Budgeting for a Family with Food Allergies

Food allergies can cause a strain on families in many ways but very often I hear how people find it difficult Produce Reduced sign2to stay on budget while purchasing their allergy-friendly food items. All of us want to feed our families safely but trying to make ends meet is a natural part of each family’s costs. For the most part, allergy-friendly food products are higher in price, can be more difficult to find in your average grocery store and although online ordering is available, shipping costs and extra credit card use can discourage people from stocking up on the foods that they truly need to have inside of their kitchens.

As a mother and primary food shopper of our household, there are some money saving tips that may be useful for your situation. Obviously, everyone has a different allergy situation and a different budget goal but in general, having options is helpful when we have to start scrimping and saving. Here are some simple ways to consider adding to your budgeting plan:

  1. Become very, VERY friendly with your local stores– Many stores have certain days or specific times of the day that they will begin to mark down foods, including fruits & veggies. These are all items that can be taken home, frozen or cooked right away (or cook then freeze for later use). It may seem like a lot of work but in the end, you are cooking ahead for meals and it often teaches you how to utilize what you have in new ways.
  2. Look in bargain outlets/stores– Dollar stores, health food stores, places likes Big Lots, etc. will stock allergy-friendly items from time to time as well as have markdown sales. Pair up the sales with a printable coupon that you may get from a product website and you can stock up.
  3. Store discount rack– My local health food store usually has a grocery cart right when you walk in – I always go through it. The food stores I frequent also have markdown displays near the cashiers and somewhat “hidden” deep discount shelves- these are the places that I look at first. If you are unsure if the store has one, inquire at the customer service desk. Click here to see an example of what we have in our store.
  4. No discount rack? Ask– If your favorite stores don’t have a markdown section, ask them if they have any items that they may want to just get rid of. If you can negotiate, they may even be willing to give you what they have left at a big discount just to get rid of it.
  5. Churches & Organizations– Do you belong to a church or other organization? Many have food pantries & you can request specific allergy-friendly items be donated. There is no harm or shame in asking for help when you need it. Just try to repay the favor down the road if someone else is asking too.
  6. Free food– whenever someone asks, always say yes- Even when it’s an item you cannot use. These are foods that you can donate back to your church or organization. You may also be able to take these unopened items back to the original store without a receipt to exchange them at the store for items that you can use. Always ask stores about their return policies.
  7. Contact companies directly– Try, always try. You may not get a free item but you may get a coupon that can be used later with a sale. Often companies are happy to send you something to try.
  8. Contact me- I am always available to help whomever needs it. I am a food allergy mother just like so many of you. I was there from the beginning stages of my son’s food allergy My Stocked Pantrydiagnosis to now where cooking and food shopping are my life (in a good way). I encourage everyone to always reach out to me to see if I can help you and your family in some way. Sometimes having a different person’s point of view and ideas creates an entirely different perspective for our own situation. Whether it be a peronal food allergy consultation, needing recipe ideas or even just a place to find a laugh when you really, really need it I invite you to visit me at AllergyPhoods and any of my other media sites.

Don’t let food allergies diminish your budgeting skills- embrace it as a challenge to increase your family’s pantry and decrease your monthly spending. Don’t get discouraged if there are months that save just pennies on the dollar- for each of those months, you will very likely have extraordinary months or weeks that will offset that. Every cent counts but having a supply of safe foods for your family’s allergies counts even more.

About the Author

Tracy Bush is the founder and President of Nutrimom, Inc., also known as Nutrimom - Food Allergy Liason, a consulting business that specializes in providing guidance and support for anyone that has been diagnosed with food allergies. Tracy helps others with simple steps, such as finding safe, wholesome foods to supplement allergenic foods, where to shop and how to maximize their budget while adjusting to their dietary change. You can view additional information about what she does as well as her new e-book "The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies" at www.AllergyPhoods.com. Tracy is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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