The price of these items is enough to steer away most folks who don’t need to buy them. But allergies to gluten, peanuts, dairy, soy and other foods seem to be becoming more common. So how can you save a buck when shopping for these special diets?
Eat what’s in season. Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables when they’re abundant and on sale. Also, shop for clearance fruits and vegetables. Just because these foods are nearing the end of their shelf life doesn’t mean they are inedible; you’ll just have to use them soon.
Once you figure out what products work for you, shop for them in bulk. If your diet requires a specialty baking mix, for example, search for it at Sam’s Club or at online retailers. Amazon.com offers certain products in bulk or auto-ordered at a discount, as well.
For example, Amazon was offering a four-pack of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix for $15.60. If you signed up to receive this product automatically on a delivery schedule, the price dropped to $13.26.
Try your hand at meal planning. This doesn’t mean you need to plan out a month’s worth of meals at one time, but check out what’s on sale for the week and try to pair that with meals you can eat. You can even cook up a couple of big batches of a recipe and eat it over multiple days, which also could save you some time.
Don’t overload your cart on fresh foods you can’t freeze or finish before they go bad. Some simple planning can help you avoid losing money and wasting food.
Keep the convenience foods for special occasions and busy days. Specialty convenience foods, such as snack crackers, pre-made breads and frozen foods, are often about three times the cost of the basic versions. Keep them on hand for treats or when there’s no time to cook, but try to avoid buying them on each shopping trip.
Always look for coupons. Coupons can be found on food packaging and on websites such as www.enjoylifefoods.com, http://www.befreeforme.comand www.mambosprouts.com. Periodically, you’ll also find specialty food coupons on Coupons.com and in the Sunday newspaper. Combine the coupons with sale prices whenever possible to save the most.
Never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry and keep your kitchen stocked with nonperishable basics. Anything you can keep that’s dry or canned should be stocked at all times. Replenish your stockpile as items go on sale. The more you can cook at home with items you got at a discount, the more you’ll save.
Use your appliances to their fullest potential. Many vegetables can be put in your freezer and used months later. Consider bagging entire slow-cooker dinners and freezing them for quick and healthy meals when the vegetables are no longer in season. You also can freeze pre-made meals and breads. Just be sure to keep note of what you have in your freezer and mark the date that the items were frozen.
Do you or a loved one suffer from food allergies and have money-saving tips? Where do you find the best deals on diet-friendly foods?