Ask the Readers: How Do You Coupon for Fresh Versus Processed?

Ask the readers

This afternoon I thought I'd ask you guys to weigh in on an Ask The Readers question that seems really timely after yesterday's Couponing Resolutions Spotlight. So many of us are wanting to move away from buying as much processed foods and towards more fresh foods...but that can really be a challenge. So share all the tips you have for a reader who asks the following:

I have recently felt determined to eat more food that isn't processed (really, more produce or anything that grows out of the ground first :)). But I'm experiencing this weird "double mindedness" with couponing. I got so hooked on saving money, and now that I am trying to incorporate more fresh vegetables and fruit into our diet, I am really struggling.

I understand that I will naturally have to spend more money on less processed food, but it feels like when we mostly eat fresh meats, fruits and vegetables, couponing basically goes out the window. It feels like only once in a blue moon I can find a "produce" coupon (like $1/1 pineapple, or $1/2 pomegranates).

Do you have any tips on ways to save with this kind of dietary lifestyle? I would love to live in a world where I could eat organically and still eat on the cheap, but I know that's not the case. I would just like to start somewhere- mainly by eating more fresh food. Help! :)

I'd love to hear what you guys have to say - so leave your thoughts in the comments!


  1. says

    I don’t find many produce coupons, though there are plenty for frozen vegetables. I buy most of my veggies frozen with coupons or fresh in season.

    It also helps to have coupons like the $5 off $30 Winn Dixie, which I use at Publix (or the $10 off $50 Sweetbay which I used at Publix too). That money can be used for anything!

  2. Melinda says

    If you have items that are money makers like the sundown vitamins most of the time are, you can use t he overage towards fresh fruit or meat

  3. Melissa Allistair says

    I love this topic because believe it or not, this is why I started couponing and it can be done!

    I’m not vegan, but my husband and his teenagers are. So… here’s how I look at it. I know we are going to buy a lot of veggies and a lot of the more expensive organic and specialty food. Publix has the best selection, so that’s why we have always shopped there. (and the cleanest stores and nicest customer service too.)

    I use couponing the way I imagine we all do. Stack the manufacturers coupons with Publix coupons or competitors coupons, and then maximize it by matching them with BOGOs. This way, we save SO much money on the staples like pasta, soup, bread, beans, snacks, etc… after just a little bit you build your stockpile. Then we no longer spend on those items weekly. So we have room to get the main specialty products and veggies and fruits.

    We go shopping every week, once a week. Between me, my hubby, THREE teenage boys, two cats, and a dog…. I’ve taken almost $90 a week off a $225 grocery bill. This week, the sales and coupons are so good that our bill is going to be about $80. And I just started this after Thanksgiving. I didn’t think I could do it, but you really can!

    Now, one thing I can’t help on is the cost of fresh meat and chicken. We rarely buy that, obviously. So hopefully others will chime in. : ) But the tofu and the Boca stuff we buy is about the same cost. It’s just a numbers game, isn’t it? You can do it and eat healthier than ever. Good luck.

    • Ash says

      See if you have a Trader Joes nearby. They have a pretty good selection of vegan foods and they even have list that you can ask for that have all their vegan foods…it makes shopping easier! It can be annoying sometimes to have and check all labels of new foods you want to buy just to make sure they are vegan. I love Trader Joe’s list. Their prices are pretty good too.

      • Melissa Allistair says

        I wish we did have Trader Joe’s but nope. : ( Maybe I will start an email campaign to get one in the Tampa Bay area. I had almost forgotten about them, thanks for the reminder!

  4. Sherri says

    You have a great point and that is something we have been struggling with. “quality of the food “. The way I try to balance it is get the basic shelf items needed at Publix and maybe a treat or two with my great publix deals, then I shop at smaller local stores that sell produce for less, and meat market for meats. (though some I get at Publix on sale)
    I still can get the non food Publix items – paper goods, toiletries for freebies, and when I feel the urge to just get that free ‘processed’ item because it is such a deal, I feel even better when I donate it to our local food pantry.

  5. Linda says

    I agree with Denise on buying frozen and using competitors coupons when your grocery store accepts them to discount your total cost of food. Other alternatives:

    Grow your own vegetables and herbs.
    Look for local farm stands/organic farms.

    Of course, anytime you have a restricted diet, or you just want to eat healthy you are going to pay a little extra because sales may not reflect your purchasing needs.

    I do not buy a great deal of processed food, and when I do, I only make it maybe twice a month. Usually, I prepare food myself, and try to include fresh vegetables (such as a salad). I coupon as well, and the money I save on sale items, and using coupons allows me to purchase healthier options.

    I shop for a family of 4 which includes teenagers. I limit junk food and we all are healthy and live active lifestyles. It is hard today to eat healthy, especially with rising food costs. However, it can be done. In addition, I would highly recommend supplementing your diet with a good multivitamin, that is what we do here.

