There Aren't Any Good Coupons – Day 52: Eating Well On $1 A Day


I've had a number of people email me saying that there aren't any good coupons in their area. Before I started couponing at the beginning of the year, I used to believe that there weren't any good coupons. I think most people believe this to some degree. I know that I had a lot of misconceptions about coupons including that they were only for newer brand products that I would never use. Little did I know back then that there are coupons for virtually everything that exists in a grocery store including staples such as bread, milk, meat and produce. If you believe that there are no good coupons, you simply don't know how to shop with coupons.

Another interesting thing I have discovered along this journey (and continue to do so) is that if you want to be successful with coupons, it is far less important what the coupons you have are than how you actually shop. You can have great coupons and if you shop like most people do, you are going to save very little with them. If you have mediocre coupons, but you learn to shop the best deals, you are going to save a lot of money over what you are currently spending.

It sounds strange, but it is true. That's because coupons are only one part of an overall strategy when you start to super coupon. Far more important than the coupons you have is learning to change your shopping habits so that you can take full advantage of the deals out there.

If you shop from a list of things that you have decided that you want that particular evening, you are going to save very little no matter how many great coupons you have. Until you learn to make your meals from what you already have at home (your pantry stockpile) and buy those food items when they are at their cheapest, you will have very little success with couponing. I think it is because nobody ever teaches people (nobody taught me) that it is the change in shopping behavior that makes all the difference to drastically cutting the cost of food that people find it so difficult to save money with coupons.

Loquat Blackberry Smoothie

Having tried and enjoyed blackberry smoothies and loquat smoothies to start of my day, I decided to see how the two of them mixed together and was pleasantly surprised. The loquats bring a sweeter taste to the drink and the tastes mix well (I feared that the two tastes might not match). I will have more of these in the future.

loquat blackberry smoothie

Egg & Hash Browns

Later in the morning, I fried up some hash browns and scrambled an egg on the side. I added a bit of milk to the egg from a suggestion of one of the readers to make the eggs a bit lighter and fluffier which worked well. Although it is a basic meal, eggs and potatoes (now that I actually know how to make hash browns decently)

hash browns and egg

Salad & Quiche

I decided to make myself a salad (I've never been a big salad eater, but it's also not something that I hate) and I can always use the increased vegetable intake. It was a simple salad with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and raisins. I then decided to top it with some of the Kashi cereal (kind of like all those salad topping mixes that they sell these days) which was a mistake. It wasn't that it tasted bad (it actually was good), but that the Kashi cereal clusters were so hard that it made eating the salad difficult. I also took a slice of the quiche I had to go with the salad.

salad and quiche

Veggie Rice Egg Drop Soup

I still had quite a bit of the veggie rice so I decided to make it into an egg drop soup. I added some chicken bouillon to water, dumped in the veggie rice and then added an egg which I stirred up with a fork as I added it to give it that egg drop soup feel. I've always like rice dishes from my time in Japan and this was actually quite good for how simple it was to make. I paired it with a basic salad of lettuce, tomatoes and carrots.

veggie rice egg drop soup

soup and salad

This is the current list of food I still have
This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Money Spent $37.50
Money left to spend: $23.50 ($5.04 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of everything bought: $1010.90

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The Beginning ::: Day 53: Squirrels Are The Enemy

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7 Responses to There Aren't Any Good Coupons – Day 52: Eating Well On $1 A Day

  1. Denise says:

    What you are saying about stocking up on the items that you use when they are on sale really works. To save on gas and time I generally limit myself to the two stores close to me that routinely have the best deals, however when I am in a different part of town for some other reason I will drop by the grocery store in that area. Typically they are of the mom and pop variety that have high prices generally but really good prices on sale items. While in the store I scan their sales flyer and buy only the sale items that I will use. Routinely check out the clearance section of the grocery store. I buy most of my meat on clearance. Many people seem reluctant to buy clearance meat but I’ve never had any health issues with the meat I’ve purchased. Seek out stores that cater to the health food or Latino markets they often have good prices on produce. I had given up on couponing years ago because it took up to much of my time. Your system and the economy has encouraged me to start couponing again. I have started to economize in other ways like making my own laundry soap, which I like better than some that I’ve purchased and shopping in thrift stores for clothes. I am saving for grad school and every little bit helps. I buy most of my meat on clearance. Jeffery, thanks for your help and ideas.

  2. Malik says:

    “If you believe there are no good coupons, you simply don’t know how to shop with coupons…” Exactly. That’s why people ask you for instruction on it. 🙂
    I know you’ve said you’ve just learned it yourself, but that right there is another reason you’d be the right person to teach a beginner course: you remember what it’s like to not know how to coupon effectively, so can address the issues and concerns most of us (newbies) have on the matter.

  3. Johannes says:

    A lot of coupons are not even worth redeeming. Think about the MCDonalds coupons: 2 burgers for the price of one. Sounds good? Well question is, whether 2 burgers is money well spent in the first place. One tip which works especially well in Germany is to eat bread.. delicious, healthy and a lot of variations.

  4. Beth says:

    I think the only problem with the Kashi topping was the size. You could put a couple in a baggies and bash them a bit until the chunks are more the size of finely chopped nuts.

  5. NS says:

    I can hardly believe the retail value of all your stuff has topped $1,000!

  6. Gail says:

    One thing I have learned here and have been using is CVS. They have awesome sales and coupons and then they send you even more via email! I couldn’t cash in my $5 off $25 as I was sick during the days it was active, but I cashed in $11 worth of extra bucks and got two big packages of Northern bath tissue. Ended up paying $1.25 per packege (12 rolls per pack)! Also at the same time got a free can of shaving cream which will be donated to the senior center in town. Any low income senior living community will be happy to get personal care products for the residents as they are low income already and anything like that helps out their budgets.

    I’ve been saving so much at CVS and as their computer sees what you buy then give you coupons that cater to your buying habits.

  7. Shirley Johnson says:

    How about dicing up your smoked Turkey Franks to add to your fried rice recipe. Your veggie rice, franks, onions, and seasoning and egg would make a hearty meal. You need to try to get a free soy sauce.
    I love your site. Thanks.