Five Reason Never to be Embarrassed if You Use Coupons

Coupons can be a great way to save money and organize your finances, but some people are embarrassed to be caught using coupons. There are still far too many people that place a stigma on using coupons with the notion that it’s beneath them. While some may look down on those who use coupons, that fact is that there is really nothing to be ashamed of at all when using them. Below are a few reasons that you should never be embarrassed or ashamed to use coupons.

embarrassed

You’re Saving Money

First and foremost, you’re saving money when you use coupons. No matter what your financial state, you should always be trying to save all the money you can. That is simply good money management. There is nothing wrong with using coupons to get a $1 off a grocery item or 15% off your purchase at a department store, and if you pass up these opportunities because you feel that they are “below” you, you’re the one with money issues.

Coupons Are Made to be Used

Coupons are printed so that consumers can use them. There’s no point to them otherwise. Manufacturers and stores want you to use coupons, which is the entire reason why they print them and stick them on food items, place them in the Sunday paper or send them to you in the mail. While some people do go overboard with “extreme couponing,” most stores have no problem with their customers using coupons because that is why they exist — to be used.

It Can Mean the Difference Between Buying or Not Buying an Item

When you are on a tight budget, using coupons can mean the difference between being able to afford something and not being able to afford it. Sometimes a limited budget requires that you can only get a certain type of product, but a coupon can mean getting brand name cereal or pasta sauce that you might enjoy a little more because you had a coupon. While coupons generally exist to save you money, they can also help you decide on whether or not to buy a specific item.

Items are Overpriced

Unfortunately, we live in a society where a large majority of items are overpriced. Most of the items in the grocery store, for instance, don’t cost nearly as much as their retail price would lead you to believe. Of course, marking up goods is how companies make money, but the price increase tends to benefit them much more than it will ever benefit the normal shopper. Using a coupon helps bring prices down to a more reasonable level.

It Can Help With Your Finances

Using coupons really is getting to the basics of personal finance. It gives you the skills to look critically at prices, decide if the coupon brings down the price of a product to warrant purchasing it over a less expensive brand, and all around helps with basic money management. The fact that they can help you get more for your money is an added bonus.

(Photo courtesy of Tuomas Puikkonen)

 

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Coupons can be a great way to save money and organize your finances, but some people are embarrassed to be caught using coupons. There are still far too many people that place a stigma on using coupons with the notion that it’s beneath them. While some may look down on those who use coupons, that fact is that there is really nothing to be ashamed of at all when using them. Below are a few reasons that you should never … Continue reading

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5 Food Coupons You Didn’t Know Existed

If you’re someone who constantly uses coupons, you’ve probably seen them for almost any food item that you can find in a grocery store. However, there are plenty of items that seem to rarely have coupons. These are general items the grocery store wants you to pay full price for, such as fresh produce or fish or meat by the pound. While coupons for these items are pretty rare, they do exist. Here are a few of the different food coupons that you might not have been aware of:

Milk

Milk is one of those items that is rarely on sale and that can be difficult to find coupons for. Milk substitute products such as soy milk or almond milk often have coupons, but the same can’t be said of regular milk. However, every once in a while a grocery store will have a coupon for milk. These are generally store coupons instead of manufacturer’s coupons, so you should keep your eye on store coupons instead of looking for coupons in Sunday paper. There are also promotional deal with breakfast cereals from time to time where if you buy a certain number of boxes of a certain cereal, you can get a free gallon of milk catalina coupon for your next trip.

Milk coupon

Eggs

Eggs might often be on sale at your grocery store or convenience store, but there is rarely coupons for them. This is generally because there aren’t well-known brands for eggs. Many of the eggs come from local or national farms, so it’s almost impossible to create a manufacturer’s coupon for such an item. But coupons for eggs have been known to exist and as with milk, they often come in the form of store coupons. There are also more egg brands trying to differentiate themselves and on occasion they will have a coupon.

egg grocery store coupon

Meat

You can often find coupons for prepackaged meats such as chicken drumsticks or pork chops, but it’s rarer to find coupons for meat from the butcher. However, searching online for meat coupons can sometimes land you coupons for a few dollars off meat by the pound. Additionally, you might also have better luck finding coupons for butcher stores or stores specializing in meats instead of meat coupons for your local grocery store. Like milk, there are times of the year when combinations coupons are available. The fourth of July and barbecue season you can sometimes find coupons for meat when a certain number of barbecue charcoal is purchased, or when beer and wine is purchased.

hamburger catalina coupon

Deli Meat

Deli meat is another item that is often on sale at the grocery store, but something that rarely has printed coupons. Generally this is because many grocery stores stock different brands of deli meat. However, while you might be hard pressed to find coupons in your local papers or flyers, you can try searching online for coupons for your preferred brand of deli meat. This is also a product that is sometime promoted with grocery store coupons.

