helping you shop smarter

Ways You Waste Money at the Supermarket

Pouring a Glass of Water

People are shoppers. Very thoughtless shoppers. So thoughtless, in fact, that if it weren’t for those damn marketers, they would be saving oh-so-much money every single trip. It’s crazy to think this is possible, but every second of every day, someone falls for the following traps. Here’s just a few ways you waste money – your hard-earned money – at the store:

CUT FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

One of the biggest ways you waste money is right inside the produce section. When in season, a whole cantaloupe can cost around $3. A small container of cut cantaloupe pieces can also cost $3. You could buy two or three containers of cut cantaloupe to equal the entire cut cantaloupe, and cutting cantaloupe – and most other fruit – is quite easy. The sole exception to this is watermelons, which in itself is like playing the lottery since you never know what you’ll get. Spending a little extra on cut watermelon to ensure you are getting a good watermelon isn’t always a bad idea.

GRAB AND GO SANDWICHES

Let’s say you want a sandwich, and at the deli section of the store, you discover the perfect pre-made sandwich. Two slices of bread, cut diagonally, with some of your favourite things inside. And all for the price of just FOUR DOLLARS!! For that price, you could buy a loaf of bread, and use existing toppings at home, or put that extra $2 savings into buying some sliced meats, or eggs if you want to make egg sandwiches.

SMALLER CUTS OF FRESH MEATS

Ever buy a roast at $3.99/lb and discover that the steaks are $5.99/lb? That’s because larger cuts always cost less. Consider buying roasts to cut into steaks or stewing cuts, or whole chickens with an eye to using the entire chicken for everything from soups to shake-and-bake.

BOTTLED WATER

Unless you can justify this (ie. disaster preparedness, road trip, unsafe local sources etc), this is one of the biggest ways you waste money at the store. Instead, buy the Brita bottle once and a new filter periodically and use that for your drinking water needs. Not only does water flow (almost) free from the tap, in many areas of the world, it actually falls from the sky!! This stuff is so free that bottled water should not be the category it has become. And yet, somehow, people fall for this.

GENERIC REGULAR COFFEE PODS

Likely made using tap water regardless of people’s bottled water desires, generic coffee pods really do not make much sense at all. There is a convenience factor to it indeed, but save the coffee pods for a more specific variety at a more specific time, and just make the instant coffee or use a brewer, add cream and/or sweetener, and save yourself tons of cash. This goes for hot chocolate pods as well. Yes, they’re convenient, and no, they’re not necessary when the powdered stuff gets way more bang for your buck.

JUNK FOOD

This one isn’t obvious right away unless you’ve made it to a land of being unhealthy and in pain and requiring expensive and lengthy treatments. Preventing expense later partly includes not cheaping out on your food purchases now, and buying foods you know are healthy.

CLEANING PRODUCTS

Have you tried cleaning something at home using just vinegar, water, comet, dish soap, or baking soda? If you haven’t, do that first before buying the more powerful stuff.

ABANDONING REFRIGERATED AND FROZEN GOODS OUTSIDE OF THEIR TEMPERATURE ZONES

When you do this, store staff do not always notice right away, and products that are temperature sensitive will spoil. Spoiled food gets tossed because unlike lazy customers, store employees don’t want anyone to get sick. This results in higher food bills for everyone, including yourself. Nobody wants to pay for the laziness of those who do this, and yet they all do.

There are still lots of other ways to save money while shopping at your local supermarket. Keep your eyes peeled, your mind open, and your wallets closed!

About the Grocery Store Insider

The Grocery Store Insider has worked in grocery retail for close to 20 years, and has worked in multiple areas of the store including produce, fresh meats, deli, produce, dry grocery, frozen foods, dairy, and checkouts. The Grocery Store Insider also has a College diploma in Business Administration-Marketing.