Guest post by Sara at The Traveling PhoBlogWriPher
When I was a single girl, I ate gluten and I paid $20-$50 a month for groceries for myself, so when my gluten-free fiancé told me he spent close to $300 a month on his own personal groceries, I literally cried.
For reasons I won’t get into here, I went gluten-free as well and I was certain we’d have to live in a cardboard box if we ever wanted to make a grocery budget work! However, now we are both gluten-free, and he is also dairy-free, but we manage to spend $100-$150 a month on groceries.
Here’s my advice on how to eat gluten-free on a budget:
First and foremost, know that while you may occasionally get a great deal on a pre-packaged gluten-free item, but in general, they are expensive and a lot of your meals will just have to be of the homemade variety if you’d like them to be cheaper. Learn to love meat-and-veggie main courses. I also find myself getting better deals on foods that happen to be gluten-free as opposed to foods that are specifically made gluten-free.
Know Where to Shop
In my town, there is an outrageously priced health food store with a strict coupon policy, a Fry’s with a decent gluten-free section, and several farmers’ markets with great produce options. For me, what makes the most sense is to plan ahead which stores will have the best deals on which products and if I have a coupon, which store will make it the cheapest. I don’t like to go from store-to-store if I can help it, so I often do my main shopping at Fry’s and hit the other two stores when I’m already out-and-about in those areas.
Know Where to Find Coupons
The newspaper coupons are a great place to start. In my old town I traded with a friend: She gave me all of her gluten-free/dairy-free coupons and I gave her anything I had with gluten in it.
Cellfire and other online coupon sites have great deals, as do manufacturers’ websites. Also, always be on the lookout for free health food magazines. Some of my favorite (and most expensive) gluten-free treats have been purchased because of a decent sale and a coupon from a free advertising magazine at Fry’s/ the health food store. Last but not least, I love Mambo Sprouts’ printable coupons.
When all else fails, stockpile. I definitely stockpile on cheap/free cleaning and hygiene products to allow more wiggle room for food, but I also stockpile on canned veggies, Progresso soups, tuna, Ortega taco shells, frozen fruits and veggies… anything I can plan ahead with.
Put It All Together
I find that almost all of Crystal’s posts can work for us (a newlywed gluten-free couple) the same as it might work for a wheat-flour loving family of seven! Plan ahead, stay organized, and stay positive.
Sara Bell is a 20-something newlywed from Prescott, Arizona. When she isn’t bargain-shopping or cooking, she loves reading, writing, photography, and spending time with her new husband. They have also recently purchased a 1973 Winnebago and have big plans to travel the U.S. in it. You can read about her adventures on her blog, The Traveling PhoBlogWriPher.