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Save on Groceries: Stop Buying These 9 Items

save on groceries

Saving money is on the minds of quite a few people these days, and cutting back on your grocery bill is one way you may be able to tighten your budget a little. Personally, groceries is one area of my budget that tends to be a slippery slope, so I try to go back and review my grocery budget and purchases every few months to make sure I stay on track.

Sure, food is a necessity and buying groceries is a lot cheaper than eating out, but that doesn’t mean you can buy groceries all willy-nilly because they are a “need” and not a “want”. There are some items at the grocery store that are definitely not a need.

Pay attention to what you put in your cart before you pay so you save on groceries. In fact, if you want to save the most money, stop buying these 9 items as part of your regular grocery shopping.

1 Alcohol

Cut back your alcohol consumption or eliminate it altogether to save money in your budget each month. If you must purchase alcohol, don’t buy it at a grocery store. It’s usually higher there than at a Sam’s, Costco, or another warehouse club store.

2 Kitchenware

Unless you absolutely have no other choice, don’t buy kitchen utensils and other bake ware at the grocery store. These items are almost always more expensive there, so pick them up at a discount store such as Target or Wal-Mart instead.

3 Office Supplies

Pens, notebooks and other supplies are more expensive at the grocery store than at discount stores as well, so bypass that aisle altogether and make those purchases elsewhere. If you plan ahead, you may be able to take advantage of sales at opportune times, such as back to school, to save a little more.

4 Batteries

Batteries are another item not to purchase at the grocery store. Warehouse clubs sell bulk packages of batteries for far less than you will pay anywhere else, so put them on that list instead. Better yet, buy rechargeable batteries to reduce cost and waste.

5 Cleaning Supplies

You can add these to your Target or Wal-Mart list as well. If you comparison shop you will likely notice a significant mark-up on these items in your regular grocery store. If you can wait until you need several items at once, the extra trip to the discount store is made worth it.

6 Books and Magazines

Eliminate these items altogether for the most significant savings. Make a visit to your local library for free reading. My library also offers free magazines that you can take home with you, and a paperback book exchange if you don’t always want to check out and return books. Just make sure you don’t abuse these programs. Try to contribute by bringing old magazines and paperback books to share too.

7 Hygiene Products and OTC Medicine

These items are less expensive in a discount store than at the grocery store, so put them on that list and save some money unless it’s an emergency.

8 Prepared Food

If you think about the economics of it, this one makes sense. You are paying for the item itself, convenience, the time for someone else to prepare the food, overhead such as equipment, etc. On top of all that they have to make a profit, so don’t buy the fried chicken that smells so good or the deli meats or cheeses that look amazing when you pass by the cold case. These items are much better made at home.

9 Premade Lunches

The markup on these is horrible! Instead of buying premade lunches (think Lunchables), buy some cheese, a box of crackers, a package of lunchmeat, and a box of Zip-lock bags and put your own together. It takes very little time to do, and they will be fresher as well as cheaper.

When you review your monthly budget, groceries can sometimes eat up a significant portion of your money. However, to save on groceries, stop buying these 9 items and buy only needed groceries at the grocery store. Pick up your other items elsewhere and your wallet will thank you.

What else do you skip buying at the grocery store to save money? Do you use any other methods to save on groceries?

About Kayla Sloan

Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.


  1. I buy a lot of pet supplies at the grocery store. Typically, they are more expensive but I search the adds and buy when it is buy one, get one free for cat or dog food, which ends up being a great deal!

  2. Good ideas for saving here. Another thing I would add about office supplies is that sometimes even the dollar store sells regular office products for even cheaper than shops for products like pens, notebooks and shipping supplies.

  3. Cut alcohol…NOOOOO! Great ideas Kayla. I restock most of my office supplies at conferences from swag. Love the library, gets me out of the house and saves on those magazine subscriptions.

  4. I don’t buy some books and magazines as they are downloadable online and I have easy access to read them at a library, Kayla.

  5. I need to work on cutting back the alcohol. Not only does it save you money but also good for your health. You’re right about Costco though, they’re always cheaper there.

  6. I usually do not eat out as I prefer cooking my own food, as it is cheaper. If I want pizza, I’d just cook it at home and what is good about these is that I can put as many toppings and cheese I want. One advantage of knowing how to bake and cook. LOL

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