    • Ramona says

      I agree with you, Linda. I use frozen veggies and I even have my own garden to grow fresh veggies as well. I have a family of seven and I try to make sure we eat healthy balanced meals. The savings on toiletries can be used for fresh fruits and veggies as well.

  6. Kristin says

    My suggestion on produce – is to check out Aldi (if you have one near you – they are slowly moving into the southern states). They are a no-frills store and their produce prices are fantastic – but they don’t have a huge selection, like Publix. I shop produce first at Aldi then everything else at Publix (filling in with other produce that Aldi does not carry). For example before Christmas Publix had fresh pineapple for $1.99 – Aldi had them for .99 cents. Publix has baby carrots for 1.29 Aldi had them on sale for .59 cents. Last week they had a 2.5lb bag of sweet potatos for .79 cents.

  7. linda says

    If you want to eat whole foods you have to be more realistic about your budget.Fruits and veggies are more expensive then processed foods.
    I get all my produce from the farmers market and Aldi,every week at least 30 to 40 dollars worth. But we ear salads every day and fruit is always plentiful. We eat 15 lbs of apples a week and about 10 lbs of oranges. Also berries of all kinds and melons. I think in the long run it pays back because nobody in my house is ever sick so we save a lot on medications and doctors bills.
    We eat small portions of meat and plenty of legumes and eggs.
    I know it is very tempting to look at all the savings other people rake up but I think it is more important to save and still eat healthy.
    As far as the money maker vitamins, I rather get my vitamins the natural way, through fruits and veggies and I do not want loads of stuff in my house nobody uses and it is increasingly difficult to donate those items.Do not want to be the cause of a landfill full of vitamin bottles,but to each their own.
    Total I spent $80 a week for a family of four( 2 teenager) that eats very healthy and always has a lot of friends over for dinner.
    Good luck with finding a happy medium that works for your family.

  8. Leah says

    We have switched to eating more of an organic, non-GMO, fresh food diet and we do spend more now. But, I am still able to save at least 50% overall by focusing on getting lots of moneymakers and using the overage towards the items we eat. I donate the moneymakers. I also try to break up my shopping trips into $30 increments so I can use lots of the $5 off $30 Winn Dixie coupons. And I focus on really saving on health, beauty and household items so that frees up money to go towards fresh produce, organic dairy products, plus grassfed beef and free-range chicken (ordered directly from the farm). Also, I have a freezer in the garage, so I can stock up on really awesome deals. Then if the deals aren’t so good one week, I’m only buying produce and milk and using my stockpile.

    • Laura S says

      I shop the same EXACT way! I’m in South Florida-TRUE BOGO and no doubles which is challenge itself to extreme coupon. It really was a lot more fun to save loads of money by buying up every deal in the grocery store but you can’t beat a clear mind and healthy body. Organic is expensive but for me its worth every penny. I use my $5/$30 Winn-Dixie coupons every single time I can. I buy MM’s just because it will help me buy organic apples at the store. The rest I give to my friends that aren’t into organic. Its a new thrill to get my total up to $30 and make money on vitamins so that once I use my $5 off I have $7 to spend on veggies and fruit! Its double the thrill now that I’m on a juice detox!

      • Leah says

        Laura, I’m in Central Florida, so also True BOGO and no doubling. If you want to eat healthy, you can find a way to pay for it! I also do online surveys and use things like iBotta to get extra cash which frees up a few dollars each week from somewhere else in my budget to go towards organic food. I haven’t tried a juice detox yet, but we do green smoothies most days. My two year old loves them. He calls them “ice cream”. He also eats lots of fruits and some veggies. This winter he’s only been sick once while his friends have been sick 3, 4, 5 times already.

      • roxy says

        The Enjoy the City coupon books each have 4 $5/$30 Winn Dixie coupons. There are some good deals for the books, so it’s worth it to buy more than one.

  9. Ash says

    I second Aldis. You aren’t going to find organic there but their prices are fantastic. I also get produce from Trader Joes. Their prices are pretty good too

    • Margaret S says

      ALDI for sure on staples and produce…then off to publix for everything else!!! AND Actually… Aldi owns Trader Joe’s… and sometimes they DO have organic items at Aldi. I came across Organic strawberries and tomatoes not long ago at Aldi… You just never know what you will come across!

  10. Karina says

    While Publix does have a decent produce selection, I find it is defeated, hands down, by local produce markets. Living in South Florida, it does not take long to find a good produce market. My local produce market even sells spring mix by the pound (currently $3.99 lb). Even with coupons, Publix price could not compete with this market. To top it off, they have bulk buy deals (by the planter bucket) that allows me to stock up on cheaper in-season fruits & veggies. I take advantage and freeze those that handle that process well.
    If you are in an area that doesn’t have a lot of produce markets and have a black thumb when it comes to gardening (like me), try craiglist. Where my family lives (NC) it doesn’t take long to find someone unloading extras from their garden.

