Are Your Grocery Shopping Habits Costing You Money?

By Kaitlin Hurtado on November 11, 2018

Have you recently looked at your financial situation and wondering where all your money is going? There are plenty of places that can potentially be costing you much more than you are thinking: gas, movie tickets, or eating out. You may even be surprised when you consider that your grocery shopping habits are costing you more money than you think.

It may seem unbelievable. Many people promote that college students should be grocery shopping on their own to save money rather than shelling out money on meals at restaurants. However, grocery shopping can quickly become pricey when one isn’t paying close attention to what they are buying and not aware that they can be taking extra steps to save money when grocery shopping.

Are your current grocery shopping habits costing you money? Here are some money-saving tips to consider for your next grocery shopping visit:

grocery shopping cart

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Never grocery shop on an empty stomach

When you grocery shop when you are hungry, anything and everything on the shelves will seem like a must-have. A frozen pizza, a bag of your favorite chips, ice cream, yogurt, sliced fruit. On an empty stomach, you are going to be looking for what looks good now. You won’t have nearly as good of an idea of what you actually need for meals throughout the week if you are preoccupied with what you want to fill your stomach with now.

Try to plan for when you want to go grocery shopping. A good time is usually right after a meal so that you less likely to be craving a wide variety of things and you will be more focused on what you actually need. If you are going shopping on an empty stomach, try bringing something to snack on to keep away cravings while you browse the aisles or try to differentiate between what your cravings want or what you will actually need from this grocery shopping trip

Ditch the habits that cost you money 

While some habits can cost you a few dollars at a time, those precious dollars add up to do some major damage to your budget when it comes down to it. These habits can vary person to person, one can be wasting as little as three dollars each grocery shopping trip, while others may be spending as much as $20 more than they needed to.

Here are some bad habits to eliminate in future grocery shopping trips:

  • Sticking to name brands. When it comes to picking out items like cereal or yogurt, you may be used to picking out the name-brands you see at every store. Instead, give the grocery store’s own brand a try to save out on a couple of dollars at a time.
  • Picking convenience. See those sliced fruits already ready for you to eat in the produce section? Skip them. Prepackaged and ready-to-eat fruits tend to cost more than whole fruit. An extra few minutes of prepping will not hurt you in the long run when you are saving money.
  • Impulse buys. Bags of chips and tubs of ice cream add up, and those pricier items can be the black hole of many’s grocery shopping budgets. Instead, limit the amount of junk food you are buying. Not only will they eliminate the chances of you resorting to junk food over your homecooked meals, but they will also be saving you a few bucks.

Make a list of groceries to check off while you shop 

Before you actually make the trip to the grocery store, make a list of groceries you want to pick up while on your trip. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when making the list:

  • What you have run out of, or what you absolutely need. Take a look into your fridge and pantry to make a list of what you need. Taking inventory of the current contents of your fridge is important because sometimes you will find that you have run out of things you thought you still had, or something you do have is going expired.
  • Plan out your weekly meals. Look at your schedule and figure out what type of meals you want throughout the week, and list the groceries you’ll need for it.
  • Plan out your “treat yourself” buys. Making note of “treat yourself” buys will help limit your potential impulse buys and also help you fit in your budget.
Making a list beforehand will also help you control your larger budget. When you make the list, you will have a fair idea of what each item costs so you will have a general idea of what and how much food your budget can afford.
The next time you make a trip to the grocery store, consider what grocery shopping habits you can do without in order to save money. Pay attention to where your money is actually going, so that you can make some changes and have a bigger budget for other areas of your life.

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