Food & Recipes

18 Foods That Are Breaking Your Grocery Budget (But Don’t Need To Be)

Fresh, organic produce from the trendy grocery store down the street might look and taste slightly better than the alternative, but it will cost you a pretty penny.

Luckily, there are stores that provide fresh produce at a lower cost, like Trader Joe’s, Food Lion, Pathmark, or Publix.

Regardless, here’s a list of those 18 supermarket items that you should find an alternative to buying or dig out the coupons and pretend you’re on an episode of Extreme Couponing:

1. Spices

No, expensive grocery store, I do not want to pay $9.99 for rosemary!

According to Lauren Greutman at I Am That Lady, buying spices in bulk is the easiest way to save. She suggests Frontier Co-op, which is a website that helps you locate a store close to you that will have a bulk spice selection.

If you only want a small amount of a specific spice, then she suggests going to Big Lots or Aldi, which will often sell small amounts of spices at $1 each.

Strangely enough, she also said that the spice section of any grocery store is where spices will be more expensive. If you find spices in a different area, they may be a little cheaper.

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Flickr | cookbookman17

2. Pre-Cut Foods

Greutman found that pre-cut foods are usually double the price of the uncut version. So, maybe you’re paying for the convenience, but just keep in mind that price difference.

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Flickr | SouthernFoodwaysAlliance

3. Eggs

We’re in the middle of the worst outbreak of bird flu in decades, which is seriously jacking up egg prices. Egg prices went up another 3.3 percent in August after an giant 18.3 percent spike in June, according to CNBC.

To save yourself on eggs, try buying from a friend who has hens, if you have such a cool friend. Or try visiting your local food co-op or buy directly from a small farm.

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Flickr | Janine

4. Organic Clean 15 Foods

Foods on the Clean 15 list are foods that you don’t have to buy organic, according to Dr. Andrew Weil.

These fruits and veggies are usually chemical and pesticide free regardless of whether they’re being sold as organic.

The Clean 15 include: avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.

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Flickr | Sonny Abesamis

5. Bottled Water

Bottled water is super convenient sometimes, but just buy yourself a reusable bottle and you could save a few hundred dollars (or more than $1,000, depending on how much you buy bottled water) a year.

And we all know that using all that plastic just isn’t great for the environment, even if you recycled it.

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Flickr | frankieleon

6. Pre-Made Salad Kits Or Pre-Made Deli Sandwiches

Again, you’re paying extra for convenience here. Buy yourself a head of romaine lettuce or a container of spinach leaves, grab some cherry tomatoes and nuts, and you’ve got the makings of the same salad — you don’t even have to cut anything up.

The same goes for deli sandwiches, except deli sandwiches are even more expensive given the amount of resources that they use. Set aside time to make yourself a sandwich and you could save yourself a lot of money over time.

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Flickr | Lehigh Valley, PA

7. Individual, Serving-Sized Products

Greutman did an experiment and found that you can save $150 per year by never buying the individual serving-sized potato chips. Most of the time, packs of individually-sized Pringles can cost 50 percent more than a full-sized bag of Pringles.

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Flickr | Mike Mozart

8. Jarred Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce is extremely cheap and easy to make, especially in bulk. When you buy jarred spaghetti sauce, you’re often paying for the convenience and the glass jar.

Greutman found that spaghetti sauce is only worth the money if you can get it for $1 or less with a coupon.

Otherwise, you could save yourself a lot of money by making your own sauce in bulk and then freezing it to use throughout the next few months. Here’s an easy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe from Greutman’s Sicilian grandmother, and here’s another extremely simple one.

Photo by theimpulsivebuy
Photo by theimpulsivebuy