    • Laura S says

      I am going to my first farmer’s market on Saturday. I live in S. FL too! I buy MM’s at Publix, use my $5/$30 and put what I can towards organic produce there but I am so looking forward to Saturday. I went to buy kale (in season right now!) at Publix. No organic kale was the first disappointment. The next shocker was that the “fresh kale” they had was from MEXICO! No thanks. Local is for me too.

      • Karina says

        I live in Boynton Beach and use a fresh market in Lake Worth, called Rorobecks. I found silver queen corn at the Swap Shop, also in Lake Worth, this past weekend. It brought back childhood memories in NC, running through the fields and bringing home ears for my mother to fix. Evidently I was a rotten child that thought the corn was there for the taking.

        • Deb says

          hey S Fl girls! My family just moved here from IL about 4 months ago. I am so excited to see other people in my area- BB/ Lake Worth. I can’t wait to check out Rorobecks. Thanks for the name! I just googled it in another page.

      • irene says

        I’m in GA and grow collards instead of kale — same family of plants with similar taste. They were started from a packet of seeds for $1 and they are growing like crazy. Plus, you can harvest as needed without getting a whole bunch at once. Give it a try! :)

    • Jennifer says

      Hi Karina, where in SFL is this market? What’s the name so I can look it up too…that sounds like a great deal!


  11. jiki says

    Well, we rarely get produce coupon once in halfmoon or fullmoon day. i wud suggest for bigger families to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk from costco or any wholesale. also keep an eye on Publix sale every week. dey have the best sale and best price and BOGO on vegetables and fruits according to the season.

  12. Fort Myers says

    Growing some of your own fresh veggies and fruits helps, but no geographic area, except perhaps parts of California, allows year round variety of fresh fruits and veggies. With my biology background I am far from convinced about any special virtue of organic produce, but I am careful about washing those items that don’t get peeled. Frozen foods are often picked riper and have more flavor because they immediately get frozen rather than kept cool for weeks/months while they are shipped around the country. If you buy frozen veggies and fruits without the sauces and such you are staying away from the various preservatives pretty well. And indeed there are coupons for those as well as frequent Publix sales. Small groceries and produce stands most frequently have locally grown fruits and veggies in season, but watch the display boxes. In the height of tomato season here they were still buying produce from the other side of the country as those ‘gassed greens’ were still less expensive at the wholesale produce market.

    Realize that ‘fresh meats’ ship rock hard because of some oddity that says that meats kept above 28 degrees (or some such sub freezing number) are considered ‘fresh’ while ‘frozen’ must be kept below 30 degrees (or some such). It is a question of semantics whether that rock hard ‘fresh’ turkey or chicken breast is frozen or not. I am more likely to buy frozen product than fresh in the absence of a sale, especially in seafood and poultry. I don’t need to pay a premium for someone to thaw it out for me, and frozen is more likely to be couponed.

  13. Sarah says

    I shop at Aldi for vegetables and fruit. Today, cucumbers were .25 each and a 3lb bag of fuji apples 1.99, flat leaf spinach .99, bananas .44cents a lb. tangerines 1.49 for 3-lb bag. I don’t buy vegetables or fruit at Publix since I get better deals at Aldi every week. I did use an Ocean Spray cranberry coupon at Publix in November and got a bag for .49. I bought two hams today at Aldi since they had the hams 1.49lb and 2.00 off at the cash register which makes them even cheaper per lb. Krogers has Simple Truth brand which I have not bought any and Aldi has SimplyNature which is organic. I have not bought any because of the prices have not come low enough. Maybe Krogers will have some store coupons to make organic food a better deal.

    • Jennifer says

      Kroger actually does have a lot of digital organic Simple Truth coupons to load to your card right now. I know because my daughter has a dairy allergy and every week I have to buy 3 half gallons of soy milk, and they had a .50 coupon for it. I also saw one for beans. I think it’s awesome that Aldi’s is now carrying the Simply Nature line as I don’t know when my area will ever get a Trader Joe’s. There is one in Atlanta but I’m not driving an hour+ to get there. Check the Kroger website though because there should be Simple Truth coupons on there still.

    • Jennifer says

      Kroger does have coupons for their organic house brand. Right now there are a bunch of digital coupons to load to your shopper card for the Simple Truth brand. I loaded one for beans and one for Soy milk because my daughter can’t have dairy. I like their Simple Truth brand. I see that Aldi’s now has Simply Nature which I would like to try. I would go to Trader Joe’s but it’s over an hour for me.

  14. says

    It seems like everyone sees the value of shopping at Aldi for produce. I noticed this morning that they were stocking some organic apples. They were more expensive, though. Occasionally there are produce tie-ins with cereal as well. The Dekalb Farmers Market and Super H Mart sometimes have good deals on fruit. Usually, you’ll get better prices at Dekalb if you buy the pre-bagged produce.

