For many, living without wheat is a major inconvenience. Adding salt to the wound is that it’s so darned expensive.
So there’s the challenge – living a gluten-free life and having money left over for everything else.
While the number of gluten-free products is growing, their cost is still high. Most manufacturers of gluten-free foods are small companies that don’t enjoy the economies of scale produced by buying ingredients in large quantities. Plus, producers must use gluten-free ingredients, which cost more, making the price of the final product more expensive.
How can you maintain a gluten-free diet and not bust the bank?
Experts counsel discipline and planning as your best strategies for beating the squeeze of high prices. First, create a seven-day meal plan, which is easy using the GlutenFreedomProject menu planner. If you're a single person or cooking for two, don't forget to create meals that use the same protein food in a few meals that week. Once you've planned out your menu for the week, list all the ingredients you’ll need or go to your grocery list in GFP.
Determine how much you have to spend on groceries that week. Next, make your shopping list, re-use items through your week like fruits and vegetables, cutting down a little on variety, but saving pennies. Now, the hard part -- enter the grocery store and don’t deviate. Buy only what’s on your list. Resist the impulse buying!!
Your trip down the grocery store aisles will be more affordable if you look for coupons on products you need before you go. Check the newspaper and free fliers specialty stores habitually hand out. Look up online sources (see the GFP Coupon page) for coupons and special offers. And find the racks with coupons that stores put near a particular product and in the check-out aisle. You can also find deals on the internet at major purveyors like Amazon.com or specialty sites like GlutenFreeMall.com. Vitacost.com and GlutenFreeDeals.com offer sales and discounts on many gluten-free products.
Buy in Bulk
Another way to be kind to your budget is to buy in bulk, as larger portions and containers usually cost less. Refer to the GFP Product Directory for some taste-tested recommendations for gluten-free products. Nothing is so demoralizing than paying a lot for something that isn't even palatable. So pick up the 2-lb. bag of brown rice and the largest container of gluten-free oats and store them in a cool dry place. Even better, buy more when a particular ingredient is on sale – bread can be frozen, unopened packages of crackers and cereal will last for months. Utilize your refrigerator and freezer to the max.
Also, some stores offer better prices on gluten-free foods than others. Trader Joe’s is well known for its bargains. Often, Natural Grocers offers low prices on in-store gluten-free flours like coconut and rice.
The most cost-saving tip of all – cook! The more you make in your own kitchen, the less you’ll pay in the grocery store.