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Your One Best Money Saving Idea


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#16 aeraen

 
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Posted 04 April 2011 - 04:36 PM

So sorry it's been so tough on you! And you definitely can make it cheaper, but it's unfortunately like a lot of things: it'll take more work. But it's absolutely do-able!

Firs, though, I'd second the question of supplements and such. Are there any probiotics mentioned? You may want to google: make your own probiotics. There are some very interesting ones out there that seem reasonable, and you can make yourself for little money.

For foods, I'd go very simple. Think this when you are trying to plan your grocery budgets: I am now living in the 1800's. What would I eat?


Did they buy spices at the store? Rarely, they usually had an herb garden instead. Just a couple packets of seeds that you put in the back yard could help. And herbs taste better when they're a bit stressed, so don't bother with expensive stuff like fertilizer and such. Although you could make your own compost from plant food leavings.

Did they buy pre-made foods? Rarely. They made their own breads, their own pastas, they bought veggies and fruits in season (farmer's markets are very good for this, and tend to be cheaper than the local grocery stores, if you check out what the smaller farms have to offer. I was spending $30 in a week on the same food that cost me $50-$80 a week at the store. I have to look up how to cook some of it, but it made a big budget difference.


We buy grain in bulk from a few sources on-line - Twin Valley Mills is a good one for sorghu, although you have to save up for it, as they sell it about 30Lbs. at a time. Rice is usually a bargain. See if you can find some ethnic markets near you. Mexican ones typically have good prices on corn based goods in bulk. Asian markets have good prices on rice based goods in bulk. Indian markets often have good prices on exotic spices in bulk, although I haven't checked these for gluten content, so you'd have to check that. Also on bean based flowers. African markets often have cheaper sweet potato flour in bulk.


Essentially, we look for everything in the most basic form, now, and get to forget that modern processing exists, for the most part. It's been very hard. And a lot of work. But I went from paying 3-4 times our normal grocery bill to paying about 2/3 of it. HUGE difference.

Oh, and eliminate dairy and eat more beans instead of meat and you'll see a big drop in grocery budget, too. :-)


Shauna, I love your ideas. Especially getting into the pre-industrial revolution mindset. I think of that a lot when I'm making my own beef stock or yoghurt any of the dozens of foods I prepare myself.

About the sorghum... have you ever considered finding a few other local celiacs and getting buying some of those products together, then dividing it up?
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#17 Kimbalou

 
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Posted 04 April 2011 - 05:57 PM

Instead of gluten-free bread at $6 a loaf...I just buy corn tortillas. You can make a lot of things with corn tortillas. I use them to make sandwiches. I also stay away from the packaged gluten-free foods. Gluten free bakeries are great, but they cost too much. Reeses peanut butter cups fix my junk food cravings!!
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11/19/10 diagnosed with Celiac disease after positive blood test
12/14/10 Biopsy positive for Celiac disease

#18 Igg postive

 
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Posted 04 April 2011 - 07:12 PM

I've actually found that I don't spend much more, and maybe even less, than I did before, because we just do so much more ourselves now. And my whole house is gluten free (at least IN the house... what happens beyond my lot line is out of my control :ph34r: ).

Those who who have been through the medical mill (I'm self diagnosed, stopped eating gluten = felt better. Began my research online) can probably make suggestions at to how to approach that aspect of your diagnosis, and maybe help you to save some money there.

However, there are lots of ways to make your favorite foods gluten free w/o taking out a second mortgage. Just ask questions, and keep reading this forum. You have some incredibly informed people here. Some , I would venture to say, are better informed than the medical community, because they have lived with it for years.

Aeraen,- that is really good advice. I went to the library (where I live I can reserve books over the internet and the library will call me when they are in) and took out a number of gluten free cookbooks. My favorite is “The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy” by Bette Hagman. Her recipes are not complicated nor expensive. Your right, doing the preparation ourselves does help with the expense. Do you have a favorite cookbook?
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#19 Luddie

 
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Posted 04 April 2011 - 07:21 PM

Shauna, I love your ideas. Especially getting into the pre-industrial revolution mindset. I think of that a lot when I'm making my own beef stock or yoghurt any of the dozens of foods I prepare myself.

About the sorghum... have you ever considered finding a few other local celiacs and getting buying some of those products together, then dividing it up?

Just a quick warning of sorts that sorghum can sometimes cause problems. My daughter has celiac and got symptoms from eating a mix and the only thing suspect in it was the sorghum. Not everyone reacts, of course, but be wary at first and don't invest in huge quantities if you're not sure you're okay with it.
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#20 Igg postive

 
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Posted 04 April 2011 - 07:23 PM

I use coupons, shop the sales and buy some things in Bulk at BJ's warehouse (sort of like a Sam's Club or Costco). I also don't buy too many gluten free specialty items. Most of my meals are things that are naturally gluten free without needing to use special flours or alter ingredients much. Pasta and bread are a once a month treat instead of being a cheap convience food for me like prior to gluten free.