  15. Melanie K says

    If your Publix store accepts competitor $X/$XX coupons, use those. Whenever there are items that are free or moneymaker, buy them (whether you will use them or not) to get closer to the purchase requirement of the, let’s say, $5/$30 coupon. For example, if you could put together a $30 shopping list that included $20 worth of free items, that means that the $5 comes off the remaining $10 of produce or meat on your list. So you get the meat and produce for half price, and you can donate the items you won’t use that you got for free.

  16. laura says

    Couponing has helped me save money on everything! However, my bill every week is still huge when I look at some of the totals on here. I spend on average about $150 per week for everything for a family of three, two dogs and a cat. I used to spend about $350 before I started couponing. We eat fresh fruits and veg everyday and I cook pretty much every day too. We eat a lot of natural/organic foods. I think couponing can be done and still eat healthy. The thing is it’s just more expensive to eat well. Couopons can help but you’ll never have a $0 grocery bill!

  17. Brooke says

    Find a local farmer’s market and shop there. Normally, their produce is cheaper and fresher than what can be found at the grocery store. Also, shop late in the day when they are about to close. Many of the vendors will sell produce at drastically reduced prices rather than load it up and take it back home!

  18. Julie says

    I’m really glad that we finally are discussing this topic! We buy only organic food, including veggies, fruits and meat. So we don’t really need much of the processed food that’s for sale. I use $5/$30 WD coupons, separate my orders, etc.. However, just like Laura, I live in Florida and real Money Makers (other than the vitamins) are hard to find. I am not really good with money makers, though. Anyone knows organic farms that sell to the public in Vero Beach, Florida?

    • Laura S. says

      Different Laura here… Julie, you can try this link. I use it frequently and it’s where I’ve found some local, soy free,free range, eggs that we use (among other things).

      I know a lot of people are saying “farmer’s market” which is great…in season. But they are not open in the winter around here.

  19. lisa says

    Change your diet. Make it yourself. Say for example frozen pancakes or waffles. Sometimes you see them on sale for .10-.50 cents. for what, 10 waffles? Make them yourself for a bout that much. No coupon clipping or buying or trading or hoping you get to the store before they’re sold out. We cut most cereal when I realized the bits left in the bowl stick worse than pancake syrup unless I am able to do dishes right away. Yuk! How much sugar is really in that stuff? We substitute oatmeal and cream of wheat instead. Not little single serve packages, but not in bulk either. A BOWL of cereal costs about .25 cents if I coupon. A BOWL of hot cooked cereal costs less than half, even full price if you shop the January sales. So, bottom line is, I coupon for INGREDIENTS not for products. This won’t necessarily help you eat more veggies and meat, but if you’re wanting to cut out processed foods, homemade is more healthy than processed goods any day.

    • says

      Lisa, I love your comment and I am totally stealing your line ” I coupon for INGREDIENTS not for products”.

      That is perfect!

      I always suggest to folks that meal planning is the key to saving money. But, what I have come to realize is that many folks no longer cook…they prepare foods. That alone can make a big difference in shopping. Using ingredients to create a meal is typically much cheaper than buying pre-packaged foods.

      Now, I know there are exceptions to the rule on both ends (ex. $3 Stouffer’s meal will be hard to beat AND on the other end preparing a homemade seafood bisque will never be cheap). Generally, I believe is typically cheaper to make the foods. Plus, you control the ingredients, the amount and the taste.

      Don’t get me wrong – there are nights I NEED those Stouffer’s meals in a pinch. I am not knocking anyone for using them…I just think that more folks might be surprised how much farther they can stretch those budgets by couponing for ingredients and not products (see…I stole it already!!)

    • kristyn says

      I must compleatly agree here! I stock up on flour and sugar when they go on sale as well as the free or almost free tomato products. I’m able to make two pizzas and garlic sticks for less than $5, spagetti with meat sauce for less than $1 and my husbands favorite french sandwich rolls for about $.25 each. I make my own frozen meals (usuly less than the stoufers) to have on hand for those super busy night. Who doesn’t love reaching in the freezer to pull out stuffed shells and garlic bread knowing that dinner cost less than $3 and you know everything that went into it. I can say every ingredent in my family’s diet!

      • mackay1st says

        WOW! That’s going to be my goal, make my own frozen meals… not that I haven’t thought of it before, but you made it sound so wonderful! I am going to do this!!

    • lisa says

      And yes, it takes time to cook. But it also takes time to coupon too so i think of it as a trade off. For those of us with kids i would rather cook with them than try to coupon shop with them!

  20. Melissa says

    There is a way to get free produce and no, its not a scam. Annie’s Organic Buying Club has a buying club for a bunch of organic, locally grown produce. You can get a bunch of different fruits and veggies for a pretty low price either weekly or biweekly. The way you can get it for free is if you become a coordinator for your neighborhood. Get 12 or more people to sign up at your drop off location, be home for when the truck drops it off, and organize the produce for each person. This will probably only work well for a SAHM, but it’s a great option if you can get the people to sign up for your location!

