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Old 26-09-2011, 22:15   #1
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Free and Nearly-Free Provisions

I don't know if this belongs under provisions, money, off topic, or the 500 per month thread so please relocate as needed.


I was wondering if anyone else takes advantage of coupons to purchase their provisions. I know it may seem wierd but I have been able to build a large inventory of non-perishable foods, toiletries, and home products and have spent almost nothing to do so. I am not currently cruising but am using the savings toward other boat purchases and plan on being able to spend very little on provisioning before we take off by planning and stocking up in the months before.

Some of the things I have recently gotten for free or paid only pennies for(or have even gotten money back):

Canned goods: canned veggies .12; beans .34; soups .48; tomatoes-free; pasta sauces-free; sloppyjoe mix-free; canned chicken 1.00

Dry goods: pasta (get money back); stuffing, potato mixes, rice mixes-pennies; cereals 1.00/box; seasonings, granola bars, crackers, and cookies-these all make great coupon deals.

Beverages: gatoraide and bottles of teas or juices for free on small bottles or about a buck for large bottles.

Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, razors, toothpaste, floss, bandaids, neosporin, painrelievers (easy to get these for nothing or money back)

Housewares: cleaning supplies, bait traps, paper products (significant savings)

Since coupons seem to be primarily for non-perishable items it seems they have catered to our stock-up needs. Also, with "green", "whole grain" and "organic" becoming more common in the mainstream grocery stores there is an increase in coupons for these healthier or less processed products.

I do not know how coupons work for friends across the pond or how it might work (if at all) for those already out there. But if anyone is interested in sharing tips or ideas or want to know more on how they work I'd be happy to share what I have learned so far. Just thought I'd put it out there. Warning: there is a trick to using coupons. You have to match them with store sales or other coupons. If not, you may see your bill actually go UP!

SO, if you are trying to save up for that new (___insert desired boat item____), or headed to the bahamas for the winter (or wherever), this might just free up a couple extra dollars in your cruising kitty.

Hope this helps someone,
Deborah
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Old 26-09-2011, 23:12   #2
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Re: Free and nearly free provisions

Oh Man would you love this site...

Coupons, Grocery Coupons - The Grocery Game - A Weekly List of the lowest-priced groceries at your local stores

I did it with the site for a while and then when I had it figured out I went to just doing it on my own...

It is AMAZING how much you can get for how little.

And I live in what is called 'The land of no coupon doubling' where we get less than folks in other areas.

I don't know if outside the US there are deals like this.

Are there coupons in Britain?
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Old 27-09-2011, 03:28   #3
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Re: Free and nearly free provisions

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Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
Are there coupons in Britain?
I think they had it in WWII

The "Twofer" offer seems to be the current big thing. Don't buy one fat person sized product, buy 2 - the 2nd for half price (of "free").

Some really good deals if you are obese and looking to grow to the size of a small house from living on processed sh#te or simply wish to send your kids to an early grave (a supersized hole in the ground ).

Looking to save money?...........cook (not just assemble).
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Old 27-09-2011, 08:03   #4
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Re: Free and nearly free provisions

Sara, thanks for the link I will check it out. I also live in the land of no doubling. We have BOGO and I can use a coupon on both the paid and "free" item here though.

David, Although I agree that a large portion of coupons are for highly processed foods, not all are. I enjoy cooking and get great deals on basics like bulk rice, canned tomatos, whole grain pastas, bags of flour, spices, olive oils, greek yogurts...... On the boat we don't get to eat out of a garden (or even a farmers market) every day and have to rely on non-perishable items as a base. There are still good choices to be made and a way to save a lot of money while doing it. Besides, it is hard to argue with free toothpaste and soap (and you can frequently manage to get these items for free with coupons/sales).
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Old 27-09-2011, 09:17   #5
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Re: Free and nearly free provisions

seems like a catch 22 to me.

the more provisioning you'll stock the bigger a boat you'll have to get.

since you are saving toward a boat using the savings on provisions you may have to wait longer to live your dream.
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Old 27-09-2011, 10:39   #6
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Re: Free and Nearly-Free Provisions

"supercouponing" has been in the news a lot for the past few years. If you don't care about brands and invest a lot of time, it seems to work for some folks.
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Old 27-09-2011, 12:30   #7
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Re: Free and Nearly-Free Provisions

One of the things that has been a long learning curve with provisioning is figuring out what we will really use aboard.

