17 Supermarket Buys You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money On

It can be easy to spend money in the supermarket, as everything you need is at the convenience of one store. But this doesn’t always mean it’s the cheaper option. Here are 17 supermarket buys you shouldn’t waste your money on.

Diapers and Wipes

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Supermarket prices for diapers and wipes can be significantly higher than prices at places such as Costco. For example, Reader’s Digest writes, “Stock up at Costco for as little as 18 cents per diaper. That works out to $33 for a 66-count box of diapers at the supermarket vs. $35 for a 192-count box at Costco.”

Seasonal Non-Food Items

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Items such as patio furniture and pool toys are often overpriced and of low quality at supermarkets. If you want higher quality items and more value for your money, then you should head to specialty stores. Grocery stores won’t be able to provide you with durable items that will last for years.

Bubble Bath and Personal Care Products

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Supermarkets are well known for charging more for these items, especially compared to stores such as Walmart or even online subscriptions. Sometimes, a more cost-effective way to purchase your personal care products is by purchasing in bulk or creating a subscription with Amazon.

Over-the-Counter Medications

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Supermarkets can significantly increase the price of over-the-counter medications. Generic brands will offer the same active ingredients but will be a fraction of the cost, saving you a large amount of money over time. The best places to buy these medications are from warehouse stores and pharmacies.

Car Items

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Grocery store prices have significantly risen, and this also includes non-food items such as car parts. For example, in 2023, CNN said that “overall, grocery prices were 5.8% more expensive in May than they were a year ago.” Car items may also be of lower quality at supermarkets. It’s best to purchase these items from automotive stores.

Party Supplies

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Instead of purchasing party supplies from the supermarket, you should head to the dollar store. You can also purchase items in bulk from specialized party stores, and this can also provide you with significant savings. You also won’t have deals at supermarkets like you would at alternative stores.

Gift Cards

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Warehouse clubs offer gift cards at a discount compared to supermarket prices. If you bulk buy gift cards, then it can also lead to extra savings. The best thing to do if you want savings from gift cards is to explore membership options for the best deals.

Shredded Cheese

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Yahoo! Finance writes, “The convenience of cheese that is already shredded might not be worth it. Additives such as cellulose, an ingredient made from wood pulp, can sometimes serve as fillers.” This means that shredded cheese may not work as well as freshly grated cheese.

Name-Brand Coffee

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Supermarkets can be one of the most expensive places to buy branded coffee. The best place to purchase coffee is from wholesalers or warehouse stores. They usually offer better prices, and you can buy coffee beans in bulk. Grinding your coffee at home will also help you save money and increase freshness.

Organic Produce

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Supermarkets can really hike up their prices for organic produce. If you want to purchase organic foods, then try heading to a farmer’s market or CSA, as they will provide fresher and more affordable options. It’s also great to be able to support local agriculture, and it can also help the environment.

Endcap Items

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Just because a product is at the end of the aisle doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. “A lot of times, [the items in] endcaps are just something new or in season,” says former editorial director of the Path to Purchase Institute, Bill Schober. Manufacturers may even pay for these products to be placed here, and that increases prices.

Energy Bars and Drinks

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Not only is it more cost-effective to create your own energy bars and caffeinated drinks, but it will also save you money. Energy bars and drinks will usually contain high amounts of sugar and are priced as premium items. You can make your own snacks and drink more tea or coffee to save money.

Eye-Level Items

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Supermarkets will strategically place their higher-priced products at eye level, as these will be the items you’re most likely to reach for. If you look at the lower shelves, you will usually find the same product at a lower price; it will just be a different brand or the supermarket’s own brand.

Salad Dressing

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Instead of purchasing salad dressing from supermarkets, it’s much healthier to make your own. This is supported by Better Be, which writes, “Salad dressing made by manufacturers can actually contain preservatives that could potentially be harmful to your body.” It’s also cheaper to make a salad dressing at home.

Frozen Veggie Dishes

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Pre-prepared frozen vegetables can cost more than fresh or home-frozen options. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective method instead of purchasing from a supermarket, then try roasting and freezing the vegetables yourself. You’ll avoid convenience fees and have confidence knowing all your vegetables are fresh.

Frozen French Fries

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Not only is it cheaper to make your own French fries, but it’s also cheaper than purchasing them from the supermarket. Preparing your French fries at home means you can customize them by adding spices and looking into healthier cooking options. Avoid pre-packaged French fries to save money and be healthier.

Lunch Snack Packs

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Starling Bank writes, “Packed lunch costs are up by 95% since April 2021; [this is an] increase [of] 15% since September 2022.” To save money, you can create your own lunches and avoid the high prices supermarkets charge. Avoiding pre-packaged snacks also helps you reduce your waste and help the environment.

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