Avoid these 5 costly mistakes when shopping

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If you are not satisfied with the total at the supermarket checkout, it may be time to change your shopping habits.


key point

  • No matter where you live, you pay more for groceries than last year.
  • Many shoppers are looking for ways to save money while still getting the food and essentials they need.
  • Consider shopping with a list, check out the store’s branded products, and use your store’s mobile app, which may offer coupons.

Thanks to high inflation, prices in the supermarket continue to rise. For many, rising prices make shopping stressful. If you’re on a budget, you may find it difficult to buy all the food and essentials you need without breaking the bank. Many shoppers don’t realize they’re making small mistakes that cost them a significant amount of money, but you can spend less in the checkout line if you change your shopping habits. Here are some costly mistakes to avoid at the grocery store.

Most grocery stores have weekly sales. You can find what’s on sale by browsing a printed flyer or using your grocery store’s website or app to view current items on sale.

Buying items on sale is a great way to spend less money in the store. By choosing your meals for the week and planning what you’ll buy based on what’s on sale, you can avoid buying overpriced items.

It might take a while to get into the habit of browsing your store’s sales before grabbing your cart, but it gets easier the more you do it. You may find that it even becomes a fun game.

2. Only buy branded products

While some branded products are better than others, that’s not always the case. If you’re only buying well-known brands, you’re probably spending more money than you need to.

You can get similar quality products and save money when you switch to buying generic brands. Many generic products taste the same and cost a fraction of the price, meaning you spend less money.

One thing to remember is that sometimes branded products are cheaper when they’re on sale. Pay attention to what’s on sale each week to make budget-conscious buying decisions, but don’t be afraid to try generic products.

3. Forgetting to use your store’s mobile app

Your grocery store probably has a mobile app, which could help you save money. You are missing out if you don’t use it to plan your shopping trips.

Grocery store apps typically outline the week’s sale items. But they can also offer other ways to slash your grocery bill. Many grocery apps include virtual coupons, which you can use to get a discount when you buy eligible items. These coupons take seconds to activate, and the savings can add up quickly.

4. Ignore package sizing

Lots of people scroll through the aisles and just look at the prices. While it’s a great idea to pay attention to the price, you should also consider the size of the products you’re buying.

While an item on the shelf may technically be cheaper, because of the packaging, you may get far less product than a similar item that costs just a few cents more. When you pay attention to the size and price of the package, you can make a more informed decision. Spending a little more money on a product that will last longer might not be a bad idea.

5. Payment by debit card or cash

Many shoppers also make the mistake of using a debit card or cash to pay for groceries. This move could cost you some money.

Instead, you could use a rewards credit card and earn cash or other rewards every time you shop. You are losing out on valuable rewards when using a debit card or cash. If you’re interested in getting a rewards card, check out our list of the best grocery credit cards.

Develop new habits to save more on groceries

Yes, food prices are high. But you can still take steps to save money while making your weekly run to the grocery store. You may need to develop new habits and change the way you approach grocery shopping. However, if you’re willing to do this, you may be able to keep more money in your bank account.

If you’re embarking on a path to financial well-being, check out our personal finance resources for more tips.

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