I buy things for the boat I would never buy for the house. Last week at trader joes I spotted brownie mix that is literaly all ready to cut open and pour into the pan and bake.

At home everything is scratch...

But on occasion it's nice to be able to pop something in the little oven and have something fresh and easy 20 minutes later. The last time I made brownies aboard I had to go scrounge eggs from the boys up the dock... so when I saw the mix that didn't need ANYTHING added... well shoot. I got it. It remains to be seen if I would buy it again...

With coupons it critical to only buy things you would have purchased anyway. And to only buy what you can use in a reasonable amount of time.

But the economics are sound.

If you buy that tin of tuna for .80 instead of a buck you just *made* 20% on it. Try doing that in the stock market or investment banking these days...
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Old 27-09-2011, 17:08   #8
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Re: Free and Nearly-Free Provisions

"I spotted brownie mix that is literaly all ready to cut open and pour into the pan and bake.
At home everything is scratch..."

And here's the truth from the Wierd World of Marketing. Year ago, early 1970s, one of the big companies (Pillsbury, if I recall) was incredibly happy because they found a way to make cake and brownie mixes that were just as good as their best--and only needed water.

They couldn't give 'em away and did focus groups to find out why. It turns out that the typical "little lady" didn't get ay feeling of accomplishment if she only had to add water. She needed to stir in that egg to feel satisfied. No joke.

Today...the water mixes have gained ground because more people just want their dmaned cake and want it now, and could care less about adding an egg.
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Old 28-09-2011, 07:53   #9
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Re: Free and Nearly-Free Provisions

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"I spotted brownie mix that is literaly all ready to cut open and pour into the pan and bake.
At home everything is scratch..."

And here's the truth from the Wierd World of Marketing. Year ago, early 1970s, one of the big companies (Pillsbury, if I recall) was incredibly happy because they found a way to make cake and brownie mixes that were just as good as their best--and only needed water.

They couldn't give 'em away and did focus groups to find out why. It turns out that the typical "little lady" didn't get ay feeling of accomplishment if she only had to add water. She needed to stir in that egg to feel satisfied. No joke.

Today...the water mixes have gained ground because more people just want their dmaned cake and want it now, and could care less about adding an egg.
This rang a bell with me. When we were a young struggling family, I stayed home with our 2 boys for their first 3 years before returning to work full-time. This would be early-to-mid 1970s. During those 3 years I participated in a Betty Crocker test market -- in my own home. Each month a large box of various foods were delivered to our home/ 4 of each item. I was instructed to prepare 1 of each item each week using different preparation instructions. There were main dishes, side dishes, as well as deserts included each month. Made for a lot of free meals for very little effort on my part. I simply filled out a form review of each product and my families reaction to being served this item. Every month they also sent me a packet of coupons for discounts on all kinds of products sold in supermarkets.

Frankly, I liked the 'add water only' mixes. On blind tastings with my family, no one could tell the difference between the cakes baked with fresh eggs and/or fresh milk from the cakes and brownies from the 'water only' mixes with dried eggs and powdered milk. Apparently my reports were in the minority because the mass-marketed mixes did not change to 'add water only.'

Using coupons does save lots of $$$ if you know how to work the system and are diligent about what items you purchase. I have not seen coupons used outside the USA.

Judy
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Old 28-09-2011, 08:00   #10
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Re: Free and nearly free provisions

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Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
Oh Man would you love this site...

