An Experiment in Couponing


We're all after ways to lower our grocery budget, right?

Well, I decided to go back and make another attempt at something that I've previously deemed as not worth it. I've been asked before whether or not I coupon, and the answer has always been no. My primary reasons for not doing so are:

1) I live in Canada, where coupons are really not used to nearly the extent that they are in the US. It's time consuming, difficult and in the end, not especially worthwhile for the most part, though I'm sure there are many people that still do it with success.

2) We eat a whole foods diet, which just doesn't lend itself to couponing very well. When is the last time you found an add for $1 off a 5 lb bag of quinoa or Buy 1 Get 1 Free jars of coconut oil in your Sunday newspaper? Oh wait… never!

But lately, I got to thinking, what if it could still be done, to supplement and support a whole foods diet? What if you could get organic products you might normally buy for cheaper or nearly free? What if you could get some grocery staples like baking soda, organic canned tomatoes, ziploc bags and toilet paper for practically nothing?

And thus, my experiement was born.

This weekend, we will be spending an early Thanksgiving weekend in Seattle with my husband's family (to beat the actual Thanksgiving border lineups). While we're there, I'm going to go grocery shopping and I've been planning my couponing strategy this entire past week.

I'm a newbie at this, so it's taking me a long time. I understand the concept of coupons, working with manufacturer's coupons, store coupons and store sales. What is taking so much time is sifting through all of the coupons out there for foods and products that I would never dream of buying, to find the products that would actually be worthwhile to me.

What do you think? Is it possible to shave a few dollars off of the grocery budget by careful couponing of the items that work for me? Are any of you doing this (with a whole foods diet) with any success? If so, what resources/techniques are you using to do so?

When I come back after the weekend, I'll let you know how it went and what my thoughts are. Obviously, this won't be a lifestyle for me, being that I don't actually live in the States! I just thought it would be worth it to try, just for fun (yes, for fun– did I mention that I'm a geek?) and to see if it would be helpful for those of you who do happen to live where the coupons abound.

To be continued…

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. From personal experience I know that coconut oil from the regular stores is expensive and you don’t always get the best quality coconut oil.

    I don’t benefit from telling you this at all so not trying to sell you anything. I get my coconut oil from Mercola ( – I get the huge 1 gallon bucket and then I put it into a bunch of glass jars – we don’t do a whole lot of plastic in our house and it comes in a plastic bucket that’s really hard to open and close. Some jars are for the bathroom (cause we use it on our skin) and some jars are for the kitchen. This bucket lasts us over a year (just my son and I). It’s the best coconut oil EVER – I can tell the difference from store bought ones instantly.

    I hope this helps! :)

    Happy 2009!!

  2. Hi my beautiful friend. I’m loving reading the honest of the coupon endeavor and the challenge to revist something that doesn’t seem as if it works for all families. Back in “the day” I did coupons – we’re talking like 28years ago. We weren’t as savvy as the younger moms are today so for me this whole concept and pursuit of is still something I’m watching and learning.

    My oldest daughter just jumped in and she keeps telling me that the water is really fine. I’m still watching and I’m looking foward to seeing your progress.

    Hey…Merry Christmas to you! Love, Lylah

  3. Thank you! It’s great to hear from someone who acknowledges that couponing in Canada is tough. How do you find coupons in Canada? I live in Alberta and it is so difficult to find good coupons that I have virtually given up. The only coupons I seem to find are for junk food.:(

    Can’t wait to hear how your “experiment” turns out.:)

  4. I don’t use a lot of coupons either mainly because I find that they are often for the processed foods which we don’t eat too much of. But I do use them for toilet paper, plastic (bags, wrap, etc), toiletries, batteries – things like that -plus dairy items. Every now and then I might find something like ‘free produce with purchase of tomato sauce, pasta, etc.’ That being said & someone may have mentioned this – I still think we save money not using processed food even without the coupons. Good luck on your venture – I look forward to hearing how it works for you. Have a great Thanksgiving and travel safely.