Let’s face it, grocery shopping is a chore. You have to not only get dressed, but you have to go out into public and socialize with strangers as you walk around a crowded store.
Then, when the register finally settles on your total cart price, you have to remain cool. Act like you meant for it to be so high and like nothing is wrong, but secretly on the inside you regret buying a few impulse purchases and wonder where you can make up for it in your budget.
10 Ways You’re Grocery Shopping WRONG
1.) You didn’t make a grocery budget
One of the biggest ways you can “mess up” at food shopping is by not setting a budget for yourself to stay within. This is what keeps you in check and holds you accountable. Without a good grocery budget in place, you are freely spending without worry or care and over paying at the register.
2.) No written shopping list
Shopping without a list, is almost as bad as not setting a grocery budget. Without a list, you are left to remember everything you mentally told yourself you’d remember. Which, you won’t.
Between making that mental list at home and the grocery store you’ve:
- heard 5 songs on the radio
- heard a commercial for skin cream, and another for diamonds
- yelled at another driver for cutting you off
- let your mind wonder why people are dressed so poorly at the stoplight
- avoided eye contact with a homeless guy on the curb, that you weren’t sure was really homeless
- and you drove past a fast food place smelling of fresh fries, so you’re cravings are going haywire.
Then you enter the store, see the sales and promotions everywhere, smell the deli Chinese food or the bakery section. And any hope you ever had of remembering everything on your mental list is now gone.
You’ll spend extra time in that store, buying impulse buys, trying to remember where to go and what to get and you’ll still forget something.
3.) You’re not using a side hustle to pay for grocery money
There are so many quick ways you can make cash from home. Using these as additional income to help pay for stuff such as groceries can not only help your budget but can also keep you motivated. Motivated in paying off debt faster, motivated in hustling hard for some extra cash to afford the
Staying within the grocery budget set by your side hustle income tests your creativity as well. Maybe you only have $20 this week, but maybe you have $100+ next week. The fun and excitement add to the motivation factor I just mentioned.
4.) You’re not getting paid to shop
By not getting paid to shop, you’re missing out on free money. The money you wouldn’t have been missed, but now that you know you can get paid to shop, you’re going to miss this chunk of change in your pocket!
My two favorite money back apps for my grocery purchases are Ibotta and Checkout 51. I talk about them a lot on this blog, and that’s because I’ve been a happy user of theirs for YEARS.
Ibotta gives cash bonuses for buying certain products and unlocking new items to redeem, and its a treasure trove of gold. I love it, and have made a review all about Ibotta and how it works so y
Ibotta- Sign up for a $20 welcome bonus here.
Checkout 51- Sign up for a $10 welcome bonus here.
5.) You’re not using coupons
Believe it or not, coupons are a great asset to your budget no matter what form of payment choice you choose. EBT, WIC, Credit Card, Debit Card, Cash, sticky coins you pulled out of the car console -They all work with coupons!
[Related] See EBT and WIC perks you didn’t know existed!
Some people see a coupon and think, it’s not worth it to save $0.45 on an item. Others think having a coupon makes them look “poor.” These are two thoughts that need to be extinguished.
Coupons are a smart person’s game, using one correctly takes time, knowledge and skill. Extreme couponers don’t happen overnight, and using a coupon to save money, is almost always worth it when the product is one that will actually be used. Speaking of coupons, check out some free printable ones here.
6.) You’re not looking in the markdowns
Don’t avoid these sections! You never know what you’ll find and the could contain the same items you had on your shopping list for a fraction of the price you thought you were going to have to pay.
Store markdown sections are my favorite areas in a grocery store. Doesn’t matter how large or small my budget is, I can almost always find something amazing in there. Even if they’re impulse buys, you can be smart with the purchase and make them work for you. Impulse buys aren’t all bad.
Some stores like a bread outlet store can save you a ton of money, and they are practically stocked with markdown products!
7.) You’re shopping on an empty stomach
Shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea. There is a huge difference between a hungry shopper and one that is full.
Research has actually proven that shopping on an empty stomach can lead to an empty wallet! [Source]
Make sure to eat something prior to going to the store or else you could end up bringing the whole store home with you. Impulse buys when hungry
If you know this is an issue that you regularly struggle with, plan a meal in the slow cooker or find alternative ways to avoid stopping for fast food after shopping.
Another idea is to exclusively do as much online grocery shopping as possible. This keeps you from spending too much time at the store and limits you to only spending money on what you NEED, and not what “just looks good.”
8.) You’re paying for packaging
Convenience comes at a price, and it’s often a fairly hefty one at that. Sometimes buying items that are already cut, washed, seeded and ready to go are packaged in large bulky packages. And cost a fortune more.
Look at the price per unit on the brick of cheese versus the pre-shredded bagged cheese, and you may realize it is better the shred your own.
A better example, while grocery shopping, look in the meat section. A rule of thumb is usually that the larger the cuts of meat are cheaper per pound than the cut pieces.
Pork tenderloin is cheaper than pork chops. A whole chicken is cheaper per pound than any of its cut up pieces (wings, drumsticks, thighs, quarters, etc.) While this isn’t always the case, it can often be.
Whole produce is usually cheaper than buying the ready to go packs of fruit or a veggie tray too!
The reasoning is because more effort went into the smaller cuts. Time and effort = money. So save money and do that extra work yourself.
9.) You’re shopping at eye level
Eye level in store aisles is a dangerous place to be grocery shopping at. That’s where the higher priced items reside, waiting for you to spot them. Believe it or not, the cheaper items are located at the top and bottom shelves.
10.) There’s no meal plan
Meal plans help keep you organized and in control of your grocery budget. The meal plan is the glue that holds your budget and your shopping list together. Without it, you can’t make a proper shopping list and risk overspending as well.
There are 2 ways to do a meal plan that can help you save money. You can choose to meal plan by month or by week, both have their pro’s and cons.
[Related] 10 Things You Should Be Doing to Make Meal Planning Easy
Hope this post helps you to do better at grocery shopping and saving money!