Deli Cheeses

As with deli meat, sometimes it’s hard to find coupons for cheeses that you pick up in the deli. These are generally common cheeses, not the expensive imported cheeses that you’ll often find coupons for. However, coupons sometime do become available for deli cheeses, so you just need to keep an eye on your local grocery store flyers or internet sites.

While coupons for all these items aren’t nearly as common as for many of the products that you find at grocery stores, they do exist for those willing to look. keep your eyes open and you may be able to score some of these coveted coupons.

 

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If you’re someone who constantly uses coupons, you’ve probably seen them for almost any food item that you can find in a grocery store. However, there are plenty of items that seem to rarely have coupons. These are general items the grocery store wants you to pay full price for, such as fresh produce or fish or meat by the pound. While coupons for these items are pretty rare, they do exist. Here are a few of the different food … Continue reading

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10 Ways to Save Money on Healthy Food

A lot of people state that while they want to save money on food, they don't have the money to eat healthier because healthier foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, are too expensive. However, if you're a smart shopper, you can not only buy healthy food, but you can do it while saving money. Here are a few ideas on how you can save money while purchasing healthy food.

healthy vegetables

Purchase Seasonal Produce

One of the easiest ways that you can save money is if you purchase fruit and vegetables that are in season. Seasonal produce is much cheaper because there's an excess of stock which drives the prices down. Obviously this means that out of season produce is more expensive. So, for example, strawberries will be cheaper during the summer than they will during the winter.

Don't Buy Pre-Cut Produce

When you're at the grocery store, have you ever grabbed pre-cut fruits and vegetables because you thought you didn't have time to cut the produce yourself? It's easy to grab the simple, pre-cut option. It saves you time. However, it does save you money. It's cheaper by at least a few dollars to buy fresh produce and cut it yourself. At most, it should take no longer than twenty minutes, and surely you can find at least 20 minutes for that, right?

Buy Frozen

While there's nothing that's as delicious as fresh fruits or vegetables, sometimes they're more expensive than their frozen counterparts. Most frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen with all their nutrients included, so you're not missing out on any health benefits. It's also cheaper to buy frozen fruits and vegetables for the produce that's out of season. Additionally, if you buy generic or store brands, you'll also be saving a couple of dollars.

Buy the Supermarket Brand

A lot of big name companies try to market their healthy foods, such as low fat drinks or high fiber cereal, as being the only options out there. However, most supermarkets produce their own brand of healthy foods that are just as good as the name brand ones. Best of all, the supermarket brands are usually cheaper. If you're really trying to cut your budget when you ship for healthy foods, consider picking up a generic brand.

Grow Your Own Food

You might not be able to grow every type of food you enjoy, but it's perfectly possible to grow some produce or spices in your house or apartment. Growing your own food will help you cut costs and provide you with delicious, healthy food. If you're an excellent gardener, you'll hopefully be able to re-grow these plants each season.

Buy in Bulk

Many health stores, farmer's markets, or co-ops sell whole or organic grains by the pound. If you know you're going to be eating a lot of grains, it's probably in your best interest to buy bulk. For instance, a co-op might sell oats for $1.50 a pound whereas a can of them at your supermarket might run for $3.99. You'd be saving at least $2 for every pound you buy. If you buy five pounds, that's $10 you could save!

Coupons

One of the most obvious ways to save money on any type of food is by using coupons. If you haven't noticed, there are more healthy foods coupons being distributed. These coupons come from your local paper, online, or directly from the retailer themselves. If you're serious about trying to buy healthier options, keep up on the coupons that might be available.

