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Thursday, August 9, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things ... Cost saving tips for specialty-diet, online shopping!

Since I’ve mentioned that I shop online for some of the more specialty ingredients in my “Super-organized August” post, people have shown some interest in what my favorite places/deals are for the more expensive  ingredients, that are often just not that affordable locally, especially when you are trying to feed a whole family on those items!

This list will be a mixed lot as a lot of specialties, so not everything is going to be useful to everyone, but some might just find something they need!


1.) Ancient Harvest Quinoa Organic Pasta Gluten Free(Pack of 12)

This is our favorite pasta! Not only is it delicious, it is organic, gluten-free, nutritious (super-grain) and it cooks up really quickly (4-6 minutes) My kids love this pasta!

The only issue with this pasta can be that you might overcook it if you’re used to cooking pasta longer, but you can get used to this really quickly! Make sure you really only cook it aldente (so it still has a little bit of a bite to it) and you will have a perfect pasta dish!


They come in several varieties too. Elbows, Veggie Spirals (one of our favorites), Spaghetti, Rotelle and Pagodas


I linked you to the Amazon product above as there tends to be a consistently cheaper bulk price, but I also check out VitaCost regularly as they often have really good deals on this particular pasta. The added advantage is that Vita Cost has a flat shipping rate (or free shipping over $49) and you can order as much or as little of each variety as you want, if you don’t want to get the bulk box of 12.

And I get almost all our Vitamins and Supplements from VitaCost too (WAY cheaper than anywhere else and really good quality!) so that usually works out really well for us.




2.) Which brings me to another one of my favorite things/places. VitaCost!



We’ve been getting our supplements there for many years now and it has never disappointed in price or quality! They have crazy low prices on supplements, which has really made a big difference in our Vitamin and Supplement budget, so it might be worthwhile checking them out if you use a lot of vitamins, minerals and supplements. ‘

They also carry beauty products, herbs, specialty foods,  homeopathic products, nutritional items ... well you get the picture.

They are worth a look, really! I keep on coming back to them over and over, especially since I have purchased a few things only to smack my head later finding that VitaCost does actually carry it - AND much cheaper! So these days, I check them first!

As I already mentioned above, they also have a fast array of specialty foods. Gluten-free, low-carb, organic, vegan, etc. just to mention a few. With their great prices, frequent sales and flat rate shipping (or free , they are a regular place for online shopping for us!




3.) I already let you know about my favorite place for Organic Palm Shortening.  Our family usually goes through two gallons of this stuff a year, so I generally wait until they have their sale on, as it makes it a really good deal, especially with free shipping!



Incidentally, they also carry a whole array of healthy oils, including the Extra Virgin Variety of the Palm Shortening, pretty much all varieties of Coconut oil and even the Coconut C0ncentrate. They also have lots of organic food offerings, raw honey,  an extensive library on healthy oils and health benefits, as well as a great Recipe section for all sorts of healthy recipes, so it’s definitely a site worth checking out!




4.) Bulk Erythritol. I get it on ebay. Yes, ebay. It’s often worth a look for specialty or bulk food items! I got 25 lbs. of erythritol from a bulk seller a year ago. It worked out to something like $3.50/lb. which is a third of the price compared to local prices and it has been a really good quality. Unfortunately the seller I used is no longer there, so I can’t link you, but the principle still applies!  Look on Ebay!

Speaking of Erythritol. If you are a frequent user you will know that it’s very hard to dissolve. Powdered erythritol usually works better, but it is also more expensive. Well, often when you buy bulk erythritol it can clump, which is really not a huge deal. But another big cost saver is to just grind your own powdered erythritol. A coffee grinder will do the job just fine and you simultaneously get rid of clumps and powder it ready for use! You are saving upwards of $1.50 on every pound that way!

The other place that has the next best price on Erythritol is nutrition.com. Also a great place , especially for specialty ingredients. Also a place with low flat-rate shipping, which is always a huge bonus!





5.) My most favorite, best money saving place for online shopping in general is however ... who can guess? Yep, not difficult, right?

You will find sooo many things on my blog linked to Amazon.com. Not so much because I am an affiliate, but because it’s my favorite place to shop. It’s because it has been my favorite and best money saving place to shop for many years, that I became an affiliate. Subtle but important difference, right?

Anyway, shopping on Amazon.com is not only fast and convenient, it can be a real money saver! Amazon Prime membership comes with so many benefits, which are great, but the “bestest” one of them all is the free 2- day shipping!

