6 Secrets for Living With Diabetes on a Budget
A diabetes diagnosis may mean that you’ll have to change some of your familiar routines, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Living a healthy and active lifestyle while managing diabetes is well within your reach.
1) Pack a lunch and cook dinner at home
Packing a lunch for work or school and cooking dinner at home means you can save money on eating out. Because you control what goes into the food you make, you can also avoid foods that may disrupt your blood glucose levels. The ADA has an entire section of budget-friendly recipes on their website that you can try. To save even more money, prepare food in larger batches and economize by eating leftovers.
2) Buy diabetic supplies in bulk
Many supplies used for diabetes care have a long shelf life. For those supplies that don’t expire quickly, consider buying in bulk, especially when they are on sale. You can save a lot of money by buying test strips, syringes, glucose tablets, and other such supplies in large quantities at one time. If you’re using an insulin pump you’ll have a different set of supplies to keep handy.
3) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Try to recycle, reuse, and repurpose household items to save money when you can. For example, you can prepare a sharps container from an empty bottle of laundry detergent. Simply label the container “Sharps. Biohazard. Do not recycle,” fill the container to two-thirds full with your used syringes, and seal the container with its screw cap. You can ask your local health department about disposal options available in your area.
Using green products and devices presents savings opportunities while also being good for the environment. Many diabetes management tools offer sustainable technology, take Tandem’s t:slim insulin pump for example, which uses a rechargeable battery. You can save money on buying new batteries and feel good about keeping more waste out of landfills.
4) Join a local diabetes support group
Most metropolitan areas and some smaller communities have diabetes support groups available for you to join. These groups can be an invaluable resource for cost saving tips, and the meetings themselves can provide a valuable social outlet that comes at no cost to you. Ask your fellow members where they get their supplies. If you meet someone who uses supplies similar to yours, figure out whether he or she gets a better deal than you do, and if so, consider changing your buying practices.
5) Watch your diet
Eating a diet that allows you to regulate your blood sugar levels can save you more money than you think. That indulgent, sugary midnight snack might not seem too expensive, but if it spikes your blood sugar and requires an extra bolus of insulin, the costs can quickly add up. If your diet allows you to administer less insulin, that’s less insulin you need to buy, and less money you need to spend.
6) Look into free samples
Diabetic supply companies and doctors’ offices often have free samples on hand that you can try. Consider asking your doctor what the latest innovations are in diabetic supplies and whether he or she has any samples you might be able to test out. Similarly, you can call the manufacturers of supplies you use and ask them whether any samples are available. You won’t be able to get all of your supplies this way, but you may discover a cheaper alternative that meets your needs.