5 Big Mistakes You're Making in the Grocery Store

Are you leaving the checkout lane of your grocery store feeling gutted, only to arrive home and wonder how you spent so much money on so few groceries? You might be making one of these 5 mistakes that are sure to bust your grocery budget.

1. You’re not planning ahead

Are you headed to the grocery store without a meal plan or a list in hand? Stop right now, turn around and head back home. If you're on a budget, you have no business in grocery store without well-planned list in hand. Without a list, you are more likely to make impulse purchase or to be forced to make another trip to the store for a forgotten item. Without a meal plan for the week, you shouldn't be surprised when you get home with a hodge-podge of ingredients but nothing that can be transformed into dinner each night of the week.

2. You’re prioritizing convenience over cost

I get it, you're super busy and cooking from scratch is a lot to take on. Still, loading your cart with convenience items like microwave lunches or frozen lasagna is a sure way to spend way too much on food. Cutting out convenience food doesn't mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen each week. Consider roasting a whole chicken at the beginning of the week and pairing it with a salad each day for lunch or making a big pot of soup on Sunday and eating it throughout the week.

3. You’re not sticking to a budget

"I don't want to spend a lot" isn't a specific enough budget for a trip to the grocery store. At the beginning of each month, sit down and take a look at your expenses and determine how much you can afford to spend on groceries. Having trouble staying on track? Leave your debit card at home and take only what you have budgeted in cash to the grocery store. You may have to put some items back at the register and it will be the worst thing that's ever happened to you, buy you will persevere.

4. You’re wasting food

Are you paying attention to how much food you're throwing away each week? Are you picky about leftovers or buying foods you don't have time to prepare? Food waste is something most households need to address, since between 30 and 40 percent of food available in the United States goes to waste, according to the United Nations Environmente Programme. Save money, and make more responsible choices with the food you buy, by only purchasing what you will eat and only preparing what you will eat.

5. You’re shopping at the wrong store

If you're spending way too much money on food, it may be time to switch up where you shop each week. Using your receipts from past shopping strips, compare food prices at a few different stores in your area.