4 Things That Will Stop You From Overspending On Your Grocery Budget

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Have you ever walked into a grocery store, shopping list in hand, and come out with 50 things that weren’t on your list? This still after you have drawn out a grocery budget.

There are few things sneakier in life than grocery stores. From the strategic advertisements & placed products to the sale signs that are meant to get the money flowing out of your wallet. Admittedly, it’s hard to resist the temptation at times.

Going to the grocery store can be a real food budget killer. And there is nothing that makes my stomach turn more than a $400 grocery bill. Today, I am here to give you 4 things that you can do to help you stick to a grocery budget. This is so you’ll no longer get sucked into grocery store spending traps.


This saying has been around forever, and for good reason – IT’S SO TRUE! I have personally tested this theory and I can say without a doubt, you will spend more on crap you don’t need or really want if you go shopping when you are hungry. This is because things that you would not normally eat look satisfying when you’re hungry.

This is where impulse buying at the grocery store is the worst. Try to plan your shopping trips around your meal times. This may sound crazy, but it works.

If you have a crazy life like I do, sometimes planned grocery trips don’t always work. In these cases leaving a filling snack such as  granola bar or a fruit in your car  that you can snack on beforehand could do the trick.


Since you most likely always have your phone with you, you can download a ton of phone apps to make sure your grocery list is always with you too.

The phone app I would recommend is OurGroceries. I love this app because it allows other people to add things to the list as well.  In the case of you living with someone else, this prevents you double spending on items if someone else replaced the item before you did. Thus reducing your grocery spend.


A highly recommended practice is to create your own meal plan, something you can read about here. This will help with planned savings since it allows you to check online and mailed flyers for savings specials prior to shopping for the items you would need to incorporate in your grocery list.

Creating meal plans also allows you to buy only what you need and not be distracted by these little signs that say “buy 1 get 2 free”. To this day, it’s hard for me to resist these types of sale strategies. There are a ton of sales in the grocery store that seem way to good to pass up. However getting the item on sale will actually cost you since you weren’t planning on buying it in the first place. Basically, if it’s not on the list, don’t buy it. Even if they are offering you something for free.

Another benefit to this is how you can be creative about the different ways you use the food you buy according to your meal plan. For instance if bananas were part of your meal plan and they go off, you can make banana bread from them.


There is a reason that these items are displayed near checkout stations. These items are strategically placed there because they are colorful and cheap.

Most of the time, you won’t think twice about adding a pack of gum to your cart during checkout. But you really have to ask yourself, “Would I really buy that gum if it wasn’t displayed there?”

Every single shopper needs to spend time in checkout, so having these cheap items in this location makes it an easy purchase. Don’t be fooled. The same goes for energy drinks, soda, and bottled water.

What are your weaknesses at the grocery store?




Kumiko Ehrmantraut is the owner and creator of The Budget Mom. She started working in the finance industry in 2011, shortly after graduating college with a Finance Major. She obtained her Accredited Financial Counselor® designation in 2015 and is passionate about financial literacy. When she is not running her blog you can usually find her behind a camera lens, riding motorcycles with her husband, or coloring with her 4-year-old son. She currently resides in Spokane, Washington.

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