Are you wondering how to eat gluten-free on a budget? Let me show you how easy it is with my nine proven tips!
The first time I priced a gluten-free cake mix at the store I almost had heart failure! It was over $7! Whoa! It is challenging enough to eat gluten-free without the stress of worrying about our food budget.
Yes, food prices are always on the rise and specialty foods, such as gluten-free cookies, cakes and snacks, are the biggest budget breakers! Did you know that many of your favorite potato chips, corn chips and candy are naturally free of gluten? Yep! Be sure to read the product labels or look for that “gluten-free” sticker.
After researching foods which did not contain gluten, I discovered some products that have always been naturally gluten free now have a gluten free label along with a higher price tag. Vanilla extract is a great example. Most vanilla extract is gluten-free, it will depend on if it is made with grain alcohol. Don’t pay extra for something just because of the fancy label on it.
How to Eat Gluten-Free on a Budget
Don’t you sometimes wish you did not have to budget for food? I know I certainly do. These 9 tips on how to eat gluten-free on a budget will help you to meet that monthly or weekly food budget!
- Menu planning. It really helps to know the meals that you are going to prepare, what items are in your pantry and what items you need to buy. I cannot function without a meal plan.
- Bake from scratch. Boxed mixes are not only expensive but are full of processed ingredients. You can buy four pounds of gluten-free almond blend flour for the price of two boxed cake mixes.
- Cook and freeze your own meals. Eating out is expensive. Try cooking double batches and pop the left overs in the freezer. That way, you have a healthy homemade gluten-free freezer meal for those days you don’t have time to cook or you just want to take a break.
- Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is generally the cheapest way to shop. However, make sure you have storage for those items. I have stashed bulk food inside closets and under the bed. It is easy to buy bulk on-line from Amazon. Locally, I buy bulk foods from Costco, Winco and case lot sales at the local grocery store. Food co-ops, such as Bountiful Baskets, are a great resource for fresh produce.
- Sales and coupons. Supermarket weekly ads are another great way to save money. Years ago, our local butcher shared with me that those ads give the greatest savings. The grocery store I shop at has a “savings card.” I go to their website and load “virtual coupons” to my card. At checkout I swipe my card and the coupons are redeemed. I love watching the price decrease!
- Shop outside the aisles. Buy real food instead of processed, pre-packaged foods. Yes, they are more convenient but they cost so much more. I do almost all of my shopping on the outside perimeter of the store because real foods are healthier for us and I believe they’re a better value in the long run.
- Shop in the season. Buy produce at its lowest price when it is in season. If you can, buy fresh veggies and fruit in bulk and can them so you can enjoy these good foods in the off-season for the in-season price.
- Shop at an ethnic market. Many cultures thrive on diets with little to no gluten. A great example is rice flour. Due to its demand, rice flour will cost less at an Asian grocery store.
- Shop online. I love Amazon!!! Every month, I do over half of my shopping through them. Amazon offers free two-day shipping with an Amazon Prime Membership. The $120 a membership fee more than pays for itself.