If you're on a quest to save money in different areas of personal finance -- you can accomplish this, but you'll need to identify ways you're overspending at the grocery store. Everything in life is expensive, from housing to food. But although you can't always control how much you spend in certain areas, you can control how much you spend for food at the checkout. Here are seven ways you're overspending at the grocery store.
1. Not Making a List
If you always "wing" your shopping trips, this could be one of several ways you're overspending at the grocery store. Without a list, you might buy any and everything without giving regard to whether it's in the budget. A list keeps you focused, and if you're working with a tight budget, it's one of the best ways to avoid overspending.
2. Buying Items You Already Have
Before heading out to the grocery store, take inventory of your cupboards and refrigerator. If you write a list without taking into consideration what you already have, you might accidentally purchase items that are already in your kitchen, thus resulting in spending money unnecessarily.
3. Buying More than You Need for Meals
One of the best ways to avoid overspending at the grocery store is to prepare meals that use basically the same ingredients. For example, if you buy a package of sour cream, the recipe may only require one or two tablespoons, which leaves a surplus. Rather than let this ingredient go to waste, prepare additional meals throughout the week that also require this particular ingredient. This reduces the number of items you have to purchase, and it cuts down on waste. In the end, you keep cash in your pocket.
4. Bringing the Kids
If possible, grocery shop while the kids are at school or before you arrive home from work. Children may ask for things that can slowly contribute to a higher grocery bill. But if you shop alone, you can stay focused and only buy the things you need without a million requests for items not on your list.
5. Shopping While Hungry
If you go to the grocery store while hungry, every item will look delicious. And in this situation, you might be tempted to buy things you don't really need. But if you eat before going to the store, food will be the last thing on your mind, and you're more likely to only purchase what you need and nothing more.
6. Using a Larger Shopping Cart
Grab a larger shopping cart only when necessary. If you're only going into the store for a few items, you can keep your budget under control by grabbing a handheld grocery basket. Since these baskets are small and only hold a limited amount of items, you're less likely to overbuy.
7. Not Taking Advantage of Discounts
With all the discounts available, there's really no reason to pay full price at the grocery store. Between generic brands, coupons and grocery store discount cards, you can shave plenty off your grocery bill effortlessly.
Food is a necessity, but this doesn't mean a grocery bill has to break the bank. There are plenty of ways to save at checkout, but you'll need to modify your shopping habits. What are other ways to avoid overspending at the grocery store?