Here’s to More #CleanCouponing in 2015!

Are you fed up yet with the rush to save a dollar at the grocery store, only to find you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the box of food-like stuff you bought with your coupon? I used to revel at how many dollars I “saved” when I clipped coupons for name brand products.

Baby with Ring

Then I realized I was frugal with more than money.  Parenthood awakened a new sensibility about caring what was in the products I would buy to feed, clothe and care for my babies.  The more I learned, the more frugal I became about values like health, quality and reducing wasteful plastic packaging.

#CleanCouponing is not the traditional way of looking at couponing.  It’s about sometimes clipping coupons and sometimes saving money, of course.  But it’s more than that.  It’s about finding a way to balance all of the values you and your family choose for yourselves along with living in the real world of finite resources for grocery budgets.  It’s about doing what works for you and about being creative enough to stretch a dollar without compromising nutrition and health.

Once each month in 2015, we’ll continue our #CleanCouponing Twitter chats or parties hosted by Flour Sack Mama of the parent Flour Sack Mama blog.  We’ll feature leaders in all areas of #CleanCouponing from food and home to fitness and family and beyond.  If you’re a blogger who would like to enlist for the panel of one of these chats, or a nonprofit that would like to be featured, or even if you’re interested in sponsorship, you can give us some input here in this quick online survey.  The survey is also a chance for you to share which #CleanCouponing topics you are interested in seeing in 2015.

Thanks to all of the special guests, blogger panelists and sponsors who’ve supported the beginnings of our #CleanCouponing chats in 2014.  Here’s to an even better year of #CleanCouponing for all!

Holiday Christmas background with a border of gift boxes. Vector.

#CleanCouponing Holiday Gifts Twitter Party December 11!

You are invited to a #CleanCouponing Holiday Gifts Twitter party coming up Thursday, December 11th!  We’ll be chatting from 9 to 10 pm Eastern time with @FlourSackMama.

Holiday Christmas background with a border of gift boxes. Vector.

Let’s chat about traditional holiday favorites, about your traditions this time of year.

Let’s explore ways to green our Christmas gift giving.

Let’s talk about gifts of time and talents, as well.

Special giveaway of Dino Day art & holiday ebooks:

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In the meantime, you can RSVP here:

Chefs, Home Cooks, Cookbook Authors Talked #CleanCouponing Holiday Food with Flour Sack Mama

How young can we start involving our children in meal making?  Is it really possible for kids to want to eat their vegetables?  What’s a new way to serve up sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving?  These questions and more came up during our #CleanCouponing Holiday Food Twitter chat!  In case you missed it, here’s a recap of some of last night’s flavorful conversation:

Instagram Twitter Party

 

Traditional food

#CleanCouponing Holiday Food edition Twitter Party November 20

Ready for Thanksgiving?  How about winter holidays beyond that?  Do you use traditional recipes for Hannukah?  Do you always prepare cranberry sauce just like your grandmother used to make it?  Are you wondering how to pick the best turkey?  Tired of turkey and looking for alternatives?  What about GMOs in your holiday dinner?

Roasted meat with garnish and cowberry pie on festive table

Let’s talk turkey and more when we gather on Twitter for the next #CleanCouponing Twitter party to talk Holiday Food!  The event is set for Thursday, November 20th from 8 to 9 pm.  Follow along with hashtag #CleanCouponing and if you ask or answer questions, be sure to use the hashtag as well so everyone can have a conversation.

Follow current and former #CleanCouponing panelists here via Twitter list.

We’ll be joined by some special guests from the Pollan Family Table cookbook.  Plus, we’re hosting special nonprofit guest Center for Food Safety.  Be sure to enter here to win a cookbook from the Pollans or a $50 gift card from Flour Sack Mama.  Plus, add your Twitter handle when you RSVP to the event below.  Looking forward to chatting on Thursday!

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Food Prices Slightly Higher

Feel like you’re working harder these days to stretch your food budget?  You’re right. Chances are, you’re spending about 3% more than at this time last year to buy the same cart of groceries.

eggs, sugar, ingredients

The US Government’s Consumer Price Index reportedly rose 3.2% from last September to September 2014.  This, after nearly no change at all in overall food prices the previous year. Fresh fruit prices are up about 6% over the past year.

California’s drought has been a concern about potentially higher produce prices.  Yet, demand for fresh continues to increase.  The strongest segment of growth in groceries is perpetually in natural and organic food.

Drought in Texas and Oklahoma is affecting rising beef prices.

How are you stretching that food budget another 3% or so?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Look for local, in-season choices: bargain with local growers, use what’s available.
  • Avoid wasting food: watch portion sizes, serve leftovers for lunch, freeze part of what you cook.
  • Go directly to your favorite brands’ websites or via portals at sites like CleanCouponing.com for coupons on real food.

At Clean Couponing, we’re frugal with even more than money.  Stay connected by getting our free Clean Couponing and Flour Sack Mama newsletter.

Group running on beach jogging

You’re Invited to a Strong, not Scared #CleanCouponing Party!

*Special event post sponsored by Rustic Maka and Santa Barbara Bar in order to bring you more quality content and giveaways.

You’re invited to a special Strong, not Scared edition of our #CleanCouponing Twitter parties!  Chances are you’ve heard some scary statistics, like one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer or one in three women will be diagnosed with some type of cancer in her lifetime (chances are one in two for men).

