8 Mistakes You Are Making at the Grocery Store That are Costing You Money

Think back to the last time you went grocery shopping. Did you stick to a list? Did you make any impulse purchases? Did you use coupons?
You may not realize that your shopping routine and behaviors are hurting your budget. With the rising costs of groceries and the frequent trips you make to the grocery store you are spending a lot more money than you should be on a weekly or monthly basis.

Below I have made a list of common mistakes that are made at the grocery store to help you figure out ways that you can save and learn how your actions are affecting your savings account.

Are you making these mistakes? You may not realize how your shopping behaviors can affect your budget.

Mistakes you are making at the grocery store:


Not Making a List

Going to the grocery store without a list can cost you more than you want to spend. A list can help you remember what you need to buy. Our minds see items we think we need, so we go ahead and purchase them. Don’t make the mistake of not making a list.

Plus, having a list will help you to stay on track and make sure you get everything you need. For example, if you head to the store without a list and are making a new recipe you may forget to purchase an ingredient that you need. Next thing you know you are heading out to the store again and will be tempted to purchase other items not to mention the wasted time and gas in making a second trip to the store.


Not Reading the Signs

How many of you have bought something because you “thought it was on sale,” but when you head to the register, it’s not? Always look at the sign a second time to ensure you’re actually seeing a sale price. Those grocery store signs can be confusing!
Often times you have to purchase a larger quantity to get the discount, so if you only purchase one you are paying full price. Pay attention to the details and check to make sure you are grabbing the correct size for the sale. There has been plenty of times where I have told myself that I will check the price when they are scanning it and then I forget or am too busy loading my items and miss how much it actually was.


Buying For Convenience

It’s very tempting to buy groceries based on convenience. When you are walking through the grocery aisles, try to stay away from pre-packaged items as they are always more expensive. Stick to the outer aisles like fresh vegetables and meat, so you can get the most out of your grocery money. If you do have to buy convenience items, try to stick to items that are on sale.

I am definitely guilty of this mistake. Lately, I have been making a conscious effort to buy some items and bulk and then I can separate it myself. For example, instead of purchasing pre-cut fruits or vegetables I will buy them and cut them myself to save money.


Buying Too Much at One Time

Some consumers think that they’ll save money by buying more at one time. Sometimes this is true if you buy in bulk, but it doesn’t always work. If you are going to buy a lot of groceries at one time, always have a plan in mind. Menu planning is a great way to buy what you need without going overboard.

You want to make sure you do not have to throw away food that has expired. So, plan ahead and figure out your meals for the week. Not only can this help to prevent waste, but you can save money by only purchasing the food items you need to make what is on your meal plan for the week.


Are you making these mistakes? You may not realize how your shopping behaviors can affect your budget.

Not Weighing Items

If you are buying items by weight, you may be costing yourself more money. How? Well, you’re just grabbing these items without knowing what they weigh. When you get to the register and see what you’ll be paying, it may be too late. Always weigh the items to have an idea of what you will be paying at the register.

There have been a lot of times where I have seen the weight of an item when the cashier places it on their scale at the register and knew I was overpaying, but I was unable to go back and get a new item from the produce section.


Grocery Shopping Hungry

I know this one is so simple, but I see it happen again and again. When you grocery shop hungry, you are more likely to buy groceries based off of what you are wanting at that time. Think of hunger as a limitation when you’re shopping. You are focused on the “here and now” and less on what you’ll be eating the rest of the week. Always eat before you grocery shop.

I have completely blown my food budget out of the water when I have shopped on an empty stomach. It is disastrous because I want everything in sight. Before I know it my cart is full of sweet and salty junk food!


No Budget in Mind

If you go to a grocery store without a budget in mind, you will most likely overspend. This is a huge mistake that is costing you a lot of money. Never give yourself an endless budget, always have a spending limit in mind.

One way to accomplish this is by going to the grocery store with cash. This will prevent overspending and allow you to stay within your budgeted amount.


Not Shopping Sales or Using Coupons

I understand that not everyone likes to coupon, but the amount of money that you can save should be an incentive enough to make you want to set aside a few minutes each day or week to use coupons. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is not shopping sales and knowing when an item is a good price. Even if you do not want to coupon pay attention to when an item goes on sale. Stock-up and save yourself more money in the long-run.


Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be costly. With a little planning and thinking, you can save a ton of money. Even if you are currently making these mistakes at the grocery store, they are easy fixes and you’ll be saving money in no time.

Do you know of any other common mistakes that are being made at the grocery store that are costing people money, please leave a comment below!


Are you making these mistakes? You may not realize how your shopping behaviors can affect your budget.

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This Post Has 7 Comments

    1. I completely agree Jim! I have a routine when I go into the grocery store. It happened out of necessity because I needed to shorten the amount of time I was in the grocery store since most of the time I am shopping with my three boys.

  1. Cool tips here to save some time and money, I agree completely with you. The first point of making a list may not sound that helpful at first, if you only have 3-5 items on the list, but you’ll know when you find yourself buying more than what you originally want. I now do always try to make a list, then try my best to stick to the list to avoid buying anything unnecessary.
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  2. Great tips! I have to admit I am guilty of alot of the things you mentioned above, especially the “not reading the sign properly”. I usually go through the self checkout so if the price is way higher than I expected, I ask the lady to remove it.

    I always make a list though and always go with a stomach full. We also always buy food for at least a week and half. We have busy lives and simply can’t do more than 2-3 trips a month. It also saves on gas.

    I used to coupon before, but not much anymore. When I have good coupons or print some on coupon.com, then yes I do use them. Often I use the coupons on items that we often buy. I also use the Ibotta app that doesn’t require printing anything, just taking a picture of the receipt. You should check it out if you do not know what it is already.

    Mrs. Dibidend

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