessities, from eco-friendly toilet paper to organic milk—using these tips.
• Choose your store carefully. If you have access to a large grocer, they're likely to be able to pass along savings to you with in-store coupons, and many of them are offering more and more organic products (even Whole Foods offers in-store deals and coupons). But be sure to check deals around town; local food co-ops, all-natural grocers, and bulk sellers offer an even more diverse selection, and sometimes cut even better deals than the big guys. We are always handed a coupon book at the local health store, and we diligently flip through to save on some of our favorites.
• Become a coupon clipper. This one takes some work, as there aren't normally coupons in the paper for the kinds of things we buy. But once in a while, we'll get a great deal on chemical-free cleaners, baking soda toothpaste, or all-natural ice cream. It's worth the look, we've found. Look at your local co-op or natural grocer for store-specific coupon books, like we mentioned above.
• Buy products with rebate programs. We found that one of our favorite yogurt brands gives you points each time you purchase one of their products. We signed up online, and about six weeks in, we've got enough points for a free quart of yogurt. Check out your favorite products' websites to see if they have similar programs.
• Comparison shop. We found that while our two smaller grocers offered the same price on organic fruits and veggies, they varied greatly on our favorite packaged products (locally grown rice, whole-grain crackers, and even our favorite granola bars). We make notes of where to get the best deals, and arrange our shopping trips accordingly.
• Shop in bulk. The one dry good we don't buy in bulk is rice (there's a locally grown brand that only comes packaged), but we have found great savings in the bulk bins on oatmeal, dried fruit, flours, and most of our baking needs. In one store, we even found the same brand of flour in the bulk bins. For a 5-pound bag, it was almost $8; in bulk, it was 88 cents per pound.
Now that we've shared our penny-pinching tips, be sure to let us know what you've found works for you!