19 things you should never buy at the grocery store


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Do you like a grocery store in your area and buy everything you need there?

If so, your local grocery store will probably like you, too. He likes that you are willing to spend a lot on items that you can get for much less money elsewhere.

You can still support your local grocery store, but skip buying these there because cheaper options are available.

1. Greeting cards

woman with greeting card
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Anyone who has ever bought a Grocery Store Shocked Sticker Greeting Card – $4.95 for a piece of cardstock with a beautiful design? You can do better.

Go to the dollar store and pick up some equally nice options for a dollar. Greeting cards are one of the “21 things you should always buy at the dollar store.”

If you don’t feel like making a trip to another store, check out the options on Amazon. Or if you’re the skilled type, make your own.

2. Batteries

Couple in the living room using the remote control
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Batteries are an essential part of life, whether you’re a parent on Christmas morning or someone who relies on your TV remote. However, there is no reason to overpay.

Head to the warehouse club of your choice, where you can stock up on bulk packages that reduce battery cost. Amazon also sells large bundles of batteries, including its Amazon Basics brand.

3. Magazines

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A single issue of a magazine at the grocery store can cost you $3 or $4. Or more.

For many publications, you can subscribe to have them delivered to your home for an entire year for less than $20.

There are also plenty of ways to get discounted access to your favorite titles, as we detail in “4 Ways to Read Magazines for Free or Cheap”.

4. diapers

Baby drinking a bottle of milk
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Who knew covering your little one’s bottom cost so much? Well, experienced parents know this, but it often comes as a surprise to new parents.

Cloth nappies that you wash and reuse are always cheaper and more environmentally friendly. But for many people, disposables are the only way to go.

Buying them at the grocery store is easy, but you’ll pay much less per diaper with Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. Amazon Prime members give away up to 20% off diaper subscriptions (basically only recurring deliveries), depending on the number of subscription deliveries you purchase.

If you’re willing to watch and wait for sales to stock up, another option is drugstore brand diapers. See “7 of the best things to buy at drugstores.”

5. Alcoholic beverages

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Beer and wine are money makers for groceries. You can reduce tags by shopping at the Warehouse Club instead.

You might not even need a membership, as we explain in “The 18 Best Buys at Warehouse Stores”:

“In some states, non-members can buy alcohol at a store club due to state laws regulating alcohol sales. So contact your nearest club and ask about their policy for selling alcohol to non-members.”

6. Toothbrushes

Mom and daughter brushing their teeth together,
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Are you really buying a toothbrush at the grocery store? Don’t you go to the dentist? If you do, you’ll find that they have drawers full of question.

Yes, most people go to the dentist once every six months, and you should change your toothbrush more often. However, we’ll bet that if you ask really nicely, your dentist will give you an extra one or two until your next visit.

7. Special Occasion Cakes

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Getting a birthday cake from the grocery store is convenient, but it’s not very cheap, especially if you need to feed a crowd.

Instead, we’ll take you back to your very own warehouse club, where you can get a giant cake decorated with sheets for the same price that many grocery stores charge their convenience stores.

8. Pet food

woman kissing cat
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The grocery store isn’t the worst place to buy pet food, but you can do a better job.

These retailers are among those who offer discounts when setting up automated shipments:

Some pet store chains also offer coupons and loyalty programs that can cut costs, as we detail in “8 Ways to Save Money on Pet Food.”

9. Bottled water

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Unless you live in a city where the water is not potable, there is no reason to buy bottled water.

It will moisten the water from the tap well. Invest in two reusable water bottles and fill them up at home for a cheap price.

Does local tap water taste fishy? Buy a water filter or filter pitcher, and keep it in the fridge for when you want a cold drink or need to refill those reusable bottles.

If you must have bottled water from a store, buy it for a lower price at your warehouse club.

10. Frozen pancakes

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It’s a mystery why anyone would buy frozen waffles. Making pancakes at home is very easy. The basic recipe takes a few minutes to prepare, and a little more time to cook. We know you can do that.

Cook a big batch on the weekend and freeze toppings to eat all week long. Your cost will be pennies per pie.

11. Basic baking mixes

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Let’s take it one step further and assume that you should rule out buying all the basic breads from the grocery store. If you bake bread or cookies with Bisquick, you really don’t save any time if you think about the time it takes to mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together. All you do is pay more.

The same can be said for cake mixes, cakes, and base cakes. It is not difficult to make these things from scratch. By skipping the mixes, you’ll save money and possibly be healthier too, because of those mysterious ingredients added in processed foods you don’t put in the house.

Do you need a recipe? See “10 Essential Foods That Are Affordable And Easy To Prepare At Home.”

12. Kitchen Tools

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Speaking of baking, the grocery store knows you may need some equipment to cook all the delicious foods you buy. That’s why many have a selection of pots and pans and even small kitchen gadgets for purchase.

Resist the urge. You can probably find better prices and quality at major retailers like Walmart and Costco Membership Promotion, or on Amazon.

13. Spices

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Herbs and spices can be another ingredient that leads to sticky shock at the grocery store. How much does this tiny little bottle cost?!

If you have a wholesale food store that sells spices, you can save a bundle. Not only can the ounce cost less than those found at the grocery store, but you can also buy only what you need. There’s no reason to get a whole jar when you only want a teaspoon for a recipe.

You can also find cheap seasonings at the dollar store, but the quality and freshness may be questionable.

14. Party Supplies

Family together multi-ethnic multi-ethnic family Christmas celebration
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Like greeting cards, party supplies are sold at the grocery store for a premium. Don’t make the mistake of getting colorful candles, tablecloths, and napkins out there.

Swing by the dollar store and buy them cheap instead.

15. Coffee

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It’s the elixir of life for a lot of people, which is why it probably costs so much at the grocery store. To get cheaper coffee, you have two options.

Your Repository Store – Notice a thread here? It is a good place to store loose packages of whole and ground coffee beans and coffee mug.

If you have a Keurig device, you can also register it at Keuirg.com, where they send out good deals every now and then.

Perhaps most surprisingly, you can find discounted coffee prices at stationery stores, such as Staples, for example. These stores also have online coupons and loyalty programs to help you save more.

16. Toilet paper

toilet paper
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There may be no product more important to family harmony than toilet paper. It’s shocking how much tissue paper wrapped around a tube costs at the grocery store.

Head to your warehouse club or office supply store for discounted wholesale purchases. Amazon Subscribe and Save is also your friend here.

17. Light bulbs

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It can cost a lot of money to light your home. Skip this offer at the grocery store if you want to save some cash.

You can go to a warehouse club for lower prices, but you may find the best option on Amazon.

18. Individually packed snacks

Woman eating biscuits with milk
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You know you have to buy a huge box of goldfish biscuits and put them in bags for school lunches, but that takes a lot of work. well good. Just don’t buy those individually wrapped snacks at the grocery store.

You can get a big box of them for much cheaper per serving if you go to the warehouse club. Or see your local store’s dollar inventory.

19. Gift Cards

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Forgot to buy a gift? Not a problem. Grocery stores set up convenient displays of all kinds of gift cards through the checkout aisles.

Now, for many of those, you may only pay face value. So, you might be wondering why we say you overpay. This is because you can go to a warehouse club and get, for example, $100 gift cards to many restaurants for just $80. Different chains offer different options, as you can see by looking at:

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