Thursday, June 23, 2016

Food Allergy Hoarding 101

Hello, my name is Tracy and I am a hoarder. I can't remember the first time I was afflicted with this condition- I only know that it's something that drives me to find affordable allergy-friendly products at dirt-cheap prices. I don't engage in this behavior often but when I do, I go full force. There is not turning back. There is no "Leave some for the others"- it's all or nothing. With today's rising food prices and food allergies rising just as fast, what is the secret to stocking up on your favorite products? I am here to share my tips with all of you (just don't expect me to leave you any if we live in the same area when I tell you about them. Sorry, nothing personal).

THIS is How it Began
It's another shopping day at Harris Teeter like any other day but I saw the word Clearance so naturally, I stopped and focused. To a food allergy mother, this word is like finding money on the ground.These Ian's Natural Foods Gluten Free Chicken Patty Fritters were $3 less than the normal price. There were four boxes. I didn't have a coupon with me but because there were only four boxes, I bought two to be safe. It all sounds nice and normal and not at all a little obsessive, right? WRONG! It begins the moment I leave the store and I begin to do the math inside of my head. I begin to pull out calculators and add up just how many I could have tucked away for pennies on the dollar. My children ask me what I am doing as I am grabbing my car keys and heading out the door in a frenzy as if people outside know that I am on my way to get more- like they are driving faster and they will beat me to the store and buy them all up. This is the beginning of the pattern- this is what sends me off the deep end into the hoarding abyss. Luckily, this is never a bad thing.

The Process
There is actually a process to food allergy hoarding. After you have found a specific product, you then search every single discount/coupon/money-saving options that are available.
Need one? Click here

  • Check store policy- many stores will double or even triple coupons but always ask beforehand since these policies tend to change from week to week. They may or may not double or triple on clearance items since they are already marked down. Always ask- it will help you figure out how to get the most product at the cheapest price.
  • Check the product sites- most companies will have either a printable coupon, a down loadable coupon or some type of money-saving offer if you sign up for something (like a newsletter). In this case, I was able to scope out an awesome $2 off any Ian's Natural Foods product by signing up for their newsletter. Not only am I saving money but I also get a bunch of future information and promos/discounts that they will send out so that's an added bonus.
  • How Many Can You Print- This also varies from company to company. Some companies have a limit of 2 coupons per person to print. Others you can actually save and print out as needed. 
  • Get Help- If there is a limit to what you can print for coupons, use all of your abilities. This includes:  A) Those multiple email accounts, use them. Extra email addresses means extra coupons. B) Ask family and friends to do the same- this equals more coupons. C) Allergy magazines- helloooo, these always have a coupon or two somewhere, leaf through them, NOW! Gluten Free & More is notorious for having coupons D) Competitor coupons- (most) stores now accept other stores' coupons .....get my drift? Pretty soon you have a nice little stockpile of coupons
The Prep Work
If you are going full force like I do, you need to think ahead. This means making sure you have the proper food storage in your car. These were frozen items and it was 97 degrees outside. I had an entire route planned out to hit seven different stores and nothing is worse than getting food that has melted and can't be eaten safely. I packed up a Styrofoam container and piled it with a ton of those reusable frozen bags that everyone uses for lunches (but we have a ton to use for travel and vacation).With each stop, I found myself giggling as I opened the lid and found less and less room for the boxes of chicken. Still, a food allergy parent must be dedicated, they must know when to pull out all stops and they must understand that, sadly, no matter how many boxes you are able to buy so cheaply, the children will devour them within  days. It was a risk I was willing to take.

Hoarding Completed!
How much time and effort did this actually take? I went through a quarter of a tank of gas, I spent one hour driving to seven different stores to buy them all out and I arrived home with eighteen boxes to fill my freezer with. Each box was originally $4.99 discounted to $1.99 with the Harris Teeter VIC card, I had coupons (but I did have to pay the tax) so I would up spending a grand total of $2.24!! Can you see me happy dancing? Do you hear the song This is How We Do It? In fact, let's see a side-by-side price comparison

Original price:  $4.99                      Clearance Price:   $1.99
                                                         Coupons               - 2.00 (for each box)
18 Boxes:          $89.82                    Final Price:          $2.24

Total Savings: $87.58!!!!!! (there goes the song again......)

The Downside
Although my day ended on a bit of a budgeting high, I was a bit sad that Harris Teeter would be discontinuing these delicious gluten free morsels. Because, as I mentioned earlier, they will quickly be eaten. If I (may) send a plea out to the peeps at Harris Teeter- please restock these for our families. Take a customer survey and I guarantee you that your allergic families need to have their favorite foods in stock at all times since it takes us so very long to find products that our families love. And, if you need any help with products, ask me- that's why I'm here :)

Do YOU hoard your favorite allergy-friendly products? 
Share your tips in the comments below

#NOTSponsored  (as I am just an insane blogger)


  1. Too funny. My husband used to be a deal food hoarder. Then we moved into a place with the world's worst refrigerator. Side by side with an "expanding" issue on the model, so the shelves in the freezer fall. So we pretty much have a half useless freezer. We just bought a small stand-alone freezer so the hoarding can finally resume :)

    1. It's a sickness I think but when it's THAT cheap and it's a product you love, you can't help yourself. I once got 24 boxes of gf pasta for less than the price of one box :)

  2. This is hilarious! I wish I could be a food hoarder but we have a small European fridge and our freezer can barely hold a pint of ice-cream it's that short!

  3. I wish our stores had those kind of clearance sales! I always try to check for coupons and if you use to computers (or if you use two browsers) sometimes you can print extras.

    1. I also enlist family & friends to print extra coupons ;)