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Eat Healthy, Save Money

by Derek Sisterhen on October 11, 2011

Christine Luken, the Coupon Queen, is back to dispel some myths and give us some solid ways to save money on healthy foods. After Christine’s last guest post, it was clear we have some very discerning fans that are looking for ways to make products that are good for them also good for the budget. ~D.S.

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There’s a myth floating around out there that I am constantly trying to dispel. It goes something like this: “I’m eating healthy/organic/gluten-free, and there aren’t any coupons for the food I eat.” Or: “The only coupons I see out there are for processed and packaged foods.”

Let me set the record straight: You can eat healthy AND save money! The two are not mutually exclusive.

Now, it’s true that there are many coupons out there for products like Pop-Tarts, Rice-A-Roni, and Frosted Flakes. However, there are also coupons and deals to be had for Kashi Frozen Dinners, Cascadian Farms cereal, Udi’s Gluten Free Bread, and all-natural Luna Bars. You just need to know where to find them!

The first strategy you need to follow to save money on healthy food is to buy it when it’s on sale with coupons. Then you need to stock up on it so you have it on hand when it’s not on sale. This is known in couponing circles as “stockpiling.” Stockpiling does not mean you designate an entire room in your house to food storage. It simply means that you buy enough to last until the next sale. Never buy more of an item than your family will use before it expires. Things like organic cereal and granola bars have a reasonably long shelf life. You can freeze extra loaves of gluten-free bread when it goes on sale.

So where do you find coupons for organic and gluten-free products? It’s true that there aren’t too many of these in the Sunday paper (although you might spot a few.) The best ones I’ve found are online. Coupons.com frequently has printable coupons for Kashi products. With printable coupons, you can typically print two of any coupon per month per computer. So if you both you and your spouse have laptops and your kids have a desktop computer, you can potentially print six of the same coupon. You can also have friends and family members print some for you. Another great website for printable healthy coupons is MamboSpouts.com. I also recommend that you follow Organic Deals on Facebook. I frequently re-post deals they share for organic and gluten-free products.

Another way to get multiple coupons for healthy food is to search for them on E-Bay. Just type in the product name and coupon in the E-Bay search bar. There are quite a few “coupon clipping services” on E-Bay that will cut the coupons for you so that you can pay a few bucks for ten to twenty of a coupon. Let me give you a real-life example of this. Just a few weeks ago, I went to E-Bay and purchased twenty 50-cents off coupons for Luna Bars, an all-natural, 80% organic energy bar for women, for $6 shipped. My local Kroger doubles coupons so these are actually worth $1 for me. Guess what? Kroger sells Luna bars for 99 cents each. I use my coupons (usually five or ten at a time) to get my energy bars for free! My cost for the Luna bars was $6 for twenty, which is 30 cents a bar. 70% off isn’t too bad! Sometimes, people in other parts of the country, like Colorado and California, will get organic coupons in their Sunday papers that I wouldn’t get here in Cincinnati. Just make sure you are buying from a reputable seller with a good rating and that you’re buying original manufacturer’s coupons.

Do you have a favorite brand of organic or gluten-free food? If you write or email the manufacturer singing the praises of their products, they will frequently send you free coupons! It’s also a great idea to sign up for your favorite brands’ email lists and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. They frequently reward loyal followers and subscribers with printable coupons and free samples.

One last tip to reduce the cost of eating healthy is to use coupons for your non-food items. Even if you have a hard time finding good deals on your organic and gluten-free food, you can still use coupons to get your toilet paper, garbage bags, deodorant, shaving cream, dish washing liquid, and fabric softener for less. Now you can eat healthy without emptying your wallet!

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Christine Luken is a Coupon Queen, Financial Coach, and author of the e-book, Confessions of a Coupon Queen: Secrets Retailers Don’t Want You to Know. Christine has a passion for helping families save money so they can build up their savings and pay off their debt. In her spare time, you can find Christine on the golf course, at the mall shopping for shoes (coupons in hand!), or at home watching cage fighting with her husband. You can find her on her website or email her directly.

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173 Past Due – Our Daughter Needs A Car, We Can’t Get A Loan

by Derek Sisterhen on September 16, 2011

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Past Due: Radio 173 – Our Daughter Needs A Car, We Can’t Get A Loan

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Robert and his wife Patricia are reaping a harvest of, admittedly, poorly sown financial decisions. They have a college-age daughter who is splitting the family vehicle with Patricia to get to and from classes, then to and from her part-time job. The family needs a car in the worst way, but no one is qualifying for a car loan.

In his submission, Robert acknowledged that they’ve been late on mortgage payments in the past, and are trying to clean up their finances, but now they feel limited with this incredibly inconvenient transportation situation.

Today we discussed:

1) How the pressure of inconvenience often drives us to rushed, unwise financial decisions. We must assess the true cost of paying interest on a used car (and likely subprime interest at that) in the context of the hassle-factor of sharing a vehicle.

