15 Items I Quit Buying to Save Money on Groceries

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Food prices and grocery bills have gotten out of control with inflation. It feels like I watch prices for items I buy go up every time I go to the grocery store.

Even though saving money on groceries has gotten harder but it is still doable! I have forever loved both wandering a grocery store and saving money, so finding ways to save on groceries even in 2024 feels like the moment I’ve been training for.

I already wrote a list of my favorite grocery savings hacks. Now I’m back with things I’ve flat out stopped buying at the grocery store that save us lots of money.

Below, you’ll find a list of items you could strike off your grocery list when you’re on a budget. Plus, many of the alternatives to these items are not just cheaper, but also healthier so it’s a win-win!

Let’s check out the things I stopped buying at the grocery store to save money!

A stretch of a basket with vegetables in it with text on the top that says 15 things you should stop buying to slash your grocery bill

1. Name brands

Let’s kick off the list with the most obvious money saver. I buy store brands instead of name brands whenever possible. Name brands are more expensive and usually very very similar to store brands.

aldi white cheddar puff bags
Look at how much cheaper these are than Pirate’s Booty!

2. Diapers

Buying diapers at the grocery store is way more expensive than getting diapers at a store like Walmart (with the exception of Aldi brand diapers which are very cheap and decent).

For even more diaper savings, consider switching to cloth diapers! Here’s my guide to buying secondhand cloth diapers to save even more money.

Three diapers lined up in a row with labels underneath for their brands

3. Meat

A big reason that I went vegetarian in college was to save money. I know, not the reason most people go veg but as a broke college student, it just kind of happened.

Skipping meat is still a huge money saver. I know most people won’t go fully veg, but even cutting meat from a meal or two a week will save you money on your grocery bill.

4. Cleaning supplies

Cleaning supplies like dish soap are overpriced at your regular grocery store. This is another category where a store like Walmart or shopping sales is going to win out on prices compared to the grocery.

5. Prepared foods

hummus on the shelf at a grocery store

6. Shredded cheese

I’m not going to lie, this one is more labor intensive and kind of annoying. But I stopped buying shredded cheese in favor of a big block that we can shred instead.

Not only is it cost effective, shredding the cheese yourself means you’re getting just cheese instead of all the fillers and stabilizers that keep packaged shredded cheese preserved.

7. Oversized portions

Buying in bulk can be a great money saver, but only if you actually will use all of the product before it goes bad! The small amount of money saved buying bulk isn’t enough to counteract the lost money from food waste.

I stopped buying oversized packages or stocking up on too many items during a sale for most items, expect the ones I’m absolutely sure we are going to use.

8. Individually-portioned snacks

On the flip side, individually portioned items are also more expensive. Buying single-serving containers are more expensive and have more packaging waste.

Instead, I now buy bigger bags or containers and individually portion them in our reusable containers.

packages on guacamole cups and the aldi price tag

9. Canned beans

Don’t be scared of dried beans! Dried beans are much cheaper than canned beans and usually taste way better. We are staunchly a Rancho Gordo heirloom bean house — their dried beans blow other beans out of the water.

With an instant pot, you can cook dried beans up quickly too. And beans are so cheap. Embrace dried beans!

10. Pouches for kids

I have a love hate relationship with pouches. My kids love them and they’re so easy. But they’re not cheap and I stress about all the wasted packaging.

Also, they just aren’t that filling of a snack for most kids unless they’re still a baby. We stopped buying them and opt for more filling and cheaper snacks instead.

aldi baby food pouches on the shelf

11. Herbs you can grow

Herbs are expensive at the grocery store and they go bad quickly. If there are herbs you regularly use, consider growing them instead.

We use our aero-garden for some herbs and have some herbs that grow like weeds in the ground like mint and rosemary.

12. Personal care items

I buy our personal care items like shampoo and deodorant at Walmart or Target, preferable on sale. They’re more expensive at the grocery store and its not worth buying them there.

13. Out-of-season produce

Produce price and quality follows growing seasons and you should too. You’ll get the best and cheapest produce when you buy in season.

Buying strawberries or lackluster tomatoes in the middle of winter is just sad. You’ll spend a lot more for produce that just doesn’t taste that great.

14. Medicine

Medicine is so much more expensive at the grocery store than it is at bulk stores like Costco (for medicine you use regularly). For real, medications like allergy meds that you take daily are so much cheaper per pill at Costco.

For more one off medicine, you’ll likely find a better deal on store brands at a store like Walmart than your grocery store.

baby medicine cabinet items

15. Electrolyte drinks

I have to drink electrolyte drinks every day for a health condition and pre-made ones are not cheap. Electrolyte drinks like Liquid IV and pedialyte can be a dollar or more per pouch when you get them in individual servings.

Instead, I make my own electrolyte drinks now and save a lot of money. Here are a few recipes from the University of Virginia as examples.

Read more:

Need more grocery saving tips? Check out 25 easy ways to save money on your groceries.

a bag of groceries with fruits and vegetables at the bottom with big text on top that says 15 simple things I quite buying to save my grocery budget and still eat healthy meals

About the Author

Elizabeth Jon is a Ph.D. researcher whose work focuses on pregnancy and education. At Shoestring Baby, she uses her skills to research baby name trends, in-depth baby gear reviews & money savings ideas for parents.

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