You are Wasting Money on these 20 Foods!

Published on May 11, 2016 by Lauren

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    When you are trying to save money, the grocery store is one of the best places for you to start. You can cut your grocery budget down considerably through the use of coupons, knowing how to shop smartly, and by avoiding budget-busting traps. The grocery store is full of items that cost you more, usually due to convenience. However, with a few extra minutes in the kitchen, you’ll find that the savings is worth the time. Here are 20 foods that you should stop buying now.

    1. Spice MixesFajita 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). wasting money on food
    5. Lunch Kits – You know those kits with crackers, cheese, and pepperoni that kids seem to enjoy? 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.wasting money on food
    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 – Google the Clean Fifteen list for those items that you do not need to buy organically because pesticide residue has not been found in the food. wasting money on 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.  Check out this delicious burger idea for Pineapple Turkey Burgers featured in our 7th ALDI Meal Plan – Grilling Editionwasting money on food
    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.  Try one of these amazing homemade recipes – Classic Italian Spaghetti Sauce, Easy Bolognese Sauce, and Easy Alfredo Sauce (with a secret ingredient!).
    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! wasting money on food
    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 (that’s what we do in this house). 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. Better yet – cold brew a big batch of ice coffeewasting money on food
    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. To see a great homemade pancake mix recipe, check out this one by our friend, Carrie.
    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!

    If you look over this list, most of these items are “convenience items.” They exist for those times when we want to be lazy – which is certainly ok. But we want to be smart consumers. So a simple awareness of what we are purchasing helps us make better choices.

    If you purchase any of these products, just do so knowing that you are purchasing convenience more than the actual food itself. But if you’re in dire straits or really trying to get ahead financially, whether it be sticking to a budget, paying off debt, etc… paying for a convenience is not going to get us to our goals. With a few more minutes of time, you can create all these foods while reaping the reward of saving money!

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