Monday, May 23, 2011

Couponing vs. Whole Food

During the past year, I started following a LOT of couponing blogs and dove head first into the world of couponing. I did this for two reasons:

1.) I love bargains / saving money!

2.) I was enticed by the promise of $ 5.00 grocery trips.

Now, let’s be clear: I think people who can leave a grocery store with bags of food for $ 5.00 are amazing, but shopping like that is not as easy or as common as it looks!  They spend A LOT of time planning their trips, splitting up their transactions, clipping coupons and organizing to be able to accomplish what they do.

I started couponing several months ago. I went in head first, and I caught on pretty quick! I quickly learned what stores to frequent, what websites posted the best deals, when to visit stores and how to score the biggest deals. As I have begun my journey into the couponing world I have had a bit of an internal struggle with the whole concept.

Let me share what I am struggling with: 

1.) Is the stuff that I am buying, even if I am getting is super cheap, stuff I want in my home, body or belly?
Most of the food that people are typically getting for free or close to, are either full of gluten, dairy, soy, ect, or they are completely processed and full of junk. These are foods I would never bring into my home if I couldn't get them from free.

2.) Do I want to buy something with a coupon rather than buy organic, whole food that I believe is better for my health?
Am I choosing to buy processed food, that is full of preservatives, chemicals, soy, corn and sugar, simply because I can get them cheaper, rather than investing in good, whole food that will nourish and bless my body?

3.) Feeling guilty if I don't buy something with a coupon.
Have I started feeling guilty about buying whole, natural food, when I could have gotten a processed/non-organic option at a lower price with a coupon? 

Does any of this sound familiar to you? While it is enticing to collect a big stack of coupons and bravely dare the treacherous world of couponing, to emerge a money saving machine, is it worth the sacrifice of feeding our bodies real, whole food?

After a few months of battling the questions above, I have come to the conclusion that it's all about balance. 

I have made peace with the fact that, for my family, eating whole (mostly organic) food and using organic products is a bigger priority than shaving a few dollars off of our budget.

I am able to find some great coupons for organic foods and products and I use those every chance I get! Check out this site for some great organic coupons.

I also keep an eye out for deals that I can stock up on such a toilet paper, paper towels, toothbrushes, and the like. These are items that I can typically get for next to nothing, and they don't create any compromise in our whole food goal, and we save a lot of money by using coupons to purchase these items.

For me, I needed to make sure that couponing didn’t affect my quality of life. While I love saving money by using coupons, I hated that I was compromising on buying whole, natural food and was buying junk that my body doesn’t need. Also, I was starting to stress out if I missed out on a certain deal because I got their too late or my coupon expired. While couponing within boundaries can be a wonderful thing, it’s good to make sure you are not putting added stress into your life by engaging in it.

Couponing and natural living can go hand in hand! I believe it takes a healthy balance between the two, couponing for only items you would buy without a coupon and sticking to your guns regarding your beliefs!

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