If you or a loved one has a food allergy or intolerance, you may be frustrated by your escalating grocery bill.
In my own family, both my daughter and I have a dairy intolerance, and I just recently I found out I also have a soy intolerance. When we first discovered our dairy intolerance nine months ago, we struggled with trying to keep our grocery bill low.
Now that it has been nearly a year, we have discovered some strategies to rein in our grocery expenditures.
Don’t buy substitutions.
Initially, when I found out we couldn’t have dairy, I tried to find substitutions so we could continue to eat the way we had previously. Yes, there is dairy free cheese and soy yogurt on the market, but the price is high.
Almost anything that is made as a substitution is more expensive than the real thing. For a month I tried to buy dairy free ice cream, but it is $6 a container. Buying dairy free substitutions easily added $20 to $25 to our grocery bill a week, or $80 to $100 a month.
Now, both my daughter and I have given up on substitutions.
I simply don’t eat cheese of any type. I don’t eat yogurt or ice cream.
Instead, we have cooked many more stir fries as they rarely involve dairy. We have given up on many of our old dairy laden casseroles. We don’t eat sweets much either, but when we do, we spend a little extra to buy a cupcake at a vegan bakery as a special treat.
My daughter had a vegan cupcake for her birthday, and she was happy as can be.
Write Companies for Coupons.
True, it is harder to find coupons for companies that make products for intolerances and allergies. When I find a company I really like, I e-mail them and tell them of my intolerance and how much I enjoy their product. They almost always follow up and send coupons.
Stock Up When There Are Sales.
My daughter and I drink almond milk. It typically runs $3 to $3.50 per carton. When there is a sale, I try to stock up. Recently it was on sale for $2.50 per carton, and I happened to have .55 off coupons, bringing my total cost to $1.95 per carton. This is 33 to 40% cheaper than it usually is, so I bought 8 cartons. Yes, my refrigerator is packed with almond milk cartons, but we are stocked with enough milk to last us at least 5 to 6 weeks.
Hopefully, before I use them all up I will find another sale.
Coping with a food allergy or intolerance can affect many aspects of your life, but hopefully if you use some of the strategies mentioned here, it doesn’t have to impact your grocery budget too severely.