Avoid These Grocery Store Shopping Mistakes

Food is getting expensive, and shoppers everywhere are hyperventilating at checkout. We’re all foodies now, and we want our grass-fed beef, our Matcha powder and our fresh figs – or our pea protein and gluten-free cookies, or the soy mac-n-cheese for the kids – but we don’t want to take out a second mortgage just to buy food for the week.

Lists about saving money at the supermarket are everywhere, and much of the information is common sense. Avoid impulse buys, buy in bulk, shop from a list, etc., but did you know that many of these tips can actually cost you more at the register?

And here you thought you were doing everything right. If you’re happy with your food budget, you are – but if you find yourself pining for the swordfish you used to be able to afford, learn when to eighty-six the tips.

The Grocery List

The experts say that you should make a list of everything you need before you leave the house, and buy only what’s on the list. Makes sense, right? No impulse buying means no superfluous spending. Except, no.

Say you planned to buy sirloin steak, chicken breast, ground beef and flounder as the basis for the week’s dinners. When you get to the store, you notice that the sirloin steaks aren’t looking very good, but there’s a two-for-one deal on ground beef. And that hot Italian sausage you love is 30% off. And they’re out of flounder, but the shrimp is only $7/lb that day.

Had you stuck to your list, you would miss out – but if you’re flexible enough to plan meals on the go, you snap up the bargains and save a bundle.

Discount Clubs

The cavernous discount club is touted as one of the biggest money-savers out there. If you don’t mind buying institutional-sized packages, you can save a fortune, right? Not necessarily.

It all depends upon the club, the item and the brand. Sometimes, the package is larger but the price is comparable to what you find in your regular supermarket. And if that giant package is perishable food, will you go through it all before it goes bad? If not, that’s money wasted.

Sure, there are deals, but you shouldn’t rely upon them – they’re frequently fleeting. Hit the discount club no more than monthly and scoop up any truly great finds – but don’t grocery shop there. A car-sized box of toilet paper may be fine – a similar-sized crate of lemons is not.

Shopping the Perimeter

By sticking to the perimeter of the store – dairy, produce, meat, seafood, bakery – you save a bundle by buying only raw, non-processed ingredients, right? Not even close.

Perimeter shopping is the healthiest way to shop, not the cheapest. Fresh meat, seafood and produce are more expensive than frozen and canned, and by skipping the aisles you miss out on pasta, packaged bread, beans and rice – staples of the budget-conscious diet.

Joining a CSA

By paying a monthly fee to a local community-supported agriculture project, you save money on fresh produce and get the freshest stuff straight from the farm, right? Well, sort of.

Yes, CSAs are trendy, yes they’re great for small farms. But they are not cheap. Full memberships can run $300-$400 per month or more. Sure, you get a weekly crate of delectable fruit and vegetables, but would you typically spend over $100 per week on produce at the grocery store? And because your weekly haul is dependent upon that week’s harvest, sometimes you may get a load of eggplant, which you hate. Other times you might be overrun with onions. Or this particular farm stinks at strawberries.

In other words, if you’re concerned about cost, be very sure to get the best for you that your budget can buy. Stick to your grocery store and shop the sales, and keep an eye out for roadside produce stands and local farmers’ markets, where you can frequently find bargains on exactly what you want, in a sensible quantity.

Grocery List for College Students

People generally move out when they get into college and start living the life of an adult. The term adult comes with a lot of responsibilities such as cleaning, cooking, shopping for your basic necessities yourself, etc. In order to not fumble and get confused with the things you would require everyday, it is necessary to make a grocery list before you shop for your groceries. Otherwise, you may end up buying stuff you don’t want and miss out on a few things that you actually need as a college student.

Shopping List
If you are living on the college premises, then grocery shopping needs to become more organized. Hence, it is better if you prepared a list before going shopping. Here’s a list of all the important things that a college student needs.

Breakfast Foods

Bread Cornflakes
Eggs Muesli
Milk Oats
Cereal Cookies

The most important meal of the day is breakfast. Being a college student, you are bound to wake up late, get ready in a jiffy and rush to college. In this hurry, you tend to skip your most important meal. Try not to do so. You can make an easy breakfast by simply adding cereal, cornflakes or muesli to a cup of milk or even dunking cookies in milk. It is very healthy and not time-consuming in any way.

Pantry Staples

Rice Couscous
Dried Beans Cooking Oil
Dry Pasta Lasagna Sheets
Baked Beans Olive Oil
Flour Salt
Sugar Lentils
Canned Tomatoes Cheese

Cooking at home is always better and healthier. If you love cooking or if you are a health freak, you will always make time for this. Another benefit of homemade food is that you can cut that extra oil or cheese off to make it a low calorie meal. It will be less expensive for you. If not, you can always hire a cook.

