September 27, 2012
Very few people who are gluten free are only gluten free. I know that many of my readers are actively avoiding two or three or fifteen different foods. That sucks! Having to avoid multiple ingredients makes everything about eating more difficult. It’s harder to find groceries, it’s harder to find recipes, it’s harder to eat. The list just goes on and on.
I have been writing a lot over the past few weeks about our experiences implementing some of the strategies in the ebook, With or Without Coupons: How To Save 50% Or More At The Grocery Store by Patti Laurens. John and I have saved significant amounts of money (for us) and we’re only using four of the 40+ strategies so far.
Many of you may be wondering if you would see the same sort of results on a diet that is more restricted than ours. I think that’s a completely fair question. After all, we are only strictly gluten free. We avoid soy, dairy, and eat limited amounts of grains and sugar, but we are not strictly excluding anything but gluten.
In this article I’m going to take a detailed look at the strategies that we’re using, and some that we are not, and discuss whether they are feasible on a Gluten Free Plus diet. All references to strategy #’s refer to the Strategy Cheat Sheet that I made for With or Without Coupons. You’ll get a copy of this cheat sheet you buy With or Without Coupons from Gluten Free Cooking School.
Do The Strategies That We use Work for Gluten Free Plus Diets?
Because I tend to crash and burn when I attempt to coupon, I am purposefully starting slowly. I’m only using four strategies right now, and I won’t add any more until I’m completely comfortable with the ones we’re already using. So, let’s start with those.
Strategy # 5: Use A Shopping List – Making a list for your grocery shopping may seem obvious, but it’s actually hard to make a shopping list when you’re new to a particular diet. If we were to start avoiding corn, for example, then I could make a general shopping list but I would probably accidentally include some items that I was not aware contained wheat. I would only realize this once I got to the store, and then I’d have to revaluate my list, and possibly my entire menu. That eventuality is why some people stop using shopping lists. Shopping lists are an important tool for maintaining sanity (especially if you shop with multiple kids), avoiding impulse purchases, and actually buying everything that you need.
If you’re on a Gluten Free Plus diet, then Strategy #5 will work best after you’ve implemented Strategy #8: Make A List of the Foods/Brands That Work For Your Diet. Strategy #8 is also important to complete before you start trying to use coupons. In fact, it’s a valuable first step for anyone who is not already a veteran shopper for their particular diet. We’ve been gluten free for nine years, so I generally know what foods and brand I an buy, but if I didn’t, then this would have been one of my first Strategies.
Strategy #28: Get and Use A Rewards Card - This strategy will only apply if you shop in an area where the groceries stores use rewards cards and tie sales prices to the rewards card. If you do live in such an area, this strategy is important. I know that I often shop at several grocery stores because I can’t get all of the brands and ingredients that I need in one store. If you’re just running into a store to get a few items, you could easily decide that it’s not worth the time to sign up for a rewards card. I’ve often thought that. And I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. We often save 15 – 20% just from the rewards cards. Before I read With or Without Couponing I had not gotten a rewards card, even when it was offered at checkout, in the twelve years that I’ve been doing my own grocery shopping.
Strategy #35: Compare Price Per Unit Comparing price per unit is a deceptively simple strategy. An obvious example is to see whether the 14 oz. can of tomatoes is a better buy than the 28 oz. I take this strategy to the extreme and set a price per unit limit on what I’m willing to buy. This strategy works phenomenally for meat, veggies and fruit. If you’re on a Gluten Free Plus diet, you’re probably buying lots of unprocessed meat, veggies and fruit so this strategy will work for you too. I’ve written a mini-ebook called $1 Per Pound Grocery Shopping that goes into a lot more detail on this strategy. And, you get the mini-ebook as a bonus item when you buy With or Without Coupons.
Strategy #6: Plan Your Meals From the Weekly Circular Of the four strategies that we’ve implented, this has been by far the most powerful. But, if you’re just flipping through a grocery store sales circular you might be discouraged. Most of the items included are not gluten free, much less corn and soy and dairy free. Most of the foods on sale are not healthy. Most of it we wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot stick. That’s okay. I’m only looking for sales on meat and produce. I skim through the rest to see if there’s anything that I know is gluten free, but the majority of my time and attention is spent on the meat and produce pages. This strategy should work well for everyone, but you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you are a meat-eater.