  21. Robin says

    Grow it yourself. We live on only 3/4 of an acre and are able to raise chickens for eggs, rabbits for meat, and grow our own vegetables and fruit by using small scale gardening techniques. We even make our own garden soil by composting just about everything that’s organic (even toilet paper rolls). Also try edible landscaping. I learned how to do this through the internet and books from the library in a year, so no excuses. Even if you live in an apartment you can grow something- just do your research. As for store bought highly nutritional food on the cheap you can’t beat beans. Soak them for two days (changing water in between) to sprout them, unlocking their nutritional value. Vary the kind you use and include seasonal veggies in the recipies to keep it interesting and cut down on the cost.

  22. says

    I see many folks have suggested Aldi for produce but I also get some meat there. I shop for a family of four and only use Publix for those items that are a fantastic deal or I can’t get at Aldi. Aldi’s carries Jennie-o turkey products and I get all of my ground turkey and turkey sausage etc from them. Their ground turkey price of $2.49 for a 20 ounce package is way less than The Publix sale price. We eat no ground beef at all, and little red meat in general. Our dinners are rarely processed with the exception of the occasional frozen pizza. I take advantage of couponing for occaisional lunchbox treats for my kids, health/beauty items, toiletries, cleaning supplies etc. and let the savings go toward fresh meat and produce. I also coupon for things like yogurt and cheese, which while processed are still part of a healthy diet. I also tend to ignore money makers for items my family or my sisters family won’t use.

  23. crystal says

    My few cents…

    I don’t eat meat and I’m not vegan because I eat fish, Salmon etc, but I find shopping at publix for grocery items to be the best place. I don’t shop at Kroger even If it’s free ( The store is never well kept to me or at least in my area)beauty items I get at CVS with my ECB’s bucks! and other times at Publix with MM or free deals…

    Fresh fruits and Vegetables -Farmers market and Aldi, mostly Farmers market because there is one 2 blocks away, but I always spend more on these items and it doesn’t matter because I’m spending less at Publix for all the other items…budget about $20-$30 bucks for me and hubs! also depending on the sale..

    Fresh Fish- always at the Farmers market.. 😉 hope this was helpful to ya!!!

  24. Eve says

    I have been growing some vegetables and herbs at home the last couple of years and am experimenting with growing some items during the winter. Right now I have turnip greens, pretty leaf lettuce and some rutabaga, brussel sprouts, carrots. We live in a subdivision in Alabama and I have raised garden beds in my back yard. I also compost and use planting companions (plants that deter insects, etc.) and I’m liking my results, potatoes, peppers, green beans, lettuce and tomatoes last summer without pesticides and commercial fertilizers. Other than that, you can watch the Publix ads for good buys on produce and other items, last week cauliflower and broccoli was 2/$3.00, a great deal, and Winn Dixie has good prices on meats. I also like farmer’s markets in season. You can use your coupons to stock up on things like pasta, canned veggies, soups, cleaning and personal products and baking ingredients. I got several bags of sugar to use in jam making a few months ago for $1.00 a 4 lb bag. I hear people say that all you have in your pantry when you coupon is processed foods, but that it not true if you do your homework. You have to shop a variety of local sources. I do short stopovers a couple of times a week on the way home from work to pick up the items that are the best deals.

  25. Shannon G says

    I know the feeling about the trade off about eating healthy and saving money. Here are a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way. And sorry in advance… this got kind of long winded, but I don’t know what else to take out! Hope it helps!

    – Buy BOGO- That’s a 50% savings right there! Make sure you always compare unit pricing and store brands too!
    – Buy in-season. Produce that is in season is a LOT cheaper than what is out of season.
    – Don’t forget your Rain checks if you couldn’t get what you wanted, or as much as you wanted.

    Competitor Coupons:
    – Use dollars off store coupons whenever possible, like Denise said. (I like to use filler items that are free or nearly free w/ their own coupons to try and maximize my savings on the items that don’t have coupons)
    – Food Lion coupons: $1/$5 meat department purchase and $2/$6 produce purchase coupons (values vary). Sign up for their weekly emails and/or print them out in store at their coupon kiosk. My Publix accepts them as competitor coupons.
    – If your store allows it, pair these two coupon types together! Just make sure you have them run the dollars off total purchase coupon first!

    Manufacturer Coupons:
    – Earthbound Farms: Sign up for their email list. They put out a .75/1 EBF product coupon every week, which you can print twice. They carry salad mixes, spinach, carrots, etc.
    – Glory Foods coupons: The pictures are always of the canned goods, but sometimes they are good on the fresh stuff too. Pair this with Publix BOGO for great deals!
    – MFG coupons wyb non-produce products (ie: FREE Bananas wyb NILLA wafers, $1 off produce w/ Kashi purchase, etc).
    – Blue Moon rebates like the $5 on oranges and $5 on beef or pot roast. I think I found this on the Food Lion coupon page.

