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Avoid these costly mistakes while shopping for groceries

Shopping cart illustration near groceries
Illustration: sorbetto (Getty Images)
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I’ll readily admit it: I’m absolutely terrible at shopping for groceries. It’s not that I’m shopping for diamond-studded steaks or anything. I just never have a plan while I’m shopping, and that’s what gets me in the end when I’m stuck with a batch of groceries that costs half of my rent. Good thing my mask hides the fact that my jaw’s halfway to the floor.

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This comprehensive guide to saving money at the grocery store from Yahoo Finance comes at a critical time when a lot of households are going to feel some financial stress. Plus, it’s all solid advice anyway. Don’t be like me.

One of the main suggestions and one almost all of you know, is to make a shopping list, which seems like a no-brainer, but 85% of the time I just fly out the door without thinking about it. Big mistake. I almost always miss something I need, then buy a bunch of things I don’t. Classic Dennis.

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Another mistake people make is that they shop for specific recipes (something I’m guilty of occasionally). On average, it’s likely that only two out of 10 of the ingredients in your recipe will be on sale in any given week. I know it’s not as fun, but you should consider shopping around the items you already have at home and what big items are on sale in the flyer.

One other mistake I make is thinking that buying in bulk will net me the cheaper price per unit. But that’s not always true. Scope out that tiny print on the price display and see what the price per unit says; sometimes you’ll realize that the bulk deal isn’t the best option after all.

There’s a lot of good advice on the list and I highly recommend you check it all out, because I have a feeling it will save you at least some money. And don’t be like me and shop while you’re hungry, because you’ll end up with some really weird things in your cart!

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

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DISCUSSION

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I’ve had to pump the brakes on some big purchases that turned out to be more expensive than their mid-sized counterparts, whip out the old calculator and do the math right in the store.

Here’s a big one that the article’s list doesn’t mention:

Don’t spend more time dealing with coupons, rewards cards, discount cards, double checking everything, etc. than your time can afford.

Value your time, not just your money. Yes you should be frugal and you should be careful, but not to severe extremes. Seeing all that in a single list is daunting, it’s not a mistake to recognize that your time is valuable, maybe you don’t have time to drive to 3 stores or to wait until Friday to shop, perhaps you don’t have enough storage space to buy in quantities that would justify these choices.

It’s about knowing what works best for you, all the advice in that list is good on its own, calling them “costly mistakes” is a bit too skewed for me.

Also, with the free grocery pick-up service, they don’t start shopping for your order until an hour before you pick it up, so some rare things get sold out after you order but before you pick it up, don’t trust the websites.