Can You Coupon For A Gluten Free Plus Diet?
There are plenty of couponing websites that explain the concepts of couponing and match up coupons from the Sunday paper and online sites with the weekly deals at various grocery stores. Those are all well and good, but they have never made a successful couponer out of me. Too many of the coupons in the Sunday paper are for foods and products that I never buy. After each failed attempt at couponing, I became more and more skeptical of those who claimed that couponing can work for a gluten free diet.
That was until I read With or Without Coupons.
With or Without Coupons details at least 16 different strategies for using coupons. Only three of those strategies involve coupons from the Sunday papers or their internet equivalents. Instead, Patti teaches you alternative coupon gathering strategies that work for people like us. Instead of flipping through pages of coupons that don’t apply to you, you’ll use your time to get coupons on the expensive, specialty products that you can eat.
A Shot of Realism To Encourage You
It is so easy to become discouraged about grocery shopping. Sometimes I just hate it! I generally hate it more after I’ve been trying to lower how much we spend. In fact, the emotional toll of trying to coupon is what has made me stop every time.
The main reason that I wanted to help Patti spread the work about her new ebook is that I’m not an emotional wreck after reading her ebook and trying her strategies. If I were, then we would definitely not be selling her ebook.
My favorite quote from the book is from the FAQ section toward the end.
Q: Ok. So I’ve read the whole book and I don’t wanna….I don’t wanna coupon…I don’t wanna read the sales ads…the whole thing overwhelms me and I just can’t handle it.
A: Then don’t. (Wait…..what??). Don’t. The beauty of you being an adult is that you get
to make your own decisions.
What’s that? Oh yeah! I’m an adult! I CAN choose what I want to do. I don’t have to follow any of the strategies in this book that I don’t want to follow.
Knowing that freed me to pick the strategies that I did want to follow and start there. If Strategy #9 stresses me out, then I don’t have to do it. If Strategy #37 makes me hate being gluten free and whatever else, then I don’t have to do it.
After I read With or Without Coupons I made a cheat sheet of all of the strategies. I then went through and crossed off all of the strategies that made me the least bit anxious or negative. I even used a big, fat Sharpie so that I couldn’t even see those strategies any more. I was left with a list of strategies that I was excited to try and that I thought would have a decent chance of working FOR ME. How awesome and freeing is that!
I can’t emphasize enough how important it has been for me to start slowly. Grocery shopping for a special diet is hard. Planning meals for a special diet is hard. Dealing with your family members in regards to the food that you’ve cooked is hard. So be easy on yourself when you start trying to save money. You don’t get any special bonus points for getting to 50% savings faster than Jane in Iowa.
I think it’s also wise to point out that you shouldn’t kick yourself if your total spending or % savings do not compare favorably with others. We each have our own set of circumstances to work within.
I’m not out to spend the least possible amount. We choose to spend more on food that is good for us, and choose to spend less on health insurance. We choose to spend more on food so that I have more time for Gluten Free Cooking School and homeschooling and enjoying life with my family.
You don’t have to save the absolute most possible every shopping trip. You don’t have to save the largest possible amount tomorrow. Learning to implement these strategies is a skill, and like any skill you will improve with practice.
What If It Really Doesn’t Work?
If you have multiple food intolerances and have been on the fence about buying this ebook, I hope I’ve convinced you that it can work for you. I really do believe that it will. However, if you read the ebook and try the strategies and find that they don’t work for you, I’ll be more than happy to give you a refund.
My policy on refunds is pretty simple. If you’re not happy with what you bought, then I don’t want to keep your money. I want all of our customers to be happy and if that means giving a refund, then that’s what I do. It’s really not a big deal to me.
Start Saving Money Today
Alright, here’s the button to buy With or Without Coupons: How To Save 50% or More At The Grocery Store. If you’d like more details on what’s included with the book, especially the bonus items that we’re adding to the book if you buy before October 3rd, 2013, click here.