Which of these popular grocery items are you overspending on? Or what other items do I need to add to the list? I know there are others, and you’ll see a common theme of “pre-made or pre-packaged” items on this list.
Here’s my list of most common grocery items that you’re spending too much money on:
1. Pre-Made Spice Mixes
Make your own.
You get way more bang for your buck when you mix up a “big batch” (a cup’s worth or so) of taco seasoning or Ranch dressing mix.
2. Shredded Cheese
It freezes and thaws beautifully, so when you see a sale you need to grab a few packages to throw in the freezer.
Then you won’t be paying full price in between sales cycles.
Change brands. See which brand is on sale at the deli. Price compare, price compare, price compare!
If you’re shopping late at night, ask the deli manager if they have any delimeat that they pre-sliced for the day that they need to sell.
Only buy when on sale.
Only buy when on sale.
Also freezes and thaws well. Sometimes I leave it in the store packaging, if it’s the right portion size. Sometimes I get it individually wrapped in meal size portions. And when it’s on sale, I always get extra packages of meat so that I don’t have to pay full price in between sales cycles. Then I make a few meals for the freezer!
And if you have access to local farmer who can sell you a side or quarter and you have an extra freezer <—- do that!!! Great quality, great prices!
Never pay full price for meat. Say that to yourself over and over.
Oh, and look for the markdown stickers and freeze right away or use that night!
5. Pre-Sliced Produce
I have done this before for lunch boxes in a pinch. And it hurt.
Like, I could feel it in my heart hurt. Getting a pre-made fruit tray for a gathering (at the last minute), makes me cringe right now just thinking about the markup on that.
So, don’t buy pre-sliced or pre-cut produce. Those pineapple chunks look perfectly sweet and ripe. That bright red watermelon would be perfect with dinner. (Just buy a whole one and cut it yourself!)
I have all kinds of cutting and choosing ripe fruit tutorials here, if that’s what’s holding you back.
Plan, plan, plan ahead!
6. Fresh Herb Packets
Fresh herbs are so easy to grow yourself. Even if you have a black thumb.
Keep a small little planter on your patio, or kitchen window if you have one. The upfront cost is more, but if you take care of them well, you’ll have herbs for DAAAAYYYYYYYYYSSSS, weeks and months and you won’t have to worry about wasting $3 per tiny little packet!
You could get a plant of basil for $3 that will give you leaves all summer long.
7. Checkout Lane Drinks & Candy
I work hard to break this habit. And most of the time, I’m successful.
But please don’t get the candy, drinks, chips, goodies, even gum, at the checkout. If you must get it, visit the candy aisle in the store…it will be cheaper per ounce/unit there!
8. Pre-Made Lunches
First of all, blech. I’m thinking about lunchables in particular. I know there are others, some better ‘healthier’ brands moving into the space, but holy money. Way too expensive for me!!!
Make your own lunches. And help teach you kids to pack their own too. (31 School Lunchbox Ideas for you here.)
9. Pre-Marinated or Prepared Meats
I’ve seen these marked up 2 to 3x what it would cost if you bought the meat and marinated it yourself. Freezing meat in the marinade is my favorite way to “hack” these pre-marinated meats.
And PLEASE…for the love of all things grocery savings…do not ever buy pre-made kebabs. Please. Thatisall.
Also, no more buying the microwave popcorn bags/packs/boxes. Yes, they are easy and convenient and can taste like movie theater popcorn. But it’s way cheaper to get a simple air popper, or pop it in some oil in a heavy saucepan, and season it yourself.
Here are a few homemade popcorn recipes for you:
Yes, I am a bit of a nut when it comes to saving money on groceries. Why? Because it’s the area in your budget that you have the most control over. When it’s time to pay off debt, or time to save for something, the grocery line item is the one that YOU can grab by the horns and really “pay yourself back” with savings.
If you’re overspending on groceries right now and can’t seem to get your act together when shopping (and preparing for your shopping trip), I’d love to teach you a smarter and better way to do it…so you’ll be organized, in and out of the store quickly, and will save lots of $$$ in the process.
If you’d like to join the waitlist and be notified about when registration for my next online grocery savings class is open again this fall, please drop your email below!
With reference to #5 Pre cut produce, one of our stores have potatoes washed and wrapped for about $1 a potato. How hard is it to wash a potato?
Also, I’ve seen sliced cucumber and grape tomatoes packaged for $5 a pound.
The cucumber and tomato was $5 for about 1 cucumber and a few tomatoes.
I watch for chunk cheeses on sale or go to local cheese house and buy 5 pounds chucnks cheeper. Then I shred part of it to go in freezer for the next month or more. That way I know there are no additives in my cheese and with my kitchen aide shredder it takes minimal time. Great suggestions.
Marybeth S. says
About every 6 to 8 weeks our local store has 32 oz bags of frozen produce for 2$ a bag.I stock up then. Peppers on sale here are 1$ each,broccoli 1.50 a small head and cauliflower is never under 3$ a head.We live in a small town with only a Walmart,and two grocery stores within 30 miles.