For things like cereal I try to stock up when it goes on sale. Chex is hard--the best i have ever gotten it was $1 per box. I can usually get it for $1.50 per box with a sale and coupon. If you follow the sales at your local stores you will see they have sales cycles. Some things are based on the season:
Some examples of the top of my head:
1. cheese is always on deep sales with coupons during football season and close to the Super Bowl.
2. Corn tortillas will have coupons and sales closer to cinco de mayo.
3. Frozen foods (frozen plain veggies and frozen fruit) always go on sale big in March and sometimes into April (March is frozen food month) so I stock my freezer with frozen veggies as much as possible during March and April.
4. Ice Cream will be a big seller in the summer with sales and coupons.

Other things like meat have 3 week or 6 week sale cycles (at my stores your maybe different). One of my local stores puts cube steak on sale for B1G1 free every 3-4 weeks and they do fresh chicken breast sales of B1G2 Free every 5-6 weeks or so. I have a small chest freezer and I fill it up with fresh meat and frozen veggies whenever they are on sale. The object is to buy as much on sale whenever possible so you don't have to pay full price later on. I try to get just enough to last me untilt he next sale (1-2 months worth) so I don't have the same meat sitting in my freezer for long periods of time. Another stategy for buying meat is to look for markdowns and make friends with the butcher. If you shop late in the day and notice that there are large quantities of marked down meat (with sell-by date of that day) you could offer to buy all that is in the case if they take another 10-20% off. The worst they can say is no, but I have heard some people have good luck with this stategy. They want the meat sold and that gets rid of it all so they don't have to throw it out. You get to fill your freezer up in one trip. It's a win-win situation. :)

Another advantage of using coupons to save money is that saving on non-food items can free up money to use on more fresh produce and meat. Even people eating on very restricted diets need things like shampoo, deodorant, razors to shave with, paper towel, napkins, toilet bowl cleaner, toothpaste, tooth brushes, etc...I have gotten all of these things for free or very cheap (under $1) with coupons and sales. The majority of coupons are non-food coupons so there's planty of opportunites to save on non-food things. Saving money on those items can free up money in your budget to buy more produce.

GlutenFreeManna,- Hello fellow couponer! When I went on the gluten-free diet I was afraid I would have to give up couponing. I am really amazed at the coupons I can use for whole foods, gluten-free tomato sauces, gluten-free Mexican foods. On top of it my neighborhood grocery had triples and I was able to stock up on some gluten-free foods. It takes a little of planning. One of my favorite websites for couponing is Southernsavers.com, www.hotcouponworld.com and www.afullcup.com. Do you a favorite coupon website?
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#21 GlutenFreeManna

 
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Posted 04 April 2011 - 08:36 PM

GlutenFreeManna,- Hello fellow couponer! When I went on the gluten-free diet I was afraid I would have to give up couponing. I am really amazed at the coupons I can use for whole foods, gluten-free tomato sauces, gluten-free Mexican foods. On top of it my neighborhood grocery had triples and I was able to stock up on some gluten-free foods. It takes a little of planning. One of my favorite websites for couponing is Southernsavers.com, www.hotcouponworld.com and www.afullcup.com. Do you a favorite coupon website?


I am on HCW--that's where I learned all about couponing. The funny thing is that prior to going gluten free I can look back at the times when I stockpiled a bunch of whole wheat pasta and I was really, really sick that year. Then the next year I was a little better and I had stockpiled more rice than pasta. One of my local stores did Super Double coupons recently (double up to 1.98). I had a lot of things I was running low on and bought all my regular meat and produce in addition to the coupon deals and I STILL saved a little better than 50% off my bill. Back in my pre-gluten-free days I could save 90% with a triples or super doubles sale. But I'm still happy to save so much considering my limitations. I can't imagine giving it up.
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A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred. Proverbs 15:17 (CEV)

#22 Brigit

 
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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:38 PM

So sorry it's been so tough on you! And you definitely can make it cheaper, but it's unfortunately like a lot of things: it'll take more work. But it's absolutely do-able!

Firs, though, I'd second the question of supplements and such. Are there any probiotics mentioned? You may want to google: make your own probiotics. There are some very interesting ones out there that seem reasonable, and you can make yourself for little money.

For foods, I'd go very simple. Think this when you are trying to plan your grocery budgets: I am now living in the 1800's. What would I eat?