And I live in what is called 'The land of no coupon doubling' where we get less than folks in other areas.
The peoples republic of SF never fails to amaze me. No Goldfish, no circumcisions, no coupon doubling.

Brad
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Old 28-09-2011, 13:03   #11
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Re: Free and Nearly-Free Provisions

I start stockpiling non-perishables months before the cruise. I scour the internet for coupons and BOGOs. The Krazy Coupon Lady is my friend.
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Old 28-09-2011, 13:14   #12
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I start stockpiling non-perishables months before the cruise. I scour the internet for coupons and BOGOs. The Krazy Coupon Lady is my friend.
I don't get the "stockpiling " do you intend to at sea for months. The rest of the world had shops too.

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Old 30-09-2011, 02:57   #13
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Re: Free and Nearly-Free Provisions

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I don't get the "stockpiling " do you intend to at sea for months. The rest of the world had shops too.

Dave
My husband doesn't get the "stockpiling" of provisions either. Until we are away from civilization and I can still cook up just about anything he craves -- for however long we stay in those secluded anchorages.

The rest of the world does indeed have shops. Most of those shops do not sell products that we take for granted in the US. That is the reason that every time we fly back to the States we return to the boat with duffel bags filled with Dark Chocolate Hershey Kisses, Swiss Miss Instant Hot Cocoa, Infusium 23 Leave-in Hair Treatment, and all kinds of other things not found elsewhere.

Stockpiling also helps keep the spending down. Those enormous rolls of paper towels sold for 1 Euro in Greece sure beat buying the much smaller rolls in Turkey for 4 Turkish Lira. Also stock up on pork products in Greece since these are very limited or non-existent in Turkey for religious reasons. In the Caribbean I quickly learned to buy every package of bread flour found on the supermarket shelves because this is extremely hard to find. While in Malaysia and Thailand I purchased toothpaste, shampoo, shower gels and such because it is MUCH cheaper there than in our destination of the Med. Saved lots of $$$ by stocking up on things that will not spoil and cost far more in the next destination (where we will remain for several years).

Eating local is fine and fun. But most of us also want our comfort foods.

Judy
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Old 30-09-2011, 03:35   #14
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Re: Free and nearly free provisions

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Originally Posted by Ironhorse74 View Post
The peoples republic of SF never fails to amaze me. No Goldfish, no circumcisions, no coupon doubling.

Brad
Dunno about Goldfish and Coupon Doubling, but am pretty sure the middle one will always be permitted for adults (like getting a Tattoo) - just trying to stamp out folks mutilating the genitals of children, in the same way that drilling a hole in the skull to let out evil spirits is not only illegal but largely(?!) also laughed at for the stupidity involved..........both simply because the local Woo peddler got told to by a talking shrub. or by "reading" a bowl of Seagull Sh#t.

Of course I appreciate that views do vary on the acceptability of sexually mutilating kids as a leisure activity
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Old 30-09-2011, 07:48   #15
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Re: Free and Nearly-Free Provisions

Judy, exactly!

My past experience is for the most part limited to short 6-9 week cruises in the Bahamas. Of course the Bahemians all eat and there are stores, but we often spend weeks at a time anchored at one of the uninhabited islands and really can not shop every week. When we do have the chance to, the selection is limited and expensive (not complaning-I understand and can appreciate the logistics involved).

Further, I enjoy cooking aboard and like to have a well stocked "pantry" to be able to make what ever I am in the mood for. Infact, I have found that I frequently make more items "from scratch" while on the boat because I do not have the time constraints that I do at home. (But there is nothing wrong with a quick brownie mix! I will always carry that-- I buy it when it is BOGO, use coupons, and make it cheap too.)

I do like to purchase local items that I can't get from home and learning new recipes-it's a great part of cruising. I don't, however, want to pay $4 for olives that I could have purchased for $1 with a little planning, smart shopping, and some efficient stowing. "Stockpiling", for me, is an essential part of making my budget work. Without I think I'd be eating nothing but rice and beans .
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