When it comes to grocery shopping, even the savviest of shoppers can fall prey to hidden expenses.
What seems like a routine trip to stock the pantry can actually be a subtle drain on your finances due to easily overlooked habits. This can cause a financial strain, stress and even cause you leave with less items that you intended to.
So, I am sharing 7 Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Grocery Store so you can spend less on groceries and in return, get more food and essentials for your family.
When it comes to cutting costs and managing your budget, one of the most overlooked places is the amount of money you spend on your groceries.
After all, everyone has to eat, right? And I am willing to bet it is the area you spend the most money every single month (aside from your housing and car expenses).
So, I encourage you to spend just a few minutes looking at your grocery receipts and a few minutes reading through these tips to help you find ways to cut costs while still being able to keep food on the table.
7 Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Grocery Store
Shopping Without a List: Heading to the store without a solid plan often results in unnecessary impulse purchases. Having a list keeps you focused, ensures you remember all the essentials, and helps resist the temptation of extra items.
Pro tip: Shop when you’re not hungry. Hunger often leads to impulse purchases as well and can certain wreck havoc on your grocery budget.
Buying Out-of-Season Produce: Those raspberries might look tempting in winter, but you’ll pay a premium for them. Same with pumpkins in the summer. By focusing on in-season produce, you’ll enjoy fresher, tastier, and more affordable fruits and vegetables. In-season produce are usually cheaper since they’re abundant.
Purchasing Pre-cut and Pre-packaged Goods: Convenience has its price. Pre-cut fruits, vegetables, and cheeses often cost much more than whole items that you can prep at home. Sure, the nice packaging is great and all but saving money on the same item is even better.
Overlooking Store Brands: Don’t be swayed by flashy name brands when store brands often offer the same quality at a fraction of the cost. In many cases, store brands and name brands are even manufactured in the same facilities!
Pro tip: Did you know that many of Kirkland (Costco’s brand) items are made by name brand companies? For example, Kirkland batteries are made by Duracell and Kirkland Signature House Blend coffee is made by Starbucks. Same product for a cheaper price.
Falling for End-of-Aisle Displays: Stores strategically place products at the ends of aisles to catch your eye and often mark them with “sale” tags. However, not all these deals are bargains. Always check the unit price to ensure you’re actually getting a good deal.
Pro tip: The most expensive items are typically placed on shelves at eye level. Look higher or lower on the shelves to save some serious change.
Forgetting to Use Coupons and Store Loyalty Cards: Digital age or not, coupons still provide real savings. Many stores also offer digital coupons or loyalty programs with automatic discounts. If you’re not taking advantage of these, you’re leaving money on the table. So, double check you are signed up for any store loyalty programs and utilize those automatic and easy savings.
Always Buying Fresh Over Frozen: For some items, like vegetables and certain fruits, the frozen versions are not only cheaper but can also be nutritionally equivalent or even superior since they’re frozen at peak freshness. So, don’t overlook buying frozen when it comes to fruit and veggies.
As you can see, the way we approach our grocery shopping can have a significant impact on our expenses. A few simple changes to our habits can result in considerable savings over time and help curb needless spending. Before your next trip, consider these tips and see how they can benefit your budget and your pantry!