Visit a Co-Op or a Farmer's Market

Farmer's markets or co-ops generally have the same type of produce and healthy grains that you would find in a supermarket, but for a lower price. You also usually have the option to buy in bulk, which can be significantly cheaper than buying products individually. Certain co-ops and farmer's markets might also specialize in organic or locally grown foods, which would otherwise be outrageously expensive in a supermarket.

Don't Shop at Brand Chain Grocery Stores

A lot of well known supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Shaw's, Safeway, or WalMart tend to have similar prices for their food items. Their sales might differ each week, but many supermarket chains have set prices to keep up with their competitors. If you're looking to save money on produce, grains, or other healthy foods, try shopping at ethnic supermarkets. Asian, Mexican, or Middle Eastern markets, for example, tend to have lower prices for spices, beans, grains, and other items.

Buy Unprocessed Foods

Processed foods tend to be much more expensive than whole or unprocessed foods. Unfortunately, many of them also tend to be unhealthy as well. Processed foods are easier and cheaper for retailers to make, but they mark up the cost of the item in order to make a profit. That's why that bag of shredded cheese might be $3, but the block of cheese might be $1.50. Processed foods are also higher in fat and calories, and something you should only eat in moderation.

(Photo courtesy of Justin Sewell)

A lot of people state that while they want to save money on food, they don't have the money to eat healthier because healthier foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, are too expensive. However, if you're a smart shopper, you can not only buy healthy food, but you can do it while saving money. Here are a few ideas on how you can save money while purchasing healthy food. Purchase Seasonal Produce One of the easiest ways that you can … Continue reading

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Bulk Buying for a Small Apartment

Bulk buying is a great way to save money, and there are tons of tips and tricks around the blogosphere on how families can use coupons, sales, and warehouse stores to purchase large quantities for less.

But what about those of use who are single city-dwellers? With a family of just me, myself, and I, and a tiny urban apartment, you might think we can't benefit from bulk buying, but you'd be mistaken. We definitely have to take a different approach than a family of six would, but we can still take advantage of this strategy.

Adjust Your Perception of “Bulk”

Bulk buying has less to do with the quantity you buy, and more to do with the time you buy. When you find a great deal on shampoo, for example, a family might buy five bottles and go through it in three months. But us singles? It may take us three months to use up a single bottle. In this case, “bulk” may mean just one. Buy what you'll use in the time before the next sales cycle, not the quantity you may see others buying.

Bulk-Buying1

Know How Much You Use

A single tube of toothpaste or bottle of contact solution could last you from one sales cycle to the next, but if you go through jar of peanut butter or a box of tissues in one week, you'll need to purchase several when they're on sale to avoid paying full price. When storage space is precious, use it wisely on products you use at a higher rate.

Use Your Freezer

Don't pass up sales on foods with quick expiration dates. If two gallons of milk are cheaper than one, or you find a rock-bottom price on cheese, snatch it up! You'd be surprised how much food you can get in a small above-the-fridge freezer. In fact, your freezer will actually run more efficiently when it's full!

Bulk-Buying2

Organize and Declutter

Find unique ways to maximize your closets and cupboards. Use shelves and bins to take advantage of vertical space. Use baskets and bins to corral like items together. Install hooks and over-the-door hangers to store items on the backs of doors. Even in the tiniest of studio apartments, there's often more space to be found than you might think.

Bulk-Buying3

Budget for Stocking Up

As a single person, your grocery budget is much smaller than a family's, which may mean you're plunking down a large percentage of your weekly or monthly budget when a great stock-up price rolls around. One way to combat this is to budget specifically for stocking up, rather than taking that money out of your regular grocery budget. For example, if your monthly grocery budget is $100, it'd be tough to shell out $20 on a single purchase of meat when chicken is at a rock-bottom price. But if you've set aside $20 or $30 just for stocking up this month, you can take advantage when great deals pop up.

Share with a Friend

Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam's Club often have lower prices than you can find at a grocery store, but buying such huge quantities isn't always practical for a single person or a small living space. Take advantage of these deals by going in with a friend, roommate, or family member. Split the cost of the membership and/or the cost of some of the items you buy. Note: if you're splitting the membership, the person who's name is on the card may have to be present for the other person to make a purchase.

