Illustration by Daniel Vasconcellos, vasky.com.
HomeGoods, Marshalls & more carry gluten-free items at great prices
I love bargain shopping, an art I learned from my Granny when I was a little girl. Gluten-free products can cost five times as much as traditional products, so I get a rush when I get a deal.
The key to finding gluten-free bargains is patience. Always be on the lookout for sales. And when you find a rock-bottom deal, it’s time to stockpile. Use coupons or store incentives when possible, and keep your eyes peeled for clearance and manager’s specials.
Managers of each department in a store mark down products that are near expiration, seasonal or are being discontinued. They can be made daily or weekly. Ask your store when markdowns are made so you can grab bargains.
Some stores have a manager’s specials cart or shelf, and others make markdowns in the aisle. Always check the expiration date on perishable products and match with a coupon when possible.
Grocery stores often have gluten-free bargains. I’ve picked up Udi’s bread for less than half price and hummus for 75 percent off. You can extend the shelf life of many products by freezing them. Aldi and Trader Joe’s are two grocery chains you might not think of for gluten-free bargains.
But Aldi offers customers quality using its purchasing power and relationships with suppliers to negotiate low prices — which means big savings for you. Almost 95 percent of the store’s products are sold under the Aldi brand name, but the store does carry some other gluten-free brands and often has Trader Joe’s gluten-free products at a discount.
Trader Joe’s, an unconventional store where the cashiers wear Hawaiian shirts, doesn’t have sales, store coupons or any discounts on private-label products. Instead, you’ll find everyday low prices, and you can use manufacturer’s coupons on brand names. Trader Joe’s offers a wide selection of gluten-free options, but you won’t get deep discounts or bargain-priced items.
Grocery stores aren’t the only places with deals on gluten-free food. Finding a gluten-free bargain at a specialty store can feel like discovering treasure. Some favorites include:
HomeGoods, T.J.Maxx & Marshalls
These fashion and home discount stores, all owned by the same company, sell a wide variety of clothing and decorator items, so you might be surprised to know they can be great places for gluten-free shopping. The stores offer discounted products and overstocks up to 60 percent off department store prices every day. HomeGoods sells brands that can be hard to find in food stores, many of which are in the gourmet category. You can also get reward cards from each all three stores that enable you to earn points for further discounts.
This bargain chain offers discounted products and overstocks. It carries a wide variety of gluten-free products, including Bob’s Red Mill brand. You can sign up to become a Buzz Club Rewards Member and get coupons for 20 percent off your entire purchase.
This nationwide discount store carries a number of gluten-free brands. Walmart has a clearance section, too, but it’s not organized, and it’s sometimes difficult to find a gluten-free bargain. You can price match at Walmart, so if you find a gluten-free sale in a competitor’s advertisement the store will match it.
With a reputation for being a bit trendier than other discount department stores, it’s no wonder Target is carrying more gluten-free products. The chain just started carrying Canyon Bakehouse breads in 800 locations. You can use manufacturer’s coupons and a Target store coupon at the same time for additional savings. Target makes clearance markdowns every week, so be sure to ask your store what day. If you use a Target credit or debit card, you’ll get 5 percent off your total bill and another 5 percent is offered once you fill five prescriptions at the store pharmacy.
I have picked up great deals at Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS. Each chain has its own incentive program. You can sign up for free to take advantage of savings and then use rewards on gluten-free items. You’ll also find manager’s specials and clearance markdowns fairly often in drug stores. For example, I picked up GoPicnic meals on clearance for $1.60 at Walgreens.
Don’t assume you always have to pay full price for gluten-free products. There are a lot of bargains sitting on the shelves waiting for you to snag them.
Melissa Jennings is the author of Savvy Saving, Couponing Secrets from the Stockpiling Moms and co-founder of stockpilingmoms.com. She was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2011 and offers gluten-free money savings tips and more on the website.