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GrapevineAug/Sep 2012 Issue

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Coupon tips for your gluten-free lifestyle

Pink Pig: © Lightspring/Shutterstock; Light Bulb Icon: © Thinkstock 2012/iStockphoto; Scissors: © Thinkstock 2012/iStockphoto

Pink Pig: © Lightspring/Shutterstock; Light Bulb Icon: © Thinkstock 2012/iStockphoto; Scissors: © Thinkstock 2012/iStockphoto

When I became a new mother in 2006, I decided to leave my teaching career to stay home with my son. Money was tight with the loss of my income, especially as the cost of gas and groceries continued to rise, and my family got hit again in 2008 when the economy tanked. That’s when I began to strategically use coupons and to stockpile products. With practice, I was able to save thousands of dollars on our budget: I could feed my family of three on an average of $130 a month, including organics.

In the fall of 2011, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. My first response was, “How am I going to save money eating gluten free?” Not the typical reply my doctor expected—but as a deal seeker and stockpiling mom, it was my honest reaction. After the initial shock and adjustment to my new lifestyle, I decided to dive headfirst into learning how to save money gluten free.

Everyone is looking for ways to cut the price of gluten-free products, as their cost can be up to five times higher than traditional groceries. There are several ways to save. You can save big by cooking from scratch. Consider organizing a baking co-op where each member makes extra batches and shares. Shop for foods that are naturally gluten free. Concentrate on the outside perimeter of the grocery store—fruit, vegetables, meat, beans, dairy, nuts (if tolerated).

You can shave costs by menu planning. If you plan meals using your stockpile, you can take savings to another level. Investing the time to prepare meals ahead for the month (freeze them in meal-size portions) will also make a big difference. Either strategy helps you know what’s for dinner, meaning it’s more likely you’ll dine at home, another savings.

It is possible to save money on the gluten-free diet by couponing. Here’s how:

Enjoy the Hunt. Coupons for gluten-free products do exist but they’re a little hard to find. Think of the search as a game. Once you see the savings, you’ll catch the “coupon high” and you may never go back.

Check Your Brands. Visit websites and Facebook pages of your favorite companies for coupons and special offers.

Shop the Sales. Study the sales cycles of preferred manufacturers and strategically match your purchases with coupons to get double savings.

Shop Online. You can find good deals on gluten-free products at amazon.com, vitacost.com and glutenfreesaver.com . Buy through ebates.com where you can find shipping codes, additional discounts and earn cash back for online purchases.

Price Match. Some stores allow you to bring in competitor ads and they will “match” the price. This saves both money and time, as you can do your shopping in one place.

Watch for Manager’s Specials. Grocery stores make everyday reductions in all departments, especially produce, meat and dairy. When you find great deals, buy large quantities and freeze extras in meal-size portions.

Shop in Bulk. Check your store’s policy on bulk discounting. Consider joining a co-op or finding friends with similar needs so you can purchase in large quantities.

Consider Tax Deductions. Individuals diagnosed with celiac disease may be able to receive tax deductions for expenses associated with gluten-free foods and products. Visit celiaccentral.org/shopping/tax-deduction-guide-for-gluten-free-products for more information.

Melissa Jennings is author of Savvy Saving, Couponing Secrets from the Stockpiling Moms, and co-founder of stockpilingmoms.com, a website guide to frugal living.

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