While society may be awash in a sea of pink marketing gimmicks, especially in October, we’re focusing on cancer prevention.  Two organizations that make an earnest effort to help women understand environmental causes of cancer will be our special guests on October 23rd, available to answer questions and point you to practical resources.  We’re honored that both the Breast Cancer Fund and Women’s Voices for the Earth will be joining us at 9 pm Eastern, 6 pm Pacific for this latest #CleanCouponing Twitter party.

Clean Couponing Oct 23 Twitter Party

One personal connection for us here is Anne’s effort to raise $500 for the Breast Cancer Fund via this direct fundraiser for the organization.  It’s in memory of Anne’s mom who was lost to another type of cancer, and in honor of so many others who’ve been coping with the disease.  We appreciate your helping get the word out.

How does wellness and cancer prevention tie into the #CleanCouponing theme?  At this companion to the Flour Sack Mama blog, we say we’re frugal with more than money. That means that while we’re always looking for a discount to share with you, we know you often shop with other values in mind.  Particularly this month, we know you’re getting wiser about products flashing a pink ribbon that instead might contain cancer causing chemicals.  Informed consumers know that’s no longer acceptable.  So, we want to bring you some alternatives and a Twitter chat where everyone can share ideas and even talk about your favorite brands.

A couple of our favorite brands that have made this particular Twitter event possible in October are the scrumptious Santa Barbara Bar and the artisan body care company Rustic Maka.   Check out those links for generous giveaways from both both brands.

Here are the special #CleanCouponing discounts for you:

At the Rustic Maka website use code “Clean15″ for 15% off your order.

At the Santa Barbara Bar website use code “SantaBarbaraBarClean” for 15% off your order.

These discount codes expire January 17, 2015.

Be sure to follow our special guests @BreastCancerFnd and @Women4Earth, our sponsors @tastySBbars and @RustickMaka, co-hosts @CleanCouponing and @FlourSackMama and this diverse mix of Twitter party panelists: @TheHousingHour, @ChooseWiser, @AFewGoodJens, @ginabad, @AlmostTruth, @massgreendad.

Here’s a button-sized graphic in case you’d like to add it to your site and link back to this page.

Oct 23 Twitter party button

For now, RSVP below for the #CleanCouponing Twitter party and tell your friends about it. Let’s not be scared of those statistics.  We are not powerless.  We’re also not settling for a month of pink without real emphasis on prevention. Let’s empower one another by sharing information and staying strong for ourselves and those we love!

Making Jam2

#CleanCouponing by Gardening & Preserving

by Jessica

It is challenging to feed my family good quality, healthy food while sticking to a budget. I have four kids with big appetites and they love fresh fruits and vegetables. So, over the past few years I have taken on the challenge of giving them these foods they love without draining my bank account by creating a family garden and canning foods for the off season.

Inspecting First Tomatoes Picking Peaches

We began with the basics – tomatoes and bell peppers – in one four foot by eight foot raised bed. The whole family loved harvesting this little garden and as the kids grew, they wanted to try growing new edibles. Now, we have three raised beds as well as two in ground gardens and a significant container garden on the deck. We grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, strawberries, green beans, lettuce, radishes, sweet potatoes, tomatillos, basil and mint.

While the initial investment in creating a garden bed can vary based on location, soil, and type of garden; homegrown fruits and vegetables are significantly cheaper in the long run. And, if you start your plants from seed, the cost is much less than buying seedlings at the store. A quick Internet search will help you find the exact seeds that will grow well in your environment and in a pinch, you can buy the packets from your local grocery or hardware store.

Making Jam2

My kids have loved eating strawberries straight from the garden and digging up our first ever crop of sweet potatoes. But despite having eight tomato plants, the season was coming to an end and I didn’t have any extra tomatoes to can for the winter. And the children ate, literally, every strawberry the garden produced, leaving me nothing to make into jams and jellies — and I really do prefer to feed my family homemade spreads.

For winter food storage on a budget, I highly recommend checking out your local farmers market and farms. I have been able to buy tomatoes in bulk at a discount by talking to farmers. An extra 40 pounds of tomatoes can make plenty of extra pasta sauce and canned tomatoes to get my family to the next growing season.

In addition, fruit is often cheaper at “pick your own” farms. Our family had a couple great days together picking blueberries, blackberries, peaches and strawberries. And each time I open a new jar of blackberry blueberry jam, I remember how much fun we had picking those fruits. Many fruits can also be stored in the freezer.

Don’t be afraid to get creative while trying to save money and still feed your family great foods. You might start with a windowsill herb garden and discover you have a green thumb!

*Find detailed food preservation safety information at the National Center for Home Preservation.

Mark your calender for another #CleanCouponing Twitter party October 23rd!

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Organic Apple

Let’s Talk #CleanCouponing this Thursday Night!

Are you frugal with more than money?  Are you only interested in coupons and discounts IF a product is the best value or meets some special need?  Come join us Thursday, September 25 from 9 to 10 pm Eastern Time for another #CleanCouponing chat!  Follow us here on Twitter and watch for the hashtag.

Twitter chat September

We’ll keep it simple this month.  Let’s share strategies for stretching a dollar with REAL food or for seeking out non-toxic products without spending a fortune.

We’d love to hear your favorite topics that you want to see discussed here, too!

What about a value like supporting local farms and businesses?   We’ll talk a bit about that, as well.

Looking forward to chatting with you Thursday night along with the Flour Sack Mama blog!