July 22, 2017 BY DALLAS MORABBI, THE GF PEACH GUY
I've was diagnosed with Celiac Disease back in 2015 and since then, entirely adapted to being completely gluten-free, but one thing still bothers me.
I miss my gluten comfort foods....
Now you may be thinking I miss them because they are delicious. Of course, that is one reason...
But those foods are also cheap, sometimes half the regular price of the delicious gluten-free comfort foods I eat now (homemade cookies).
If you recently started going gluten free, or have been for a while, you will undoubtedly notice your higher grocery bill. If you don't, it may be time to start budgeting because gluten-free is not cheap.
Since 2015, my grocery bill for me and my family has been on a slow decline, not because foods are getting any cheaper, but because I have started learning the tricks of the trade. Here's some tips on how you can easily save money on grocery bill when your eating gluten-free and healthy.
Take a look at your budget so you know where you stand. You can begin this by using apps like Mint or PocketGuard which track every aspect of your spending. These options are free and get the job done. If apps are not your thing a nice budgeting book from Amazon or some good looking, easy to use, old fashioned excel sheets can get you more organized on your budgeting.
If you don't do any budgeting for groceries, its time you make one. You can go back on your debit/credit cards and receipts to find out how much you spent on food and groceries. once you got a number, try to match it. Having that number is half the battle, knowing what it is makes it likely that you are going to try to keep under it.
If this is your first time with a budget we recommend you start by using cash. This will really boost your awareness during during your grocery trips and help keep it controlled through your entire month.
Now that you're gluten free, grabbing and going is just not easy anymore. Making a list takes time, but with practice, patience, and knowledge on products things will get easier.
Many grocery stores now have apps that let you make lists, and on top of that, get you money. If you're a paper/pencil type, grab the grocery list printout in our library to organize and simplify your trip in the store.
A list will also keep you from heading back to the store multiple times a week and we know that the more often you go shopping, the more you are going to buy.
Yes, old fashioned couponing still works and in most cases, it is the best deal! The highest value coupons will always come straight from the manufacturer. So if you want the biggest piece of the pie start there. Here are the best ways to get your hands on these coupons.
If you are looking to get multiples of the same coupon, consider asking a close or your own apartment complex for access to the mail room trash (ours has a recycling bin which is nice). There you can grab multiples of whatever coupon you need.
YAY! for apps that save us money, but BOOOO!!! for the 15373 app options. We have tried and regularly use the ones below because of their general coverage or gluten free, health conscious and organic options.
You can find a more detailed explanation of each of these, but generally all do the same thing... Give you cash back for buying there products. I'd say this year alone we're on track to save around $120 this year from using these apps.
The fears of the dreaded credit card should not be take lightly, but once you have a budget plan and can show that you are consistently meeting your goals, this is the absolute best deal for grocery shopping.
We opened this card in 2016 and made $415 cash back in rewards (actually $510 but there is a $95 annual fee). That is almost an entire months worth of groceries! Just like we have other cards for specific purposes, we only use this card for groceries. If you got your budget together we highly recommend this card. You should also check out our list of cards we use to earn massive cash back every year.
Side Note: The 6% Cash Back Card only works at places considered as supermarket stores. This means that a Walmart or Costco will not give 6% cash back because it is considered a superstore or warehouse. On the other hand, a neighborhood Walmart will work because it is considered a supermarket.
This wont apply to everyone, but I am retired military so I scour the depths of the internet for military discount and deals. What I found (very secretively advertised) is that all the VONS locations in the Las Vegas area does a 10% military discount of the 15th of every month.
So what do I do?
I gather my coupons, scroll through the app, and look out for the weekly adds. We usually go nuts on the 15th and buy over $400 worth of stuff before the discounts. After all the cash back and coupons we usually only spend about $220 dollars and we smile as we leave with out 45% off discount.
This trip will usually consist of getting at least a months worth of meats, frozen foods, and organic juices for the little guy. Which brings us to our next tip.
Here is a receipt from out from a recent grocery trip on July 15, 2017. We saved $106!
This is before getting our 6% back from Amex and $4.25 from our grocery apps.
All in all our trip only cost us $185 and we saved about 40% in total.
Yes, it requires some added storage space, but buying in bulk can save you heaps. It is best accomplished when using the maximum allotted coupon for a specific product. Ever see the entire shelf of a product gone at 8AM right after the store was restocked? Yup someone just bought that entire stock with a really good coupon deal.
If you aren't using coupons, the easiest way to see if its saving you money is to check the price per unit cost. This is usually placed on the SKU ?????? or next to products in some online stores.
We are fully aware of coupon masters who can manage shopping at several stores to get the best deals, but that's just not us or most of the population. If you can manage that more power to you. On the other hand, we suggest you become a master of two.
Having the power of choice can be a good or bad thing. Since going gluten free I have limited my shopping to only two local stores, in our case, Vons and Whole Foods. Why? Because Vons gives us the cheapest deals and Whole Foods gives us our gluten-free, organic options.
This one is a bit silly, but totally makes sense. The last time we went shopping when hungry I walked out with a giant bag of Cheetos Puffs (Yes, they are gluten free but the processed foods is not good for me, I know).
Not a real cash back or literal money saving tip, but keep this in mind next time your about to walk in the grocery store hungry.
While we recommend using our tips above, it is you who needs to decide what is best for your grocery budget.
If you do a good job of recording your numbers, you will find that patterns in your spending. Once you're aware of these patterns, you can really buckle down on sticking to your budget.
Sometimes using pick-up or delivery options may work best, and sometimes ordering food essentials off of Amazon might be the key to your budgets success. Time is money, as we like to say, and if the time to plan your grocery trip every week is not there because you are making money elsewhere, ignoring some of the tips we suggested above should be considered an option.
I commend everyone for taking the plunge to being gluten free. We know first hand how difficult it is to change a lifelong habit and taste of eating gluten and all the misunderstanding (especially in social situations) that comes with it. With that said, you are on a path to a better gut and a better life, so keep it up!
Don't forget to celebrate your success with budgeting and spend some money where it matters most, with family, friends, fitness, health, or student debt/investment portfolio!