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15 Cheap Healthy Foods to Eat on a Budget

You can eat well and healthy and still stay within a budget - it's so easy! Check out this list of 15 cheap healthy foods that will help you get started.

Sometimes, it’s really hard to eat healthy if you’re on a budget.  Trust me, I feel your pain.  I’ve already set a goal of losing weight for 2018, and that comes with getting healthier foods in the house.  However, that doesn’t mean it has to cost an arm and a leg!  

I’ve put together a list of cheap healthy foods to help you on your next grocery shopping trip.  By incorporating these staple foods into your diet, you can use them to stretch more of your expensive ingredients a little bit further.

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This post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a small compensation for any direct links that you visit.  Visiting the links shown here in no way obligates you to purchase or sign up for any program, and does not result in any increased cost.  Please view my disclosure policy for complete information.

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Rice

Rice has long been a staple in our household, and my husband practically grew up eating it at every meal.  I really started to enjoy it after I became a part of his family, and while it took her awhile, my toddler has finally learned to love it, too.  However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve traded the white rice for brown rice whenever possible.  Brown rice is an easy whole grain to add to your diet and it has a nice amount of fiber.  

Cost for rice is generally quite low (less than a $1 for 1 lb.), and as a result, one bag can stretch for multiple servings.  

Oatmeal

I’ve become a huge fan of oatmeal recently, and I hate that I avoided it for so long!  It used to be a food that really looked quite awful on the surface, but now that I’ve tried it, I really, really love it!

Oats are incredibly healthy and very versatile to add to a number of different recipes.  They’re packed with fiber, iron, and vitamin A to name a few, and have no cholesterol.

You can get a large 16 oz. container for under $2.

Eggs

Eggs are another versatile food that are full of nutrients and flavor.  You can make them just about any way you want to for breakfast, or toss them in your favorite baked good recipe.

Egg prices tend to change with the seasons (or around the holidays), so keep that in mind when shopping.  1 dozen large eggs can run anywhere from .60 cents to $2 depending on your location and time of year.

You can eat well and healthy and still stay within a budget - it's so easy! Check out this list of 15 cheap healthy foods that will help you get started.

Milk

Milk may not be considered a cheap healthy “food” per se to some, but for the cost, it deserves a place on the list.  Most people just know that it’s packed with calcium and vitamin D, but did you know it also has high amounts of vitamin B-12, potassium, and protein?  Go milk! 

In my experience, the fat content tends to determine the price.  I have seen a gallon of skim milk as low as $2.35 at Aldi, while whole milk stays around $2.69.  

Yogurt

Yogurt is actually one of my favorite cheap healthy foods to buy on a budget because you have so many options!  It’s seems like there’s a new flavor or version coming out every few months.  My personal favorite is the Yoplait Whipped version in the chocolate flavor – omg, so yummy!!

Yogurt tends to run anywhere from $.33 up to $1 depending on the store and type of yogurt.  Your cost can be even lower with coupons.  🙂

 

Related Reading – 10 Apps that will Significantly Trim Your Grocery Budget

Pasta

I’ve yet to meet a single person that did not like pasta.  It’s just impossible not to like.  Pasta usually gets a bad rap because it is high in carbs, but they are complex carbs which help sustain energy.  It is high in iron, folic acid, and several vitamins.  Make it even healthier by purchasing a whole wheat version.

One package of pasta typically averages $1.  Whole wheat versions are usually around $2.

Potatoes

Potatoes, like pasta, seem to get a bad rap, but they really do have a lot of healthy benefits.  They are low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium, yet packed with fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, and protein.

Where people go overboard is loading them with butter, cheese, bacon, and all sorts of other unhealthy toppings (don’t get me wrong – I know this is what makes them taste good).  Just keep those extras in moderation.  😉

A 5 lb. bag has an approximate cost of $3.

You can eat well and healthy and still stay within a budget - it's so easy! Check out this list of 15 cheap healthy foods that will help you get started.

Lettuce

Make salad to your heart’s content with lettuce!  At only 5 calories per 1 cup serving and packed with water, it’s also great as an ingredient for a sandwich.  Lettuce is a good source of Vitamin A, fiber, and other minerals.

One head of lettuce tends to run about $1 (maybe less), and can stretch for several servings. 

Carrots

There aren’t many other veggies that I know of that can double as a snack food, but carrots are certainly one of my favorites!  They have a good flavor (whether you eat them raw or cooked), and like everything else on this list, they’re really low cost.  They’re also a great source of beta-carotene, potassium and fiber.