Fruits and Vegetables

Apples Bananas
Watermelons Melons
Oranges Tomatoes
Onions Potatoes
Carrots Broccoli
Baby Corn Mushrooms
Olives Lemons
Lettuce Spinach
Asparagus Garlic
Eggplant Green Beans

Fruits and vegetables are eatables you can munch on all day. They are healthy and can make up for one whole meal. They will also keep you fresh and active all day. They can be eaten as salads too. Fruits and a few of the vegetables can also be used to make fresh juices. They will serve as a healthy source of vitamins and will help in keeping you hydrated.

Snack Items

Potato Chips Pre-cut Salad Leaves
Salad Dressing Salsa Sauce
Instant Cake Mix Pancake Mix
Instant Popcorn Instant Noodles
Biscuits Dry Fruits
Premixed Nuts Pudding Cups
Chocolates Soft Drinks
Jelly Breezers

If you are the type who would wake up in the middle of the night hungry, then these snacks would serve as a boon to you. Also, if it is a Sunday and you call your friends over, you can bake a cake or make them some popcorn or noodles.

Meat and Poultry

Turkey Minced chicken
Skinned chicken Minced mutton
Boneless Mutton Bacon
Ham Salami
Boneless chicken Chicken drumsticks
Fish Canned tuna
Crab meat Beef Steak

Turkey and chicken can be added to pasta, spaghetti or rice. Easy sandwiches can be made using bacon, ham and salami. Minced chicken or mutton can be prepared as thick gravy and eaten along with bread. Canned tuna can be used in salads while crab meat in soups. Chicken drumsticks can be eaten as starters with beer or wine.

Herbs and Spices

Korintje (Makara) Cinnamon – Ground
Bay Leaf Cumin
Paprika Basil
Tarragon Celery Seed
Arrowroot Parsley
Annatto Seed – Ground Asafoetida Powder
Black Pepper Dill Weed
Thyme Rosemary
Saffron Sage

Cinnamon and nutmeg are used for baking and making curries, while arrowroot is used to thicken sauces. Sage, thyme and rosemary is used for poultry, while dill weed is used for cooking fish. Tarragon can be used for both, seafood as well as poultry. Herbs are a must in a college student’s grocery list, as they add the must-needed flavor instantly.

Essential Extras

Balsamic Vinegar Soy Sauce
Pizza Base Tacos
Cornflour Instant Coffee
Tea Instant Soup
Biscuits Canned Soup
Butter Tomato Ketchup
Peanut Butter Hummus
Tomato Paste Fruit Juice
Beer Wine
Jam Mayonnaise
BBQ Sauce Tortilla Chips

Coffee and tea can serve as energizers and can also help you study longer. Instant or canned soups can save you a lot of time and be good appetizers. The rest can serve as extra essentials while cooking.

Why Buy?
Fruits: Fruits like oranges, bananas and apples can be stored in the refrigerator for a longer time compared to the other fruits. There is nothing to prepare in them, hence you can save a lot of your time. They can be a quick munch when you are hungry.
Dry Fruits: Dry fruits can be a part of a low calorie diet. They can be substituted for chips and other high calorie munches. They are also very healthy and nutritious.
Eggs and Bread: They are very high in protein and form a good and quick breakfast. They can also be scrambled and added to fried rice or eaten along with bread for dinner. Boiled eggs can be a part of your salad too.
Canned food: Canned foods include preserved food like canned soups, tomato paste, etc. They can be stored for a long time and save you cooking time.
What Comes Cheaper?
Fruits like apples, bananas, pears, grapefruits, etc., and vegetables like cucumber, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green pepper, lettuce leaves, etc. come cheaper and are a good source of vitamins, providing essential nutrition to the body.
Water is the cheapest and healthiest source of hydration. Substituting water for any beverage will save your pockets.
Milk, eggs and cheese are high in protein and low in carbs, they aren’t very heavy on the pocket and can make a sufficing meal.
Packaged food like tortilla, spaghetti, bread, cereals and pasta can make a meal without burning a hole in your pockets. Opt for healthy food and try cooking them at home.
Check for items available on a sale. They come cheaper. Do not stop at only one store. Check a few stores and compare the prices of the commodity. Then buy the commodity with the lowest price. Also check for cheaper substitutes for different food items.
One more thing that you need to keep in mind is to gather all the discount coupons which you have collected and use them. These coupons are very valuable and you will be able to really cut the cost of your shopping. Always make a detailed shopping list every time you visit the grocery store. While this list was just a sample, you can add or remove certain items from this list, based on what you need and vice-versa.