When we head to the grocery store as savvy savers, we generally have a game plan in place. We have our coupons, circulars and store policies (and Favado) in hand and we are prepared for most any problem that could come up. Despite these efforts, we will still find ourselves in difficult buying situations.
Grocery stores are smart about what they mark up and what is discounted. Much like drugstores, they know what the average shopper is usually in their stores for. Whatever is not on that list, they mark it up.
As we browse their shelves, we inevitably run into these items and remember needs that were overlooked. This sometimes causes us to buy out of convenience rather than out of logical shopping opinion. The grocery store experts know this and they also know that a decent percentage of those folks will buy at their inflated prices.
So how do we battle this grocery store epidemic of overspending? It begins with knowing some of the worst offenders. Here are several items to NEVER buy at the grocery store:
Cards, Flowers or Gifts
Everyone has done this. The markup on these items is incredible, and you aren't getting the same quality in many stores on those flowers and gifts. There are rarely savings or sales, and coupons are non-existent. Definitely plan in advance to purchase your cards, flowers or gifts elsewhere so you can get a bigger bang for your buck!
The perimeter is great to shop for healthy products, but they also contains LOTS of convenience foods that you will pay a premium for. To give you an idea, pre-diced onions can cost three times more than whole onions. If you must, purchase frozen pre-cut vegetables. Many brands offer coupons on frozen vegetables so you can save too.
The same goes for the pre-cut meats (just have the butcher cut the package you are buying), specialty food bars (salad bars, olive bars, etc) and baked goods. These items are marked up and rarely justifies the convenience for me.
Even though many grocery stores are stocked with popular brands of cosmetics and skin care products, you’ll probably pay a premium for every item. Head to the drugstores, Ulta, or even Target to find a better price, and most likely receive a reward on top of that.
So many electronic stores out there have amazing deals for quality brands. Plus, many other stores have great rewards to help you save even more.
Personal Hygiene Products
With the exception of a double coupon deal, I steer clear of purchasing hygiene products at the grocery store. The drugstore is the best place to find these items where you can save 80% or even 100% with your purchase thanks to rewards and promotions. When they have these promotions, stock up so you don't run out.
Wasp and ant killer in the grocery store is grossly overpriced! Compare the prices there and at your local hardware store or a superstore like Target or Walmart. You will feel sick.
Imagine walking down that aisle where the school supplies are and you suddenly remembering that you need two more glue sticks to complete your kid’s school supply list. You glance up and see that you can get two of them for a mere $4.99. You know you can get the same thing at the Dollar Store for only a buck, but you grab it anyway so you can check that box.
We've all been there, I know. Plan to stock up during the back to school shopping season so you don't have to be tempted to purchase supplies at the grocery stores.
Spices can be crazy expensive at the store for a teeny tiny bottle. Try purchasing your spices in bulk. You will get 6-8 times MORE this way and can make your own spice mixtures like taco seasoning and french onion mix.
Every single toy I have ever bought my child in the grocery store has either fallen apart after one hour or cost so much I am embarrassed to admit to it. Neither of these things will ever happen again.
Although there are the occasional exceptions, these items are regularly marked up far more than you need to pay. Use coupons, work the circulars and spend plenty of time comparison shopping to avoid finding yourself standing in the grocery store paying inflated prices. Planning is key to saving, and this rings true for these types of offenders at the grocery store.
What other items would you add to this list?