Things to Never Buy at the Grocery Store




I recently read an article called 16 Things that are a Complete Waste at a Grocery Store.   These are items that you shouldn’t ever buy at any grocery store according to the source.  While I agree with some of the items, there are some that I do buy at the grocery store and I’ll tell you why.

First off for the items I agree aren’t the best buys at a grocery stores

  1. Food from the Salad Bar – With this item you are definitely paying a higher price for the convenience of the items being prepped.  They do however mention that if you need only a small amount of an expensive item on the salad bar, like blue cheese or specialty olives, you might want to pick it up there instead of buying a whole package.  But, please DON”T pay for basic produce items at the salad bar.
  2. Cooking Tools and Bakeware – This is my 5 year old’s favorite aisle when we are at the grocery store.  She goes to it and pretends to be cooking.  However, I have only ever bought one thing from this aisle at the grocery store.  That was a turkey baster that was on clearance and costs only 10 cents.  Other than that, I would have to agree that these items are over priced at the regular grocery store.  I say regular because I have bought quite a few of these items at Aldi.
  3. Magazines  – I definitely agree with this item on the list.  I have NEVER bought a magazine at the grocery store.  Very often you can get a whole subscription through Amazon or Discount Mags (use coupon code COUPONHIGH to possibly save even more) for the price of just one or two magazines at the store.  If you have a certain issue you want to check out, visit your local library and you can look at it for free.
  4. Pre-Cut Meat and Produce – Pre-cut produce is one of the most over priced items at the grocery store (similar to the salad bar) plus as soon as most vegetables or fruit are cut open they start loosing some of their nutritional value and go bad faster.  While I don’t buy fresh pre-cut produce, I will occasionally buy it frozen.
  5. Alcohol – While living in Pennsylvania this wasn’t even an option since the only place you could buy alcohol was a state run store.  However in other states, you are much better off buying your alcohol at wholesale clubs like Costco or Sams.  In many states the wholesale stores are required to sell it to you even if you do NOT have a membership.  So don’t buy your drinks at the grocery store, but instead make a trip to the wholesale club and save 10 – 20%.


Items I Will Pick Up at the Grocery Store and WHY

  1. Herbs and Spices – While it’s true, the majority of the spices in the baking aisle are really overpriced, most stores will have spices in the foreign food aisles and you can get great deals there.  One of my favorites is the Badia brand found in the Mexican food aisle.  Then of course I always pick up spices at my favorite grocery store, Aldi.  At 99 cents each, you can’t beat it.  In regard to herbs, I don’t buy the little containers at the grocery store, but I have bought plants at the grocery store and put them in my window sill.  The whole plant costs about the same as one of those little packs and you get more then one use.
  2. Snack Sized Snacks – I would never buy these at regular price, but these often go on Buy One, Get One Sale.  Combine this with coupons and you have the convenience of separate packs for lunches without breaking the bank.  If there is not a sale, I would definitely buy the large packs and package in individual bags myself, but why do that if you can get a deal.
  3. Greeting Cards – In the article they suggest buying all your cards at a dollar store and not to waste the money on more expensive cards.  While I do pick up cards at Dollar Tree occasionally, I often find the cards at grocery stores are a better quality (often Hallmark Cards) and they aren’t any more expensive than the card at the Hallmark Store.  Plus many grocery stores will often offer rewards (like fuel perks) for buying greeting cards.
  4. Personal Care Products – This item almost made me laugh.   Not only do they say that grocery stores are a bad place to get personal care products, but drug stores are the worst place.  Instead they suggest big box stores like Target and Walmart.  While it’s true that these stores might have a lower everyday price on items like toothpaste, shaving cream, and shampoo, if you shop the sales and use coupons at the grocery or drug store, you can get personal care items for free or very close to it.  That’s why I have a stockpile of items that I often repurpose.
  5. Party Supplies – Definitely buy your paper products (like plates and napkins) at a dollar store, but those candles shaped like a number are often the same price at the grocery store as a Dollar Store.  So if that is all you need, you can save a trip.
  6. Gift Cards –  I have bought quite a few gift cards at grocery stores.  Most of the time it has been to get bonus fuel rewards, but I will confess sometimes it’s just for the convenience.  In the article they suggest buying giftcards at wholesale clubs.  However, I don’t do that because the amounts you have to buy at the wholesale store are often larger than I want to buy.Now for 3 ways you can save on Gift Cards without going to the grocery store.  I used one of them to to get a $30 Starbucks Gift Card for only $4.

    This was how I got a $30 Starbucks Giftcard for just $4.  While I can’t promise that deal,  use this link and you will get $5 off any gift card you choose to purchase from and to make it even better provides gift cards at a discounted rate (up to 35% off.)


    Similar to, but worth signing up for because they might have a specific store gift card when Raise might be sold out.   You can also get $5 off any gift card when you use this link.

    Restaurant Savings

    this isn’t an online savings opportunity, but instead you get them at the restaurant themselves.   Many times, especially around the holiday, they will offer a buy one, get one free deal.

Items that Really Made Me Think

  1. Items that are smaller than they look – Instead of raising prices, manufacturers will often lower the amount of products in a box or a bag.  At first glance, consumers will not realize this because they keep the box or bag the same size, but you are definitely getting less for your money.  Essentially you are paying for air.   Tricky Tricky heh.  That’s why it’s so important to check the per ounce price so you know what you are really getting.
  2. Grapes you haven’t tested – Ever get a bag of grapes home and it is really tastes like sour grapes?  The article is suggesting you try just one out of the bag to make sure it is ok before you buy it.   I’ve never done this, but after getting a pack of blueberries that were all  really tart, I might just try.
  3. Anything unwrapped that has touched your cart – Ever bought some produce like an apple, and thought grabbing a bag would be a waste?  Well after hearing this statistic, you will definitely want to take the time to grab that bag.  According to a study done at University of Arizona, 75% of grocery cart handles are coated with e-Coli.  This is more than is found in supermarket bathrooms.  I don’t think too many of you would carry an apple into a store bathroom, but by putting it in the cart you are at an even greater risk.
  4. Prescriptions – In the past I have gotten prescriptions filled at grocery stores because I had the same co-pay no matter what.  However, now that my deductible is high and includes prescriptions, I am definitely thinking more about this.  In a Consumer Reports study, they found that grocery stores charged some of the highest prices.


So what about you?  Do you have an item you NEVER buy at the Grocery Store?  Do you Buy any of these and if so WHY?  I would love to hear!

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