Grocery budget mistakes can hurt your bottom line. Every time you go to the store, it seems the cost of food goes up. But don’t get caught up making these mistakes.
While you think you are doing great in planning and saving money, you are making mistakes that are killing your grocery budget.
Ask anyone about where they want to save money on their budget and the answer is usually — groceries. The family grocery budget is one of the biggest expenses you’ll have on your budget (other than your mortgage or rent). Why then, are we all making stupid mistakes that cost us. Literally.
The truth is that even I’m guilty of making some of these grocery budget mistakes. I admit it. I own it. But, I also recognize it and have taken steps not to have it happen.
COMMON GROCERY BUDGET MISTAKES
Read through our list and see which grocery budget mistakes you find yourself making and then, take steps to make a change. Your wallet will thank you!
1. You don’t have a plan.
I’m not talking about your shopping list (although, that is important and comes up later in our list). This plan is your menu plan.
A menu plan not only saves you time every day by knowing what to cook for dinner, but it also makes planning your shopping trip much simpler and more efficient. With a menu plan, you know which items to add to your shopping list, saving you additional trips to the store.
Read more: Creating a Menu Plan That Works
2. You don’t have a list.
And, to piggyback off of the plan, is your list. Shopping without a list is like taking a road trip without a map. You need to know what you need and where you need to go.
Sticking to your list ensures you get everything you need, so you don’t have to make additional trips to the store. All of those small trips waste time and fuel. You often will spend more as you pick up “extra” things you don’t need, or may need that one item that is no longer on sale.
3. You aren’t stacking coupons with sales.
Coupons are great. But, they work even better when you use coupons on items that are on sale. Learning how to use coupons in the right way is the key to significant savings at the grocery store.
4. You waste food.
Food waste is a biggie. According to the USDA, Americans throw away 30-40% of our food supply! Shocking – isn’t it!?!
Make sure you purchase only the food you can consume for the week. Sure, you may find a great deal on a flat of strawberries, but if you don’t eat them all, they will spoil. That is money right into your trash can.
Never buy more than you can eat – even when it looks to be a great deal.
5. You aren’t using your phone.
You read that right. Your phone. There are some great apps you can use to save money. These include apps such as Ibotta and Checkout51. The best thing about these apps is that you don’t have to remember to bring them with you – as you always have your phone!
6. You are buying offseason.
When you purchase produce items that are not in-season, you will pay more. There’s no getting around it. Plan your meals around in-season produce, or opt for the frozen varieties when the fresh option costs more.
7. You aren’t signed up for the store perks card.
Most stores have a rewards card. You can often get special reward card offers and discounts, which puts money back in your pocket.
If you hate the keyfob idea, then you may want to try KeyRing. This app stores all of your reward card details and is scanned at checkout. And, if you’d rather skip the app too, just give the cashier your number associated with the card an, they can manually enter it and find you in their system.
8. You don’t use coupons.
Using coupons doesn’t have to be overwhelming. And, it doesn’t need to take a lot of your time. If you are new to the world of coupons, you will want to learn how to use coupons. Then, check out sites such as Coupons.com, SmartSource and RedPlum to find coupons you can print right at home.
9. You don’t take inventory before you leave home.
Take time to clean out your fridge and look though the pantry before you head create your shopping list and head to the store. This offers a double bonus as you not only get the fridge cleaned up, but you also make sure you don’t forget to pick up those must have items.
10. You buy convenience foods.
This is one of the grocery budget mistakes I was making!! I’m busy and so are you. And, the pre-packaged snacks and foods can save you time. They can also be budget busters. While you may need them for the soccer game snack, pass on them for your own family.
We started repacking larger into snack sized items for our family’s snack basket. This helps me not only save money, but also with portion control for my kids.
11. You don’t follow your list.
I’m raising my hand here as I’m guilty of this mistake myself. Buy only the items on your list and don’t fall for the fancy signs and descriptive packaging.
Interesting: Free Shopping List Download
12. You don’t shop the sales.
When you menu plan, you will usually look at the weekly circular and include meals with items that on are sale. But, are you really taking advantage of them?
If you see chicken is on sale this week, don’t pick up just one package for dinner on Thursday night. Instead, grab 2 or 3 and toss the extras into your freezer. Now, when you want chicken next week – and it’s not on sale – you’ll still have saved money.
When it comes to sale items, always buy the items you know you will need over the next few weeks, rather than waiting until you need them – when you’ll usually have to pay full price.
With a few adjustments to your grocery routine, you’ll eliminate some of the most common mistakes that kill your budget.