The Couponing Saga Continues

Nope, I didn’t forget about the whole topic of coupons. I was just momentarily sidetracked for two months. 🙂

I had said back in early December that I was hoping to give couponing another shot (see my first attempt) while I was down in Seattle for Christmas. Unfortunately, the sickness hit really hard during the holidays, and I couldn’t muster up the energy to try to pull together another big couponing attempt.

The truth is, I wasn’t all that excited to try it down in the USA again, for the simple reason that although it was fun to find deals and good practice for me in learning to find and use coupons, it’s simply not practical nor ideal for me as a Canadian. My real desire is to see if I can’t find some ways to make use of coupons in my regular shopping at my regular stores, to try to lower the cost on some items to free up some budget space for more wonderful, whole foods and to help with the continually rising cost of food.

My Recent Inspiration

Pc organics
A few weeks back, I noticed a little coupon book titled “Natural Savings” in the Natural Foods aisle of my local Superstore (Loblaws for those out East, and maybe Extra Foods for some others of you). I quickly grabbed 4 of them (if I had looked at the expiry dates, I might have grabbed a few more- they’re good until September). Though not all of the coupons are useful to me, there were a few that I will find useful.

For example:

  • $2 off Traditional Medicinal teas (I love their Ginger for digestion, Breathe Easy for head colds, and Pregnancy Raspberry Leaf Tea)
  • $0.75 off San-J Tamari or Shoyu sauce (I am moving us away from Bragg’s Amino Acids, due to the fact that the soy is not fermented)
  • $0.50 off Simple Natural (pasta sauces, salad dressings, etc. but what I will most likely use it for is organic stone ground mustard, which I love!)
  • $1.00 off any 2 Knudsen juices (I don’t usually buy juice, but it’s nice for an occasional treat, and let’s just say that prune juice is sometimes helpful in pregnancy- enough said)
  • Another type of organic tea, kids Kiss my Face products (need to double check ingredients in these first) and a few supplement coupons that I may or may not use

What sort of got me excited and thinking about all of this again was a deal that I ran across the other day while doing my grocery shopping… Nature’s Gate toothpaste, on sale 2 for $6. To my American readers, this probably sounds expensive, but my fellow Canadians may realize that $3 for a natural, fluoride free toothpaste is a pretty decent price. What really excited me was that I realized I had 4 coupons at home for $1 off any Nature’s Gate product. So, last night I dropped by with my coupons in hand, and picked up 4 tubes for $8! It’s not my absolute ideal, favorite toothpaste, but my husband and daughter adore it (the anise flavor) and $2 CAN sure beats paying at least $3 US per tube or more like $4 CAN!

Save ca
Another resource that I’ve been looking at Though it is based on conventional products, it sometimes has a couple of items that I would consider buying if they were a good deal. For example, the last batch I had sent to me included:

  • $2 off Sun-Rype fruit (or fruit and veggie) bars. Though I prefer to make my own fruit leather for my kids, these could be convenient for times like now, when I’m really lacking in energy, or for right after baby comes.
  • $1 off any 2 Catelli Healthy Harvest pasta. We usually eat brown rice pasta, but occasionally I will just buy whole wheat pasta for guests or when I’m doing a meal for someone.
  • $2 off Kraft LiveActive Cheese. Again, I usually buy raw, natural cheese from Azure coop, but sometimes I run out between orders and need to just buy something from the regular store. This cheese still isn’t my ideal, but having the probiotics in it makes it a slightly better chocie than some of the other cheaper cheeses available.
  • $1 off Royale toilet paper, any size package

Healthy shopper coupon book

Lastly, I made a new discovery this afternoon that shows a bit of potential. I stumbled upon a website called The Healthy Shopper, which is a Canadian site promoting a coupon book for natural and organic products. Turns out they have a large coupon book available at a local vitamin store (you can find out where to get your own on the website), which I am going to go and pick up tonight. They also have a fairly extensive selection of online printable coupons on their site, which you can access by forming an account with them.

So the Americans out there don’t feel left out (because realistically, you darling ladies are 90% of my readership!), here are a couple more natural coupon resources I know of:
Organic Grocery Deals
Mambo Sprouts

My thoughts on couponing within a whole foods diet is still this: The bulk of my food will not be bought with coupons. It will come direct from farmers and produce markets and grocery coops where I can buy bulk organic grains, beans, seeds and nuts, etc. Coupons might come into play with a few of my store-bought dairy items  (some cheese, cream cheese, etc.) or other natural grocery items (spices, soy sauce, mustard, pastas, etc.) and definitely for my toiletry and cleaning supplies, as well as toilet paper, the odd box of ziploc bags, etc.

I’m honestly not sure how far I will pursue this. There may be other ways to continue to look at stretching our grocery budget as things tighten up and prices raise, but I feel that to some extent, I have exhausted a lot of other possibilities (see this and this post for a detailed list of all the frugal techniques I use), so I’m game for something new. I’ll definitely keep you all updated on my continued thoughts on the subject!

How about the rest of you? Is anyone using coupons to supplement their whole foods grocery budget? Any Canadians? 🙂 Please share your resources and thoughts with us all!

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  1. I used to be one of those coupon queens and had a coupon for everything in my cart. But since I started purchasing most of my items from the outer edges of the grocery store, there are not as many coupons to be used. I even stopped subscribing to the local newspaper, because I wasn’t finding enough coupons that I would use that would offset the cost of the subscription. While our grocery budget has increased, we are eating much healthier and have MORE food available on a weekly basis than we did when I was using the coupons.
    I also still use coupons for toiletries, but I only need to purchase a paper occasionally to get the coupons I need for those purchases!

