Gluten Free food can be EXPENSIVE.
If you’re reading this, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that.
When I developed a gluten intolerance my grocery bill nearly doubled and I knew I needed to find a way to eat gluten free while still staying within our budget.
Since then I’ve spent the last few years figuring out creative ways to save money on my gluten free groceries and I’ll share some of my favorite tips with you here in this post.
The best part?
Most of these money saving tips aren’t particularly hard. In fact, some of them are so easy they will actually save you time as well.
Speaking of which, let’s not waste any more time and lets get to the list!
1. Buy Naturally Gluten Free Food
There are some really good gluten free alternative foods out there, but as we all know the cost of buying gluten free replacement foods can really add up.
In fact, gluten free foods are usually marked up 20% or more over their gluten filled counterparts.
But are you ready for some good news?
Most regular food does NOT contain gluten.
The following foods (usually) do not contain gluten
- Corn products
- Rice products
- Dairy products
- Potato products
- Some cereals like Chex
- Soda and Fruit Juice
- Coffee and Tea
So how can this save you money?
When you buy foods that are naturally gluten free, you’re buying the exact same foods as anyone else would buy, so you don’t get hit with that big gluten free price markup.
Of course this excludes foods normally made with gluten ingredients like breads, cookies and pizza, but whenever possible I try to stick to naturally gluten free food.
As a general rule I always look for a naturally gluten free replacement whenever possible. The savings can really add up!
2. Buy Online
Like everything else, Gluten Free food is usually cheaper when you buy online.
As long as you plan your meals ahead of time, you can lock in a lot of savings just by ordering your products instead of buying them in store. A huge part of a grocery store’s expenses are rent and electricity for that location. That overhead gets passed along to you, which is why online retailers can sell for so much less.
Buying online also makes finding gluten free food super convenient because you only need to click on a filter to see all the options, instead of walking around a store trying to figure out what is and is not gluten free.
If you’re an Amazon Prime member or Target Red Card holder you can have your items in just a couple of business days, and Wal-Mart will give you free shipping on orders of $35 or more (in most cases).
With Target and Wal-Mart you can sometimes order for less online and pick the items up in store if you need them sooner.
3. Subscribe and Save
Online retailers are offering more frequent discounts if you’re willing to subscribe to buying a product on a regular basis. It makes a lot of sense because the store gets regular sales and you get a discount. It’s a real win-win.
If you use a product on a regular basis it might make sense to schedule a regular delivery of that product and get a discount.
What kind of discount?
- Amazon Subscribe & Save – Get 5% off each item or 15% off if you order 5 or more items via Subscribe & Save
- Target Subscriptions – Get 5% off plus Free Shipping, plus take off an additional 5% if you use their credit or debit card
Of course subscribing to a product you don’t use regularly is more trouble than it’s worth, and you run the risk of forgetting to cancel and therefore buying a product you don’t need, but for products you use frequently this is a great way to lock in a discount.
4. Comparison Shop
Comparison shopping is a great way to save on anything you buy, but I think it’s extra important to compare prices on gluten free food.
Pricing on gluten free food can all over the map. One store may sell something for $4 while another will sell the exact same product for $7.99 but if we didn’t compare prices many of us would just assume that’s the going rate.
Of course the downside to comparison shopping is that you might need to visit more stores when you shop. For some people this may not be a big issue, others it may require more time that just isn’t available. If you can shop around however, it’s a great way to save a good amount of money every month.
5. Buy Generic
Buying generic is a great way to save money on regular groceries, but for a long time there weren’t any generic gluten free options.
Lucky for us that seems to be changing…
We’re now starting to see more and more stores roll out generic brand gluten free food. Aldi and Walmart are two of my favorite examples.
Not only does buying generic save you money but more often than not the generic brand is the exact same thing as the name brand – at a much lower cost. After all Walmart and Aldi most likely don’t have a gluten free pasta factory, they just buy it from someone else and repackage it.
6. Use Coupons
You knew we couldn’t get too far without mentioning coupons right?
Using coupons when you shop seems like a no brainer step but so many people either forget, or just plain don’t want to use coupons and they’re just throwing money away.
I get it… clipping coupons and carrying them around is annoying, but in today’s digital world you don’t need to cut paper coupons (unless you want to) with so many stores offering digital coupons instead.
Amazon Digital Coupons
Amazon offers digital coupons on a lot of their products (both food and non-food items) and you can get a full list of them on their coupons page. They are subtle and easy to miss, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.
Here’s a few examples of coupons available when I wrote this:
(Please note – the coupons listed above are for example purposes only and may not be available when you read this)
Target offers coupons on various items throughout their store using their CartWheel app.
To use CartWheel, you just download the app to your phone and scan the barcode on the items in your cart. Some of your items will have coupon offers available on it and you simply accept the offer and scan one barcode at checkout.
Here are a few example offers from the week I wrote this…
Coupons from Brands
Most gluten free brands will give you a coupon to get you to give their product a try, so take advantage if you’re going to buy anyway!
7. Make it yourself
As with any type of food, cooking for yourself is usually a great way to save money. When it comes to gluten free food that goes doubly so.
There are tons of great resources to find amazing recipes for gluten free meals, baked goods and holiday treats. You can even find copycat recipes for gluten free versions of your favorite gluten filled foods. Pinterest is a great resource for gluten free recipes, as are blogs like Gluten Free On A Shoestring and Gluten Free Girl.
Of course making gluten free food can be tricky and if you’ll want to make sure you only buy ingredients you need or it will end up costing more in the long run. That said, if you know how to cook it’s a great way to avoid that retail markup and it’s sure to taste better too!
How Much Did We Save?
So, how much money do all of these tips actually save us?
If we used the examples from all the tips above we’d have saved $764.33 per year.
That amount doesn’t include anything from coupons (since they can be variable from week to week), anything saved on non-gluten free food, and of course there are countless other gluten free products we could have compared prices on.
Now it’s your turn…
What are some of the ways you save money on gluten free food? Be sure to share your favorite money saving tips and tricks in the comments below!