Did they buy spices at the store? Rarely, they usually had an herb garden instead. Just a couple packets of seeds that you put in the back yard could help. And herbs taste better when they're a bit stressed, so don't bother with expensive stuff like fertilizer and such. Although you could make your own compost from plant food leavings.

Did they buy pre-made foods? Rarely. They made their own breads, their own pastas, they bought veggies and fruits in season (farmer's markets are very good for this, and tend to be cheaper than the local grocery stores, if you check out what the smaller farms have to offer. I was spending $30 in a week on the same food that cost me $50-$80 a week at the store. I have to look up how to cook some of it, but it made a big budget difference.


We buy grain in bulk from a few sources on-line - Twin Valley Mills is a good one for sorghu, although you have to save up for it, as they sell it about 30Lbs. at a time. Rice is usually a bargain. See if you can find some ethnic markets near you. Mexican ones typically have good prices on corn based goods in bulk. Asian markets have good prices on rice based goods in bulk. Indian markets often have good prices on exotic spices in bulk, although I haven't checked these for gluten content, so you'd have to check that. Also on bean based flowers. African markets often have cheaper sweet potato flour in bulk.


Essentially, we look for everything in the most basic form, now, and get to forget that modern processing exists, for the most part. It's been very hard. And a lot of work. But I went from paying 3-4 times our normal grocery bill to paying about 2/3 of it. HUGE difference.

Oh, and eliminate dairy and eat more beans instead of meat and you'll see a big drop in grocery budget, too. :-)


Thank you for all the advise. Yes, the supplements are for pro-biotics, omega 3 and a bunch of other stuff. It's been really hard to even find some who knows how to treat Celiac disease were we live (small town outside Cape Town, South Africa).

We have been given a bread machine, which will help, as a loaf of gluten free bread is 8 times more expensive than ordinary bread. We also have a fantastic organic vegetable garden which feeds us a lot, and next year will hopefully produce some fruit as well.

The beans is a great idea. I've not got much experience in cooking vegetarian dishes, but have started experimenting. My mom in law is a vegetarian and her dishes are amazing, so have asked her for some of her favourite recipes.

The chat with my husband didn't go to badly, he basically said we'll make it work, that I'm worth it. :) Lovely man!!

Thanks again to all for all the advise and support! xxx
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#23 Almendra

 
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Posted 05 April 2011 - 08:10 AM

Ditto on the rice and beans for cheap gluten-free eating. We use a rice cooker and crockpot for the dried beans. I found a recipe for crockpot beans that's been my favorite for about 10 years now, even before celiac diagnosis. (If anyone wants it, please message me.)

We change it up with different kinds of beans- or different kinds of cheese to melt on the concoction (with taco sauce, as desired). If you want to mix it up more, there's always the option to mix some kind of meat in too.

Pretty much, rice has become more of a staple food for us than bread.
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#24 Chiana

 
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Posted 05 April 2011 - 10:39 AM

Saving money on the pill-side: If you don't have problems with dairy, most probiotics can be replaced by good old-fashioned yogurt...they have the same cultures. You can also get vitamin supplements containing the same vitamin concentrations at the local pharmacy for cheaper, so you shouldn't need any pills/treatment from your doctor unless you have refractory Celiac. (You will often be given steroids or something similar for this.)
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#25 angel9165

 
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Posted 05 April 2011 - 11:59 AM

The main thing about this diet is that it takes more thought than our pre-gluten-free days. And since I hate to cook (and hate to grocery shop, and hate to think up what to cook, and hate....well you get the idea, lol) this is the problem for me.



Whew...it's reassuring to know I'm not the only one that feel this way!!! ;)
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#26 sb2178

 
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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:43 PM

We got a rice cooker (~$15 @ Target) and now get the huge bags of rice. I also mix in beans towards the end of the cooking cycle. A huge batch will make several meals and is always ready in the fridge.


Yes, the rice cooker is wonderful! I used to always just cook it on the stove, but it's just much easier and will stay warm. Can also cook millet, quinoa, wild rice, etc in it.

I mix in the small dried red lentils sometimes, just to have a meal in one with a veg. Or else I'll throw everything else in at the end to heat it up-- beans, tofu, peanut sauce, frozen or fresh veg, etc.

Since someone else already posted rice cooker, I'm adding the large pot of bean soup from dried beans at the beginning of the week item. Lentil, black beans, chick-peas, pinto beans, navy beans, split peas... All for less than $1.50/lb. Serves 6-12, and easily dressed up with veg, herbs, and/or spices.
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2/2010 Malabsorption becomes dramatically noticable
3/2010 Negative IgA EMA; negative IgA TTG
4/2010 Negative biopsy
5/2010 Elimination diet; symptoms begin to resolve on gluten-free diet round two (10 days)
5/2010 Diagnosed gluten sensitive based on weakly positive repeat IgA & IgG TTGs and dietary response; decline capsule endoscopy.