Their Subscribe & Save program has to be my second favorite thing!

I admit that Amazon wasn’t always first on my list to check for grocery items. But in the last couple of years their array of grocery items has not only grown, but it has become really competitive in terms of pricing, especially if you are a Prime member and you don’t pay for the shipping!

It’s a great way to save money on bulk items and you can totally control the frequency. Oh, if you’ve never tried it, just a little tip. Whenever you have a Subscribe & Save item, you get the choice of regular check-out or Subscribe & Save checkout. You can safely click Subscribe & Save . It will give you more money off your order and if you find that you don’t like the item or you don’t like it on a regular basis, you can just go into your account and cancel it before the next delivery! There is no obligation which is really neat!


So what kind of things do I get there? How does it work out cost wise? Let me show you some examples.

If I bought the same amount of tea bags at Wal-Mart, I pay around $22 (including sales tax) And I don’t get it delivered to my door, which is an added bonus of online shopping!

This is often about the same price at Wal-Mart, IF we can find it as they are frequently out of stock and elsewhere it is more expensive. However, we still pay sales tax on top of that, so for us, having a steady supply of the tea we drink every single day, is worth it!

Now occasionally a coupon will come around for Lipton teas, and if those work out cheaper, I will get them locally and delay the Subscribe & Save delivery for the appropriate amount of time.


Love, love, love these noodles! Tasty, so many different ways to prepare them (flavor and texture wise), they are raw and really nutritious. And very filling, low-carb, gluten-free and low-calorie!  A lovely change from the zucchini noodles for me!

But, even if I can find them locally, which is rare, they are VERY expensive. Around here upwards of  $6/16 oz. On Amazon I pay $19.23 for 6, which makes it $3.20 per pack.

Incidentally, the second best non-bulk price I know of is at VitaCost, so again, worth checking that out!


I would also highly recommend checking out the Subscribe & Save cereals. Unless you buy the no-name cereals, which would be cheaper, the Subscribe & Save cereal boxes can often be much cheaper, especially for the gluten-free cereals!

And speaking of gluten-free, check out those items too, especially if you use Bob’s Red Mill. I also get the Gluten Free Whole Grain, Rolled Oats and Gluten Free Oat Flour from them.

And of course Amazon.com is pretty much one-stop-shopping on so many items, so it’s not just for groceries or book anymore either! It always helps when you can combine things!




6.) Last but not least, don’t forget to look at


for specialty items.


I know, it’s again not the first place that comes to mind for gluten-free, organic or even vaguely healthy food items, but you might be surprised. In the last 2 years or so, Big Lots seems to have more and more specialty food items, which is great. Of course you can’t count on them always being there - that is the nature of Big Lots. They buy liquidation lots and sell them and once it’s gone it’s gone. However, you can find gems and stock up big time. A couple of weeks ago Big Lots had a huge blow-out on Bob’s Red Mill items, amongst them about 5 gluten-free items. Amongst them the whole-grain oats! They were 50% or less per package of the usual retail price! So it’s well worth checking out Big Lots every once in a while!




So, this has been a somewhat more product rich and elaborate post, but I hope I gave you some places to explore, some new ideas and some ways to save some money on the specialty items on your grocery lists!


I would love to hear of some other places people have found great deals at, so don’t be shy about letting us know in the comments! Have a fabulous day everyone!

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  1. Quinoa Organic Pasta is sooo good! Great article Birgit. I'm def going to look into buying food on Amazon now

  2. Thanks for sharing, this a really great post. I too drink tea everyday so I will be ordering from Amazon from now on. Do you have any favorite GF premade brand breads? I just tried Bavarian's gluten free whole grain and it is delicious. I feel being GF I miss out on a lot of fiber.

  3. I'm not familiar with that brand, gwensans!
    I don't eat pre-made breads much anymore (gluten-free or otherwise,) so I can't really recommend anything. I don't even know what's on the market pre-made these days!

    And yes, fiber can be an issue, especially if you go with a lot of the pre-made brands since they tend to be starchy more than fiber-y in an effort to mimic a "light and fluffy" texture.

    If you want to venture into making your own, gluten-free girl has some lovely bread recipes that are also awesomely nutritious as well as full of fiber! http://glutenfreegirl.com/tag/gluten-free-bread/

    Have a joyful day!


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Birgit Kerr