    Other ways to save on produce:
    – Start a garden, climate permitting. Even a few staple plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans can result in a huge long-term savings! A small herb garden can be grown in pots on a deck or windowsill, and can be used to liven up your frozen or canned veggies!
    – Check out your area for local farmers who sell their produce on roadside stands or at farmers markets. As an added plus, you’re not only supporting your community, but your fruits and veggies are fresher and have more flavor.
    – Learn the different options for storing food. Freezing and canning are popular options. I’m also a big fan of dehydrating. (ie: cherry tomatoes, onions, apples, bananas, even beef jerky) It just depends on what you like!

  26. Susan says

    Some cities and towns have food co-ops, where you pay a fee to join and then get discounted prices on the food. A lot of co-ops make an effort to sell locally sourced and organic produce but it’s really up to the individual co-op and members as to how it’s run.

    Another option is to find a place that sells produce boxes. I know in certain cities North Carolina, there is a company called “The Produce Box” that sells and delivers a box of fresh produce to you each week for a set fee. The items included are based on seasonal and local availability so you wouldn’t be getting the same produce every time you order. Greenville, SC also has a place that provides this service. In doing a Google search, I also saw one for parts of California. Depending on where you live in the country, some of these companies do have a “no delivery” time if there isn’t a growing season. Just do a Google search for your area and see what comes up.

  27. Brandy says

    We joined an organic veggie buying club called Annie’s organics. Im now spending $35-50 every 2 weeks (we are a family of 3 with an almost 2 year old so we dont need all that much) and are spending WAYYYY less and getting way more veggies, and its all organic and tastes AMAZING!

  28. Elizabeth Cox says

    We live in a small town without a coop for 100 miles. We buy fresh produce in season. I check all the sale ads *all 4 of them* for our town and then find the best deal on produce. Right now we have navel oranges, apples, and cantaloupe in the house. Other non-processed foods that we buy on sale are frozen vegetables. The last big batch I got was from Piggly Wiggly *yes we still have one of those here* $1 per pound bag of frozen beans, peas etc.

    This year we are going to try growing a decent backyard garden and canning what we don’t use fresh. I can’t give up the fresh stuff and I really don’t buy any processed food unless it is organic treats for the kids. We manage 5 of us on $300 a month. It isn’t a total worth putting on a tv show, but we eat cage free eggs and do our best to buy made in the USA products.

  29. alyssa says

    I buy a lot of frozen veggies too. I also try to use overage towards things like veggies, fruit, meat, and milk or anything else that isnt easy to get with coupons. Or if you get the $/$$ coupons. Those help too. I feel that if I am getting everything very cheap and can use the $5/$25 coupon, then I will get milk or $5 worth of produce for “free”. Thats how I look at it. It is hard to get them. You could try to grow your own stuff if you have a small area or a planters box..a lof of veggies are very easy to grow. as well as some herbs. u can grow a lot on a porch! its crazy what you can do with little space nowadays! lol

  30. Be says

    I have to agree with a lot of the commenters that eating healthy do cost a bit. We rarely buy process food in my household. We are Asian so we do not buy the majority of staples at publix. If the items are free or cheap at publix, I will buy it to donate. We normally shop at the oriental market for our vegetables, meats and seafoods. You may be surprised at seafood and meat are cheaper at the oriental market. Our weekly spending is probably around $150 to $200 a week for 3 kids, my husband and myself. I know that is a lot for others to believe, but I have 18 month twins that I spend $60 in milk a week (Pediasure and milk). On a weekly basis we buy 2 or 3 whole fishes for the entire week. We eat a lot of seafood so most of our budget goes to fishes.

    I do plan weekly on what we eat and cook accordingly.

    When I started couponing, I got into the hyped and buy a lot on the list for cheap. Now I realized that it was a waste because we don’t eat it. You have to realize that not every family is the same so our spending habits are different. I do shop at aldi for their fruits.

  31. Toni says

    I usually use the overage from other items and $5/$30 qs to get my produce and meats (no beef nor pork). Just yesterday, I did my stock up on chicken and turkey products for the week yesterday with the overage from the Gold Bond Ultimate Ribbon Lotion, Kid Cuisine Snack Stix, and 2 misc items (napkins, and 100 ct Mr Freeze Pop for $1.40 that I couldn’t pass up :) ). The store ended up paying me $4.32 cash as well as getting (3) $5 gift cards for buying lotions by using the Target coupon. Then at another publix, I picked up 3 more lotions and as well as a few other products and ended up paying $.61 OOP (used from the other publix) and got another $5. Finally, I picked up about $32 worth of chicken leg quarters and chicken breast as well as some turkey items for the week to feed my family of 5, and only had to pay $1.51 OOP in additional to all the money publix gave me back yesterday. Of course I couldn’t have done it without the $5/$30 in each transaction.

