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Items to Avoid at the Grocery Store

Bottled Water

Bottled Water

There's no getting around this--we need water to survive. It cannot be argued. We are slaves to plastic and yet, we all still load cases of water into our cars weekly. 

Many of us have fantastic drinking water, so just use a reusable bottle instead--you’re already paying for water with your utilities. 

Ice Cream in Pints

Ice Cream in Pints

Summer’s coming up, and that means ice cream consumption will be on the rise. If you’re buying those little pint-size cartons because of temptation, skip it in favor of the half gallons. 

Otherwise, you’re paying so much extra when you can get the half gallon for less per serving. Also, treat yourself-- because you’ve wethered a pandemic, good ice cream is a must.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning Supplies

One thing that’s become apparent during 2020 is that we all spend a little more time at home, which requires some additional attention to cleaning. 

Exactly how many cleaning supplies do you have in your home? You might find that you can cut that list in half by using the same product for multiple places in your home.

Flushable Wipes

Flushable Wipes

We're not telling you how to manage your personal hygiene, but flushable wipes are an abomination. Yes, we all like to be clean, but at what cost? 

Flushable wipes are terrible for the sewer systems in America. And when you’re using these, you’re one flush away from thousands of dollars of repairs.

Individually-Wrapped Snacks

Individually-Wrapped Snacks

Everyone likes fresh chips, cookies, or other snacks.  Instead of buying the single serving kind, pick up the larger packs instead. 

You can make your own individual servings from a large bag while you monitor your intake and make better choices. Bonus: you won’t have to yell at anyone for letting the whole bag go stale. 

Batteries

Batteries

Our daily lives depend on batteries. Unless it’s an emergency, stock up on them at your mass market retailer or local battery store. 

They’ll have better prices and variety, as well as larger quantities. This will not only save you money but also time and frustration when the remote control batteries run out right before Bridgerton.

Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

The packaged breakfast industry has come a long way in the past 20 years.  Gone are the cardboard pancakes--they’re making everything from sous vide egg bites to hearty breakfast bowls.  

However, In the time it takes to reheat them, you can whip up an egg with some avocado toast for a truly better taste and skip all the preservatives.

Pre-Cut Produce

Pre-Cut Produce

Most Americans don't get enough fruits or vegetables in their diet. But instead of buying pre-packaged portions, take a chance on the whole vegetable or fruit. 

There’s something rewarding in the cooking process about preparation. It gives you time to think over your meal and inspires your creativity. And chances are, you’ll eat more of both this way.  

Greeting Cards

Greeting Cards

Personal connection is so important, especially if you can’t be there to say it yourself.  Greeting cards have always done some pretty heavy lifting for us. 

You can find better deals on greeting cards at your local dollar store or even chain card store (with rewards). You will only pay full price at the grocery store. 

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Pre-Packaged Deli Meat

Pre-Packaged Deli Meat

Deli departments have finally gotten hip to the Oscar Mayers of the world and now stock prepackaged cuts. 

Let the deli customize your cuts instead--you likely don’t use the quantities they’re selling in pre-packaged form. Get the fresh cuts you like in the quantity and style you like. Your rumbly tummy will thank you.

Magazines

Magazines

Magazines are almost obsolete since you see the latest scoop on your phone and social media accounts. If you’re a real fan of a magazine, become a subscriber to their website and let them send you the information digitally. 

It's every bit as good as the paper version, and you’ll always be in the know. 

Bottled Tea or Coffee

Bottled Tea or Coffee

Nothing hits quite as right as a good cup of coffee or tea--regardless of the temperature.  

Unfortunately, we all fall for the bottled versions when it costs mere pennies to make at home AND we have access to the same flavoring they do. 

Out of Season Produce

Out of Season Produce

Every once in a while, you crave asparagus--but it's December. Download a guide of what’s in season and stop spending so much money for subpar produce that’s not ripe or season appropriate. 

Chances are, you can purchase your favorites that have been flash frozen for a better experience.

Kitchen Utensils

Kitchen Utensils

Most people are particular about their kitchen equipment and tools. Instead of settling for whatever the grocery store has, go online or to a specialty store and purchase exactly what you need and want. 

You’ll find better options elsewhere that are cheaper and better quality than you’ll find at the supermarket.

Baby Items

Baby Items

Our little bundles of joy deserve everything we can give them.  You’ll be better off making the additional stop at a bulk store or mass retailer to pick up all your baby needs and save yourself a few bucks. 

Yes, we know the baby is crying, but your budget is too.