Bulk buying is a great way to save money, and there are tons of tips and tricks around the blogosphere on how families can use coupons, sales, and warehouse stores to purchase large quantities for less. But what about those of use who are single city-dwellers? With a family of just me, myself, and I, and a tiny urban apartment, you might think we can't benefit from bulk buying, but you'd be mistaken. We definitely have to take a different … Continue reading

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Organizing Coupons on a Tiny Budget

There are many theories and tips on how to organize your coupons. A simple Google search will find thousands of posts recommending binders, plastic dividers, boxes, and much more. But one thing most of those posts have in common is some significant start-up cost. The last thing you'll want to do when starting to coupon is spend a chunk of money on organizing materials. Typical start-up costs could include:

Binder – $5
Sheet Protectors – $10
Money or Card-sized Plastic Inserts – $10
Envelopes – $3
Scissors – $3
Calculator – $5
TOTAL = $36

You can dramatically reduce your costs by using what you have at home. You've probably got a few extra envelopes, a pair of scissors, and a calculator laying around somewhere. Binders, sheet protectors, and inserts, however, might be a different story. If you don't have any of those on hand, do what I did: visit the Dollar Spot at Target or a dollar store.

What You'll Need

1 Envelope per store you shop at
1 Full size accordion file with five pockets
1 Coupon sized accordion file with 13 pockets

Organizing-Coupons1

Envelopes

For each store you frequent, write the name on an envelope and stuff it with the store's coupon policy and any store-specific coupons like Catalinas, ExtraBucks, or Register Rewards. Each week as you print or clip coupons, put them straight into the envelope for the store where you plan to use them. When you're ready to head to the store, grab that envelope, do quick double check that you have all the coupons you'll need, and you're off!

Organizing-Coupons2

The Big File

Label the pockets: Smart Source, Red Plum, Proctor & Gamble, and Miscellaneous. Each week when you get the Sunday paper, write the date on each insert with a sharpie and file them accordingly. Use the last pocket in the back of this file to hold your store envelopes, a pair of scissors, a pen, and a calculator.

Organizing-Coupons3

The Little File

Label the pockets with your 12 most used coupon categories. Use the 13th spot for any miscellaneous coupons that don't fit into your 12 categories. The categories I used were: Bread & Grains, Breakfast, Candy/Gum & Beverages, Canned, Cleaning, Frozen, Hygiene, Meat & Dairy, Office Supplies, Paper Storage, Snacks, Spices/Condiments & Baking. File any coupons you've clipped or printed but don't have a specific store or deal for yet.

Organizing-Coupons4

Using just these accordion files, you can reduce your coupon organizing start-up costs to as little as $2! The files are as portable as a binder, are fairly durable for their price, and look pretty discreet if you take them into the store.

There are many theories and tips on how to organize your coupons. A simple Google search will find thousands of posts recommending binders, plastic dividers, boxes, and much more. But one thing most of those posts have in common is some significant start-up cost. The last thing you'll want to do when starting to coupon is spend a chunk of money on organizing materials. Typical start-up costs could include: Binder – $5 Sheet Protectors – $10 Money or Card-sized Plastic … Continue reading

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Making Processed Foods Healthier

We often find coupons and deals for packaged foods like boxed and frozen dinners. These foods are cheap, quick, and easy to prepare, so it's tempting to make them a regular part of your diet, but they're also high in fat and sodium, low in fiber, and full of preservatives. Here's a few tips how to incorporate them into your meal plan so you can take advantage of the savings without sacrificing your health.

Processed-Foods

Choose Wisely

You'll often have a choice of flavor or variety when purchasing these items. Read the labels before your purchase, and choose the flavor or variety that has the best nutritional bang for your buck. I usually choose the one with the lowest fat and highest protein possible.

Use a Lean Protein

When putting together a boxed dinner like Hamburger Helper or Velveeta Cheesy Skillets, use lean protein like tuna, chicken, turkey, or even tofu. When the box calls for ground beef, substitute ground turkey.

Add Extra Vegetables

Find a quick way to add the benefits of vegetables to your packaged dinner. Add frozen corn to a mexican-style boxed dinner, or frozen peas to a bagged alfredo pasta. Have some baby carrots on the side with your pizza.

Watch the Sodium

Many processed foods are extremely high in sodium. Avoid adding additional sodium to these foods by skipping any additional salt or cheese.

Eat Smaller Portions

Moderation is key. Pay attention to the serving size on the package, and eat a smaller amount than you would if you were eating a meal made from fresh ingredients.

