Gift bags, gift cards and meal provided by Natural Grocers.
Earlier this month, Jai and I attended a blogger event from Natural Grocers in Gresham. Their Gresham location just opened in March of this year, so this event was something of a welcoming party to introduce locals to what Natural Grocers has on offer. This was the first time I’d ever stepped foot in one of these stores, so I was interested to see what it would be like.
As you might imagine by the name, Natural Grocers is something of a “Health food” grocery store, carrying nothing but organic produce and naturally raised meats – meaning no hormones, antibiotics, growth promoters, or animal by-products in feed. They also do not carry any products containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners. They actually gave us a big leaflet of products that they won’t carry and why, which is different for a grocery store! I care about supporting organic/free-range products whenever possible, and while I’m not necessarily a huge health food eater myself, I appreciate that many people are so it’s nice for them to have options for what they want to buy.
With their emphasis on food and health, they also have a Nutritional Health Coach in each of their stores who teaches classes in the store and community and provides free one-on-one nutritional coaching sessions; Gresham’s Nutritional Health Coach, Cathy Cooke, was on hand to talk to us during the event. Natural Grocers are big on the paleo diet, so they served us a brunch of paleo foods. I don’t follow this diet myself, but I did enjoy the food they served and will be sharing their recipes on my cooking blog next week for anyone who’d like to try them!
One thing that stood out to me during their presentation is that they made a point of telling us that they offer a living wage for employees – I thought that was a bold, unusual statement to hear from a company and I liked it! They emphasized their practice of hiring full time employees so that they can receive health insurance and other benefits. Also, Natural Grocers employees receive discounts along with “Vitamin Bucks”, a .75 cent voucher per every hour worked on top of pay which they can use towards purchasing items at the store. Sounds like a good job for a couponer!
Which brings us to the part you’re all wondering about: How are the prices? Jai and I each received gift bags full of product samples along with gift cards, so that we could go shopping after the event. This is what I picked up:
1 tube of lip balm: .75 cents 1 tube of toothpaste: $3.95 32 oz bottle of body lotion: Regularly $9.99, on sale for $6.99 12 pack of recycled bath tissue: Regularly $4.99, on sale for $4.29 1 bottle of all-purpose cleaner: $3.95
We had 7 cents left on our gift cards, so I gave it to the next person in line so they could save a few cents, too. From what I observed looking around the store, it certainly seems like the best pricing I’ve seen for these type of products; the recycled toilet paper was actually a lower price than what I often see some of the regular toilet paper going for in our local Seaside stores. These certainly aren’t dollar store prices, but they’re also specialized products, so if you regularly buy these brands and go out of your way to get things like organic produce, I think this store would be a good bet because the pricing is the most competitive that I have personally seen for this type of stuff. Keep in mind that we have no chain health food grocery stores here in Seaside, so I haven’t done a ton of comparison shopping in this arena, but I have certainly visited other stores in this genre while traveling and the ones I’ve seen have been pricier. I was pretty impressed that they had small “Filler items” under a dollar, since I naturally wanted to get every bit of value out of our gift cards.
If you’re in the Gresham area, you can stop by Natural Grocers at 407 NW Burnside Road, Gresham, OR 97030 (Right across the street from Kmart). They have some fun raffle boxes at the front of this store this month to celebrate their recent opening, so check it out, have a look at their prices and selection and let me know what you think!
Do you have a Natural Grocers in your area? Have you shopped at one before? What did you think?
Because I’m so very frugal, I get free issues of All You magazine for review consideration.
I just received my favorite issue of All You ever. When I pulled it out of my mailbox, the first thing I saw were these adorable Halloween crafts on the front. You guys know how much I love Halloween – I get ridiculously excited when I see fun Halloween recipe books or craft how-tos. Jai has been with me many times at the supermarket checkout when I’ll be marveling over the latest recipe for Ghost Shepherd’s Pie, or what have you. Before Pinterest, I used to buy these magazines pretty frequently – and I still love them, although I’m more pressed for time these days!
But then I flipped the magazine over:
Yep, an ad for The Voice! I have purchased magazines before just because they had a Maroon 5 article in them. So this magazine has Adam Levine, Halloween crafts, AND coupons! I can’t think of anything I could possibly add to make it better.
