vegetables displayed on a table around a tablet with a check list app open

Seven Ways to Make Your Special Diet More Affordable

Being on a special diet presents some unexpected challenges, including sourcing hard-to-find ingredients. Avoiding foods that cause gas can make it difficult to stick to a budget, especially when you’re shopping for fresh produce and meats. We’ve found money-saving options for everything from groceries to meal delivery services.


Programs often ask consumers to divulge personally identifiable information (PII) in exchange for discounts. This information can be quite sensitive and might not normally be shared with non-relatives other than medical personnel, tax preparers, or other professionals. Service providers may share some or all of your data with partners.

Read the terms of service before you sign up!

Scan for savings

Penny Hoarder advises that one program, the Nielsen Consumer Panel, “pay[s] you to scan [the barcodes on] your [purchases] each week.”Neilsen vets prospective panelists and invites consumers to join upon receipt of “your household information.” Neilsen vets prospective panelists and invites consumers to join upon receipt of “your household information.”

Receipts for cash

Penny Hoarder recommends Ibotta, a deal site that offers shoppers cash back on groceries. The list of qualified items changes each week. “Once you’ve reached at least $20 in earnings, you can request payment via Paypal or Venmo.” If you’re a new user, click here for a $10 bonus.

You can use Checkout 51 to get cash back for shopping at any store, but be aware that “you must earn at least $20 in offers before you can redeem for cash.”

Comparison shop

If you don’t have time to keep up with weekly sale circulars, Favado is your new best friend. says, “Once you sign up for the app, select your stores, and Favado will save them on the app.” To see the offers for each store, click on the store, and a list of offers will show up with the dates the offer is valid. Check the offers you want to buy, and this will save them to your shopping list.”

Retale is similar to Favado, and it increases savings by adding store loyalty cards to your account. “It lets you figure out where to get the best deal on the item you need — before you ever leave the house.”

Cut the cost of specialty products

Paleo and organic foods 

Thrive Market promises members a 25-50% discount on their favorite products. (The site waives the annual $59.95 membership fee for low-income households.) Thrive is currently offering new customers a 20% discount on the first three orders. If your order totals $49 or more, shipping is free. “Orders below $49 will ship for varying rates.”

Gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, non-GMO, and kosher items

You may be on an elimination diet if you’re trying to figure out how to prevent gas and bloating. Unfortunately, healthy eating comes at a premium. BerryCart offers savings on products that normally don’t go on sale.

Cash back via credit cards

Several sites concur that Bank of America and American Express cards are among the best. Click here for the latest info about what to expect from each of the rewards programs.

Meal delivery services

Blue Apron

Delivery area: Nationwide (contiguous United States)

Cost: $59.94 per week/couple; $69.92 or $139.84/family of four

Hello Fresh

Delivery area: Nationwide (contiguous United States)

Cost: The Classic (for omnivores) costs from $69 per week (2 people, 3 meals) to $109 per week (4 people, 3 meals)

The Veggie costs from $59 per week (2 people, 3 meals) to $89 per week (4 people, 3 meals)

The Family Box costs from $79.95 per week (4 people, 2 meals) to $109 per week (4 people, 3 meals)

A note about grocery delivery services

Instacart lets you skip the trip to the supermarket and have your groceries delivered in the time it takes to order a pizza. It’s great for busy people or those who don’t have access to a car, but you’ll pay a higher per-item price – for a limited selection of inventory – and a delivery fee.

Get paid to express your opinion

If you live near a major metropolitan area and have the time to participate in a focus group, lots of companies want to hear what you think about a range of topics. The Penny Hoarder has all the info you’ll need to get started. Residents of smaller communities and those who can’t afford the travel time can earn a bit of cash by responding to online questionnaires. The venerable Harris Poll and newcomer Points Club will pay you to take surveys “that pay between $3-$4 each for 20 minutes of your time.”

Check with your doctor before making any dietary changes. If you’re experiencing excessive gas, schedule a consult so your physician can diagnose the cause of your distress. Only she reviews your medications (prescription and OTC), medical history, and decides whether to run diagnostic tests can the cause of your symptoms be determined.

CharcoCaps® dietary supplement relieves gas and bloating FAST!*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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