Plan for Fresh Foods

Be sure to eat plenty of fresh foods overall. If you know you'll be throwing together a boxed dinner that evening, plan to eat a healthy lunch.

For Example

I found a deal on some Velveeta Cheesy Skillet boxed dinners, and while they look delicious, I wanted to make them a little more nutritious. I bumped up the protein and fiber by using plenty of chicken, adding fresh chopped carrots and frozen broccoli, and kept the fat and sodium in check by keeping my portion size small.

Processed-Foods1 Processed-Foods3

While processed foods still aren't the most nutritious thing you can eat, by using these tips you can reap the benefits of a cheap and quick meal without sacrificing as much of the nutritional value. Add your own tips in the comments!

We often find coupons and deals for packaged foods like boxed and frozen dinners. These foods are cheap, quick, and easy to prepare, so it's tempting to make them a regular part of your diet, but they're also high in fat and sodium, low in fiber, and full of preservatives. Here's a few tips how to incorporate them into your meal plan so you can take advantage of the savings without sacrificing your health. Choose Wisely You'll often have a … Continue reading

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Recipe: Healthier Egg Salad

Egg salad is delicious on a warm summer day, but most recipes are high in fat and calories, and therefore not the healthiest option. I'm always looking for healthy twists on old favorites, so here's a recipe you can eat without the guilt.

Egg-Salad-2 Egg-Salad1

2         Hard Boiled Eggs, diced
1/8 c  Cucumber, diced
1/8 c  Carrot, grated
2 t       Pickle Relish, sweet or dill
1 T      Dijon Mustard
½ t     Salt
½ t     Black Pepper
½ t     Paprika
½ t     Onion Powder
¼ c    Spinach Leaves
2        Whole Grain Bread Slices

Mix eggs, cucumber, carrot, relish, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and onion powder in a bowl. Spread the mixture on one slice of bread, then top with spinach and the other slice of bread. Enjoy!

Egg-Salad

Egg salad is delicious on a warm summer day, but most recipes are high in fat and calories, and therefore not the healthiest option. I'm always looking for healthy twists on old favorites, so here's a recipe you can eat without the guilt.   2         Hard Boiled Eggs, diced 1/8 c  Cucumber, diced 1/8 c  Carrot, grated 2 t       Pickle Relish, sweet or dill 1 T      Dijon Mustard ½ t   … Continue reading

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Googling for Coupons

Do you ever remember seeing a deal scenario, but can't remember where? Or you know you saw a coupon that you could pair with a sale, but the coupon isn't showing up in the coupon database? Or maybe you can remember what brand a certain coupon or deal was for? The coupon database is a great tool, but it isn't always perfect. In that case, what do you do?

Turn to Google.

Googling-for-Coupons

Googling for coupons and scenarios can be a great alternative to finding deals when a coupon database doesn't get you what you need. Here's a few tips and tricks to make searching easier.

Start Wide, Then Narrow

Too many words will limit your results, so start by entering just a few keywords. Two to four should be enough to start. If you don't find what you're looking for, change up your search or add a couple more words. It may take a few tries to find your coupon or deal.

Use Quotes

Enclosing a phrase in quotes will search pages that include exactly that phrase in exactly that order. This can be especially helpful for brand or product names with more than one word. Example Search: “Hillshire Farms” coupon

Use Coupon-Specific Keywords

Using common coupon lingo can help narrow your search. Try abbreviations like “RP”, “wyb2”, or “BOGO”, and words like “moneymaker”, “printable”, or “ibotta”. Using the coupon value can also help, so try entering “$1/1” or “$0.75/2”. Example Search: $1/2 Ortega coupon

Use your Local Area as a Keyword

To narrow your search further, use your City, State, or Region as a keyword. Entering “SoCal” or “Atlanta” will eliminate potentially useless search results for opposite ends of the country. Example Search: Chicago coupon deals

Current Year (and Month)

With years of coupon deals floating around the web, using the current year and/or month helps narrow your search and eliminate expired deals. Example Search: “Duncan Hines” coupon April 2013

Use Site:

If you remember which blog you saw the deal on, you can enter site:[URL] with a few keywords and Google will search ONLY that particular website or blog for those keywords. Example Search: site:GroceryCouponGuide.com Hallmark catalina

Use Intitle:

Similar to the site search, using “intitle:[keyword]” will search only pages that include your keyword in their title. Example Search: intitle:Albertsons coupon match-ups

Exclude a Word

Searching for a coupon for one size/flavor/type, and all you're getting is an kind you don't like? Use a dash (-) in front of the word you don't want, and Google will eliminate it. Example Search: “Honey Bunches of Oats” coupon -tropical

Find Related Words

Add a tilde (~) before one of your key words to include it's synonyms in your search. Example Search: ~pet ~food coupons

Include a Fill-in-the-Blank

Using an astrisk (*) finds pages that include any word in that space. If you remember the product, but not the brand, flavor, or type, try an astrisk in it's place. Example Search: “$1/1 * tortillas” coupon

Use OR

By default, Google includes all of your keywords in a search. If you're looking for deals for more than one store/brand/flavor, use OR between the names. Note: the OR must be capitalized. Example Search: $0.99 produce Ralphs OR Vons

Find Related Websites

Want to just browse a few websites similar to a coupon site you love? Using related: will give you recommendations. Example Search: related:grocerycouponguide.com

I hope you picked up a few new helpful hints. If you have any additional search tips, please share in the comments.

Do you ever remember seeing a deal scenario, but can't remember where? Or you know you saw a coupon that you could pair with a sale, but the coupon isn't showing up in the coupon database? Or maybe you can remember what brand a certain coupon or deal was for? The coupon database is a great tool, but it isn't always perfect. In that case, what do you do? Turn to Google. Googling for coupons and scenarios can be a … Continue reading

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My Food Philosophy

To kick off my contribution to Grocery Coupon Guide, I thought I'd share a bit of my background and my philosophy on food. First, I'll tell you a secret: I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm by no means a food expert or professional of any sort. Aside from a 7th grade home-ec class, I've never had any formal instruction, never made money cooking for others, and never owned any fancy schmacy cooking gadgets. Any knowledge or skills I may have came from watching my parents, Rachael Ray, and Alton Brown, or generally experimenting on my own. The good news is, that lack of expertise or professionalism isn't a liability, it's an asset. It leaves me free to experiment and create things to my own tastes without worrying about technicalities. My food is my food, so if I love it, I've succeeded. With that in mind, here are some of the methods to my madness.
Food-Philosophy

Above All, Keep It Simple

Even though I love to cook, I also have a million other things I could (or should) be doing, so I rarely spend more than 30 minutes prepping any meal. On top of that, I hate doing dishes, so I often make meals using just one pot, one skillet, or even a single plate. You might be surprised at how even a fancy or flavorful meal can be made with a minimum amount of time and tools.

Substitute

Substitution is one of the great joys of cooking. I rarely follow a recipe to the letter, adding and subtracting ingredients based on my tastes or what I have on hand. Cooking should be fun and flexible, so suit your meal to your tastes and don't get bogged down in the details.

Eat Early and Often

My day goes infinitely better when I eat breakfast. Some of my favorites include waffles with fruit and yogurt, eggs and hashbrowns, english muffins and peanut butter. This goes for snacking as well; grabbing a healthy snack with a good dose of protein helps keep me in a good mood.

Spice It Up

Herbs and spices have magical powers. Sprinkling any of a thousand combinations into your meal can instantly transform food from lackluster to fabulous. Whenever I get into a rut, the first thing I do to change it up is to try a new spice or a new combination using the old standbys.

Indulge without the Guilt

I eat what I love, and I love what I eat. Anything less just isn't worth it. I plan my meals around the healthy foods I love, and then I eat desert! For me, half the motivation behind eating vegetables is so I can justify the chocolate later.

Bottom Line

Measure your success in the kitchen by whatever standard is right for you. If you're having fun and creating something you'll truly enjoy, then consider your meal mission: accomplished!

To kick off my contribution to Grocery Coupon Guide, I thought I'd share a bit of my background and my philosophy on food. First, I'll tell you a secret: I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm by no means a food expert or professional of any sort. Aside from a 7th grade home-ec class, I've never had any formal instruction, never made money cooking for others, and never owned any fancy schmacy cooking gadgets. Any knowledge or skills I … Continue reading

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10 Nontypical Stores Where You Can Find Food

While most people shop for food at grocery stores, supermarkets, farmer's markets, or local markets, there are plenty of other places where you can buy food. While not all of these stores sell as many items as large grocery stores, there's usually at least a small variety of food items. It's worth keeping these alternative retail outlets in mind as they can sometimes have food available for prices better than you can find where you normally shop.

drugstore

Drug Stores

Many drug stores or pharmacies stock grocery items. You can usually find staples such as milk, eggs, butter, bread as well as other items such as cereal, chips, pasta, sugar, or spices. In fact, in the past couple decades, drug stores such as Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS have heavily increased how much they stock in their grocery aisles.

