If you're trying to stick to a grocery budget, you need to be aware of these top 10 budget busters. Read on to find out what they are!
If you keep heading to the grocery store with a budget in mind, but then leave spending more than you'd like and just aren't quite sure where that extra moo-lah is going – then this post is for you!
Here are the top 10 Grocery Budget Busters that can quickly ruin your 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)
2. Smucker's Uncrustables
You are paying a bundle for convenience here. It really doesn't take all that much time to make a Peanut Butter & Jelly, so take a few minutes to make your own Homemade Uncrustables instead!
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. 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:
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.
It also helps to have a full grocery list made out and a menu plan made before going to the store. That helps avoid impulse purchases. Our menu planning made easy sets are perfect to help stay on track with your grocery budget!
7. Buying name brand items
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 manufactured 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 grocery 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! 🙂
Looking for more ways to save? Here you go:
- 20 Items You Need to Buy At Aldi
- Ultimate Aldi, Costco & Sam’s Club Price Comparison Sheet
- 14 Secrets You Need To Know About Shopping Amazon
- 22 Items You Need to Look for at Ikea
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