I typically buy the petite carrots in a bag for around $1.  However, you can stretch your dollars further if you buy whole carrots, then peel/cut them yourself.

Tomatoes

In truth, I can’t make myself eat a tomato, but my toddler loves them!  It’s one of the few veggies she will eat (even though it’s technically considered a fruit).  Considering that she’s becoming a little more particular with her foods, I’m thankful she’s getting all kinds of potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and lots of other minerals.

The price of tomatoes can vary a lot by store, so I usually purchase them at Aldi.  A container of grape tomatoes is approximately $1.50-$1.75, and tomatoes on the vine (which usually has 4-5 medium tomatoes) runs about $2.50.

Chicken

Not all chicken is created equal when it comes to price, but you can still stretch what you spend here.  Boneless skinless chicken breasts tend to be the most expensive, and I rarely see them go lower than $1.79/lb. on sale.  When they do, I make sure to stock up with a couple of packages because who knows when they will be that cheap again.  If you want to stretch your dollars a little more, opt for a package of drumsticks, thighs, or leg quarters.  For instance, I recently bought a whole package of 12 fresh chicken drumsticks for less than $4.50.  If you get a bargain that good, take out what you need for your next meal when you get home, and then put the rest into freezer bags to use later.  

While most recipes ask for one specific part of the chicken, you can also stretch your dollars by buying a whole chicken instead.  One whole chicken will give you multiple servings, and they run about $4-5 regularly.  

What I love about chicken is its versatility because it seems that there are unlimited ways to prepare it. Unless you’re battering and frying it, you’re likely getting all the good nutritional benefits.  Chicken is low in calories and fat (assuming you’re eating it without the skin), high in B vitamins and protein.

Bananas

Bananas are quite possibly my favorite fruit for a snack – they’re just sooooo good!  And at approx. $.55 per lb, you can grab a whole bunch for not much money.  Prices vary greatly from store to store, so make sure you shop around.

Bananas are great for potassium, Vitamin B & C, and they’re also high in fiber.

You can eat well and healthy and still stay within a budget - it's so easy! Check out this list of 15 cheap healthy foods that will help you get started.

Green Beans

Green beans were a late addition to the list simply because I’ve never really paid attention to them until recently.  I have never enjoyed the taste of canned or frozen green beans, so I’ve just stayed away altogether.  However, I started roasting fresh green beans in the oven – (WOW! They’re so good!) – and now they’re a staple on my produce list.  Simply wash them, clean/trim the ends, toss in a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes at 425 degrees.  Delish!

They are extremely low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, but high in fiber and Vitamin C.  A couple of small handfuls at the store has been running around $1, and unless you have a large family, one (maybe 2) handfuls is all you’ll need.

Garlic

While garlic is not something I’m recommending that you eat on its own, I wanted to include it in this cheap healthy foods list because it’s great for adding flavor to tons of dishes.  Garlic has almost no calories, which of course, equals no guilt.  😉  

You can buy it already minced in a jar (runs about $2-$3 for a small jar) or you can buy it whole (I get a package of 3 for around $1).  If you don’t use garlic that often and you don’t want to waste it, you can always buy the powdered version instead.  The overall taste will probably be a little different, though.

Frozen Vegetables

Last but not least, I want to include frozen vegetables.  Obviously, the nutritional aspects will vary depending on the veggie, but they’re really inexpensive.  If I cannot buy fresh vegetables, then my second choice is frozen.  Almost always, you will get a larger portion of vegetables frozen vs. canned for the same price.  Best of all, they will last in your freezer for months, and they’re available whenever you’re ready to eat them.

The average stock-up price for frozen veggies is $1, so I usually grab 4 or 5 when they’re that price or less.  I also come across coupons for frozen vegetables regularly, usually for the Birdseye brand, so I watch for the sales to really get a bargain.

You can eat well and healthy and still stay within a budget - it's so easy! Check out this list of 15 cheap healthy foods that will help you get started.

 

So, there you have it – 15 cheap healthy foods you can eat on a budget (and maybe, with no guilt)!  Nearly all of these are included in my weekly meal plans and grocery trips, and when possible, I try to maximize my savings further with coupons and grocery apps.  In case you didn’t know, a lot of smartphone apps now include rebates for fresh, non-processed foods.  

I can’t wait to hear what some of your cheap healthy foods are, so leave a comment below to let me know.  🙂

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50 Ways to Save Money and Live Frugally in 2018

Live frugally in 2018! This post will give you 50 ways to save money and live frugally on a budget.

