9 Worst Budget Drainers on Your Grocery List

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9 Worst Budget Drainers on the Grocery List

Grocery lists and grocery shopping  is a frequently discussed topic among moms and families all over the nation. Everything from how to write it, what to put on it, how to cook what you put on it and how it affects the family budget is a topic of weekly conversation. Before you start getting into coupons and sale papers there is something that you should know. There are budget drainers in the grocery store preying, waiting… to demolish all your hard work.

Yep. You read correctly. They are lurking, wearing their fanciest packaging and signage, ready to take advantage of the unexpected customer. Now I am not saying that you are doomed if you choose to buy these grocery list items. I am not even telling you not to buy them. I am just letting you know that you should be aware of the pricing strategies that are used. That way, if you and your family want to cut back on spending you know where to start.

Individual Oatmeal Packets

Oatmeal is a quick and easy breakfast item that can be prepared on busy mornings. On brisk fall and winter mornings a bowl of oatmeal can really hit the spot. If  you are buying individualized oatmeal packets though, you are spending extra money unnecessarily. Pick up the large unflavored varieties instead. Have the kids choose desired fruit, nuts and toppings to add to their liking.

By the way, when buying oatmeal from the grocery store you should opt for the whole oats verses the instant variety. It’s packed with fiber, has less sugar and is better for you all around.

Snack-Sized Anything

Cookies, chips, fruit cups,  cheese sticks, nuts…whatever. If it’s in a convenient snack-sized container, then chances are that you are paying more for it. The exception to this rule is during monster sales and when great coupons are available. To be certain, just look at the unit price during purchase instead of the overall price of the item.

Organic Bananas

The reality is, anything that you purchase in the organic variety will cost more money. That does not mean that you should not purchase organic foods. It just means that if your grocery budget is of concern to you then you need to be privy of what organic foods to buy and which ones to avoid. There is a great list called the Dirty Dozen that actually lists the fruits and veggies with the highest pesticides residues. Besides that, if the fruit or veggie has a thick skin that you will not eat but peel before eating, then you can save money by not buying the organic variety. This is also true for fruits like avocados, passion fruits, melons and the like.

Paper Towels

Ha! This one is so hard for me. But paper towels are a big money drainer. There I said it. You can use alternatives like old t-shirts and microfiber towels instead. But, on a serious note. I don’t know that I will be parting from paper towels anytime soon.

Frozen Beef Patties

Homemade burgers are so easy to make. Just buy the ground beef in bulk when it’s on sale. Season and then form the patties and freeze between sheets of wax paper in a freezer safe bag. Remove desired quantity of burgers from the freezer  once ready to enjoy.

Iced Tea

During the summer, it’s going to be hard to beat some of those prices on bottles of iced tea. But, depending on the type of tea that you buy, you can save some money by buying tea bags, adding the water and brewing your own iced tea at home. Of course, it’s healthier for you if you make it on your own too. But, you already knew that.

Portioned Chicken Breast

This is a similar concept to why you should avoid putting snack-sized items on your grocery list. Buying portioned chicken breasts is convenient, especially if you have a small family. But, if you want to save some cash, consider buying the chicken breast in bulk bags and portioning them yourself in individual freezer bags the day you come home from the grocery store.

Shredded Cheese

Buying cheese that is already shredded saves time but you should know that it can also waste money. Sometimes there are great sales and coupons that can make the shredded cheese a better buy. But generally speaking, buying cheese in blocks is more affordable. If you find a great sale on shredded cheese though, you should stock up! Cheese freezes really well.

Pre-cut fruit/Vegetables

Cantaloupes, melons and carrots are common items that come pre-cut. When fruit is purchased this way, you are paying a premium price because someone has already done the work for you. Not only that, pre-cut fruit is not as tasty or nutritious as buying the produce whole. There is no way to really know when that produce was cut and prepared. So if you want to save some money, cut the fruits and veggies yourself.

Avoiding these nine grocery items is an easy way to limit budget drain and headaches that can come with grocery shopping.

What are some of the things you avoid buying at the grocery store to avoid “the drain” on your budget?

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  • Comments ( 5 )

  • avatar

    Good info! I would have to agree with you on the paper towel!

    • avatar

      It’s especially difficult to avoid using paper towels with young kids in the house. They are always making “yucky” messes that I just don’t want to touch with my hands. But, where there is a will, there is a way.

  • avatar
    Erica {let why lead}

    Ooh, great tips! And I was glad to see that I’m doing most of them! Especially since I’m not a couponer and I tend to feel guilty about not working harder to cut my grocery bill, at least I’m doing these! 🙂

  • avatar

    Wow! That is exceptional that you are meal planning your snacks too! Meal planning takes a lot of effort but it is definitely the way to go.

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