I haven’t had much time to flip through magazines recently with all the traveling we’ve been doing. You’d think that being in a car for 5 hours would be the perfect opportunity for this, but ironically I’ve had my head buried in my iPhone most of the time writing work emails. I did, however, clip a cat food coupon out of August’s issue of All You for one of my friends who has cats and appreciates savings. I actually tucked a couple of cat food coupons into her birthday card, because that’s the exciting kind of friend that I am.
All You also put out a Back To School issue filled with hints and tips for parents getting back into a Fall routine with their kiddos. There’s some yummy recipes in here also, along with a few coupons, although this is mostly a content-based special than a coupon-packed savingspalooza like the standard issues.
I’m on a lot of press mailing lists, which means that I will receive promotional copies of magazines, DVDs, or other items for coverage consideration. As I mentioned recently, I’ve been getting complimentary issues of All You coming to my door this year, which is great for this coupon-clipping journalist. I’ve discussed this magazine on here multiple times as a coupon resource; I think the number of coupons that will be useful to you from each issue all depends on your proximity to Walmart and regional deals. I can’t always use the coupons from All You because the closest Walmart to me is 64 miles away and this town is notoriously slow in getting new products that I might see featured; it all depends on the issue and what I’m up to that month!
Here’s my thoughts on the summer issues of All You thus far:
June: With all the traveling I did over June, I didn’t even get a chance to sit down and clip out the coupons I wanted from this issue until last night. Sheesh! Anyway, I clipped out a coupon for Stayfree with a long expiration date that I will definitely be using soon.
July: I’m not immediately spotting any coupons from this issue that I know for sure I’ll use, but that all depends on what sales are going on. I never disregard a coupon until it expires, because you never know what sales are going to come up.
All You Summer Fun Special Issue: There were $27.75 worth of coupons in this, but I didn’t realize they had a fairly short expiration date; looks like they all expired on July 28th. Whoops! Oh well – I’m going to pass this on to Grandma next time I see her. She’s enjoyed reading these before, so I pass on issues to her once I’ve used the coupons. I would share my coupons with her too, but she doesn’t like to mess around with coupon shopping so I share deals with her in other ways!
The nice thing about All You is that there are a lot of recipes, household hints and general lifestyle articles that are fun to read after you’re done with the coupons. I seriously still have some issues in my magazine rack from 2010 that I need to finish looking through…
In other All You news, I was reading that this magazine is now being sold at Publix, so there’s an extra option for getting your hands on a copy now! Previously it was only sold through subscription and in Walmart/Sam’s Club stores.
On Friday, I stopped by Fred Meyer to redeem a stack of free coupons:
Total Spent: $6.49
Total Before Coupons: $32.71
1 bottle of Soft Scrub Cleaner – regularly $3.67, used one free coupon I received from a product review I did on Contest Corner. 1 box of Wheat Thins – regularly $2.00, used one free coupon that I got from a recent promotion – I believe it was on Twitter? They had an “Insurance policy” joke where you could fill out a “Claim” to get a free box of Wheat Thins. 1 bottle of Satin Care shave gel – price: $2.00 1 tub of Pillsbury Gluten Free Cookie Dough – regularly $4.69, used one free coupon that I received through a recent free offer – I guess they and Betty Crocker have both been running competing offers lately! 2 bags of Simply Potatoes – regularly $2.99, used two free product coupons I received for a forthcoming product review on my new food site, Cooking Catastrophe. 1 package of Foster Farms Oven Ready Chicken Breasts – regularly $6.89, used one free coupon I received for a review on Contest Corner. 1 bottle of Purex Laundry Detergent – regularly $2.99, used one free coupon I received for a another product review on Contest Corner. I thought this was only available at Target, but I found it at Freddy’s so I was able use one of my coupons! Yeah! 1 package of bath tissue – price: $4.49
I also stopped by Dollar Tree to stock up on some items that I didn’t have coupons for, as Dollar Tree has the best shelf price on them:
I spent $7 and got some things I was running low on – cotton swabs, floss, and dishwashing detergent for my new dishwasher! I also bought a bottle of conditioner because I finally ran out of my stockpile a few months ago. I know! It feels so weird to pay full price for conditioner…
I also got two tubes of hydrocortisone cream and a hula hoop. Now if those two items don’t encapsulate summer, I don’t know what does! I was inspired to get a hula hoop after going to the Oregon Zoo earlier in the month and getting a lesson from the “Mayor of Hooperville”. I was only able to keep the hula hoop going for 30 seconds, but my abs were sore for 3 days – that’s got to be the most efficient ab workout ever, so I wanted to get a hula hoop so I can start doing this regularly for exercise!
