How many times have you made a mistake at the grocery store? Too many to count, right? I’m right there with you! Whether it’s forgetting your list (Or not even making one) or buying everything in sight, know that you’re not alone. If you want to make the most out of your shopping trips, read these 7 things smart shoppers don’t do and start saving money now!
Go to the store without a list
Have you ever forgotten your shopping list at home and convinced yourself you can remember everything that was on there? That’s happened to me and it’s not pretty! You end up forgetting about 25% of your list, and adding things to your cart that probably shouldn’t be there.
This is what can happen when you don’t have a plan or make a grocery list. You spend more money because of impulse buys; and because you forget to buy key ingredients for meals, you change your dinner plans by using another night’s dinner or even going out to eat. Your grocery list is your secret weapon; make sure you write one every week!
Skip the clearance shelves
One of my favorite parts of shopping is looking at the clearance shelves. Kroger is one of the best ones in my area, because their shelf is huge and usually has awesome deals like Starbucks coffee. Hello, $4 a bag! Stores will put out dented or out-of-season items at really low prices, so definitely don’t pass up the clearance areas!
Shop while hungry
When you’re hungry, everything looks good. And you can’t help but add that box of cookies or snack bars. I’m guilty of this, too! This is why I make sure I always eat before shopping, because my willpower is not great at all.
Forget to check store flyers
Store flyers can be the key to saving lots of money on your grocery trips. You can plan your meals around what’s on sale, and find which items are at stock-up prices so you can set aside some extra cash.
I never go to the store without checking the ads first. There have been a few times when we were low on peanut butter, and when I checked the Kroger ad, peanut butter was magically on sale! If I hadn’t checked, I wouldn’t have known to set aside an extra $12 (true story) to fill my pantry with peanut butter.
Forget to use coupons and savings apps
I always kick myself when I realize I left my coupon envelope at home. Inevitably, something will be on sale that I have a coupon for, and I miss out on a good deal. Likewise, I have Ibotta on my phone and forget to check it before I shop to see if I can pair up a rebate with a coupon. Don’t miss out on those savings! Also, use Swagbucks to print coupons and earn 10 Swagbucks for every coupon you redeem; that equals 10 cents per coupon, which can add up!
Impulse buy items
Sales can be killer. Clearance items can be even worse. I have a love/hate relationship with that clearance rack; if I see something that’s a great deal, I want to buy all of it. Especially coffee, and especially if it’s Starbucks. The problem is, I end up going over budget through these impulse buys, which leaves me less money for, well, actual food.
Impulse buys can be okay if you budget for it, though! Most weeks I allow myself an extra $5-$10 for those unexpected sales; that way, I can fill my pantry and not spend all of our money in the process. If you do this, just make sure you have the willpower to only use the money you allowed yourself.
Forget to make a budget
A grocery budget is the backbone of the whole shopping process. If you don’t have one, the results could be disastrous. You could buy more food than you need, throwing it out when it goes bad and essentially wasting money. Or you could find yourself lacking funds in other areas of your life. If you’re not sure what your budget should be, read my post on how much you should spend on groceries.
Are you guilty of any of the above mistakes? Some of these still happen to me, so don’t worry! Little steps in the right direction make you a better shopper and save even more money at the grocery store. If you have any other tips not shown above, post them in the comments!