Finally, you’ve found a way to stick to your budget, you’re living within your means, and things are going well. Then you find out that you have a gluten allergy, and you’re worried your fine-tuned food budget is going to fly right out the window. After all, a stroll through some grocery stores will reveal that items like gluten free bread and pasta can be twice as expensive as the regular versions. But thankfully, your new diet doesn’t have to break the bank. While it’s possible you may spend more here and there on some gluten free foods, there’s no need to brace for a significant change to your day-to-day. Keeping these five things in mind can help you stick to your diet and your budget at the same time.
1. Choose Your Grocery Store Wisely
Not all grocery stores were created equal. When considering your gluten-free choices, take a wander through all your local shops. Doing this will allow you to compare the prices on similar items, and determine which store is going to give you the biggest gluten-free bang for your buck. “The biggest way I think to consistently save is to watch where you shop. says Brynne Conroy, owner of Femme Frugality and the author of “The Feminist Financial Handbook.”
It may you’ll find that one grocer is better for pasta, while another is best for bread or pizza. Getting the lowdown will make you feel much more in control of your purchases.
2. Look Into Purchasing Dry Goods Online
Maybe you don’t want to visit three different grocery stores to do all of your shopping, or even one for that matter. Luckily, there are plenty of online resources for buying groceries, including Thrive Market. “Essentially you pay them a fee, and you can order non-perishable goods online,” Conroy says. “It’s kind of like Costco, just online, for organic and gluten-free stuff. So, that’s been the most effective way I’ve found to save. When I do that, I save like two or three bucks on each product over Whole Foods.”
3. Go Directly To The Manufacturer When Searching For Coupons
While you may be able to find coupons for gluten-free products in store booklets, why not go directly to the source? “For couponing, going directly to the manufacturer’s website and looking for coupons is the way that I’ve been most successful,” Conroy says. “You can look at online coupon generators but a lot of times it’s kind of hard to filter for gluten-free products. So, going directly to the manufacturer’s website is huge.”
Even saving just a dollar here and there can really add up over time and make a big difference to your monthly and annual food budget.
4. Look Into Grocery Store Brand Gluten-Free Products
At this point in your shopping life, you probably already know that you can often find cheaper prices with store-brand products, on everything from allergy medicine to soda. But increasingly, there are generic versions of gluten free products on offer, too — you just may have to spend a bit of time tracking down the dedicated gluten free section (or shelf) of the store. “The nice thing is now, because these products are becoming more prolific, stores are able to create those store brand products for a lower price too. So, that’s definitely another thing to look out for,” Conroy says.
Just like with anything, it’s trial and error when trying different brands. Sometimes the store brand product may not be as good but, more often than not, it should taste about the same for a lot less money.
5. Research Restaurants Before Heading Out
Let’s be real — you aren’t going to be cooking at home every night, and for every restaurant that provides free gluten-free rolls, there are ten that will charge five dollars to substitute in gluten-free pizza dough. By now, you’re probably accustomed to researching whether or not a restaurant offers gluten-free options, but finding out how much they charge is just as critical. The next time you’re making a reservation, call ahead to ask about pricing. Yes, it’s an investment of time, but it’s so much better than arriving at a restaurant to find that the one thing you can eat has a shocking gluten-free surcharge.
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