  2. Thanks for the info. We try to eat a mainly whole foods diet. Being on one income unfortunately does cause me to purchase almost free ‘junk’ with coupons.

    Sometimes co-ops and bulk shopping can’t be beat! Now, if only there were coupons for those items!

  3. Amen. I am glad to hear you say that coupons just don’t work very well for your family’s diet. I have enjoyed reading your blog – my family also follows a “Nourishing Traditions” diet, so I appreciate your perspective. As much as I want to be a frugal shopper, I value buying quality foods from farmers, farmer’s markets, and natural foods stores too much — and coupons just don’t help much for these products. Instead, I try to save money by making almost everything from scratch and buying in bulk. Thanks again for your post!

  4. I have had the same thoughts regarding coupons. There are quite a few good ones out there though and the best way to find them is to go directly to the website of your favorite products and look for them there. Organic Valley, Coleman meats, Apple Valley Meats, Cascadia Farms and a bunch of others have coupons directly on their sites. The other potential behind coupons is to use them to help others in need. Not everyone is as concerned about their food and would appreciate a cheap box of granola bars or cereal. I have been using my less and $1 deals and coupons to make homeless gifts bags for when I meet people in need instead of handing them change.

  5. Hi!
    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now. I live in eastern Canada and have found the exact same challenges as you while trying to keep a budget and eat as organic and wholesome as possible. Just like you I’m continually researching for new and cheaper options. Currently I am trying to start a buying club to be able to buy at the local co-op. Their website is I’m just waiting to hear back from a couple of friends to start. I’m also researching some CSA (community supported agriculture) and found two close to where I live that I’ll be contacting. What I’ve been having a hard time getting (let’s say not possible at all) is raw milk since it is prohibited here in Canada. There was even a hearing this week about a trial to a local farmer that was selling cow shares. So, it’s understandable that the rest of the farmers who could be interesting in running something similar around here are nowhere to be found. So for the moment, as soon as I have the buying club running I’ll be getting pasteurized non-homogenized milk from them.

  6. I have similar issues with couponing as you seem to have. Eating a whole foods diet, I just don’t see that many coupons for things that we eat. Truthfully, I’d rather buy in bulk from our coop than shop the sales and stress about coupons. Maybe I’m not saving the money I should be to be a good steward of our finances, heavens knows I feel that way sometimes.

    The thing about organic coupons, at least for me, is that I end up buying stuff that I wouldn’t buy. Take your juice example, just because I have a coupon and it would be such a nice treat for the kids.

  7. yay! Something for us Canadians! 🙂

    I noticed the natural coupon thing you mentioned the other day too and was SO excited as there were a few that I use in there too. Normally the few coupons we actually do have in Canada are for items I would never use, even for others like chemical cleaners or things like that. When I saw that coupon book I was so excited!! They were in front of the tea section, which I never drink really, but my mom was here helping me and we were shopping and she bought some tea, and there they were! What an odd place and I never would have seen them normally. I don’t even know what caused me to pick it up. I will be looking for things like this in the future! I hope to see more like that in the future too.

    Thank you for the other ideas too! Going to check that out more!

    This isn’t really coupons but another thing about saving on natural products…My regular store (Independent grocer…loblaws based chain) also has these sales that last 2,4,6 or 8 weeks but aren’t advertised in flyers. So many of my friends don’t notice them. They used to tell you when they ended, but unfourunately at my store they don’t anymore. The only way to know its on sale is to see the label on the shelf where the item is. No where else is it mentioned. So for anyone who uses this type of store there might be something similar in your area if you don’t know about it already. I know I saw it at my MIL’s store too in another town. Every other week its part of my shopping routine to go down every aisle that we use and scan the shelves and then stock up if something we like is on sale. Often this is the only way natural products are on sale in my store. Sometimes there is nothing good but it pays to keep looking.

    I wish I had more tips for you but I don’t, sadly its hard to get deals on good food. I will let you know if I ever come up with anything else relevant to Canada. I do use a lot of food co-op and farmer’s market type stuff when I can too like you.

  8. P.S. in your post you mention the coupon is at Superstore and a few other stores- all loblaws based. Independent grocer is the same chain. Valumart and No frills are too along with the others you mentioned but they tend not to have much natural products. We only have independent/valumart here but I know the others from living in other towns. Where did you find your coupon book in the store? Any tips on where to find these coupon books so we don’t miss them when we are busy shopping?

  9. Erin, I definitely agree about coops and bulk shopping! That is how I do most of my shopping, aside from my fresh stuff (milk, eggs, produce, etc.) which mostly comes straight from farmers and markets.

    Gloria, thanks for pointing that out. It’s true that you can often get printable coupons for items you specifically like to buy, by looking up the website of the company.

    Ivonne, raw milk is an issue where I live too. I’m aware of the farmer in Ontario and the legal struggles there. We currently buy milk from a local cow share (possibly the only one in our area, that I know of anyways). Last summer, we went through some legal stuff that it still not over yet, but fortunatley we are able to continue to get milk in the meantime. And it’s neat to hear that you are planning to start a buying club/coop- so am I, for the same reasons!

    Gwen, I think the issue of buying things you don`t really need or wouldn`t buy regularly is a very real one for using coupons. Personally, I won`t be able to do that much or I will blow my already tight budget, so I will need to make sure that I only use coupons that actually help and don`t hinder what I am doing. And yes, sometimes it can be more stress and work, but when dealing with the crunch of grocery prices right now, I`m debating whether it`s worth it or not.

    Nola, isn`t it nice to find things for us CanadiansÉ Thanks for the sales tip. I tend to find the same thing in my store as well. And the coupon book in my Superstore was in the natural foods aisle. If you don`t have one, perhaps just ask someone in customer service and maybe they can help you find one.

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