Ways We’re Wasting Hundreds At The Grocery Store (And How To Stop)

September 1, 2016  |  
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Did you know that the average family throws out around $2,000 in groceries each year? Factor in the number of times you end up ordering in because there’s nothing in the fridge, and you can probably double it the amount of money you spend on food.

Groceries might not be the biggest expense on your list, but who couldn’t use an extra grand or more in a vacation fund or savings account? Especially when it’s as easy as finding a way to throw away less each week?

Whether it’s shopping when we’re hungry or buying veggies we know we won’t eat, there are things we can all change about our shopping habits. Make these tweaks the next time you grab a cart and you can get in and out of the store faster and spend less.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

We Head to the Grocery Store While We’re Out

We head to the store without checking what we already have in the fridge. The best way to avoid coming home to find that you do have milk after all? If going to the grocery store is on your to-do list for the day, take a photo of what’s in the fridge and pantry before you leave so you will know what you have before you go shopping.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Not Sticking to the List

Picking up whatever looks good is a fun way to shop. However, it’s also a good way to end up with two different kinds of ice cream but a whole lot of nothing for breakfast. Make a list and stick to it and you won’t waste money on impulse buys (or time and gas on return trips for things you forgot).

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Going to the Store Hungry

It’s a good way to end up with everything on your list plus three bags of chips, a container of roasted chicken and a dozen of whatever it was that smelled delicious in the baked goods section.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Not Buying Prechopped

Sure, prechopped vegetables are more expensive. But if you never do vegetable prep when you get home (and those veggies end up rotting in the back of the drawer because you don’t feel like chopping them), it can really save you money and time.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Skipping Generic

A lot of the time, the generic goods have the same thing inside as your favorite brand name product. A little trial and error here and there can let you know which store-brand products are worth the savings.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

You Don’t Take Advantage of the Frozen Food Section

Frozen vegetables are not only prepared (and frozen at the peak of freshness), but they also don’t go bad before you get to them. And meat is around $1 per pound cheaper when you buy it frozen.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

You Don’t Plan out Your Meals

Just a few minutes spent mapping out Monday through Friday can make putting together your shopping list a lot easier. Another pro tip? Prep those ingredients on the weekend after you buy them. You can throw them on the stove when you get home and you’ll be less likely to order in because you don’t have a lot of time to cook.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Buying Everything Organic

No one likes pesticides. But fruits and vegetables with thick skin — like avocados, bananas and grapefruit — have natural protection against chemicals. Just rinse them off and peel them and they’ll be just as safe as the more expensive organic version.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Not Giving Your Cart a Second Look

If you find yourself coming home with impulse buys you really didn’t need (and that go bad in the fridge), take a second look in your cart before you check out. Take out things you’re second-guessing and you will save quite a bit of money each trip.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Not Checking Your Receipt

Cashiers make mistakes all of the time, from sale prices that didn’t go show up to items that were scanned more than once. Keep an eye out.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shopping During the Week

Grocery stores are ridiculously busy during the weekend. However, they’re also the best times to take advantage of in-store sales and last-minute deals.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Buying Things Just Because They’re on Sale

If you don’t need it and probably won’t eat it, even 90 percent off is not worth it. 

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Buying Single Serve

Single bags of chips can cost you twice as much as just putting a serving of the big bag into a sandwich bag to take to lunch.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Not Comparing Prices

Especially when there’s an app for that. Scan what you buy the most and you could find that you could be getting everything cheaper right down the street.

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