    • Toni says

      And we still have produce from Tuesday when we got bananas and grapefruit since they were out of all the oranges. And last weeks trip cost a total of $20.74 which included fruit and 12 lbs of ground turkey from the bogo Jennie-o deal.

    • Toni says

      Last follow up, I promise :) I buy produce in bulk when it is on sale at Publix and freeze it. I think I am only my last 1-2 packs of corn on the cob now that we schucked and frozen when they were 6/$2. We pick our strawberries fresh in season at a nearby strawberry farm (Akers of Strawberries in Baker, FL in the panhandle) that has the best strawberries. We ended up freezing some and using them in smoothies, ice cream, etc. And we try to have a good stock on frozen veggies, but we always run out, since we cook our food daily and never go out to eat. We went out to eat maybe 3 times last year, and that’s only if we had a gift card or we were invited to eat out that was paid for by the invitee.

  32. Tina says

    Aldi and Save Alot have the best deals on fresh fruit and veggies, Use dollar tree for manufacturer coupons on lots of health and home cleaning supplies. They do have name brand dish washing detergent, lots of time makeup by Loreal, toothpaste etc-they also have smaller sizes of cereals and name brand cookie and cake mixes, if your coupon is $1.00, you pay only the tax-great way to load that pantry for emergencies and that occasional-I need something sweet. Use Publix for your bogos with your stacking manufacturers and retailer coupons. Sometimes you can get a great deal on meat and poultry at Sam’s. Take it home and cut it in portion or sizes needed for the meals you make and throw into freezer. It takes a little time to see the whole picture-once that pantry is filling up and your freezer is stocked-you might only have to run out for bread and milk. And because one never knows what is down the road, keep your propane gas tanks filled for bbq or get charcoal on sale and stock it.

  33. MP says

    Use a CSA (in the savings on health and beauty items (razors, etc) to get fresh fruit/veggies/meat.

    We also buy half a cow/lamb/etc from local farms (if you are in atlanta and want some referrals, let me know). You get organic, free range, grass fed for a GREAT per lb price..those trips give us enough meat to last at least 4-6 months for my family of 3.

  34. Thom1977 says

    If you have an Earth Fare in your town, sign up for Tomato Bank. I used my 1000 points ($10) to get organic fruits and veggies for free!
    I also make sure I shop the sales. When apples are .99 a lb, that is the snack my son will have for the week. When peppers are on sale, I can plan my dinners accordingly.
    I justify spending a bit more on the organic fruits and vegetables by spending as little as possible on other items. For instance, I had several of the bogo coupons for StayFree feminine products. I was able to get packs for free using a bogo sale at the drug store. By not having to spend money on that product (that I have to have) I can move that money to the organic salad and spinach I love!

  35. christine says

    We try to shop the perimeter of the store and we purchase very little processed food. We utilize many of the above mentioned ways to save money. We have recently started using natural type health and beauty products that are organic and chemical free. Wow, they are expenive. I purchased a 40.00 certificate to Eco mom from Plum District. I then caught a sale for 40.00 off a 100.00 purchase. I spent 40.00 OP for 100.00 worth of these types of products. This week I purchased another daily deal at Amazon local and got more products for half off. I also saw a deal for organic produce that I will have delivered to my moms house due to a limited delivery area. Google has become my best friend and surprisingly there are ways to save on these healthier lifestyle changes. Meal planning saves me more money than the fly by the seat of my pants method for eating.

  36. Janel says

    Not sure if someone posted this yet… At publix today there were some speed stick deodorants with a 50 cent manufacturer coupon and ibotta had 50 cents offered. That comes to 49 cents per stick with the double coupon and ibotta offer. I claimed the ibotta offer for men’s and got a new one for women’s again.

    • Toni says

      There is a publix q also to get a $5 gift card wyb 5 of them. At my store it was located right in front of the product’s endcap. It would be a money maker deal for you in the LOD.

  37. Melinda says

    Go to the Farmers Market. Most Farmer’s Markets are open all year long now. They have the best prices. My dad is a farmer so we eat seasonally. Right now we are eating or freezing all types of greens, cabbage, sweet potatoes (they are still out there)and spinach. For all those that love kale, in the south, it is still coming to the Farmer’s market. Also, hot house grown tomatoes. They are so much better than the waxy grocery store ones. You can also get locally grown honey, homemade jellies, pear relish, hot/mild chow chow, etc. We also can and freeze alot. I not saying I don’t buy things in the grocery but it is generally, in the winter, celery, carrots, onions, etc.

    Quick story, this past Thanksgiving we went to see my husbands family St. Paul, Minn. While my sister inlaw went to work I looked up farmers markets just to see if their might be open. It was. She was shocked. She never realized they were open that late in the year. We purchased a fresh turkey, brussel sprouts still on the stalk, butternut squash and fresh bread for our Thanksgiving feast. It was wonderful!

    So check yours out! It is still the best priced and everything is better when it is fresh!

