Un-Coupon VP

Hi there FODMAPers! I’ve been thinking quite a bit about our grocery budget lately and how we save money. We have been asked to participate in a study at our gastroenterologist about dietary choices and my guess is, they want to know if anyone is eating a FODMAP diet, if they’re doing it properly and what the cost is. Let’s face it, eating is expensive, but there are ways to take some of the cost burden and defer it with coupons and rewards without looking or feeling like a maniac.

The very first thing I will tell you is that I do not clip coupons. They are small and they annoy me. Most coupons are for pre-packaged foods, household cleaners or paper products and they need to be printed from a website and then cut out. Not only do we not eat pre-packaged foods like frozen pizza or instant noodles, but our house is chemical free, so household cleaners are out. We do use paper products, but I’ve found that buying in bulk at Sam’s Club works. We buy chicken, feta cheese, Kleenex, baby wipes and paper towel all in bulk and all for less than at the supermarket without a coupon. Sam’s also carries our laundry detergent, Ecos, which obviously is in bulk, but is an environmentally friendly soap with no dyes, chemicals or perfumes.

In between stops at Sam’s Club we go to our local supermarket, Meijer. I love Meijer because they have a program called MPerks that is not only easy to use, but it’s convenient as well. Where coupons failed miserably MPerks picked up the slack. Meijer offers digital coupons called MPerks to all of it’s customers that are accessible either through their website or on your smartphone. Every Friday before Team VP goes shopping I log into my MPerks account and click on the new coupons I’d like to add. Meijer sometimes offers larger coupons like 5% off an entire purchase of general merchandise or 10% off health and beauty. What I really love about MPerks is that they always include fresh fruit and vegetables and when I combine the MPerks with the great sales that Meijer has, our grocery bill stays predictable.

Although Meijer does have an amazing selection of gluten free items and we can find almost anything we need there at a fraction of the cost, there are a few food items that we buy at the local Food Co-op. As FODMAPers we eat a lot of rice and our favorites are California brown organic and Basmati white organic, which we buy in bulk at the Co-op. We also purchase all of our spices in bulk for 1/4 of what we used to pay. The Food Co-op also has a better selection of rice milk ice cream!

Every so often I need to get creative and order staples online, either because Meijer is out, or because we are trying a new brand. As FODMAPers we are incredibly brand loyal because mystery ingredients make us sick, so I turn to Amazon and Drugstore.com. I can watch sales, use coupon codes and find all my favorite brands, while still getting free shipping. This past week Meijer was out of King Arthur Flour gluten free, but Amazon had three boxes for $17 with free shipping. It was ordered and delivered before we even had time to miss it.

Saving money is important. Mr. MVP works hard to support our family and I want to contribute by helping us keep our money in the bank. I find paper coupons to be challenging, but I love the ease of digital coupons. To find out if your supermarket has a digital coupon program simply Google the name of the store. It’s well worth the three extra minutes to click through the coupons each week. Our average savings is around $25. Being a FODMAPer is complicated enough, saving money at the supermarket is a snap.

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