Yes, living gluten-free can be expensive. And for some of us, this added expense isn’t always an easy one to cover despite it being medically necessary. So I decided to share with you some of my tips on how you too can save money, even while living gluten-free.
First, please understand that when I started couponing, it was out of necessity. After working for a software development firm, from home, for over three years I was laid off. The company made some bad financial decisions, and, as the saying goes, sh!t rolls down hill.
So my first discovery was www.coupons.com. They offer decent coupons and they have new coupons weekly. It’s one of the easier and more simple sites to deal with. You literally select the coupons you want, make sure you’ve downloaded their printer software (don’t worry it’s safe) and then click print. I’ve found several coupons here for gluten-free Schar bread and even soy milk (Silk & 8th Continent brands) for those who are dairy-free as well.
Getting your local Sunday paper is always a plus. This was my second discovery. By combining the coupons found at coupon.com and those from the Sunday paper, there are times that you can literally create a “double coupon”. Just beware, some stores have certain coupon rules that don’t allow for this….more on that below.
At this point I still wasn’t seeing the big savings that some people brag about. So I searched the internet and found . This site is pretty awesome. It literally finds all the different coupons offered by tons of different sites each week and brings them to you. Now it can be a little frustrating at first. After you select your coupons from , it will batch like coupons together (i.e. all those offered at the P&G website, or all offered at Betty Crocker, etc.), then you have to click on a tab that will take you to the outside site. Sometimes the site will allow you to directly print, other times they will make you sign up for a mailing list. Annoying yes, but in the end you can really save big! My suggestion: create a coupon only email address. This way you can sign up for all the different outside websites using the same email and forgo filling your personal email with blast emails. Once you get over the initial signing up at 30 or so sites, the next week is a breeze…all you have to do is select your coupons at Lozo, then sign in when you are directed to the outside sites.
I live in the south, so my go to grocery stores are Winn-Dixie and Publix; both offer online e-coupons and at times they also offer clippable coupons in the Sunday paper inserts. Using the store specific coupon plus a manufactures coupon, in this case, is usually permitted at most stores (but again, make sure you check the store policy).
E-coupons work a little differently. With Winn-Dixie you link your WD customer reward card, select the e-coupons that you want to load on it, and it automatically incorporates them at the time of checkout so long as you scan your WD card. These coupons can usually be used on top of any paper coupons that you have, so if you have an e-coupon and a paper coupon, you’ll get both of the savings as long as the store policy permits such. Publix offers something similar but they only allow for one manufacturer coupon per item, period. So if you sign up for their e-coupon and you have a paper coupon for the same item, it will not take both….but it does use the one that is worth more savings.
Winn-Dixie also offers a campaign called “Fuel Perks” in conjunction with Shell stations. The concept is simple, for every $50 you spend you receive .5 cents off per gallon of gas/diesel (up to 20 gallons). Then when you buy gas, you swipe your Winn Dixie reward card before your debit card and it deducts the built up savings. In addition to that, some specially marked items within the store offer extra fuel perks; i.e. peanut butter may offer an additional .10 cents off per gallon when you purchase one. I filled up my F250 diesel yesterday and was able to take .85 cents off per gallon, which means I saved almost $20!
Lastly, if there is a product that you use on a regular basis and you can’t find a coupon for it, go to the manufacturer site. A lot of times if you sign up with them directly they will email you a coupon. I’ve found this to be true with brands such as Silk, Glutino, Enjoy Life Foods, Ella’s Kitchen & Sprout Foods (for Anderson, the baby). As with most of the manufactuers websites, the coupon amounts change; right now, the link for Glutino will take you to their current .55 cent off coupon, however it wasn’t very long ago that the coupon was for $1.00 off any Glutino item, so make sure you check the sites often (usually monthly).
Savingstar is another site I use, but it works a bit differently. Here you can link your CVS, Winn-Dixie or Publix cards (among others), select the online offers that you’d like, and then when you buy certain items you’ll actually get cash deposited into your SavingStar account that you can use or have transferred to another account (like your checking). In other words, you wont see the savings at the register, you’ll get them later on. It’s not much of a savings but anything helps!
My tips for couponing:
1. Know the grocery store’s store policy on couponing (i.e. Publix vs. Winn-Dixie).
2. Look at the prices of items in the store. Sometimes you’ll save more buying 3 smaller items (such as diapers) than you would if you bought just one big box.
3. Organize your coupons. I use an organizer and it’s made shopping so much more sane. I organize by the following categories:
- GF Foods
- Paper Goods
- Misc. (vitamins, dog food, batteries, etc)
Organizing your coupons is very important!
4. Don’t buy items (if possible) unless they’re already on sale. This way you get the sale price plus additional savings from coupons.
5. The biggest treat is landing a BOGO item! A perfect example was buying Purex laundry detergent. I caught it on a BOGO at Publix; the price originally was 2/$8. Since it was BOGO it made it 2/$4 which was great but I had an additional coupon to save a dollar….so I got 2 100 fl. oz. bottles for $3. Not too shabby!
2 100 fl. oz. bottles of Purex laundry detergent for only $3.00!
6. Be open to trying new brands, if you can. Your favorite brand may not be on sale every week….branch out and use coupons to explore new options, but always check items to ensure that they are indeed gluten-free. Saving $1.00 isn’t worth it if it’s going to possibly make you sick!
7. If a coupon doesn’t say “void if copied” you can make copies of the coupon and use it again on your next shopping trip, so long as it isn’t past the expiration date.
That’s the gist of it. It may sound like a lot but really once you get past the “set up” phase, it’s not that bad. It takes work, yes, but I’ve saved a ton over these past few months. A perfect example is this: between February 18th and March 19th, I spent $680.80 on $1145.20 worth of groceries, saving $464.40. More recently, I saved $184 in one trip!
It’s helped us out a lot since I was laid off. There were times that we didn’t know if we were going to make our bills much less buy enough food to last the week. We’ve become very good at stretching pennies.
I was thrilled to work with Rebecca Black recently. You may know her from her Pretty Little Celiac or Rebecca Refined blogs. She is a pretty cool chick! She featured my couponing tips on her celiac site not too long ago, as she and I both utilize coupons to help offset the higher cost of gluten-free foods. Check out her post below:
Below are a few examples of my savings from Winn-Dixie and Publix.
Publix Receipt 1
Publix Receipt 2
Winn-Dixie Receipt 1
Winn-Dixie Receipt 2
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