Sticking to a Grocery Budget: Tips and Tricks to Save Money and Avoid Impulse Buys

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Effective Strategies for Sticking to a Grocery Budget

There are many ways to help you save money when it comes to your grocery shopping list. A few ways would be to stop shopping when you’re hungry, utilizing coupons and deals, and even double checking your receipt. Being aware of these habits is the key in order to manage your finances, but the next keystone is to be aware of the junk going into your basket and sticking to a Grocery Budget. I always recommend sticking to a grocery shopping list & budget because this will prevent you from slipping that box of cookies into your cart.

After I tell you about the things that you should not buy at the grocery store, I want you to cross-check with your grocery budget and list to see if these items are on your list.

1. Big Jars of Spices and Herb off your Grocery Shopping List

To save yourself some money, look into buying spices and herbs in bulk. That means you will be paying for them by the weight rather than the entire packaging itself. Obviously, if you’re cooking to feed an army or if the recipe requires an entire bag, then scratch everything I said.

Salt, pepper, and sugar are excluded from this tip because the likelihood of you using these three are a staple to most recipes.

2. Water bottle

Take packages of bottled water off your grocery shopping list and either get yourself a refillable gallon bottle or a water filter. If you’re living in an area that has a safe and reliable water system then you can be sure that the tap water will not kill you. If you need to bring a water bottle on the go, then consider getting yourself a reusable water bottle.

Buying gallon water will be a lot cheaper in the long run. The cost of the water dispenser may hit you like a truck at first, but the price you pay for the quality and cost savings of gallon water will be well worth it. Don’t forget that most water dispensers have a mini-fridge and hot water dispenser.

3. Batteries

The last time I needed to buy batteries was when I was 8 playing my Gameboy Advance. Later at the age of 16, I became a Playstation person where the controllers didn’t require replaceable batteries.

Depending on your lifestyle, you may or may not need batteries, but assuming that you do, don’t buy them at the grocery store and buy yourself a charger to refuel those bad boys.

4. Plastic Utensils and paper plates/bowls

Buy the plastic utensils and paper plates/bowls for special occasions like birthday parties and stuff if you’re looking for easy cleanup, but if you’re eating dinner with the family then look into getting metal utensils and actual plates/bowls. Most sets come with everything you need for a standard family of four for about $50-ish bucks! They even match too! The only downside? Washing dishes.

5. Organic foods?

This point may cause some controversies, so I will leave this up to you and your personal lifestyle. Is the extra cost for organic foods worth it? Are they actually better for your health? For me personally, I don’t see any benefit or changes it makes to my body, so I decide to opt out of paying extra for organic things.

I recommend you do your research thoroughly to decide whether or not this aspect of grocery shopping is important to you!

6. Junk food

push cart and a white paperbag

Do I really need to explain to you why junk food should be off your grocery shopping list? I believe we should live the life that provides the most happiness, so maybe give in to your little craving and live on the edge by slipping in a bag of chips or some cookies in your basket, but don’t go overboard like you’re stocking up for the zombie apocalypse.

Moderation is key. Aside from the obvious health detriments, packaged food/frozen food is usually a lot more expensive than buying your own ingredients. Why? Convenience!

7. Paper towels

I personally never have paper towels on my grocery shopping list because I have no use for them. The rare times where I would actually use paper towels would be to put my bacon strips on them to soak up all the oil.

Rags are a lot more eco-friendly and a lot cheaper than buying paper towels that will need to be refilled. Rags are not single-use like paper towels, and can also be washed in the washer if you feel like they’re getting gross. The only downside is that they’re a breeding ground for bacteria, so make sure to wash them often!

8. Pet Food, Diapers, Bulk

Have you ever compared two sizes of the same product? The box with more units will always be more expensive, but if you take a look at the price tag there’ll usually be a spot where they insert how much a unit costs.

Let’s say a 5 pack of chocolate costs $5, meaning that it’s $1 per chocolate, but a 10 pack costs $8. That’s $.80 a chocolate. Things like pet food, diapers and things you use on the daily are things you should buy in bulk at your local wholesale retailer. The bill will hit you a little hard at first but you’ll save more money, in the long run, doing so!

9. Cleaning Products

Believe it or not, you don’t need to be a chemist to make your own cleaning products. Some brands have all the extra fancy junk that is totally not necessary. If you really want to save yourself from having to buy cleaning products, then definitely check out some online tutorials on how to brew up your own cleaning products. They’re easy to make and friendly to pets and infants, and end up preserving whatever you’re cleaning better than chemical products. Don’t worry, you won’t blow up!

(Pro tip: Lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar will be your best cleaning buddies.) 

10. Marked down produce, meat, and bread

To end this list of things to stop putting on your grocery shopping list, this 10th point will actually be something you should have! Marked down items. If you’re looking to consume or finish the product within a day or two then you shouldn’t be worried about these products going bad.

Many grocery stores will mark down their products within a few days of expiry. Even if you happen to leave it a day or two past its expiration date, the product is still good to go. Look up on Google to double check how long that item is actually good past its expiration date because those dates are generally their “recommended” date.

Obviously check for mold, strange odor, unappealing complexion, etc. before purchasing the product. If you know you’re going to use it all up the same day then take advantage of the savings.

These were the ten items that you should reconsider when putting together your grocery shopping list and sticking to a grocery budget. These items aren’t anything so crazy to die over, but these little items do add up to a big bill over time. Look into the alternatives that I mentioned in this blog post and I hope you found this useful.