Save Yourself Thousands of Dollars by Avoiding These 18 Grocery Items

We don’t always realize how much money we spend when grocery shopping and we don’t always realize how quickly the amounts add up. We can try to be more mindful when we shop to reduce costs. Here are 18 grocery items to avoid and save thousands of dollars. 

Pre-packaged Produce 

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Pre-packaged produce can become more expensive than buying whole fruits and vegetables. They usually have a price attached because they’re much more convenient. The next time you want to purchase salad, think about buying your own lettuce and cucumbers and then making it at home. 

Name-Brand Items 

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Purchasing store-brand grocery items can create significant savings. For example, Nasdaq writes, “The difference between store-brand versus name-brand groceries averages out to about 40% in total savings.” Try checking the lower shelves in your grocery stores, as this is where the store-brand products will be.  

Bottled Water 

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If you purchase bottled water because you prefer the taste compared to tap water, then you may want to think about purchasing a filtration system instead. Your water will taste exactly the same as bottled water, but it’ll save you money each year, and it’s better for the environment. 

Prepared Meals

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Prepared meals have a higher markup because they’re seen as a convenience and you should avoid them to save yourself money. Also, cooking at home is much healthier. If you still want the convenience of a prepared meal, then cook it at home and keep it in the freezer.

Snack Foods 

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Snack foods are high in cost and low in traditional value. You can save yourself thousands each year by purchasing your own ingredients and then creating your favorite snacks at home. This can include any baking or trail mix. Always avoid impulse buys at the supermarket by telling yourself you can make them at home.

Spices and Herbs 

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Spices and herbs don’t expire for up to four years, which means you can easily purchase them in bulk and not have to worry about them going out of date. Taste of Home recommends going to a store that sells spices in bulk, purchasing as much as you need and then simply taking them to the checkout. It’s a far more budget-friendly option.  

Meat and Seafood 

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These foods are often the most expensive when you go food shopping. To save yourself money, think about purchasing frozen options or opting for more plant-based products. Another thing you can do is keep an eye out for when meats go on offer and then purchase in bulk. You can freeze it at home to make it last. 

Gluten-Free Products

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Unless you have a gluten intolerance, you’re just wasting money by purchasing gluten-free products. Other grains have a much lower price point, which means you’ll save large amounts of money, which is going to significantly add up over the year. You can eat gluten-free grains such as rice and quinoa. 

Organic Produce 

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Organic produce has a much higher price point compared to non-organic produce. There’s usually not much difference between the two and it’ll save you so much money purchasing non-organic fruit and vegetables. If you want to be more sustainable, then think about purchasing fresh food from farmers’ markets.  

Out-of-Season Produce 

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Any produce that’s out of season can have higher price points compared to other foods. You may want to think about doing research on fruits and vegetables that are in season before heading to the grocery store. You can then purchase seasonal produce and freeze it for later in the year. 

Single-Serve Items 

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Single items usually have a higher price point compared to bulk items. They have higher per unit costs because it’s usually more convenient to buy one of what you need rather than a large number. To save money, purchase in bulk and then divide foods into single-use items when you’re home. 

Soft Drinks

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The News & Observer has shown us how much a can of soda has risen in the past couple of years. In January 2021, a can of soda cost, on average, $0.38. In December 2022, this price rose to $0.55. Soft drinks aren’t nutritious and are just burning a hole in your wallet. Alternative options include infused water.  

Specialty Cheeses

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Gourmet or specialty cheeses are known for being extremely expensive. You can save thousands by purchasing less expensive cheese options, such as standard cheddar. If you’re a cheese lover and can’t go without it, think about keeping it as an occasional treat or using it sparingly on meals. 

Bakery Items 

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Bakery items from the grocery store can soon start to add up. Premade breads and cakes can be expensive, especially considering you can make them at home for a fraction of the cost. Look out for offers on day-old bakery items; supermarkets usually discount the items to try and get rid of them. 

Coffee Pods 

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If you’re a coffee lover, regular purchases of coffee pods can put a large dent in your wallet. These pods are much more expensive per cup compared to regular ground coffee. You may want to think about ditching your fancy coffee pod machine for filter coffee or saving the pods for special occasions. 

Baby Food

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Jars of baby food often have high markups because they’re much more convenient compared to making your own baby food at home. If you want to save money, then you can make your own baby food at home. The food will be fresher and you’ll have more control over what your child eats. 

Exotic Fruits 

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Foods that have to be imported, such as exotic fruits, will cost more because of how far they’ve had to travel. To save yourself money, think about opting for local fruits instead. Otherwise, you can check the frozen section, where price points for fruits such as blueberries are usually lower.

Frozen Diet Meals

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Creating your own meals can be more beneficial. For example, Good Housekeeping writes, “A freezer is very useful when it comes to batch cooking recipes, as it ensures you can have a varied diet throughout the week, rather than having to eat the same meal every day before it goes off.” Think about cooking extra for diet meals and then freezing. 

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