2) The importance of Robert and Patricia openly confronting their financial situation for their children to see. It’s time for them to lead their kids – two generations of healthy money managers hang in the balance.

3) How sometimes the best course of action isn’t the most obvious. Robert’s daughter has already saved $3,000 toward the purchase of a vehicle and has the potential to save more than her parents.

This show exposed a lot of the systemic financial issues we’re seeing in American households with regularity: paycheck-to-paycheck living, financially unprepared children, the perpetuation of the “Sandwich Generation”, and knee-jerk decision-making in financial discomfort.

If you have a specific question, I’d be happy to answer it and further cultivate the wisdom of the Past Due Radio masses. The experiences of our listener base provide plenty of insight we all can learn from; don’t hesitate to ask – I’m happy to help!

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Past Due: Radio 167 – Where Does The Sandwich Generation Get Money For Bread?

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My friend Bob is feeling the pain of being caught in the middle of a sandwich. This isn’t some weird food fetish; he’s actually dealing with helping his parents financially while trying to raise his own kids. And Bob is not alone. There is a whole segment of our society feeling the squeeze, called the “Sandwich Generation.”

Bob asked, “When trying to support parents and take care of your own family, where does the money come from?”

It’s a relevant question – over 1 in 8 Americans between the ages of 40 and 60 are sandwiched – but we didn’t want to just talk about getting more money for the problem. We had to understand the cause of the problem, too.

Today we discussed:

1) The primary cause of the Sandwich Generation, and how one generation’s lack of financial preparedness can become a problem for each future generation in a family tree.

2) How to deal with being sandwiched in your own family, and the kind of honest conversations that the “meat” needs to have with both “buns”.

3) How we can toss the Sandwich Generation effect from our society and, surprisingly, which generation in a family tree will be responsible for stopping the madness.

The good news for Bob, and the rest of us for that matter, is that the Sandwich Generation doesn’t have to last forever. Defining boundaries between family members is a critical component to maintaining healthy relationships and securing your financial future.

If you have a specific question, I’d be happy to answer it and further cultivate the wisdom of the Past Due Radio masses. The experiences of our listener base provide plenty of insight we all can learn from; don’t hesitate to ask – I’m happy to help!

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Past Due: Radio 166 – Preparing Financially For Life Outside The Nest

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I took another Facebook question today from my friend Ashley. She’s a little concerned for a friend of hers who is just now leaving the safety and comfort of her parent’s nest for the wide open real world.

Ashley asked, “I have a friend that just moved out of her parents’ house. She’s never had a budget, never really had to worry about how to pay for life, retirement, etc? What can she do to get settled successfully?”

While this doesn’t appear to be a “failure to launch” situation, I couldn’t help but think of the 2006 film with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey.

Today we discussed:

1) What parents of adult children can do to guide them toward independence, as well as the social change that has occurred since the Great Recession resulting 60% of college grads returning to live at home.

2) What Ashley needs to do, as this young woman’s friend, to encourage her and hold her accountable in the midst of spreading her wings.

3) The first two steps any newly-independent person should take to understand their financial position, lifestyle expenses, and to plan for the risks of life.

If you have a specific question, I’d be happy to answer it and further cultivate the wisdom of the Past Due Radio masses. The experiences of our listener base provide plenty of insight we all can learn from; don’t hesitate to ask – I’m happy to help!

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153 Past Due – Wrestling With Graduate School Loans, Investing

April 15, 2011

Past Due: Radio 153 – Wrestling With Graduate School Loans, Investing Right-click to download Send me your feedback or leave me a voice mail: (919) 374-0501 Leave a review on iTunes Paul and Kristina in Morrisville, NC wrote in a question about balancing the repayment of Paul’s grad school loan with their goal of buying […]

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Your Home: Place To Live or Investment?

July 27, 2010

This is a post from the newest member of the Lukas Coaching/Past Due Radio team, Jaime Thompson. Jaime is a Financial Coach with great insight on answering the question, “What next?” so that our money isn’t wasted. I recently had a conversation with a friend who mentioned what a great investment his house had been […]

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113 Past Due – When Home Ownership Owns You

July 7, 2010

Past Due: Radio 113 – When Home Ownership Owns You Right-click to download Send me your feedback or leave me a voice mail: (919) 374-0501. Leave a review on iTunes Remember when you were so excited to buy your first home? Remember the first time you realized that you were the landlord? Buying a home […]

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103 Past Due – Buying & Selling Homes in Today’s Market

April 28, 2010

Past Due: Radio 103 – Buying & Selling Homes in Today’s Market Right-click to download Send me your feedback or leave me a voice mail: (919) 374-0501. Leave a review on iTunes Real estate agent and founder of Green Fox Realty Aaron Lee joined me to talk about buying and selling homes in the rough-and-tumble […]

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