This post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a small compensation for any direct links that you visit.  Visiting the links shown here in no way obligates you to purchase or sign up for any program, and does not result in any increased cost.  Please view my disclosure policy for complete information.

***

It’s almost time for a new year, and if you’re like me, you’ve already started making a few New Year’s resolutions.  My personal ones pretty much revolve around eating healthier, losing a few pounds, and paying off debt (specifically a car note).  

To me, it’s normal to reevaluate ordinary habits to see if improvements can be made.  It’s even more normal to do that at the beginning of a new year.  You get a fresh start!  

I especially like to reevaluate my spending at the beginning of the year.  One thing I’m excited to do better is meal plan.  I’ve always kept a “loose” meal plan, but I want to be more intentional this year with planning meals and watching what I spend.  

I’m also planning to pay closer attention to what we spend on extras.  We have become way too dependent on eating out (it’s truly our biggest weakness), and since having our first child 2 years ago, we get googly-eyed over all the toys and cutesy things for her.

I really don’t like to spend money, but when I do, I try to stick within our budget.  And sometimes, that’s easier said than done.  It’s hard to not spend money!  I’ve seen so many tips lately on how to live frugally, and that has become my 4th resolution for 2018.

Do you want to hop on board with me so we can live frugally together?

Good!

Between the two of us, I know we can find all kinds of ways to make our money work better and stretch those dollars to the max.  You with me?  If so, check out the list below for 50 ways to save money and live frugally.  Some of these I do already, and I bet you’re doing some, too.  Why not add a few more?  😉

Live frugally in 2018! This post will give you 50 ways to save money and live frugally on a budget.

  • Use a pea-size amount of toothpaste when you brush your teeth (in fact, this is what’s usually suggested on the tube).  More toothpaste does not equal more clean.  In reality, you just get more suds in your mouth.  
  • Cut your hair short(er).  It requires less products to use and usually takes less time to fix.
  • Wait until you’ve worn your jeans at least twice (three if you can get away with it) before washing.  They take longer than any other article of clothing to dry in your dryer.
  • Hang up your clothing to dry when possible.  Some articles of clothing will preserve their shape and texture longer without the added heat from your dryer.
  • Wash your hair every other day or every two days if you can.    
  • Keep a price list of the common things you buy at the grocery store.  This will help you spot a higher price and determine if you need to wait before buying.  On the flip side, this will help you spot a lower price and know that you should stock up while you have the chance (and extra money, I assume).
  • Sell your gently used clothes at eBay, Swap, consignment shops, yard sale, etc.  Donate what you can’t sell for a tax deduction.

  • Buy clothes second-hand and avoid the huge markup that retail stores add to the price.
  • Visit the library for new books rather than buying them.  Most libraries now have convenient e-book options (keeps you from racking up library fines, too).  You can also scan Amazon for all kinds of free book downloads for your Kindle or Kindle phone app.
  • Keep your thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter.  In the winter months, add an extra layer of clothing or a blanket before turning on the heat.
  • Use vinegar, baking soda, and other natural items for cleaning.  They’re almost always cheaper (and they do a better job) than fancy cleaners.
  • Color your hair at home rather than a salon.  An at-home kit will cost you around $10 (maybe less) compared to a salon color which can be upwards of $60.  My personal favorite brand is Loreal Feria.  I like that it give my hair just a little bit of highlight without looking overdone.
  • Grow your own food and share when you have an abundance.  If you’re brand new to gardening, start with something small (like tomatoes) that you can plant in a container.
  • Skip the sodas and opt for water, coffee or tea brewed at home.
  • Buy produce when it’s in season.  Freeze extras when possible (blueberries and strawberries are very easy).
  • Stock up on meat when it’s on sale or marked down and freeze what you won’t use right away.  Kroger frequently has meat markdowns available in their Manager’s Special section.
  • Plan your meals on a weekly basis and stick to it.  This will help prevent impulse decisions to eat out.
  • Plan a free date night with your significant other.  You don’t need to spend a lot to still enjoy a good time!
  • Use coupons strategically and combine them with sale prices for maximum savings.  There’s more than one type of coupon so find which ones work best for you.  🙂
  • Use cloth diapers rather than disposable.  Not for everyone, but I can personally state that I’ve saved a LOT by doing this one!  My personal favorites are the Best Bottom covers and inserts.
  • Offer to review products in exchange for your opinion.  Influenster is one of my favorite programs!
  • Always evaluate need vs. want before making purchases.
  • Consider paying a little extra for staple clothing pieces that you want to last a long time, but save your money on super trendy items that may not last more than one season.
  • Check your pantry and refrigerator for things you already have on hand before grocery shopping.  Make a list of only the things you need.
  • Always buy generic brands whenever possible.  Occasionally, name brand items after sales and coupons are cheaper, so shop smart!
  • Purchase term life insurance when you’re young and healthy.  The cost is lower and you’ll likely have the option to convert it to a permanent life insurance option later on.
  • Find free events available in your area and take a picnic lunch or basket with you when appropriate.  Most events can be found by doing some quick Facebook searches.
  • Create your own wall decor.  Find some cute (and free!) printables online and pair them with a thrifted picture frame for a unique one-of-a-kind look.
  • Don’t let your leftovers go to waste.  Eat them for lunch the next day.
  • Unplug the cable box, and opt for Netflix or Hulu instead.
  • When filling prescriptions, ask your pharmacist for the “cash pay” price.  You may find that your cost is less than if you use your insurance card.
  • Set your printer to default to black/white printing instead of color.  You’ll save a fortune on printer cartridges.
  • Ditch the gym membership.  Instead, go walking or running outdoors at a local park or do your workouts to free videos on YouTube.
  • Carpool to work with family or coworkers when possible.
  • Set aside money each month for bills that require an annual payment.  For example, we pay for a termite inspection once per year, but save a little each month so we’re prepared to pay the bill when it’s due.
  • Use apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Ebates to save money or get cash back on in-store and online purchases.  There are even more apps that can help you earn money back, but these are the top 3 in my opinion.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

