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What To Avoid At The Grocery Store

Many people I've met have insisted that they buy the same thing every time, and since the coupons don't match up, they are pretty set in their ways. It may seem sometimes that you can't both save and eat what you want, but, to me it seems that you get to eat a variety of foods and it isn't always the same old same old. And, sometimes, it takes making big changes to realize what you don't want to waste your cash on anymore!

I've been thinking lately about things I don't buy that others do. Even if you refuse to coupon, you can save huge just by cutting out items that you just plain don't need! So here's my list of the top items to avoid at the grocery store.

The WORST of 'Em!

#1--Baked Goods. I'm sure I don't have to say it, but I'll say it anyway. Why pay $6 for a dozen cookies you can make yourself for less than half that amount? Why pay $10 for a cake you can bake for $2? It just doesn't make any sense. I fell victim to this this week, and this is the reason why they say to shop on a full stomach!

#2--Lunch Meats. Meats at the deli counter MAY be fresher, but if you MUST, the prepackaged version is much less expensive. We only buy lunch meat when it's on major sale or we have a craving, and it DOES NOT make the weekly grocery list. Instead, we eat PB&J, tuna sandwiches, or leftover meat sandwiches.

#3--Red Meat. It's not very good for you to start with, but if you're buying steaks every week, try making it a monthly purchase instead. Or, try cube steak which is extremely inexpensive. Our local stores don't do this, but most discount meats a day or two before their sell by date. Ask your butcher if they do. If they don't, try finding a local meat supplier. I've significantly reduced the red meat from our diets around here, however, I do know that you'll be paying much less and get much better cuts of meat this way. You can also try substituting Hamburger with ground turkey, which usually runs cheaper to start with.

The Ones that Suck a Little Less Cash

#1 Cookie Mixes, side dish packets and Premade Doughs. These can be cheap if you match coupons and sales, in which case they're great, but making them from scratch will always cost less.

#2 Sodas and other bottled drinks. Even though we've caved lately, we used to have a strict rule of brewed iced tea, milk, juice, and water ONLY in our house. This was good for both our health and our wallets. It really helps to scale back on these, and we really need to tighten up on that.

#3 Snacks, Cookies and Chips. Potato Chips are REALLY expensive and prepackaged cookies and granola bars even more so. Usually, I will buy pretzels and tortilla chips in the generic brand, which are the cheapest and healthiest snacks. Also, a tip a friend of mine told me is to make a triple batch of cookie dough and freeze it in balls. Then, whenever you're in the mood for cookies, all you have to do is drop a dozen on a cookie sheet and bake.

I wish I knew exact calculations of how much money you can save by avoiding these items, and I actually might do some research and update this entry later. But my best advice is to look at how often you purchase these items and what changes you can make in these areas.