Welcome to 'Keeping the Bulge at Bay'
This blog is designed to discuss the hardest part of losing weight...keeping it off! To understand my story and what my reasons are for creating this blog, please follow this link to my first post: "The REAL Beginning..." It's raw, real, and honest.
Hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please feel free to leave any feedback you may have!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Trying Not to Burst Your Belt OR Your Wallet…

“Hello, my name is Rachel, and I am a couponer!”

Yes, I will proudly stand up and admit my addiction to couponing. Couponing has saved my fiancé and I a lot of money (they say [whoever they is] 1 hour of couponing can equal $100 in your pocket)! But, it is not always easy eating as healthy as possible with a grocery list that adapts itself weekly to only the items that are on sale. I pride myself on getting the best deals every week, but sometimes trying not to break the bank could lead to breaking out the next size up jeans (damn that deal on Cape Cod chips and Cheez-Its...epic fail). These types of foods are commonly on sale in the grocery store, which combined with the matching manufacturer coupons create deals that can get you sometimes up to 75% off (or in one case the store paid me 50 cents to take the item home-I bought three-LOVE IT!). Anyway, couponing on a healthy diet isn’t always the easiest thing to do-but it can be done!

But first, there is one thing that anyone who is trying to eat healthy and save money should know. You must find unusual ways to save money and calories; yet be just as satisfied as you would have been if you had eaten a gallon of Rocky Road. For example, think about freezing low-calorie yogurt or even better, freezing a can of pineapple (Dole goes on sale very often) then eating them frozen. It’s like having a very refreshing ice cream dessert! Besides the cost effective nature of it, frozen treats like these take a long time to eat so you will eat less! (Warning: channeling Charlie Sheen)*winning*

Now, I want to explain two ways to save money because most people choose not to use coups; and for any of you who don’t want your coups-feel free to send them my way (just kidding, wait-not joking)! The first is the ‘Flyer’ way the second is just the ‘Couponer’ way.

The ‘Flyer’ Way:
Couponers (or anyone who is truly on a budget) eats, breaths, and sleeps by a grocery store’s flyer! But if couponing isn’t your thing-you should live by the flyers too! My hubby-to-be and I only buy things that are in that flyer. For example, last week strawberries were BOGO (buy one get one free-sorry, couponer talk) and the week before potatoes and onions were BOGO. The items on sale, especially in the fresh produce section, circulate often enough that you could be getting many different kinds of produce/products every week! Also, though the flyer shows some great deals every week, don’t forget to look for sales that are occurring in the store that are NOT in the flyer. Last time I went shopping turkey meatballs were on sale and I had no idea -now they are resting half in the freezer, and half in my belly!

I want to take a moment however and concede that, yes, there are times that you need to buy things that are not on sale-and that is OK…everything in moderation right (dieters know this best)? ;)

The Couponer Way:
First, if you are new to couponing go to this website: http://livingrichwithcoupons.com/ It’s a great tool for coupon virgins and explains the ‘ins and outs’ of couponing quite well. 

There are two important rules to couponing, and these rules especially ring true for people trying to keep the money in the bank and the bulge at bay. 

The first commandment of couponing is: thou shalt not be brand loyal. If you are brand loyal you are missing out on both trying new things, and saving as much money as possible. Be willing to try new brands and new foods-you may be surprised and find out that you prefer a different kind of cracker that you never would have tried otherwise (personal amazing experience with crackers)!

The second commandment of couponing is: thou shall learn when certain products go on sale. Granted, this comes with couponing experience but some of it is common sense. For example, diet products and low calorie foods go on sale in the beginning of the year because that’s when everyone is determined to keep up with those pesky New Year’s resolutions-we are all better though and do them all year round, right? haha... Therefore, stock up on products when they are on sale-which many times coincide with when there are coupons available for them (again refer to the above website if you’re confused).

Now you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘OK, so you explained couponing, but how does this help my waistline?!?’ Well, I’m glad you asked! Many times just because the coupon shows the full-fat, full-calorie, full-WAISTLINE, version of a product- doesn’t mean it won’t work for the healthy alternative! Allow me to explain.

I discovered (because of a manufacturer coupon combined with an in-store sale) that Tollhouse Low-Fat Crackers are a really great low calorie snack. You get 6 large crackers for 60 calories (one WW point). Now, I could literally have a love affair with crackers and cheese (may have cheated on my fiancé with them yesterday) so this was such an amazing find for me to discover! Another time I used a Nabisco coupon towards Nabisco 100 Cal packs and discovered a whole new nightly treat!

Overall, your healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to cost you your budget, and your budget doesn’t have to cost you your healthy lifestyle.

Until next time…trying to keep money in the bank and the bulge at bay!