Convenience Stores

Convenience stores are another places where you can pick up some items on your grocery list. These stores are generally a bit more expensive than your local grocery store, however. What's stocked in convenience stores varies depending on what store you visit, but there is generally a frozen food section and a selection of dry goods, toiletries, and other grocery items. Some convenience stores also keep a small selection of fresh produce available. More and more convenience stores are also accepting coupons these days.

Dollar Stores

Anyone who has ever visited a dollar store knows that they usually have a couple items dedicated to grocery items. Sometimes their stock includes brand name items while sometimes it includes generic or store brand items. While buying food from a dollar store is entirely a matter of personal preference, they do have a decent selection of food to peruse. Dollar stores can be a good place to stock up on items like cereal, spices, and bags of flour or sugar.

Camping and Outdoors Stores

If you've ever been in a camping or outdoors store, buying food is probably the last thing on your mind. These stores don't sell typical grocery items like produce or dairy, but you can usually find a decent assortment of dry goods. Some stores sell freeze-dried foods while others sell tubs of items like pretzels, peanuts, energy bars, granola bars, sports drinks, jerky, trail mix, and coffees and teas.

Health Stores

Health stores obviously cater to healthier food alternatives and supplements, but health stores are definitely another legitimate place to find food. While they items in a health store might be more expensive and not something you would normally see on the shelf at your local grocery store, this place is ideal for people who are looking for healthy or supplemental options that can't be found at a normal grocery store. For instance, they can offer baking mixes, soy alternatives, or energy bars.

Sport and Fitness Stores

Similar to camping and health stores, sport and fitness stores may specialize in something other than food, but there are sport and fitness stores that also carry food items. There will probably be fewer food options in sport or fitness stores than in health or camping stores, however. But there will more than likely be items such as mixes, energy drinks and supplements, or energy bars.

Discount Stores

Discount stores are also sometimes known as bargain stores. They're very similar to dollar stores except that everything is usually more than a dollar. Discount stores tend to buy items from larger warehouses or department stores and mark down the price by a certain percentage. These are the stores that frequently have 50% off or 75% off signs in their windows. Discount stores also tend to have an eclectic mix of items and the food items may vary depending on what's received in the shipment. But most discount stores do have a couple of aisles dedicated toward discounted dry or canned foods.

Department Stores

While department stores tend to specialize in clothing, furniture, and appliances, certain stores such as Marshall's, T.J. Maxx, or Kohl's do sometimes have a kitchen area where food items are marketed alongside kitchen appliances or utensils. Obviously each store will have different items, but you can sometimes find dry goods such as pasta and sauces, coffees, baking mixes, or spices.

Restaurant Supply Stores

Restaurant supply stores are generally used to buy large appliances or bulk items used in restaurants. However, depending on the store you visit you might be able to find bulk food items. Have you ever seen those giant cans of fruit cocktail or those giant jars of olives? You can definitely find those at a restaurant supply store. Many of the food items you'll find at a restaurant supply store are the same items you'd find in a grocery store but in a larger size or quantity.

Outlet Stores

Outlet stores are another great atypical location to find food items. Some outlet stores for kitchen appliances and home goods also have sections for cooking mixes or dry goods and spices. And some grocery stores or manufacturer's have their own outlet stores that you can check out as well. Sometimes outlet stores are cheaper than grocery stores, though you might have to be careful of expiration dates or purchasing only in bulk.

(Photo courtesy of Phillip Pessar)

While most people shop for food at grocery stores, supermarkets, farmer's markets, or local markets, there are plenty of other places where you can buy food. While not all of these stores sell as many items as large grocery stores, there's usually at least a small variety of food items. It's worth keeping these alternative retail outlets in mind as they can sometimes have food available for prices better than you can find where you normally shop. Drug Stores Many … Continue reading

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