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6 Things Seniors Should Never Put in the Grocery Store Cart

Are you looking for tips to use your money wisely and maybe save a part of your retirement income?

No retirement savings for one quarter of the American population! According to Austin Kilgore, an expert in consumer finance, the one that creates a huge money gap is the one and only, our overpriced grocery store cart. Retirees spend too much on groceries, translating to $6,490, or 12.4% of their annual expenses.

There are some items that you should never put in your grocery cart if you want to save money and spend smartly.

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1. Food You Already Have

You should plan before going to do your groceries. Determine clearly what you have and what else you need, and review to see what you don’t need. Keeping your deposit spaces clean is useful, so always declutter your cabinet, drawers, freezer, and refrigerator.

Constantly throw away items past their expiration date and anything you won’t eat. Let go of the leftovers you promised you’d eat along with the things that you bought with another perception at that time, and now you won’t touch them.
With what is left, you can see what you need to buy and avoid making duplicate purchases. The next step would be to plan your meal.

To complete a meal, you may need to buy a fresh vegetable or a tomato can, and for other meals, you may need to buy everything. When you enter this process, you may become a little fanatic and start to want to eat down before buying more, which means using all the products you have in the house before going to do groceries, and this is not necessarily a bad thing.

2. Sale Items You Don’t Need

Don’t get fooled by your impulses. You can use sales to your advantage instead of taking everything and ending up throwing it away. For example, you can plan meals around the weekly sale ads or any great deal you find. Checking the clearance and mark areas in the store would be a good idea to get discounts on items with an upcoming expiration date because you still need to prepare the meal soon enough.

There are supermarkets where you can get digital coupons, and even if they may seem confusing at first, you should get support from the store to be able to use them.

3. Overpriced bulk buying

We know some retailers are extremely popular among retirees, like Costco or Sam’s Club. A membership is a good idea, as you can get different benefits.

When you do your groceries, remember that they also carry small-quantity items that are non-perishable, packed individually, and even multi-packs of groceries. You can purchase and split with family or people around you, such as friends or neighbors. This can help you all save and be more organized.

Another idea that is worth paying attention to is the fact that mid-size packages offer a better quantity-price deal than larger sizes. In some stores, you can find the unit pricing displayed on the shelf. However, it’s easy to check yourself using your phone or a calculator.

4. Many perishable products

Bulk buying, whether at membership warehouses or the local supermarket, only saves you money if you buy products you’ll consume quickly or items you frequently use. Bulk buying only saves you money if you consume the items quickly or if you take the products you use frequently.

When does bulk buying become an actual problem and it’s too expensive? When you purchase large amounts of goods that are perishable, such as meat, vegetables, and fruits, they quickly go bad. Whether they live alone or with a spouse, retirees tend to buy too much food.

There is another tip: if you buy food, don’t buy it sliced. Not only is that more expensive, but they get worse even faster. Talking about costs, we’re going to give this example of a pineapple that costs around $5 cut in slices, while the price for the whole fruit is around $2–$3.

Paying attention to brands would save you a lot of money too.

The same products can be found off-brand, and you better put the rest of the money used for a name in your pockets. Of course, I’m not talking about your special, joy-bringing item, but make sure what you pay for is also quality when you decide to go for a brand product.

Identify and avoid products that are overpriced or offer poor value. We already mentioned the pre-cur fruits or vegetables, and another category to better put on the shelves is the pre-packed snacks and ready-to-eat meals that come with a significant markup compared to their counterparts. They seem to sell convenience at a higher cost. You can opt to buy the whole product and prepare snacks and meals at home, which will lead to substantial savings.

In the same sphere, you will find single-serve coffee pods that you can switch to to buy coffee beans or ground coffee and use a more traditional brewing method, cutting costs considerably.

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5. Bottled water and luxury products

Another category that’s worth recognizing is bottled water. Instead, you can invest in a good filter, get rid of all this plastic in your house, and save some money. Similarly, specialty products such as cheeses or pre-marinated meats can come with hefty price tags. A good alternative would be to purchase plain meat and marinate it yourself. You can go for standard cheese varieties and add some spice to them with some online recipes.

If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen and trying new things, this is a book about luxury cheese at home: Home Cheese Making, 4th Edition: From Fresh and Soft to Firm, Blue, Goat’s Milk, and More; Recipes for 100 Favorite Cheeses

Also, when it comes to spices, instead of grabbing small packaged spices that are usually overpriced, you can bulk buy them here and package them yourself to have them for longer, save some money, and reduce packaging waste.

6. Convenient items in your grocery store cart

Try to avoid purchasing salad kits or frozen dinners. For sure, with a significant price increase for these products, the best solution would be to buy individual salad ingredients and cook your meal with fresh ingredients. This is going to be healthier, tastier, and a game changer in your finances. The essence here is to make sure you always pay the correct price for what you buy.

Don’t get fooled by premium meat cuts, and brands that serve the same average quality at higher prices, and focus on your strategy to make smarter, budget-friendly choices without compromising in any way your nutrition or flavor.

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Making thoughtful purchases as a retiree is crucial for ensuring your financial stability and well-being.

Some key points about how this is going to help you save a part of your income:

  • Working intelligently with a limited budget ensures you can cover all your essential needs without neglecting savings.
  • Saving money by doing smart everyday shopping allows you to build an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
  • Thoughtful spending creates stretching in your retirement savings, so you can make sure you have enough money to support yourself substantially in your retirement years.
  • For a stress-free life in your golden years, you will need financial security. With the right choices, you can enjoy your retirement fully.
  • You can create opportunities for entertainment by saving on routine expenses. It’s a good idea to redirect the funds towards activities and hobbies you enjoy to enhance your quality of life.
  • Smart budgeting is an incredible protection against inflation, ensuring purchase power over time and maintaining your financial health and peace of mind during the retirement years.


Read next: 11 Ways to Live Your Dream Retirement NOW

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