  • Check Facebook Marketplaces or Craigslist for furniture and home decor steals.  You’d be amazed at what you can find!
  • Do a clothes swap with your friends.
  • Do your own mani/pedis at home instead of at a nail salon.
  • Always evaluate your home and auto insurance when it renews to see if you can find lower rates with another company, and keep them with the same company so you maximize your discounts.
  • Shop the clearance racks at the end of each season.  Often you can find items for 75% off or more, which is especially helpful if you have growing children.  Buy the next size up!
  • Download the Krazy Coupon Lady app for the best deals at all your favorite stores.  I use it weekly when planning my grocery trips.
  • Don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry.  This will tempt you to buy more than you actually need because everything suddenly looks extra tasty!
  • Do not go into debt to buy something you want.  Evaluate how much you really need that item, and save the money necessary to buy it.  By the time you’ve saved up enough, you may have decided you really didn’t need it after all.
  • Embrace your inner craftiness!  Instead of rushing to buy the newest tech or trendy gift item, spend a few minutes on Pinterest and see if there’s something you can make for less.  That handmade gift will be well received (maybe even more than something trendy) because you put your thought, time, and effort into making it.

  • Forgo bottled water.  Pour it from the tap into a reusable bottle instead.
  • If you haven’t reviewed the interest you’re paying on home or student loans, take some time to see if you can refinance for a lower rate.  This can save you thousands in the long run, and will likely encourage you to pay them off sooner!
  • Save your plastic bags from your shopping trips and reuse them as garbage bags.  
  • Maintain what you already have to extend its life.  This includes regular maintenance on your car, your house, and of course, yourself.  By doing preventive maintenance on the things you use every day, you can likely prevent a costly bill down the road.
  • And what might be the hardest tip of all…  make a budget and stick to it.  If you find yourself with a little extra cash at the end of the month, put it in your rainy day fund.  When that rainy day comes around, you’ll be extra thankful.

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So, there you have it – 50 ways to save money and live frugally!  Not everything on that list is for everyone, but take a couple of things and see if you can implement them into your daily life.  Don’t feel that you need to embrace frugal living all at once.  That will cause nothing but frustration and burnout.  Instead, focus on a couple of easy changes first, then gradually add more as you get more comfortable with it.

Tell me, are there any frugal habits that you have now?  Are you planning to incorporate a few more in 2018?  Leave a comment below and let me know!

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4 Coupon Tools That Will Make Couponing Easy for You

If you want to start couponing, there are some coupon tools that you will need to make that job easier. I've listed 4 in this post that help me every day!

So, you’re wanting to coupon, but you have no idea where to start.  You have friends that save big bucks at the store, and you want to know how to do it, too.  

