Welcome to Vegan Couponing Part II!
First, we’ll address a big reason many vegans don’t coupon, and then we’ll talk about paper coupons.
“I don’t think coupons offer savings on anything I can use. Aren’t they all for Hamburger Helper and Campbell’s Soups?”
To be sure, many coupons are!
But here are some other coupons currently in my binder:
8th Continent Soymilk; various kinds of cat food and cat treats (lots of those); various kinds of dog food and dog treats (lots of those, too); toilet tissue; various brands of allergy and cold meds (just in case); Barilla dry pasta; Bisquick; Birds Eye frozen vegetables; Boca; Burt’s Bees; several different brands of olive oil; cat litter; Del Monte canned vegetables and fruit cups; Dole canned fruit, fruit cups, and juice; Domino Blue Agave Nectar; Earth Balance; Eucerin; Florida Crystals; Frank’s Red Hot Sauce; French’s Mustard; Gardenburger; Gardein; Lubriderm; a variety of general-interest magazines (Real Simple, All You, People); Morningstar Farms; McCormick’s Spice; NaSoya Tofu; Ocean Spray; Old Orchard Juice; Ore-Ida; various pasta sauces; a ton of salad dressings and several salsas; Smucker’s Natural Fruit Spread; various feminine care products; Silk Soymilk; Tobasco; Tofurky; Red Rose and Twinings Tea; V-8 Juice; WestSoy; various personal care products; various cleaning products.
I would advise you to clip any coupon you even remotely think you might use. This doesn’t mean you’ll use them – but you might. I used to say, “Oh, I only buy fresh veggies and fruits,” or “I make my own pasta sauce and salsas.” But, once you see you can purchase pasta sauce and salsas and canned fruit and frozen vegetables for deep, deep discounts (sometimes for free), you’ll alter your opinion a bit. You’ll find that it’s actually rather nice to have a stockpile of canned fruit at work. And some frozen vegetables on hand for spur-of-the-moment soups. And those pasta sauces and salsas make super-quick lasagnas and tacos.
One thing’s for sure – when you have well-stocked cupboards, you automatically save money because there’s always SOMETHING to eat, which eliminates those last-minute trips to the grocery where you always spend much more than planned.
Here are some ways to find paper coupons:
The Newspaper. In Charlotte, that’s The Charlotte Observer. All you need is the Sunday edition.
You can pick a paper up at a grocery store or gas station, but be sure to check (a) that the upper right-hand corner of the front page says there are coupons inside (some Sunday papers don’t have coupons); and (b) the coupon inserts are still there. Stealing coupon inserts from papers is not uncommon.
You can also get a Sunday-only subscription which will save you a few cents over the retail price (plus the money spent on gas). The Observer often runs subscription specials, as does Groupon.
If you live in Charlotte and get a weekly subscription to the paper, check out the Harris Teeter insert on Wednesday. Recently they have been adding a “$10 off $50 purchase” to their flyer. Unfortunately, I believe it is only in subscription-only newspapers – you can’t get that coupon by taking a Harris Teeter flyer off their brochure rack as you enter.
Become coupon-swapping friends with someone else who takes a Sunday paper. Ideally, that someone would be a busy omnivore mom or dad (or perhaps a harried omnivore single) who loves canned soups, Hamburger Helper, and frozen dinners. You can give them all the coupons you don’t use and they can give you all the coupons they don’t use.
If you’re really fortunate, you may find someone who takes a Sunday subscription but doesn’t coupon shop at all! Often this may be an elderly friend of yours. If you accept their coupons, do the right thing and offer to pick up some groceries for them, too!
Magazines (Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping) used to be a rich source of coupons back in my mom’s day, but not anymore!
All You does offer a lot of coupons – usually $60 worth in each issue – but, unfortunately, it’s usually not coupons we vegans can use. They do have a lot of couponing and money-saving tips, though.
Vegetarian Times sometimes has an interesting coupon or two up front. Unfortunately, I think of this magazine as more for “Meatless Monday” people these days and I don’t think the price of a subscription is worth a couple of good coupons.
VegNews also sometimes has an interesting coupon or two. (This month: Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheese Shreds.) I’m not aware of any way to receive a discount on VegNews, but if you are vegan I think this magazine is well worth buying, even without the coupons.
Earth Fare usually has a barrel of monthly coupon books outside their store. Remember to pick one up and flip through it before making any purchases. If there are some good coupons you can use, pick up another booklet on the way out.
Whole Foods has their newsletter/magazine The Whole Deal on display in the front of their stores, which also has coupons in addition to recipes and articles. (You can also download The Whole Deal from online, but why would a frugal person waste printer ink when you can just pick up a few issues in the store?)
And on the shelves themselves, you will sometimes find little gadgets called “blinkies” that dispense manufacturer’s coupons. These are often motion-activated so they won’t release more than one coupon. If you want another coupon, simply walk away for a moment and then walk back.
Also, considerate couponers sometimes leave coupons they aren’t going to use on the shelf next to the product.
Next week we’ll discuss the wonderful world of online coupons! Until then, here’s some “homework”:
Check and see if there are any stores in your area that double coupons. In Charlotte, and most of North Carolina, Harris Teeter not only doubles coupons up to $.99 every day, they also sometimes have “super doubles” – doubling coupons up to $2.00 – and “triple coupons.”
Decide which stores to target. I don’t believe it’s necessary to drive all around town, searching for the cheapest deal. That’s just a waste of gas money and your valuable time. Pick one or two grocery stores and a drugstore. These are the stores where you will be focusing your attention. (If there’s a store anywhere in your area that doubles coupons, I highly recommend making that one of your stores.) For example, I shop mainly at Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, and CVS.
Go through your kitchen and make a “wish list” of coupons. What are your favorite vegan products that you buy – Almond Breeze, Soy Dream, Vegenaise? Is there a brand of canned tomatoes you especially like, a special sauce or seasoning? Make a list for next week.