I also had to share this Instagram picture that I took at the end of June, because it was a classic Super Coupon Girl moment. I had the pleasure of attending the FitBloggin’ conference in Portland, and every attendee received a swag bag full of promotional items from the conference sponsors. Well, at the very end of the conference, there was a table with all the leftover sponsor items, both from extra swag bags and also excess items left over from tables in the Expo Hall, where sponsors were handing out samples to attendees. The conference organizers were encouraging all of us to take home whatever extra we’d like, as they just had to offload it anyway. All the attendees left at this point were from out of town and had already taken all they possibly carry in their suitcases, since you can only take so much baggage on a flight before incurring big fees. I was the only person local to the area and driving, and they told me to to take anything left that I wanted.
I had so many boxes of freebies that I actually had to use a pallet to take it out to my car. That’s right – Super Coupon Girl brought home a pallet full of swag from the conference. And it was all great stuff: Food such as cereal, protein bars, shakes, free coupons for food items, vitamins, socks; tons of very practical things that we’ve been using every day. The few things we didn’t need personally, we shared with our family and friend, so every single item was put to use!
If you like watching cat videos, here’s a new Friskies offer for you: Click here to visit their website and watch three 30-second ad spots. Then, rate the videos and share them via Facebook or Twitter. Once you’ve done this for all three videos, it will unlock a form which you can fill out to receive a free product coupon for a can of cat food by mail. Thanks, Free Hot Samples!
As smartphones become more and more ubiquitous, we’re seeing all kinds of innovations being designed for mobile technology. One category that is growing is the mobile coupon front, with a lot of people are using their smartphones to snag and redeem deals. Naturally, I will explore any and every new avenue of saving money, so I’ve been intrigued to see this area develop. Last year at the Safeway Just4U event, for example, they unveiled the accompanying savings app that you could use while on the go to load deals to your card. Up until last week, I was using a first-generation iPhone (In true frugal fashion!), but unfortunately Apple doesn’t allow older devices to upgrade past iOS 3.1.3, so I hadn’t yet been able to try any of coupon apps out there. Last week, I received an iPhone 3GS as a gift, so one of the first things I did was install several coupon apps that I’d been anxious to try.
One of the apps I’ve been experimenting with is the Coupons.com app. This is an extension of their website, and basically gives you a hub on your smartphone from which you can browse and select printables. Once selected, you can either email the coupons to yourself for printing later, or if you have a select new printer, you could print them wirelessly. The app also lets you browse through savings card offers, which you can add to your various club cards when you login with your Coupons.com account. You can also browse smartphone-specific offers to add to your iPhone’s “Passbook” app, which you would then pull up on your phone and present to the cashier to scan the screen. This is probably the most unique feature of the app, since these coupons are unique to mobile devices. I have yet to try redeeming one of these coupons, but I’ll report back once that happens! The Coupons.com app is pretty straightforward and easy to use – it’s really just a supplement to the website, another way of making it more convenient to access and save coupons that you want to use.
Another app powered by Coupons.com is the Grocery IQ list app. This app is pretty neat and has a lot of functionality; you can create your own mobile shopping list, search for products to add, browse relevant coupons, use the GPS to pull up local store information, use the voice memo to add products to your list, or even utilize your phone’s camera to scan a barcode for an item you’re running low on to add to your list. You can also sync your list with someone else, which I could see being really useful – a smartphone shopping list is the ideal thing for someone like Jai, who will lose a paper list in 30 seconds. When I go grocery shopping, I usually have a notebook or large piece of paper with me so I can work out the total as I go – I treat my coupon shopping almost like a longform math problem, so my lists have running totals for cost before coupons, after coupons, and so on. I don’t know that I could make the transition to using lists on a smartphone unless maybe they built a calculator into the list (You can input prices, however). I know I’m the minority with that though! However, I will totally use this for outsourcing lists to Jai.
Do you use mobile coupon apps, and if so, which ones?
Click here to “Like” Melt Buttery Spread on Facebook, and then sign up for a free product coupon. You are required to share the offer on your wall and allow limited posting access in order to receive the coupon, which is a printable. FYI, it will display both your full name and Facebook profile photo on the coupon. Not all stores accept printables for free items so keep that in mind when redeeming. I’ve never heard of this product before so I’ll be curious to see where it is sold. Thanks, Free Fun & Fab!
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