You know what?  I can help you with that.  🙂

When I first started couponing, the main sources for coupons were in the Sunday paper and online.  Now there are loads of places where you can find coupons!  But how do you go about getting them?  Do you need anything special?

Yes, there are a few coupon tools that you’ll actually need if you want to coupon effectively.  Some coupons can only be obtained by going to your computer and printing them onto a printer.  Some coupons can be obtained through your smartphone.  Last but not least, you’ll need to buy a Sunday newspaper to get the coupons available there.

Also, every couponer has her own “system” for couponing.  You’ll need one of these if you’re in it for the long haul.  

In today’s post, I hope you’ll learn some valuable information about the coupon tools you need so you can be on the road to couponing like a pro!

If you want to start couponing, there are some coupon tools that you will need to make that job easier. I've listed 4 in this post that help me every day!

If you already have one sitting around – great!  Put it to use!  If you don’t have a printer, I have a suggestion based on two factors.  First, you want a printer that only prints in black ink.  It will save you money in the long run to only buy black ink cartridges instead of black and color cartridges.  Stores do not care if you have color coupons!  Secondly, buy a printer with mobile/wireless print capabilities.  I’m suggesting this because that’s the type of printer that I’m currently in the market for – my current printer has just about gone kaput!

With those two considerations in mind, I like the Brother Compact Laser Printer.  It has both capabilities that I mentioned above, plus the price really is quite good considering the performance it offers.  The reviews are great (which is always an important selling point for me), and you can get compatible toner cartridges for as low as $11!  (My current printer requires both black and color cartridges, and I definitely pay more than $11 for them…and they don’t last nearly as long!)

If you want to start couponing, there are some coupon tools that you will need to make that job easier. I've listed 4 in this post that help me every day!

This is pretty much a given, but I wanted to list it for the record.  You can do so much with your phone as it relates to couponing!  Not only can you print coupons from your smartphone, you can also download different types of apps that stretch your savings further.  Here are the apps that I use the most:

  • Krazy Coupon Lady – this app saves me more time than any other.  I simply add my favorite stores, then as new offers for those stores become available, they show up in my store feed.  I don’t have to go hunting for deals – they do all the work for me!!!  They also have a website at thekrazycouponlady.com, but I prefer the app more.  Small disclosure, though…some coupons/advertisements are regional and may not be available in your area.
  • Ibotta – I have been recommending this app to everyone I know simply because there are so many rebates available through it.  I won’t dive into all that again, but you can visit this link to find out how much Ibotta has helped me save.
  • Checkout 51, MobiSave, Savingstar – additional apps very similar to Ibotta, and all are worth downloading to your smartphone.
  • Shopkick – this app gives you points when you walk into certain stores, scan products, and for purchasing select products.  You turn your kicks into gift cards!  
  • Fetch Rewards – this is new to me, but I love it!  Similar to Shopkick, you’ll earn points for your purchases that you can turn into gift cards.  They have specific products that they feature, but even if you haven’t bought any of those things, don’t let that deter you!  When you download the app, you can scan all your receipts from the past two weeks, and earn points for them.  I scanned all my receipts from this past weekend, and I’m already over 4,000 points!  That’s pretty sweet – considering I didn’t have to do anything extra!  🙂  To download this app, simply search for “Fetch Rewards” in your app store, and when prompted, enter code PR6UM for an additional 1,500 points.
  • Walgreens/Kroger/Target/Dollar General – all of these apps allow you to download coupons directly to your account.  No clipping, no fuss!  Just supply your phone number, shopper’s card, or app barcode (Target) to apply your coupons when you check out.

If you want to start couponing, there are some coupon tools that you will need to make that job easier. I've listed 4 in this post that help me every day!

Out of all the coupon tools mentioned here, a newspaper is the easiest to obtain.  Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a printer or a smartphone – you can still save some serious $$ with just the weekly coupon inserts in the Sunday paper.

Some companies offer coupons in both the Sunday paper and through their website online.  However, I’ve found several times that the Sunday paper coupons tend to have higher values.  Therefore, I buy more than one.  When a sale comes along (such as several Walgreens sales lately that have resulted in .99 laundry detergent), I want to have more than one coupon ready to use.  

In my area, there are folks that set up little stands on the side of the road and they sell newspapers for $1 (it costs $2 at the store or more for delivery).  I’ve already made it a part of my Sunday routine to get up early and get 4 newspapers – just for the coupons.