Now, what to do about my cookbook in progress? Make it gluten-free?

#27 Melstar23

 
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Posted 05 April 2011 - 05:31 PM

Since going gluten free, I hardly ever eat out, so that saves a lot of money. I just keep trying to find recipes so that I can make things myself. I now bake gluten-free bread cheaper than when I used to buy fresh wheat bread, and it's much nicer than the expensive gluten-free bread at the shops.

I have found that there are products like rice and tapioca flour that are for sale in the "gluten free" section of the supermarket, and in the regular baking section. The ones in the baking section are half the price as the ones in the gluten-free section, the product is the same inside the package.

I buy brown and arborio rice in bulk. Always look for specials, if the product is going to last a long time, buy in bulk, it can be expensive at the time, but the savings will sart to show as time goes on. As well as buying in bulk, we also cook in bulk and freeze the extra serves, which helps save time cooking later on. It's great when you have a week where you only have to spend $30 for fresh fruit and veg.

We also save money by making a lot of our meals vegetarian (my partner is, but I still eat meat). We use eggs a lot as a cheap source of protein.

Now that I'm well and not spending heaps of money on going to dr after dr, test after test, my bank balance and body are much healthier than before. I know it's had to get used to, and I do spend a lot more time cooking, but it is worth it.
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#28 aeraen

 
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Posted 06 April 2011 - 04:51 AM

Thank you for all the advise. Yes, the supplements are for pro-biotics, omega 3 and a bunch of other stuff. It's been really hard to even find some who knows how to treat Celiac disease were we live (small town outside Cape Town, South Africa).

We have been given a bread machine, which will help, as a loaf of gluten free bread is 8 times more expensive than ordinary bread. We also have a fantastic organic vegetable garden which feeds us a lot, and next year will hopefully produce some fruit as well.

The beans is a great idea. I've not got much experience in cooking vegetarian dishes, but have started experimenting. My mom in law is a vegetarian and her dishes are amazing, so have asked her for some of her favourite recipes.

The chat with my husband didn't go to badly, he basically said we'll make it work, that I'm worth it. :) Lovely man!!

Thanks again to all for all the advise and support! xxx


In my experimenting stage, I once bought something called "fufu" flour, made (I believe) from bananas. As the box specified it was for African dishes, you might be able to find that more easily in your area. For some reason, I'm thinking that bean flours might be more readily available to you, as well.

Your husband does sound like a lovely man. My DH and I take it as a challenge, and actually enjoy "the hunt" for finding tasty and cost-efficient meals.

Igg Positive - Great advice about the library... that's where I get all of my cookbooks, too. If I like a recipe, I just re-type it into a word doc, and keep it. However, most of my cooking is just regular food, rather than special celiac-inspired recipes. Occasionally we have to adapt (tonight is eggs benedict, and I am going to experiment w/ home made English muffins), but I seldom cook meals from specific Gluten-free cookbooks.

One thing I like to do is print out recipes that I have tried and liked, and place them in a binder. While DH and I have done that for years, we now have one specific gluten-free binder, with recipes that are either naturally gluten-free, or ones adapted to be gluten-free. Makes meal planning easier when you have a stash of "tried-and-trues".
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#29 RebeccaLynn

 
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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:36 AM

My solution: FOOD CO-OPS!! Bountiful Baskets (bountifulbaskets.org) and Azure Standard have SAVED me these last few months as I have been newly self-diagnosed. We also rely on Costco, WinCo and our local health food store when they have good sales. My family is used to eating whole foods anyway, so that has helped with the transition. I don't buy mixes, or ready made gluten-free items from the store as they are SO expensive! (okay, check that - my husband bought me gluten-free doughnuts for my birthday, which I am still hoarding in the freezer!) ;) We eat tons of fruits & vegetables thanks to Bountiful Baskets - which is only $15 for a laundry basket load of fruits & vegetables. So I am right there with you - money is extremely tight, and feeding my family of 4 in a gluten-free kitchen has been really tricky. I keep my food simple and whole, and that saves money right from the start.
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#30 rosetapper23

 
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Posted 06 April 2011 - 12:45 PM

My advice is simple: since cost is an issue, drop the nutritionist and buy wholesome food that will make you healthier. IMHO, the only gut-healing supplements necessary for better health are L-glutamine and probiotics. As long as you take a good liquid vitamin and any specific vitamins or minerals in which you're highly deficient, those two supplements should help your healing process along.
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