The following post is a guest post by Ruth. Enjoy!
I love saving money, using coupons and getting freebies. My husband Mark and I have always lived a frugal life since we’ve been married while we were both in university. We have always cooked mostly from scratch, since my husband cannot have artificial colours, flavors or salicylic acids (these are found in tomatoes and in varying amounts in many fruits.) Mark has followed the Feingold Diet since he was fourteen and found out about these food sensitivities. Consuming foods with these ingredients do not cause an allergic reaction, they cause a metabolic reaction. He becomes hyperactive!
Our lives became a bit more complicated when I began following a gluten free, dairy free, no refined sugars diet that was necessary to manage a chronic health problem. This diet has done wonders for my health. But it has not been easy on the check book. Many of the items I need are only available at Organic Markets.
However, I have picked up some tips and tricks since I started following this diet in July 2011. If you also follow a special diet, maybe these tips can help you!
Check the Supermarkets for Organic Products
Many major supermarkets have started carrying organic products. You may be getting a better deal, but make sure to do your homework, because often you aren’t. This really surprised me until I realized that the Organic Markets buy many items in bulk, therefore they can offer a better price. Also, the Organic Markets always have month long specials going on. I use unsweetened Vanilla Blue Diamond Almond Milk as an alternative to Cow’s milk. This is a very popular brand. I can find some sort of special on this milk (usually buy 2 for a reduced price) every month.
Shop at Bulk Barn
If there is a Bulk Barn in your city, go there first! They have a great selection of gluten free pasta, flours, crackers, and packaged food.
Buy in Bulk
Buy in bulk whenever possible, regardless of where you’re buying.
Costco has started carrying things like Organic Agave Nectar (A sweetener I use in baking) and Amy’s Organic Soups (The Lentil Soups are a great source of protein and don’t contain sugar). I am on the lookout every time we do a Costco run because I believe they will continue to offer more organic and specialty items
Make as much from Scratch as Possible
If you have a special diet that requires you to spend more on groceries, make as much from scratch as possible. This may involve taking a cooking class. In my case I learned by trial and error and eventually discovered some good blogs, where I get many of my recipes. The best blogs I found are Hope for Healing, Chocolate covered Katie and Oh She Glows. I have also become more adept at adapting regular recipes, but that takes time and depends on how comfortable you are experimenting in the kitchen.
Look for Coupons for Organic products
There are actually some coupons to be found for organic products. Go to the website The Healthy Shopper Canada. You just need to register and you will be able to print out e-coupons and use them again and again. They don’t expire until March 2014. You can also find their coupon book in stores at around February each year. Last year I only discovered about their coupon book in May. They also give you the option of paying $4.50 (through pay pal) to have their coupon book mailed to you. I did this last year, but found I didn’t make my money back in terms of money saved. This year, you can actually flip through the coupon book on the website, and if you look through the coupon book, it is almost identical to the e-coupons, you just save a little bit more with the coupon book. On their website you can click on a link to find out where to find their coupon book in your city. In 2013 I plan to contact them and find out exactly when their coupon book is coming out, so I have a better chance of finding one in Edmonton.
For those of you that follow a special diet, what are some of your money saving tips?