Now, if you’re really pinching pennies, do not be ashamed to ask your friends/relatives/coworkers for their coupon inserts (assuming they won’t be using them).  I personally already have a source for one of my 4 Sunday papers, and she offered her coupons to me willingly!  Don’t be afraid to ask.

If you want to start couponing, there are some coupon tools that you will need to make that job easier. I've listed 4 in this post that help me every day!

If you’re new to couponing, you might find yourself saving this step for last.  Out of all the coupon tools I’ve mentioned, this is the one that will save your sanity.  If you don’t develop one quickly, you’ll find yourself with random coupons everywhere.  It’s overwhelming.

It takes time to find an organizational system that works for you.  You may decide to use a little coupon box/folder to sort your coupons.  That’s what I used when I first started, but now, it no longer suits my needs.  You may decide to get a binder with clear inserts that are made for baseball cards.  Going this route will have you lugging that thing to the store and sorting through it each trip – not my cup of tea.

Here’s what I’ve found that works for me…

I keep all my newspaper inserts intact, and they’re sorted by week.  Each insert cover has little tiny writing on the folded edge that will include the date.  You can refer to that, or write the date with a Sharpie on the front page.  Either way, it will help you keep all like coupon inserts together.  From there, you can put them into an accordion folder or large box with folders/sections.  There are TONS of options for this, and my suggestion would just be to find something that’s functional, sturdy, and inexpensive.  Your going to be rifling through this box on a regular basis, so it needs to be sturdy.

Now obviously, I’m not going to lug this box to the store with me on each trip.  That’s way too much hassle.  When I’m ready to go to the store, I have a different system in place.  

  1. Use the Krazy Coupon Lady app to see what deals are being offered for that week.  Each deal will tell you what the expected regular/full/sale price will be at the store (remember, these can vary slightly by region).  Along with the price will be the coupons that you’ll need to have on hand or downloaded to your shopper’s card when you’re ready to checkout.  If there are any rebates available through Ibotta, Checkout 51, MobiSave or Savingstar, those will be listed, too.  For each deal you want to get, you’ll check the little circle beside it to add it to your list.
  2. Use the list feature and start gathering your coupons.  If you need to clip paper coupons from your Sunday inserts, the instructions will look something like this:  Use $1.00/2 – Suave Essentials Body Wash Products from RP 5/14.  What that means is that you’ll go to your Red Plum (RP) inserts from 5/14 and look for the Suave Body Wash coupon for $1.00 off when you purchase 2.
  3. If there are any internet coupons that need to be printed, I do that next.  Each deal will tell you exactly which website to go to.
  4. If you need to clip a digital coupon to a store rewards card, do that next.  There’s nothing worse than waiting to do this at the store, and I promise, you’ll end up in a dither.  Plan, plan, plan!
  5. Paper clip all your coupons together, put ’em in your purse, and head to the store!

Now, I also keep a handful of random coupons with me at all times.  These are coupons that I may only have 1 of, may be the last few from an old newspaper insert that haven’t expired yet, or may be coupons that I went through all the steps above to get, but decided not to use them for some reason.  I keep them on hand   because I never know when they might come in handy.  For example, I check the clearance section/shelf at every store I go to.  It never fails that I find something on clearance that I can combine with these random coupons.  It’s important to always keep some extra coupons on hand!!!

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to coupon organization, but it’s very important that you have a system.  Just do something that works for you.  🙂

If you want to start couponing, there are some coupon tools that you will need to make that job easier. I've listed 4 in this post that help me every day!

I hope you’ve learned some valuable info here, and that you’re on the road to couponing like a pro!  If you’re already a pro, what are some of the coupon tools that you’ve found to be invaluable?

***

This post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a small compensation for any direct links that you visit.  Visiting the links shown here in no way obligates you to purchase or sign up for any program, and does not result in any increased cost.  Please view my disclosure policy for more information.

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8 Types of Coupons and How They Can Help You Save

There are 8 types of coupons available. How and when you use them can help you keep your own money in your pocket.

If you’re like me, you grew up seeing members of your family clip a few coupons.  Both my grandmas did it, my aunt did it, and my mom did it occasionally, too.  It’s something that I distinctly remember from my childhood.  Back in those days, it was simply clipping the coupons that came in the Sunday paper.  Maybe you’d get a bonus coupon inside a box of cereal, but generally, the Sunday paper was where all the good ones would be.

