8 Things You Should Stop Buying at the Grocery Store
We have a love-hate relationship with grocery shopping. (Yay, free samples! Boo, long line at the deli.) But since you have to do it, you might as well save some money. That means knowing the things you should buy during your weekly supermarket run and the things you might benefit from purchasing elsewhere. Trust us, it’s worth the effort.
If you’re restocking your window cleaner, kitchen wipes and laundry detergent, it’s worth making an extra stop on your grocery run to a big-box store like Target or Walmart, where the prices are consistently way lower. Beyond hitting up big-box stores for your cleaning supplies, you can save even more money by switching to the generic versions of your favorite products. A quick scan of the ingredients list will often prove that the name brand and store brand version are basically identical, so skip the familiar packaging in favor of saving a few bucks—it’ll add up over time.
Even if you live in a state that sells alcohol in grocery stores, you’re way better off getting it elsewhere. Savings expert Jeanette Pavini told Business Insider that beer and wine can cost between ten and 20 percent more at grocery stores than at warehouse clubs like Costco. So stock up, folks. You never know when an impromptu cocktail party could start.
Dried Beans and Rice
Nonperishable stuff like dried beans, rice, oats and pasta should always be bought in bulk, at big-name stores like Costco or BJ’s. Since you don’t have to worry about using them quickly, you’re fine to buy them in the giant quantities available at Costco for less money than the smaller packages sold at the grocery store. Whether you actually have space for a ten-pound bag of rice is an issue for another day.
Herbs and Spices
Spices can take a meal from blah to delicious. But that doesn’t mean you can get them anywhere. Spice and herbs are typically marked way up at normal grocery stores, as opposed to health-food or international grocery stores. Instead of paying a few dollars for a jar of turmeric, you can make your own little bag—with just the amount you need—for a fraction of the cost.
Not only are many of the greeting cards in the aisles of grocery stores kind of tacky and cheesy, they’re marked way up. (Six bucks for one? Yeah, right.) Instead, go to Amazon, buy a variety pack (this 48-pack costs $14) and always have them on hand for when you totally forget about your best friend’s kid’s birthday. Plus, if you have an Amazon Prime account, those cards will be at your door in two business days—at no extra cost.
Sure, that tiny section of some grocery stores where you can buy a pot, pan or knife is super helpful in a pinch, but because the stores know these are typically last-resort purchases, they jack the prices way up. Instead, head to your local T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s or HomeGoods, all three of which usually have terrific prices on kitchenware (as well as chocolate-covered pretzels and eyeshadow palettes you can grab while waiting for the line to move).
OK, we’re big fans of print, so it kind of pains us to tell you to stop buying them. But, we were in our grocery store the other day and saw that a popular magazine—which shall remain unnamed—was selling for $7.99. What?! You have two options here: If it’s a mag you love and will read regularly—subscribe. Subscriptions will save a ton of money if you want all 12 issues. If it’s not a title you typically read but one of the headlines on the cover caught your eye, go online to the site: Chances are, a free version of the article you’re interested in is readily available.
Organic Fruits and Vegetables
This one isn’t about price. If you’re buying organic, you’re going to be paying more, that’s just a fact. If you’re paying more, though, you might as well be getting the best stuff. Instead of picking up whatever’s been tossed on the shelves of your big-name grocery store, buy organic at your local farmers’ market, where, chances are, you’ll be getting a higher quality product. (And maybe score something fun and seasonal, like ramps or sour cherries.)