You see all kinds of tips these days on how to stay within your grocery budget when going to the store. Well I’m here to tell you the exact opposite. Here are 7 surefire ways to help you blow right past what you expect to spend, and get you double checking your receipts after you’ve left the store… just to make sure the cashier didn’t accidentally ring up that gallon of milk fifty extra times.
If you’re like me, you have an idea of what you’re going to spend on groceries each week. I do all my shopping once a week, so it’s easy for me to have ONE figure in mind when I go to the store that I’d like to stay under. That is precisely why #3 is an especially good one to follow if you really want to blow the budget.
Each one of these can be a contributing factor to going over plan, then if you combine any of them during a given week you are pretty much screwed and might as well just go out to eat every night instead. Although #1 is a weakness for a lot of people, if I had to pick my biggest deal breaker, #5 is the one that gets me every time.
7 Awesome Tips on How to Blow Your Grocery Budget
1) GO HUNGRY
Most people are aware of this classic, one of the first rules of grocery shopping. Never go when you’re hungry. If you’re hungry, all of a sudden EVERYTHING looks good… Even if you know in you’re heart it’s not.
Like that random new flavor of chips they came out with. Even though you don’t eat chips, you feel compelled to try them. And then months later when you’re cleaning out the snack pantry you find the bag, still practically full, and sadly toss it in the garbage. Might as well just throw a few dollar bills in there… sigh.
2) BRING A KID
It doesn’t matter whose kid. It doesn’t have to be yours. They just have to be old enough to want every bright, shiny, colorful package they see. It doesn’t matter that the last time you succumbed to their plea, it ended up in the garbage alongside the uneaten chips. “I promise, I’ll eat them this time”. Uh huh, I’ve heard that story before.
Does it stop me from giving in? I’d really LOVE to believe she’s going to eat the entire package of pomegranate seeds before they go bad. And how can I say no to fruit? Especially shiny, red, ready to eat, super expensive, fruit.
3) GIVE THAT KID THEIR OWN CART
You thought it was tough to turn down the one package of pomegranate seeds? Try getting all the way to the register only to find about 5 extra items you weren’t even aware you were purchasing. It’s amazing how many treasures they can fit in those little kiddo carts.
Sure, you could sheepishly tell the cashier you don’t really want all those things, but you’ve already terrorized the store for an hour with the mini ninja cart racer that doesn’t know how to “Stay behind me and DO NOT run into my heels”.
4) FORGET SOMETHING
That happened to me just this week. I was going to make pulled pork sandwiches one night (well, my husband was going to make them, but I had them on the menu). When I got home from the store, I remembered everything except the pork. Kind of a crucial part of the meal.
So that means EITHER, we’re going to have to get take out that night instead (not the super frugal way to go, especially since our one year old basically eats what a teenager does), OR, I’m going to have to go back to the store and YOU KNOW I’m not just coming out with pork. That’s at least another twenty dollar bill getting thrown into that week’s budget.
5) DON’T MAKE A GROCERY LIST
Okay folks, this is a biggie. If you don’t use my weekly dinner plans, use something! Funny story, I didn’t make my usual grocery list this week. I started it, but only ended up with a couple of items on it. Guess what was on the list… yep, the pork I forgot in #4!
Typically, I even put the basics on my list as one run-on item: coffee/milk/juice/fruit/bananas. Otherwise I get distracted by mini ninja cart racers and inevitably forget something (see above).
The bigger issue however with not making a list, is that I’m not as focused. I end up with a bunch of random items that don’t really make sense in a cohesive meal. And then I have a bunch of convenience meals (see below) as a back up since I’m not quite sure what else in my cart could actually be considered a meal.
This week was a perfect example. I spent about $60 more than I normally do because I didn’t make a list, and now I’ll have to go back to the store since I forgot something (not to mention I had #2 and #3 going against me as well).
6) SHOP FOR CONVENIENCE
This one is really easy to justify. I used to do it all the time. I convinced myself it was going to cost more to buy all of the ingredients to make it from scratch, when I could just buy the meal already prepared. I really had myself fooled for quite a while.
One day I was trying to figure out why I was spending so much more at the grocery store, and figured I’d try going back to more ingredient shopping versus prepared meals. Not only is it so much better for you, I could see the savings immediately and was consistently spending $30 less per week. I will say that Trader Joe’s has a couple of very good frozen items (like the Saucy Scallops we ate a few weeks ago) that are the perfect portion at an amazing price. But you wouldn’t want to give those items a regular appearance on your menu.
7) BUY TOILETRIES AND CLEANERS
Last, but not least. If you REALLY want to see your grocery bill skyrocket, buy your toiletries at the grocery store. It seems like it couldn’t hurt to grab a soap here, a glass cleaner there, but you’d be amazed how quickly all that can add up. If you’re going to be spending that kind of money on toiletries, you may as well go to the cool, local, all natural specialty shop and get your shampoo from them.
There you have it folks. Seven tried and true methods to exceed your grocery budget every week. As for me personally, I’m going to plaster this list to my fridge as a constant reminder.
What’s your favorite way to go over your grocery budget?