Nowadays, coupons are obtainable in many more places.  In fact, it’s a little overwhelming – especially if you’re a beginner.  I used to think the best ones were either in the Sunday paper or printable online.  Not so anymore.  Yes, those two places are still excellent sources, but now, we also have all of these, too:

  • eCoupons
  • Catalinas
  • Peelies
  • Blinkies & tear offs
  • Store coupons
  • Rebate apps

For today, I’ll explain the 8 types of coupons that are available and also how you can use multiple coupons to save even more!

Sunday paper coupons

These are the most common coupons, and in my opinion, what everyone associates with “couponing.”  Each Sunday, your newspaper will have a selection of coupon inserts from SmartSource, RedPlum, or Proctor & Gamble (1 per month).  The types of coupons that are included are different by region, so what someone gets in Oregon may be different than what’s provided in Tennessee.  

The coupon inserts in the Sunday paper are generally going to be traditional manufacturer’s coupons.  Some stores will allow you to double the coupon value up to a certain amount, but this is becoming less common.  You cannot use more than one manufacturer’s coupon on a single item.  However, you can use them with other store coupons/programs and rebate apps…more on that later.

Internet printable coupons

For the most part, internet coupons are also going to be manufacturer’s coupons.  You can find them in a variety of places – Coupons.com has the largest database (see below), but Smartsource.com and Redplum.com have a different, but smaller, selection.  Generally, you’re allowed to print a coupon up to two times.  There are caps in place on most websites, meaning that once the allotted amount has been printed, they’re no longer available for new prints.

eCoupons (aka digital coupons)

For people that hate to clip or print coupons, eCoupons make couponing easy!  Multiple stores now have shopper’s cards that you can load eCoupons to – Kroger, Target, Walgreens, and CVS are the ones I use on a regular basis.  In order to clip the coupons you want, you’ll need to log in to your store account, and view the available coupons.  “Clip” the ones you’d like to use onto your shopper’s card and when you check out at the store, they’ll instantly be applied to your purchase.  No paper, no fuss!

Target’s program is the only one that I know of that’s a little different from the other ones I mentioned.  Their app, Cartwheel by Target, has 2 types of coupons – eCoupons as well as general % discount savings (anywhere from 5% to 50% off).  Simply log in to the app on your smartphone, and load the offers you want to use.  When you’re ready to check out, have the cashier scan your Cartwheel barcode after they’ve scanned your paper coupons.  

To give you a great example of how you can make Cartwheel work for you, this week they had a 20% discount on Cottonelle toilet paper.  I was able to load that discount onto my Cartwheel app and also pair it with a manufacturer’s coupon…bonus savings!!  Cartwheel discounts are not posted by the items in the store, so it’s also helpful to use the barcode scanner within the app to see if any discount offers are available.  Target’s Up & Up brand frequently gives 5% off on numerous products.  Never pay full price again – even when you’re buying generics!

Catalinas

These are the coupons that you occasionally receive with your receipt after you’ve checked out at the store, and the ones you receive depend on the items you just bought.  For example, I’ve gotten Gerber coupons on a regular basis because I’ve bought the Gerber meals and pouches for my toddler.  I’ll frequently get a coupon that gives me $1 off a future purchase.  When you redeem Catalinas, you will need to return to the store that they were printed at.  Using a Kroger Catalina at Walmart will not work.

Peelies

These are just like they sound.  They’re the coupons that you “peel” off an item at the store.  I don’t rely on these too much because usually, they either ask you to buy 2 items or I’ve got some other coupon on hand that’s better.  Don’t count them out, though – they can be helpful.

Blinkies and tear offs

Ever notice those boxes that are attached to the store shelf, and they’re blinking to get your attention?  It’s because there’s a coupon there!  🙂  Tear offs are the coupons on pads that are attached to the shelf.  Much like peelies, the blinkies/tear offs are bonus savings that you can use instantly.  

Store coupons

This is where it starts to get fun.  🙂  Remember when I said earlier that you could use multiple types of coupons to save big?  Store coupons are just one of the ways you can do it!  For this section, I’ll use Target because they frequently have store coupons available.  You can find them either in their weekly ad, in a newspaper coupon insert, or through the Cartwheel app.  When you look at the top of the coupon, it will say “Target coupon” instead of “manufacturer’s coupon.”  All stores that have store coupons allow you to “stack” their coupons with manufacturer’s coupons which will multiply your savings!  

You remember the Cottonelle example I used earlier?  Well, in that same transaction, not only did I have the 20% Cartwheel discount and a .50 manufacturer’s coupon, I also had a Target coupon that was $5 off my $25 transaction of select paper products.  To make it even BETTER, I also had an Ibotta rebate (more on that next).  That’s 4 different types of coupons, and they can all be used together!  