Shredded Cheese

Shredded Cheese

We all love and cook with cheese, so those handy packages full of shredded cheese makes it so easy. Here’s a little-known fact about shredded cheese, though: it has additives that make it harder to melt. 

Buying a block of cheese and shredding it yourself will ensure the consistency you’re looking for along with the flavor.

Organic Produce

Organic Produce

If you’re into organic produce, skip the grocery store and visit your local farmer’s market. 

The farmers are much more invested in your food, and they’ll have the freshest products for the best prices, without chemicals or the added miles of hauling and possibly bruising it.

Pet Food

Pet Food

Household pet ownership has risen significantly in the last few years. With the advent of large pet store chains, it's easier than ever to keep your furry/scaly/fuzzy pets happy with better quality food that you can find there

Grocery stores are limited in what they carry and how stock is rotated. Your pet deserves the best, and specialized stores will have it.  Bonus--your pets are welcome to shop with you.

Alcohol

Alcohol

Unless you’re hitting up a Trader Joe’s, head to your locally owned liquor store for your favorite IPA or wine. 

These folks know spirits, and their small businesses go to great lengths to provide everything you could ever think about. You’ll find better selection, better prices, and great recommendations. 

Small Cuts of Meat

Small Cuts of Meat

Hear me out on this one. You can get better stew meat, stir fry, or tenders if you buy the large portions of meat and cut them yourself.  

You’ll take more care in butchering your own meat and feel good about what you’re serving--instead of purchasing pre-packaged then ‘trimming’ it yourself when you get home.

Name-Brand Cereal

Name-Brand Cereal

Any kid will tell you that the toys in cereals these days aren’t worth anything. My kids swear by this one tip--the store brand cereal tastes better in most circumstances than the name brand.  

Also, 75% of the time, they’re cheaper and better packaged.

(Image via Amazon)

Pre-Packaged Oatmeal

Pre-Packaged Oatmeal

A warm bowl of oatmeal on a cold day always hits the spot. Control the portion, sugar, and additives in your house by purchasing the quick cook oats instead of pre-packaged flavors. 

Let your family take charge of their flavors with pantry items like brown sugar, peanut butter, natural honey, or even chocolate chips.

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Pancake Mix

Pancake Mix

Skip the mix and opt for your own base blend that you can then enhance with spices, depending on your mood.

You’ll spend pennies instead of dollars using your basic pantry ingredients on hand: flour, sugar, and baking powder. Don’t skip the syrup, though--that’s much harder to make. 

Broth or Stock

Broth or Stock

We all love the convenience of boxed broth--it's so easy to grab and pour into your recipe.  Packaged stock is also full of additives and salt. 

Making your own is always preferable, and you can store it in the freezer in bags. And if you have an Instapot, making stock from meat or veggies is a breeze.

(Image via Amazon)

Salad Bar Items

Salad Bar Items

The hot bar, olive bar, or salad bar at the grocery store has items that have been sitting all day. Purchase items either from the condiment aisle (those stuffed olives are amazing), or pick up some things for a fresh salad. 

You don’t want food that’s been sitting all day for everyone to breathe on.

Rice Mix

Rice Mix

I promise, you can make rice cheaper and tastier than a box mix. You don’t have to be from Louisiana to make great dirty rice, Jambalaya, or red beans and rice. 

And once you make it yourself, you’ll never look back at those sad mixes on the shelf.

Pre-Made Sandwiches

Pre-Made Sandwiches

Yuck. Just no. You’re already in the store and have 1000 sandwich options--just pick up the ingredients that work for you

You’ll be rewarded with the creativity, personalization, and the freshness that making it yourself provides. Plus, you’ll be able to replicate it again. 

Paper Products

Paper Products

The better option for paper plates is obviously the real ones you already have in your kitchen cabinet. 

But, if they’re a must, head on over to a bulk store or dollar store and save tons of money on the very same items you’re buying at the supermarket.

Office Supplies

Office Supplies

Office supplies are in short supply at the grocery.  Plus, those ink pens or paperclips will cost you thrice what you will pay for them at a local office supply store.

Skip those aisles and make a second stop to get what you want instead of settling for what they've got at the grocery store. 

Canned Pasta

Canned Pasta

Instead of taking home those canned or frozen pastas, head to the center aisle for the real pasta

The regular versions take roughly 6-9 minutes to cook in hot water and will be so much tastier. They run about $1 a package, which makes them economical and you can choose your fun shape.
 
 

(Image via Amazon)