gluten-freeAfter repeated pressure from my acupuncturist, my chiropractor, various enthusiastic friends, and even my medical doctor, I have slowly begun phasing some of the gluten out of my diet. While I don't ever see myself effortlessly passing by a tray of freshly baked, gluten-rich cookies or brownies any time soon (or ever), I can cut back. Cutting back while still saving money at the grocery store has been a challenge. Here are some tips I've been picking up along the way—I hope they can help you too!

1. Buy your gluten-free items in bulk sizes

There are some fabulous gluten-free products that can be quite reasonable in price when bought in bulk quantities.

Here are two great resources for discount, bulk, gluten-free products:

  • Amazon.com: Amazon has a lengthy list of various bulk, gluten-free flours and a full gf store.
  • Vitacost.com: Vitacost offers 10% off just for creating a free customer account, and their gf store offers plenty of cost-cutting discounts (including Promo Pocket, a personalized coupon and discount delivery service).

Note: If you or a loved one has a life-threatening gluten allergy, be aware that there is a minor risk of cross-contamination by “going bulk”—just something to be aware of (safety trumps even savings)!

2. Make your own gluten-free mixes

As you probably just figured out, tips 1 and 2 make great partners! Once you have bulk gluten-free supplies, you can make gluten-free baking mixes. You can use some right away, freeze some, and even make up much-appreciated gift baskets for your gluten-free friends.

Here are three neat recipe sites that can help you create baking mixes from your bulk ingredients:

3. Know which products are naturally gluten free

Manufacturers (and their marketing departments) can be sneaky. They know that for many shoppers, eating gluten free isn't optional—and failing to detect gluten in a product can even be deadly. Sometimes they write "gluten-free" on a product that is naturally gluten free just so they can charge more! Here, sometimes cost savings are found just by training yourself to "read between the lines."

Here is a list of just some of the many items that are gluten free naturally:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Chicken, fish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese, butter, oils
  • Whole grains (including rice, corn, quinoa, millet, buckwheat)
  • Tea, coffee
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Beans
  • Honey, maple syrup
  • Soy
  • Spices

4. Know where to go for gluten-free discounts, coupons, freebies, recipes, and deals

Here are some great resources where you can find coupons, samples, and discounts on gluten-free products, as well as great recipes, tips for holiday cooking, and more.

  • Bob's Red Mill: Download and print a $1 off coupon (evergreen). Save 10% all the time when you buy any 4-pack case (scroll down on the home page to see the offer). Take advantage of monthly specials (some are gf and some are not).
  • Udi's Gluten Free: Download and print a $1 off coupon (evergreen). This will also sign you up for the e-newsletter, which will send you discount and coupon offers to your inbox.
  • Gluten Freely Frugal: This site is maintained by a mom who has two daughters with celiac disease. The site offers printable and online coupons, daily deals, giveaways, recipes and more—just visit the website.
  • BeFreeForMe.com: The founder of this website has celiac disease. She has put together a fabulous resource for anyone living with food allergies—mild to severe. If you sign up for the free e-newsletter, you will automatically receive coupons, discounts, and gf freebies mailed right to your home (you can even personalize what you receive to your individual dietary needs).
  • Gluten-Free Saver: Subscribe to the free e-newsletter (upper right-hand corner of web page) and save 37-80% on a wide variety of gf products. Oh, and refer your friends and earn $5 when one of your referrals makes a purchase.
  • Live Better America: Run by General Mills, Live Better America will send you coupons for discounts on gf products when you sign up for their e-newsletter. You can also find neat recipes and tips—especially useful for beginners!
  • Gluten-Free Mall: Run by Celiac.com, this comprehensive online resource offers everything you need to succeed at transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle. Learn about current deals and sign up for the e-newsletter (click on "get coupons," upper right corner of web page) to receive alerts of upcoming deals. As a bonus, the Mall also has a Reward Point Program–when you shop, you accrue points, which you can use like cash towards future purchases.
  • Living Without Magazine: You don't need to subscribe to the magazine to find valuable coupons—just visit the website and click on the coupons you’re interested in using.