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Gluten freeze: How eating healthy can destroy your budget

The irony about the health trend of eating gluten free is the idea that the word “free” is part of that phrase. Anyone who has invested the time and, of course, money into adopting this way of eating and lifestyle realizes very quickly that the food is anything but inexpensive.

The next time you're at a grocery store or supermarket, take a quick glance at a loaf of “regular” bread and compare to to the gluten free one. The regular bread costs about a $1 or $2, while the gluten free bread, which typically is less slices, goes for about $6 or $7. Granted, most people who are adversely affected by gluten don't have much choice in the matter. If gluten upsets their stomachs or makes them sick, then $6 for bread is just the way it has to be.

What isn't so easy to swallow are those gluten free persons assuming that because they've chosen to eat this way or don't have a choice in the matter at all that they simply must spend twice or three times as much as the rest of us.
Not true at all.

What the gluten free crowd often forgets is that this way of eating is incredibly popular for a variety of reasons, so why not take advantage of that aspect of the diet? There is a multitude of information and experts in the field of specialty eating, gluten free diets to the point that finding a cook book or online guide would be rather simple.

These experts have made it their work to find recipes and meals that appeal to this growing population of gluten free eaters, and that includes shopping guides as well. Let the people that have put in the time, money and research find the foods you should be eating and for the right price. Your job is to save money, sit back and listen to what they have to say. That makes your money work better for your diet and take the pressure of finding the best deal.

Some old rules also apply for saving money on your gluten free diet: don't be afraid to freeze that $6 bread or gluten free meals you've made that you simply haven't gotten around to eating as well as skipping the higher priced fast food. Also, invest in frozen fruit above the produce variety. They'll keep longer and buying in bulk will save you in the long run, especially given that fruit is one of the main gluten free items on your menu.

As for the fast food, buying gluten free means you'll spend $10 for a chicken sandwich and French fries, even if you're only eating a few fries and just the meat. Instead, buy chicken or other proteins fresh from the grocer, and the fast food savings will help offset your gluten free food costs.

Having a restricted diet doesn't always sit well with some, but that doesn't mean you lack of options should equate to spending more money. A savvy shopper can work around any shortcomings, including gluten free, to make every meal not only a savory one but one that isn't destroying your budget.

Feverish spending: How to make medical debt disappear

Anyone who has ever had surgery, major medical issues or even a trip to the emergency room knows what to expect from the actual procedures and protocols themselves, thanks to plenty of instructions and information put forth by a slew of doctors and professionals.

You can't always say the same thing about the ensuing bills that follow.
Even with health insurance that requires a monthly payment or a two week amount deducted from your pay check, medical bills can easily mount even with supposed co payments and deductibles that you assume are going to keep you costs in line.

That isn't the case, however, as most insurance is set up to save you a little cash on your monthly premium but the out of pocket cost often can be described as outrageous when you consider $5,000 deductibles per year just for an individual in some cases.

That $5,000, for example, has to be taken right off your annual income, particularly if you're someone who is battling some sort of illness or chronic disease, rather than just having a year check up at your convenience.

Between testing, blood work and prescriptions, you could easily be spending a third of your income on medical bills. That's why it is paramount to pay attention what you're being charged and look for ways to save money as a result.

For example, just because your company offers benefits doesn't mean you have to accept them. It's perfectly fine to search elsewhere for health insurance, even if you have a preexisting condition now that you have that held against you.
You might be surprised to find that not only can your monthly premium be lowered but deductibles better as well. Of course, not all of the budgeting can be pinpointed on high premiums and deductibles, too. It's up to the patient or those caring for that person to make the best possible decisions. That includes buying generic drugs instead of brand names, and if you have to use the latter to make sure you check in on discount programs offered by the manufacturers themselves.

Don't be afraid to speak up and ask your doctor if a particular test can be used in place of another higher cost one and don't always use the emergency room as your crutch when you don't feel well. If it is something that can wait, then let it. Another source could be the express medical chains popping up. If you have a cold or flu, those avenues might be easier and less expensive compared to the ER.

Keeping yourself well doesn't deserve to have a price tag but ultimately it does. That's why finding the best care at the right price is a combination worth pushing to the forefront.

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