Extreme Coupon Education: Are Coupons Only for Junk Foods?

Because they don’t tell you everything on reality television we are here to reveal the secrets of Extreme Couponing. TLC’s Extreme Couponing is really not about education it is more about entertainment. Our goal is to educate you and empower you to save money for your family.

One of the myths of couponing is that coupons are only for processed foods, junk food or food my family does not eat. Even though some coupons are for processed foods that does not mean I buy them all. Just becasue I have a coupon for cookies does not mean I buy them.

When we were featured in the New York Times Magazine many of the people writing in the comments accused us of only eating junk foods. This was baffling to me because in the article it talks about how we bought milk, yogurt, tuna and pasta.  At first it really bothered me that people would say that we only eat junk food. They have not looked in my fridge, toured my pantry, or joined us for dinner. How can they accuse me and my friend of feeding our families poorly? But I quickly got over the hurt and bewilderment and realized that some people just need to be educated in the way we save money on food and still eat healthy.

I wrote a series of posts addressing the following topics to help you get the full picture of how we use coupons and sales to save money and eat healthy!

All of the posts in this series….

If you have any specific topics on the subject of Eating Healthy and Couponing, that you would like me to discuss, please leave a comment. We can discuss in the comments or I will write another article to answer the question. 


  • Michelle

    I love that you touched on this! I have been a vegan for 2 years now and couponing for 1. I feel that I can not only save money but feed my body the things it loves 🙂 Looking forward to the new posts on this topic! Thanks for all you ladies do!

  • Christy

    Definitely interested in the organic/healthy coupon tips! Most of what I cook is from scratch with few carbohydrates and we try to eat organic as much as the budget allows. I’m having trouble finding coupons for these kinds of things. I see coupons for the organic cold cereal, spaghetti sauce, and soups but those are out of our budget. I guess I’d love to see more coupons/tips for the staples I need.

  • Allyson

    I look forward to eating organic with coupons! My family eats almost 100% organic, and I try to use as many coupons as I can. I definitely don’t save as much money as I would if we ate conventional foods, but I’m fine with that. I’m just happy we’re saving some money while still eating quite healthful. 🙂

  • Crystal B

    I’d love to see some tips on how to get produce cheaply. Fresh fruits and vegetables make up a huge part of my diet, but they’re so expensive!

    • Nicole

      check Bountiful Baskets online…lots of produce for a good price! It’s a non-profit, non employee group that runs on all volunteers, so prices are cheap.

  • Segou

    This is a great topic. What about a discussion on sugar-free and/or diabetic foods? For example, use the Jello coupons on sugar-free jello instead, stock up on Splenda when it is on sale just as you would regular sugar, and when pasta is free (or close to free) choose whole wheat pasta instead of regular white (this was an option last year on Albertsons doubles for example).

  • michelle

    some people use overage to pay for healthy food, at stores like albies and walmart, and some people use catalinas to pay for healthy foods, that they can’t find qs for

  • Sandy M

    I wanted to remind about Bountiful Baskets. They are awesome with half fruit/veggies weekly.

  • Susan

    Monica, I love that you are trying to focus on healthy eating too.

    I apologize in advance if this comment sounds harsh — that is not my intention — I’m trying to provide candid feedback, because you asked …
    I think that in order to change overall perception that coupons are only for junk food, you need to stop endorsing the use of coupons on junk food. Change your focus entirely to promote healthy eating on a budget. Yes, this would involve a major change of your blog.

    As an example, I will pick on Kearna, only because her post detailing her FM shopping trip came right behind this one and is fresh in my mind (no offense — I love Freddies and look for Kearna’s posts regularly because she provides great info in general). Trix cereal, Totino’s pizza, Grands biscuits, and Country Time lemonade mix — cheap yes, but all sugar and preservative-laden processed junk food! “Healthy” is a relative term that individuals interpret differently … the crackers and bbq sauce may be considered “healthy” by some but not others. The milk and corn are the only two items that I would consider to be healthy.

    Speaking for myself, my diet took a major downfall a few years ago when I “discovered” couponing. I was going through a period where money was particularly tight and I was grateful to learn how to cut my grocery bill. After a year or so, I saw the light and returned to a more healthy way of eating that includes very little processed food. However, I learned along that way that it is possible to eat a healthy diet without spending nearly as much as I did in my pre-couponing days.

    Thanks for everything you ladies do here. This blog is a great resource.

  • carli

    I just re-read the Times article and the comments. For one, it looks like many people have a misunderstanding as to how coupons work in the first place. There are some valid points, though. Most food coupons are for processed foods. And while the story mentions healthy foods such as tuna and vegetables, the picture shows processed foods galore.

    I still really like this site, and it’s definitely gotten me couponing again. In the past month or so I’ve saved money using coupons for healthy foods such as veggie burgers and frozen fruit. My real savings, however, come from the deals I get on shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. This allows me to spend money on healthier foods.

  • Mark

    I need to know how to get stuff for fifty cents when it normally costs 2 dollars. That’s just an example. I see like 2.00 off digiorno pizzeria at shopright but that thing is like 8 dollars to begin with.

  • Brianna

    Thanks for this post. I see all these 60%+ savings shopping trips on the show and the internet and I see how ridiculously unhealthy the food they score is. This is America and I am all for the choice to eat what you choose, but it is just not for me. It is much more difficult to find the savings on organic food but it is possible to save some.

    The truth is: YES coupons are nearly ALL for processed, sugary, and carboloaded food. It takes a lot of effort to find any for organic products. My tips are sign up for all the newsletters of individual manufacturers, follow blogs that post all printable coupons, use CommonKindness, and plan around your weekly circulars. If you have a local co-op, join their and use their coupons or shop around their specials.

    Those who want cheaper produce: Buy what is in season. Unfortunately, canned and frozen is where you can find the coupons (Earthbound and Cascadian Farms currently have coupons for any of their products). Right now there is an Organic Girl $1/1 salad mix coupon. My local store has a special on strawberries and if you sign up for Driscoll’s newsletter, you can get a $0.50 coupon. Use it where it can be doubled. Check out your farmer’s markets. CONSIDER GROWING YOUR OWN. Even if you have a small space, you can grow a few plants on your windowsill of berries, herbs, or any other small plant. Sorry if some of these tips are obvious. Y’all have me wanting to start an organic savings blog.

  • Lynn

    Can you do a post on coupons for vegans? I’m vegan and have a really tough time finding coupons. Also, coupons for personal care/household items that are not tested on animals?

  • north rop

    I love reading an article that will make people think. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

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