Guest post from Jenetta of Frugal Freebies and Deals
I started my gluten free journey four years ago. It was for health reasons. A couple years after I started eating GF we adopted two girls with special needs due to trauma. My doctor immediately recommended putting them on a GF which was no problem.
But about a year later, she recommended removing dairy and corn. Not corn! We live off corn, I thought, and it is in everything.
But I knew I could do it. I was good at the whole GF thing so I could be good at this, too.
If you are new to any dietary restriction I know where you are at. Just the diet change part makes you want to throw in the towel but adding in the “new budget” aspect is enough to make you want to go over the edge. I was there walking out of the health food store with the tiniest bag of groceries ever… and I paid $100 for it.
Plus, I knew I would need to come back and do it again in 3 days! Talk about frustration.
However, I have come up with some tricks to keep your budget in check. We keep our monthly budget for four (mind you the girls are just 6 and 7) at between $200-250 a month without a lot of coupons.
Here are some things that help us:
1. Change your perspective about the way you eat.
This will be different for everyone. For me, it took thinking about my food and what I really enjoy about it. Unless bread is really good I don’t care for it much, so I started eating burgers and sandwiches as more of a salad or lettuce wrap.
Stop trying to replace the food from your former diet with equal non-allergenic counterparts. Instead, start thinking outside the box for new, less expensive (and maybe more nutritious) foods.
2. Start shopping at new stores.
This sounds like a lot, but I have around 20 possible stores I shop at. Weekly, I try to shop at 3-4 of them.
The health food store might have markdowns on GF bread, non-dairy milks, and yogurt. Local grocery outlets have lots of cheap GF, dairy-free, and corn-free items. We have the $0.99 Only chain in our area and I routinely pick up organic produce and non-allergenic snacks for $0.99 (this store is on my weekly route). Local Asian markets sell GF pasta and flour for around $1.
This trick is going to be individual to you and your area. You need to remember that deals change often so you will have to be willing to buy what is available.
3. Stock up.
This is my biggest money-saver. You need to have money set aside for stock-ups.
If I find boxes of non-allergenic organic granola bars at the $.99 Only Store, I can purchase 20 boxes because I have stock-up money set aside. That deal is not going to last and it might be a while before such a good deal comes up again.
This goes for meats, flours, anything that you find at great price. Buy as much as you can use, afford, and store.
4. Buy online.
You don’t always get the best deal online, but there really are some finds. We try to eat a lot of grain-free meals, so we eat a good amount of nuts.
Recently I bought 30 pounds (yup) of pecans online because they were 1/3 of the price I can get them locally. They just went in the freezer and are already half gone. Vitacost, Amazon, and even Ebay are good sources for occasional great prices.
5. Make Your Own.
Don’t feel like you have to suffer. There are wonderful recipes online for GF and other dietary restrictions. You can even try making nut milks and then use the nut pulp for baking.
Those are the tricks I use to keep our allergy-free diet in line with our budget. You can use these ideas for any type of similar diet. I know you can do it.
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