You're Wasting Money on These 20 Foods!

When you are going through your budget, trying to find ways to save, your grocery budget is somewhere that you can really make a difference in savings. The grocery store is full of items that cost you more, usually due to convenience. However, with a few more minutes in the kitchen, that savings is worth the time. Here are 20 foods you should stop buying now to save yourself some money.

1. Spice Mixes - Fajita seasoning, cinnamon sugar, taco seasoning, rotisserie seasoning, and pumpkin pie spice - all can be created with the spices you already have in your spice rack for less money.

2. Pre-made Sandwiches - Think of those frozen PB&Js - save money and make them yourself. It only takes a couple of minutes.

3. Frozen Fruit Bars - These can cost $2 a bar! Whenever you make a smoothie at home, pour a little into a mold and freeze. Or blend fruit and ice then freeze- much less expensive!

4. Pre-Cut Fruit and Veggies - Do not buy those bags of sliced apples and carrots. The apples have been soaked in a chemical to keep them from browning. Bag them up yourself to save money (if you cut apples ahead of time, a coating of pineapple or lemon juice keeps them from browning).

5. Lunch Kits - You know those kits with crackers, cheese, and pepperoni that kids seem to enjoy (aka Lunchables)? Not only are they full of excess preservatives, they can be made much less expensively at home. Let the kids pick out their own reusable container for a fun treat.

6. Buttermilk - No need to spend extra money on a carton of buttermilk. Use regular milk and a tablespoon of vinegar to create buttermilk.

7. Individual Bags of Chips or Cookies - Save money by buying a larger bag and separating it into snack-sized bags yourself.

8. Brown Sugar - This can be made less expensively at home with regular white sugar and molasses. Yes, it's that easy!

9. Certain Organic Produce - Check the Clean Fifteen (refer to my other article this week) list for those items that you do not need to buy organically because pesticide residue has not been found in the food.

10. Bottled Juice - If you are buying bottled juice from concentrate, it's cheaper for you to buy frozen cans and reconstitute it yourself. The end result is literally the same thing.

11. Bottled Tea - Tea bags are very inexpensive. Brew tea at home for just pennies, and simply add sugar if you want it sweet!

12. Preformed Meat Patties - If you are making burgers, buy the ground beef and form the patties yourself for a cost savings.

13. Jarred Pasta Sauce - It is far more economical to make your own sauce. Spend one day to make a large batch of sauce and freeze portions for later use. (Even cheaper if you have a garden and make it with your own delicious tomatoes!) Plus, jarred sauce often has a lot of sugar in it.

14. Yogurt and Applesauce Cups - Buy a larger container of it and spoon out portioned amounts into small reusable bowls with lids. Do this in advance so they are there to grab-and-go! You do something good for the environment this way, too!

15. Bottled Water - Invest in a filter pitcher and filter your own water into reusable water bottles… or just use the regular old tap water. If you have well water and the filter doesn't clear the taste enough, buy larger jugs of water that can be refilled at the filling station in the store. This saves you money (a gallon of water costs less than 50 cents when refilled) and it puts less plastic into the environment.

16. Bottled Coffee Drinks - Those fancy coffee drinks that are served cold are not saving you any money. Whip up some yourself- brew coffee, add sugar and milk to your liking (maybe some chocolate or caramel syrup, if you have it) and put it into a bottle and shake. Chill until you are ready to drink.

17. Pancake or Baking Mixes - These can be made at home for a lot less money and you'll know exactly what has gone into them.

18. Frozen Gourmet Veggies - You've seen them before, right? They have butter and spices already on them. You can do this at home for half the price!

19. Salad Kits - A salad doesn't take too long to throw together at home. Avoid the markup with a kit and make it yourself.

20. Trail Mix - Store bought is far too costly. Make some yourself with nuts, raisins, dried fruit, and a bit of dry cereal or granola. A better bargain for sure!


    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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