Grocery shopping on a budget is never easy for any family. Even the basics add up fast for the average family. When you buy eggs, milk, and bread you walk out of the store $20 later.
When you add food allergies to the mix, it can send you to the poor house!
When my husband and I decided to go down to one income so I could stay at home with our daughter, we knew our budget was going to be tight. Our Grocery budget was the one area where I knew we could save!
We have two big food allergies in our house. I am unable to consume any form of gluten, along with my daughter. After countless ear infections, sleepless nights, and an extremely colicky baby my daughter was diagnosed with a milk allergy.
I was determined not to have to cook three different meals every day, to meet my families dietary needs. So our house is 100% milk-free and gluten-free. I serve one meal to everyone.
When we first went gluten free we would end up spending our whole paycheck at health food stores. Through lots of research and meal planning I have found that you can shop any store and save big bucks.
The number one thing I have discovered is- its all about going back to the basics. What I like to call, ‘Church Lady Cooking’. Making everything from scratch or home made. Yes, it takes more time. However, you can have complete control over what you are feeding your family.
I have found that buying meat at wholesale stores, such as Costco or Sams Club, will save you big bucks! We buy a large amount of meat and split it up once we are home and freeze it. We make a lot of roasts, pulled pork, and chicken in our crock-pot.
We also ditched the deli meat! Big Savings there! I have found that buying a ham, turkey, or chicken is cheaper. We roast it up on Sunday and we have meat for hot-dishes and sandwiches for the rest of the week.
Homemade desserts are so much cheaper than buy those store bought (boxed) cookies that are milk-free and gluten-free. Also making a cake from scratch is so much cheaper than buying the mixes. The gluten-free mixes at least.
Plan, Plan, Plan…. sounds like work but really its not! Every Sunday night we make a meal plan for the week. We have a large chalk board in our kitchen which we write it on. Makes it easy for me to make the grocery list and the best part we never have that issue of “Whats for dinner?” lingering around.
We also pay for groceries in cash. It allows us to only get what is on the list and nothing else. Forces us to stick to our budget and meal plan.
Cutting our food budget has been a lot of work, and planning. However, it has paid off. Our family is able to eat healthy, and allergy friend meals on a shoestring budget.