Feel like you're spending more at the grocery store than you want, but aren't sure where that extra moo-lah is going? Here are the top 10 Grocery Budget Busters that can quickly ruin your grocery budget.
1. Pre-cooked meat or chicken.
Folks, if you purchase items pre-packed you can spend a bundle without meaning to. For example, I love having grilled chicken handy for a quick salad or taco in a hurry. But paying for convenience can ruin your grocery budget.
The container on the left in the picture above shows how much chicken is in a Tyson Grilled & Ready package (a little over 1 1/4 cups) which costs around $4. On the right is what I made myself for $4.09 after stocking up on chicken breast at Fresh Thyme while on sale ~ almost 5 cups of chicken!
Here's the math:
- 1 1/4 cups Tyson = $4
- 5 cups chicken that I grilled myself = $4.09
- 1 1/4 cups Tyson ($4) X 4 to get 5 cups = $20
To get the same amount of Tyson I would spend over $20. Craziness.
(UPDATE: if you absolutely love having chicken pre-cooked for you, you'll love what I found out at Costco last week.) 🙂
You are paying a bundle for convenience here. It really doesn't take all that much time to make a pb&j, so take a few minutes to do it yourself!
Here's the math:
- 10 count Uncrustables = $5.48 at Walmart or 54¢ each
- Homemade Uncrustables = 19¢ each
- 20 Uncrustables = $10.96, 20 Homemade Uncrustables = $3.80
3. Certain cleaning supplies.
If you have dish soap, lemon juice, baking soda, peroxide and vinegar in your home most of your cleaning can be taken care of. Here are a few homemade cleaners to try:
- Homemade Soap Scum Remover
- Homemade Carpet Cleaner
- Get Rid of Stinky Dish Towels
- Clean Stainless Steel with Lemon Juice
- No Streak Hardwood Floor Cleaner
- Remove Rust Stains From Stainless Steel & Freshen Sink
- Homemade Window Cleaner
4. Fabric softener.
Don't want to pay a high price for fabric softener? Try vinegar instead. Add 1/2 cup to your load before washing.
5. Refrigerated & frozen convenience foods, as well as pre-cut fruit or veggies.
Walk down the refrigerated & frozen aisle at your grocery store and you'll see a ton of processed foods ~ everything from mashed potatoes to macaroni and cheese to frozen pizzas.
You can make just about everything from scratch yourself in these aisles, and you'll save a bundle! And, cut your fruit and vegetables yourself. You'll pay a pretty penny to have someone else do the cutting up for you.
6. Food you won't really eat.
Ever think – Oh! This would be something good to buy – I should try it! (Me too!) Every time I walk past the fresh fish counter at the store, I am so tempted to purchase some because I know it's good for me. And, a few times I've actually gone and ahead and bought it.
However, our family just isn't doesn't eat much fresh fish (my husband and I do like salmon), so to spend money on food that won't really get eaten isn't worth it. If you know you're not realistically going to use it up or cook it for dinner, skip those foods.
7. Name brand stuff.
So often folks feel like they need a certain brand to get a good product, but nowadays store brands are fantastic. They've come a long way from the Malt O Meal cereals I remember as a kid (Malt O Meals are even pretty good these days!), and many stores carry store brand foods that are manufacturered in the same facility as their brand name competitor.
There are times when it's actually cheaper to buy a name brand when it's on sale (especially with a coupon), so watch for those deals when they pop up. But, be open to trying the name brand because you really can save!
8. Expensive toiletries.
High end toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, razors, soaps, etc.) can quickly bust your budget. If you have extra wiggle room in your budget each week that's fine, but if you're really trying to save, shop the generic brands at your grocery store and watch for coupons to get the best prices.
9. Certain organic foods.
Organic foods cost a bundle, and can quickly bust your grocery budget if things are tight in your home.
Some fruits and vegetables have “thicker skin”, so you may opt to purchase the non-organic version of those foods. See more on the Dirty Dozen HERE to know what's really worth paying more for, and find tips on how to save on organic food over HERE.
10. Deals that are “too good” to pass up.
Sometimes I come across a deal (or two, or three?) that I think is just “too good” to pass up. And when there's lots of room in my budget that's fine, but usually (because we like a tiny grocery budget at our house) that can end up ruining my budget plan for the week.
If you see a deal that you just can't miss, buy enough of it to last your family the next 6 weeks, because in that amount of time it will almost always go on sale again (promise.) Don't spend too much of your grocery budget on things you don't need right now, because those deals really do come around again!
What else would you add to the list? This month as we're really reigning in our grocery budgets I'd love to hear your thoughts – also check out the Ultimate Guide To Building a Better Grocery Budget. You can do this! 🙂
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