Gluten Free Money Saving Tips

Welcome to Foodie Week on the Northeast Bloggers Network!  All this week we will be featuring special guest posts from our Food/Cooking bloggers!  Join the fun by reading, commenting and sharing their post!
Today’s post comes to us from Jessica of the blog Gluten Free Boston Girl!
9 Gluten Free Money Saving Tips
written by Jessica Dennis, Gluten Free Boston Girl
Gluten free products are notoriously expensive. A box of
gluten free pasta often costs twice as much as whole-wheat pasta, and if you go
to a restaurant and order the gluten free pizza, it will likely run you an
extra dollar or two.
But the good news is that there are lots of easy ways to cut
the costs of a gluten free diet. Here are some of my money saving tips on how
to live a gluten free lifestyle without breaking the bank.
Stock up
during sales.
  If something is on
sale and you know you will use it then stock up and buy more now. Most dry
goods (cereals, crackers and chips) have an expiration date of least 6 months (if
not greater than one year from) the time of purchase. When my favorite foods
are on sale I always buy extra. This is also true for canned goods and frozen
products. Stores like Ocean State Job Lob and the Christmas Tree Shop often
sell gluten free products for considerably less than grocery stores, especially
during big sales. Gluten
Free Deals
and Gluten Free Saver are also great sites to check out for
money saving gluten free deals.
Buy in
If you eat something all the time consider ordering it in bulk to
save money.  Buying grains, nuts, seeds
and flours in bulk is less expensive in the long run than buying the smaller
packages. For example, a 32 oz. Bag of Stop & Shop Brown Rice costs $2.49
($.08/oz) compared to a 14 oz box of Uncle Ben’s Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice that
costs $2.39 ($.17/oz) or 8.5 oz. of a package of Seeds of Change Brown Rice
that costs $3.79 ($.45/oz). Other staples you should buy in bulk include nuts, seeds,
beans, and flours. You can buy them in bulk at many grocery stores, BJ’s,
Costco’s and online at Amazon and The Gluten Free Mall. Ethnic grocery stores
are also great places to find discounted prices on rice, flours and pastas. 
Eat more
naturally gluten free foods.
There are countless foods that are naturally
gluten free including fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy, fish, seafood, poultry,
meat, beans, seeds, legumes and nuts. These simple, wholesome foods are better
sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats than processed
gluten free foods. Many whole grains, including rice, corn, quinoa, millet and
buckwheat are also gluten free. Buying fruits and vegetables in season, is
generally less expensive than other times of the year and will help you save
substantial amounts of money. If you have the space consider growing your own
vegetables and herbs to save even more on fresh produce. 
Eat less
processed foods.
A majority of processed foods lack essential vitamins and
nutrients. When I first started a gluten free diet I went nuts (no pun
intended) trying all the different gluten free products out there on the
market. Unless you love something, just skip it all together. Or if you must
buy it, try to reduce the frequency in which you purchase these items. I’m not
saying that you have to deprive yourself, but just think twice: does the taste
and quality of the food really justify such a high cost?
Make your
own gluten free foods when possible
. Gluten free brownie mixes can cost
upwards of $6/box and the prepackaged version can cost as much as $10! Savings
can be substantial when you make your own baked goods and breads. Even making
your own hummus cost less per ounce than buying a tub in the grocery store.
Another advantage of making your own food is that you control the flavor and
ingredients you are using. Homemade products taste better, are healthier and
have better quality ingredients than their packaged processed counterparts. 
more often.
Eating out can be expensive in general and many restaurants
will charge anywhere from $1-$4 extra for gluten free bread or pizza crust.
Dining in is a much more economical choice. If you want to eat out, and lets
face it, who doesn’t, then try to find a deal through groupon,
and other deal sites. I post gluten free products deals, restaurant deals and other
online special offers daily on my website here. Many
restaurants also offer deals on off nights, and you should try to take advantage
of those discounts whenever possible. 
There is no shame in handing the cashier a pile of coupons (trust
me, I do it all the time). Check your favorite blogs and gluten free brands’
websites and facebook pages for money saving coupons. Grocery stores, like
Whole foods and Stop & Shop, offer weekly and monthly coupons for all kinds
of products; yogurt, cereal, beverages, cleaning products, etc. Take advantage
of these savings whenever possible. But just remember, just because you have a
coupon doesn’t mean you have to buy it. You may end up spending more money on
items you wouldn’t necessarily buy just because you have a coupon. 
Meals Ahead of time.
Planning your weekly meals before going to the grocery
store will help you save time and money. Planning your meals allows you to make
the most of what you spend. Buying ingredients that can be used for different
meals, such as ground turkey or ground beef for chili and tacos is a great
example of how to make the most of one ingredient. And Cooking extra for
leftovers to have for the next day’s lunch or snack will also help you cut
costs on your food spending. More than 1/3 of our food is wasted each year
(source: UNRIC).
Getting creative with leftovers will help eliminate wasted food and help curb
your spending.
gluten-free expenses on your taxes.
If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease
you may be able to receive tax deductions for expenses associated with gluten
free foods and products. See
for more information.
I hope these tips and strategies help you save a bundle. If
you have any money-saving tips I’ve missed I’d love to hear them! Please share
them in the Comments section below.  For
gluten free recipes, products and list of restaurants check out Gluten Free Boston Girl!
Thanks Jessica for being our very first Foodie Week feature!  Please be sure to check out her blog for more Gluten Free ideas!  Hope to see you back here tomorrow for the continuation of Foodie Week!

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