4 Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store {When You Eat Gluten-free}

 

Going gluten-free three years ago threw our monthly grocery budget for a loop.

 

I had the art of feeding our family frugal, healthy, wholesome meals pretty much down to a science.

 

In a matter of weeks, the cost of feeding our family nearly doubled.  Ouch!

 

 


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A few months into our gluten free lifestyle, cooking (and grocery shopping) started to make sense again.  A few years down the road, it’s almost second nature.

 

 

If you’ve recently gone gluten-free and feel like you’re grocery budget is about to file Chapter Thirteen, be encouraged!  There are practical ways to save money.

 

 

Here are a few simple ways that work for me:

 

Think outside of the box and can.

 

  In other words, bake and cook from scratch.  (It’s so much cheaper.)

 

Gluten-free mixes are ridiculously expensive!  It’s true that alternative flours aren’t cheap, but it’s still much cheaper to buy and use gluten-free flours than to rely on pricey pre-made mixes.

 

 

Eating gluten or wheat free will automatically require that you stay away from canned soups (such as cream of chicken or mushroom soups), but don’t think that you have to upgrade to expensive gluten-free varieties of these same foods.  Learn to make your own sauces, gravies, spice mixes, and soups.  They taste better and will literally save your budget!

 

 

Spend where it counts and skimp elsewhere. 

Some gluten free products are going to cost more no matter what, so make allowance for the extra expense by skimping somewhere else.

 

Eat out less.

 

If you have to buy gluten-free bread, eat sandwiches once or twice a week instead of three or four times a week.  (Or try this scrumptious gluten-free sandwich bread.  It’s crazy simple to make!)

 

GoodMorningMuffins

 

Make your own gluten-free cereal (such as granola or muesli) instead relying on the usual bowl of (costly) gluten-free boxed cereal.  If you like to bake, it’s really cheap to make your own gluten-free pancakes, muffins, and waffles.

 

Decide where you have to spend extra and where you can get by on less.   

 

 

Consider investing in a grain mill. 

Gluten-free flours are double and triple times the price of wheat flour.  (I found that out the hard way when I first ordered a variety of gluten free flours from our food co-op!)

 

I toyed with the idea of grinding my own grains for several years but never wanted to make the initial investment of purchasing a mill.  When I realized the savings of grinding gluten-free grains versus buying the pricey flours, I was convinced!

 

 

My favorite gluten-free flour blend ever!

My favorite gluten-free flour blend ever!

 

 

If you’re gluten free and are game for a fun experiment, try grinding your own grains.  Shoshanna’s Gluten-free Flour Mix is absolutely the BEST flour blend I’ve tried (and I’ve experimented with many, let me tell you)!

 

Be willing to accept a new “normal” in your diet.  

Let’s just face it, life isn’t quite the same once you’ve cut a major food group out of your diet.  Wheat and other gluten-containing grains are a huge part of the Standard American Diet.  You won’t be able to eat “like everyone else”, or even how you’re used to eating.

 

What does this have to do with saving money?  Plenty!

 

 

Savory Chicken Soup

You can eat WELL without gluten!

 

 

Think about it: if you feel you have to eat like you always have eaten, you’ll be paying extra for all those fancy gluten-free foods at the grocery store.  You know, the cookies and the mixes and the pricey pre-made pretties that have that coveted “gluten free” label across the front of the box.

 

Refuse to feel deprived and embrace the challenge of creating a “new normal” in your kitchen!

 

After several years of experimenting with recipes (and finding more that I didn’t like than I did like), I’ve discovered a marvelous thing:

 

it IS possible to enjoy healthy, delicious, savory and decadent foods and still stay away from gluten.

 

 

 

With a little creativity, an open mind, and a bucket load of patience, you can live well without wheat… and still stay with a budget.

 

 

Coffee Table Conversations

 

 

If you’re a gluten-free gal, you might want to check out this week’s Coffee Table Conversations session: “Allergen-free cooking.”

 

Alyssa RimmerBeth Ricci Kerry Ann Foster will tackle this topic tonight at 7 p.m. (CST).  You can check out the details right here.

 

 

You can also check out my Menu Planning eBooks Bundle, which features over 200 pages of recipes, tips, and resources for preparing healthy, gluten-free meals.

 

 

The Cottage Mama Plans Her Menu eBook Bundle

 $15.80  $4.99

 

 

And here are 90 frugal, gluten-free recipes and meal ideas to get you started!

 

 

Do you have food allergies?  If so, how has that affected your grocery budget?

 

 

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Comments

  1. Ourlittlecatholiccorner says

    thanks for this post Kristy. Recently my 4 yr old has been put on an elimination diet that cuts out glueten, dairy, peanuts and chocolate…(and we also cut out eggs). It’s been challenging to say the least and espensive! I am determined though to find the root of the problem.

    For a couple of weeks I have been relying on corn tortillas, rice cakes, rice and some premade boxed thing (ouch…very costly$$$). I just picked up a gluten free baking book, so maybe I can grind up my own supply of flours and save some money (thankfully, I do have grinder). I look forward to reading any recipes you use and your meal plans.

    My main meals are lately…stir frys. which are pretty good in general, because I can use our veggies from the garden, rice and chicken or beef and it’s all safe for everyone.

    You know the funny thing is that my husband has problems with milk but can handle heavy creme and cheese.

    • says

      And we can handle butter!  I guess the cultured dairy products are easier for some casein-free individuals to digest.

      I’m currently experimenting with gluten and dairy free casseroles and have found some WONDERFUL recipes.  Can’t wait to share!  They are SO delicious and are very easy on the budget.

  2. Ruth Naylor says

    My sister makes gluten free bread for her son and has nailed it! It’s awesome bread. She buys most all the ingredients in bulk. The recipe uses brown rice flour and she just grinds brown rice up in her mill. It works great. I have helped her make it. Anyone interesting I will copy the recipe for you.

    • says

      I would LOVE the recipe!!  I’ve tried several gluten free bread recipes without much success.  The one recipe that turned out moderately well was rather time consuming and not something I can stick with on a regular basis.  Please share!! 

  3. CONMOM says

    wow- so grateful i stumbled upon your site! we are a family of seven children. cooking for such a large brood was doable because wheat products were the inexpensive staple in our diet, followed closely by dairy. but recenty our doctor has ordered elimination of gluten and dairy products for some of the kids. adjusting to the new grocery needs, recipes and increased costs of the specialty foods has been a big adjustment. thanks for sharing your experience and recipes! i’ll be checking in often! bless you!

    • says

      I fully understand the adjustment, although ours has been on a slightly smaller scale (four children). 

      Things DO get easier as you go, so hang in there, mama! 

      I have a number of yummy, frugal and healthy gluten and dairy free recipes to share in the weeks ahead… I’m so excited to finally be able to watch the budget and eat on a restricted “diet”! 

  4. says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It can be challenging or an adventure to dive into GF/DF eating. At first I remembering thinking “I can’t eat anything!” but I learned. I can eat LOTS. 

    The really nice thing is we have an Amish store nearby that sells dented cans and such. They have a nice selection of GF cake mixes for 75 cents!! GF Granola for 50 cents. They never have the same thing twice and sometimes they don’t carry any thing good as far as GF goes but when they do I stock up on it. Every little bit helps~

    Thank you for sharing your recipes. I’m enjoying going back and reading them~

    ~Cinnamon

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