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How to save money on your diabetes supplies

Diabetes supplies can be pricey. When your day-to-day costs start approaching twenty bucks, it's time for and agonizing reassessment of your situation. It's a daunting task, but saving money on diabetic supplies is very doable. From clipping coupons and buying in bulk to changing your diet and living in a bubble, options abound.

Tips for saving money on diabetes supplies

Here are four ways to trim the fat from your supplies budget.

1. Eat well.

Just changing your diet can save you bunches of money on insulin, glucagon, glucose, and a host of other supplies -- not to mention improving your overall health. Ben Beal, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 14, offers this advice for cutting daily costs with diet:

Attack the greatest cost, Humalog [insulin lispro]. By eating fewer and better carbs (complex carbs are best) I can reduce the amount of insulin I intake to keep my blood sugar regulated. When I was a vegetarian, I was able to cut my insulin intake by around 25 percent, about $3.80/day in savings.

For many, adopting a vegetarian diet is too drastic a change, but not to worry, there are other options. Jaclyn Norris has been helping her mother deal with type 2 diabetes since 2007. Her mother has managed to treat her diabetes almost entirely through diet by starting early, almost immediately after diagnosis. She eats organically produced meats. Jaclyn continued:

As for carbs, she seems to do best on red potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and other low-glycemic grains. We use coconut flour if she wants pancakes or brownies or something like that because it's low carb, high protein, and very nutritious. After a while of knowing what dietary habits keep her levels down, she doesn't need to test too much.

2. Chase the discounts.

In Money Saving Strategies for Diabetes Care Supplies, Suzanne Ghiloni (BSN, RN, and CDE at the Joslin Diabetes Center) suggests clipping coupons and hunting for deals. For example, Ghiloni notes that drug stores may produce their own health magazine, which often contain coupons. She also recommends buying in bulk to get further discounts -- and taking care to avoid wasting products that might expire.

3. Milk 'first one's free' as long as you can.

Ghiloni also suggests frequenting ADA Diabetes Expos for free samples and contacting companies directly, telling them you're interested in a test drive, and getting them to send you free supplies. If conferences and cold calls aren't your cup of tea, take the advice of Jordan Morris, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2004: Get a nice doctor.

"Anytime I ask my doctor about the latest and greatest on the market, I get a new meter and some free strips. Not every doctor will be like that, but I feel like most are -- it's free to them, and it frees up space in their supply closets."

4. Find solid insurance.

Even nice doctors can be pricey if you don't have good insurance. "The best advice I can give is to study your insurance options," says Beal. "Get the best insurance you can find for prescription meds and doctor's visits."

By watching your diet, taking advantages of free supplies and reviewing your insurance plan from time to time, you might find yourself in a situation where you don't have to pitch every penny or count over carb. But, remember -- every little bit counts.

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