5 Grocery Budget Busters To Avoid

by Christina Brown · 6 comments

in Frugal Living

5 Grocery Budget Busters

photo credit: qmnonic via Flikr

One of the things I’ve been working on is trimming my grocery bill.   It’s the one area of our budget that is the easiest for us to let get out of hand.  A few convenience items here, a few treats there and suddenly the grocery bill is $100 more than we budgeted for.

After spending some time with my grocery receipts, and doing a little arithmetic, I found a few items to avoid purchasing if you’re looking to trim your grocery bill.  If you follow this list, you’ll not only leave the store with more money in your wallet, but you’ll improve your health, too.

5 Grocery Budget Busters to Avoid

Bottled beverages. Soda, juice and bottled water can really inflate the cost of your grocery bill.  Even when soda is on sale, it’s still expensive. While I love the taste as much as the next person, soda just isn’t good for you.  Juice should also be a “sometimes” drink – too much can cause tooth decay.  Save money on juice by buying frozen concentrate, or by slicing up fresh fruit and adding it to a pitcher of water at home.  You’ll also pay a premium for bottled water (which is often just municipal tap water anyway).  Opt for a drink straight out of the tap, or consider a water-filtering pitcher instead.

Prepackaged snacks.  All of those individually-wrapped snacks and single serving packs may help you control your portions, but they don’t help you control your budget.  Buy the larger packages and put them in reusable, individual containers to maintain portion control and save money on groceries.  Or better yet -  skip the prepackaged snacks which are often high in sugar, calories, and preservatives, and learn to make wholesome, healthy snacks at home for a fraction of the cost.

Bakery items.  There’s a huge mark-up on baked goods at  your grocery store bakery.  You’ll pay $2 or more for a loaf of french bread you can make yourself for about $.50.  Thinking of picking up cupcakes for your daughter’s birthday party?  You’ll spend $20 on a batch you could have made from home for less than $5.   Learn how to bake everything from breads to cakes at home, and you’ll save a fortune on your groceries.

Pre-washed and cut veggies.  It’s very handy to buy bagged salad and carrots that have been been cut and washed.  But is the convenience worth paying 3 times as much?  Spend a few extra minutes prepping your fresh vegetables when you get home from the store.  You’ll enjoy the convenience of having the item you want when you want it, but you’ll save money.

Disposable goods.  Disposable items like plastic bags, paper plates, paper towels slow cooker liners, cleaning wipes, and disposable razors, may make life easier, but they’re bad for the environment.  These consumable items are expensive and need constant replacing.  Opt for reusable items instead, and invest a little elbow grease instead of cash.

One thing I’ve noticed at the stores:  If a product claims to save you time, chances are it doesn’t save you any money.

You’ll need to decide for yourself if the convenience is worth the price.

What grocery budget busters do you avoid at the store?


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aaron January 22, 2013 at 10:14 am

I love it when you do these grocery tips Christina! Thanks. We have been doing more and more of the buying bulk vegetables and cutting ourselves. Much fresher and saves!

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2 Christina Brown January 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Thanks, Aaron! I’ll be sharing more grocery tips this week! The one veggie that always gets me is lettuce – the bagged stuff DOES NOT last, and it’s so pricey!

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3 Susan January 22, 2013 at 10:48 am

I have noticed that the meat that is already marinated or formed in to a shape (like hamburger patties) are usually twice the price of the regular! A few minutes at home to prep is worth it in my book!

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4 Christina Brown January 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Very true! And who knows how much sodium is in the marinated meat you get at the store?

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5 miss donna January 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm

tell me about it! and some of it doesn’t even taste like “real meat”.

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6 Luann January 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

A common rule of thumb is that if it has been cut/washed/handled it will cost more. making it yourself, cutting and washing yourself is always cheaper. Now that it is SO cold outside soup is an easy money saver. Learn how to make soups (it is really easy) whether stove top or crockpot then add that homemade bread or biscuits if you are afraid of yeast :)

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