  38. Margaret S says

    ALDI for sure on staples and produce…then off to PUBLIX for everything else with manufacturers & competitor coupons in tow!!! AND Actually… Aldi owns Trader Joe’s… and they DO have organic items at Aldi. I came across Organic strawberries and tomatoes not long ago at Aldi… You just never know what you will come across!

    AND..ALdi has the line of organic foods throughout the store called Simply Nature!

  39. Tangela says

    Saw a few post on here about growing your own veggies. We live on several acres and for a long time I thought gardening had to take up a lot of space. But this past year, I started the Square Foot Gardening method and LOVED it. Takes up very little space and produced more food than our “had to get someone to plow” row garden. Plus there was such a HUGE difference in the weeding process. Very little weeding in the square foot garden as opposed to fighting all the time in our row garden. So, those of you who live in areas where you don’t have much land, look into the square foot gardening – you’ll be surprised at how much veggies you can get from a 4’x4′ or 4’x8′ plot.

  40. Kelly P says

    Definitely look for a fruit/veggie co-op in your area…organic is often available and you likely get a better selection of in-season produce for much cheaper than the store. Also make sure you are being realistic in your expectations…I find it easier to set a budget for what we are able to spend and feel is realistic for our family. Then the fun becomes seeing how much healthy food you can get for that budgeted amount rather than how little money you can spend. Hope that makes sense :)

  41. candace says

    whole foods. they have their own store coupons. check their website. stack those with manufacture. its really like a healthy organic walmart lol….except with much nicer people and no birds/bats flying around the ceiling

  42. says


    I just read everyones comments as I was very interested to hear others opinions and suggestions. My diet has evolved over the past year as I began reading/researching food sources, ingredients. It’s a process and my journey is ongoing, but I am moving towards organic, non GMO foods. I live in Sebastian, next to Vero Beach, FL and shop, predominately at Publix. Prices there, compared to Maine/NH are very high, even with BOGO. I buy organic frozen veggies/fruits from Cascadian Farms (there is a Q in the yellow flyer this month for $1.00/off ea). Milk/eggs organic as well Need to find a farmers market for fresh veggies in the area, need to research.

    I am also learning about preparing natural cleaning aids, as I am concerned about the chemicals, esp when hearing this week about air fresheners and other mold cleaners increase the risk of breast cancer. Very frightening, but this is helping me move quickly towards natural cleaning solutions.

    Would love to know where people get the 5/30 Winn Dixie Q — I was devastated when the local Albertson’s closed and lost the weekly 5/30 Q’s I used at Publix. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

    Happy New Year!

    • Dana says

      I live just north of you in the Malabar area. I know it may be a bit of a hike for you, but there is a store called Downtown Produce located in Melbourne, off of a street called Ellis (website: They always have great prices on produce (and a much better selection of harder to find vegetables and/or ingredients typically for this area) There fresh meat and seafood is also extremely tasty and much less expensive than any of Publix’s best meat deals (ie, you can get a ten pound bag of chicken for only about 1.60 a lb all the time) While it is not technically all organic, it is grown or produced locally. It it my go-to store outside of Publix’s super deals. Hope this helps!!!

    • Julie says


      $5 off $30 coupons: I buy them from Enjoy the city Booklets. Check out Iheartpublix, as they often have deals to buy those coupons. I get them for less than a dollar per coupon. So really, the saving is $4 each $30. If you do find an organic farm close to Sebastian or Vero Beach, could you contact me Thanks!

    • Marsha says

      I wanted to let you know that there is a farmers market every Saturday in Vero Beach on Ocean Drive. If you are in the mood for a drive, Ft. Pierce has a great one in the downtown area next to the river. From 510, it would take you about 40 minutes to Ft.Pierce.

  43. Karen says

    Think outside the box. We’re eating a lot of deer meat now because of a generous neighbor who is a hunter. You can contact local processing plants and ask to buy from them (cheaper than beef and no hormones).

    For produce- think local, go to pick your own farms. It’s cheaper, and it’s a great experience.

  44. maggie says

    I live in florida, true bogo, no competition, no doubles. In our publix, there is a small cooler at the front. Usually it has something that is bogo or on sale. Recently, we have found two packages of center cut pork chops and a small roast, packaged together for 1.40 a pound. We also found a ribeye roast that we had cut into steaks. With the winn dixie coupon these wer 5.00 per pound. Neither of these were advertised sales, nor were there any signs indicating a good deal. I would never have looked in this cooler, my boyfriend found them. They were also relatively small packages

  45. Ubiquitous says

    My favorite Publix in Tallahassee accepts Harvey’s coupons, so when they come out with coupons for meat or produce, I stock up.

  46. PAM says

    I have a question about coupons that have the word MILITARY on it. I tried my luck at purchasing some coupons from ebay. I never saw the word in the listing (he put is all by itself ….way over to the far right!) So now I have 30 coupons with the word military on each one. Will a non-military Publix take these coupons?
    thanks for your time.

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