Rebate apps

I covered all of the good ones in a post here (along with some other apps that are great to have if you want to save serious $$).  To give you an overview, the #1 app that is a must download is Ibotta (they give you a $10 bonus when you redeem your first branded rebate!) followed by Checkout 51, MobiSave, and SavingStar.  To me, rebates are the cherry on top of an already delicious sundae.  If you’ve been fortunate enough to get an already great deal with coupons, take advantage of these rebate apps and put money back in your pocket.  It’s a total win-win.  🙂

There are 8 types of coupons available. How and when you use them can help you keep your own money in your pocket.

Is your head spinning now?  Did you have any idea that there were so many types of coupons?!  It’s actually pretty exciting because they work just like cash.  If you’re like me, I’d rather hand someone a coupon than cash out of my own pocket whenever possible.  

Now, just because there are so many different types of coupons doesn’t mean that you should use them the first chance you get.  Once you start to use them with regularity, you’ll start to notice when and where you can get the most bang for your buck.  It just takes a little strategy and planning, but it can be done.  You’ll love the rewards.

Tell me about you – are you already a couponing mastermind?  How have you been able to use coupons to save on your grocery/household budget?

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How to Earn Money with Your Fitness Tracker

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Did you know it's incredibly easy to make money with your fitness tracker? These 3 programs will have you earning extra cash in no time!

 

I recently started wearing my Fitbit after a looooong hiatus, and it’s so much fun to watch my steps accumulate throughout the day.  I don’t have the free time that I wish I had to go for a good walk, but I try to make the most of morning and afternoon breaks during my day job and to squeeze a quick walk.  

After I started wearing my Fitbit again, I got to thinking…  Are there any programs out there where I could earn money for walking?  As a matter of fact, there are!  I’ve only uncovered three worthwhile ones as of writing this post, but as I find more, I’ll certainly pass them along.

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Walgreens Balance Rewards

I love Walgreens in general.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve found something unique there.  Or an incredible bargain.  Or some type of makeup that I have trouble finding elsewhere.  It’s just a great store.  

However, I had gotten out of the habit of shopping there.  Once I started back and started using my Balance Rewards card again, they resumed their emails to me with all sorts of offers.  I truly don’t remember what made me check to see if they offered a program for people that utilized my fitness tracker, but I somehow stumbled upon it.  If you want to sync up your fitness tracker to earn rewards, keep reading to see what’s involved with the set up.

First, you’ll need to create an account online at Walgreens.com and sync up your Balance Rewards card.  There are multiple fitness tracker options to choose from.  You’ll earn 20 points per mile walked per day.  With the rewards program, once you’ve reached 5000 points (from all kinds of activities), you automatically earn $5 back from Walgreens.  

You can earn points from multiple healthy activities.  I encourage you to check it out if you a) already wear a fitness tracker or b) already maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Achievemint

This is another new program for me, and it’s just as easy to set up.  Simply visit Achievemint.com and set up an account.  Upon joining, you will automatically get 250 points.  Complete your health questionnaire (super easy!) and earn an additional 750 points!

Once you’ve completed those two steps, simply connect your fitness tracker to your account.  I noticed that when I connected mine, it actually went BACK and gave me points for previous days when I wasn’t technically part of the program – bonus!  In addition to earning points for steps, you also earn points for getting a good night’s sleep.  Make sure you wear your fitness tracker at night so you can snatch those points as well.

Once you have earned 10,000 points, you can cash out for a $10 reward!

Humana Go365 (formerly Humana Vitality)

Humana Go365 will only be an option for a handful of people, but if you’re a Humana member and don’t already utilize this program, you’re missing out.  My day job is in the health insurance industry so I’ve discussed this program with several of my clients, and the benefits are amazing.

You can earn points for exercising (multiple options available), for getting your flu shot, going to the dentist, or getting an annual biometric screening just to name a few.  The point values are different depending on what you’re doing.  For instance, a biometric screening will earn you a lot of points.  Earning points from walking requires you to at least reach 10,000 steps in one day.  Specifically for exercising, you have the opportunity to earn bonus points if you multiple workouts in one week.

Once you start seeing your points increase, you can then spend your points on gift cards, movie tickets, or any of the other rewards offered.  


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So, there you have it – THREE programs that can help you earn extra cash/rewards simply from walking!  If you know of any others, please take a moment to leave a comment and share the details.  🙂

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