One of the many things I hear or read about the Wheat free lifestyle is that it is expensive. It may seem that way at first, but I have found that I spend about the same amount of money. I just spend it differently. Right now I have no goats in milk and we have used all of our homegrown meat in the freezer. So everything we eat is being purchased, except for vegetables and some fruit that we put up over the summer. So, how is it that our grocery bill is not skyrocketing? Here's how I keep everything within budget.
1. Baking is a treat, not a staple. Almond meal, coconut meal and the like are expensive. I highly recommend buying them in bulk from Amazon because they are much cheaper than being purchased locally. However, they are still expensive. So, now any kind of baked good is a treat. Not a staple. The exception to that rule is the muffins that I make a couple days a week for breakfast because the recipe uses so little.
2. Buy produce in season. This goes for any budget. Right now I can buy fresh broccoli and cauliflower cheap, usually 2 heads for the price of one.
3. Organic meat is best, but if you can't afford it you can't afford it. It really won't kill you to eat non organic for a small portion of your life. It is the consistent exposure, year after year for years and years that will do the damage. So, if you can't get organic, great. If not, don't sweat it.
4. Typically, you can find manager specials early in the morning. These are meats that must be sold or thrown out that day because they have reached their sell by date. There is nothing wrong with this meat, the store just has to move it out. So they mark it down...oftentimes way down. I bought several skirt steaks a couple of weeks ago for 1.50 each. I bought every one that was marked down. It doesn't matter if there is a cut I have never used before, because I can either learn via the internet how to use it or I can grind it up and use it in a ground meat recipe. I also lucked out last week and got grass fed, organic lamb chops marked down. Not nearly as cheap as the skirt steak, but within my budget range and they were huge gorgeous lamb chops. I bought every package of those too. Purchasing the extra gives me some to put in the freezer so that when nothing is on sale at a good price I still have something to eat and I can stay within my budget.
5. I used to go through a lot of flour, which translated to a good portion of our budget. I have eliminated flour and greatly reduced sugar, tea, coffee.
6. We actually consume less food. This means that I cook less food. So those meals that used to be one meal are now two meals. The children don't feel the need to snack as much and aren't always hungry, so that translates into less food going farther for the week. So even though nuts are expensive, a small handful is a serving and satisfies a craving while keeping them feeling satisfied longer than a handful of crackers. Sunflower seeds are really big in our house, we love them. I buy them in buckets containing small packs and they last us a long time. One small serving packet will be a snack all day for us. Whereas before the kids could eat an entire box of cheezits and still be looking for something else to snack on. A 50 cent pack of sunflower seeds or a 3.50 box of cheezits. Hmmmmm....I think the sunflower seeds win in the cost department even though they seem more expensive to begin with.
7. Of course this goes with any budget, wheat free or not, but this summer hit those farmer's markets and u-pick farms and put upall the vegetables and fruit that you can put up cheap. Invest in a big freezer or canner or whatever and put up everything you can. It will save you money in the long run.
I have to admit that when I embarked on this, I was worried. Our food budget is tight, especially when we are still feeding livestock at the moment and getting nothing from them. I couldn't afford a huge increase in groceries. I have found though that with a little planning and maybe a different time schedule (those early morning grocery trips to get those specials)we haven't had that much of an increase, just a little bit. And if needed then I can cut back on the cheese recipes or absolutely no baked treats. It can be adjusted to fit into the budget. Blessings, Kat