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4 reasons you’re overspending on groceries

Overspending on groceries?

Overspending on Groceries

Are you struggling to save money on your grocery bill each week? Do you often spend much more than you anticipate and aren’t sure why?

I can [probably] tell you.

Below are 5 reasons you’re likely overspending on groceries.

1. You don’t have a grocery budget

The most important thing you can do if you want to save money on groceries (or other things in your life), is to create a budget.

When you shop without a budget in mind, you have no reason to not buy every single thing that you want.

2. You don’t plan menus for the week

An essential part of saving money on groceries is menu planning. By creating a menu plan every week, you are not only going to save money, but your shopping trip will be easier, and you’ll know longer have to worry about what’s for dinner.

You don’t want to restrict yourself to certain meals? Have a free day included on your menu plan, where you can make whatever you feel like. For the other 6 days, suck it up. It will be worth it.

Remember, you don’t have to do a “this is what we’re having on Monday, and this is what we’re having on Tuesday” type menu plan. Simply list 7 dinner ideas and make whatever you want from that list each evening.

3. You buy expensive items

We all have our splurges, but when it comes to the majority of grocery items, to save the most money, you need to train yourself to only purchase what’s on sale.

Don’t go into a store with a list of items you want to buy, just because you want them. Go into a store with a list of items you want to buy, because they are on sale for a good price.

Check out the Canada Yearly Sales Cycle to get an idea of when certain items are on sale.

4. You shop on impulse

Have you ever decided to go shopping because you were bored? Have you ever went out for groceries at the last second, without creating a shopping list first?

Shopping on impulse is never a good idea. You should always plan out when you will go shopping, where, what you will buy, and what your budget is. If you don’t know these things, avoid the stores until you do.

Think about how you currently handle grocery shopping. Do you know what your budget is? Do you shop on the same day every week? Do you always bring a shopping list with you?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, congratulations. You’re a money-saving, grocery-shopping super star! If not, you have a bit of work to do. Get on it. Practice makes perfect! I’m here to help, if you need me.


  1. Virginia

    Sometimes I will do a theme week or even just 2 or 3 dishes of the same theme. I find if a make a Mexican dish I will buy some ingredients I don’t normally have on hand for a specific dish but then I have some left over and it goes to waste. So I will plan a few Mexican dishes for the week. Same goes for Greek food.

    • Pat

      Good Idea!!

    • Cynthia

      That’s a great idea! And the web is chock full of recipes so one never should be bored!!! 🙂

  2. teachermum

    Enter your comments here.

    • teachermum

      Sorry about that!

      I find that even if you didn’t follow the above rules, simply picking your grocery store wisely can save you 30-50% on produce (most of what I buy). Were I to shop at Superstore, Metro or Walmart as a one stop shop with no pricematching I’d be paying so much more than I do at No Frills or Food Basics. No Frills in my town has the best produce anyhow and is never out of anything. My Walmart is notorious for that–I’ve gone in quickly and they have been out of bananas and oranges!

      • Betty

        I agree with you as that is what I do. Makes a big difference. I found even my local Giant Tiger has great produce (eg. Dole bananas @ 29 cents/lb. about a month ago & they were great tasting). I also watch the flyers & check the expiry dates. I’ve noticed lately that when they put some groceries on for a great price, it means the store is stuck with a few of these items that are about to expire (Cheese Whiz, Peanut Butter).

  3. yoko

    hi, just wondering…do you consider everything you buy at the grocery store “groceries”?? For example we buy clothes and other household items at the store.

    • theresa

      Clearly clothes do not count as groceries.

    • Cassie Howard

      For us, groceries consist of food, beverages, pet food/cat litter, health & beauty items, and household items such as dish soap and paper towels.

  4. Carrie H

    We buy mainly organic so i have to watch for sales and stock up. For example the same packaged organic mushrooms cost $3 at safeway and at WM it costs $1.99 at the same time the convenstional mushrooms would only cost $.99. I love when shoppers has sales on the organic brands – I’m waiting for the mega redemtion day in December to stock up on all the dry and canned goods.

  5. chris

    I need to get back into menu planning. it was super helpful with our busy family. Our only place to shop in an IGA, or SuperValu. IGA has better veggies and meat, I think anyways, so I tend to shop there more, but both stores have a huge inflation from even the nearest city, which isnt really possible to just go to and shop as we are on an island…
    thanks for the reminder to get back into budgeting and menu planning.

    • Cassie Howard

      My pleasure! 🙂

  6. Save Big, Live Better!

    Sadly every reason you gave above was us just over a year ago!
    I look back now and think “why didnt we see this?” but it really doesnt occur to you unless you are putting effort into figuring out why you’re overspending and how to save!
    I think about our old ways and cringe, will never go back to impulse shopping, and I actually ENJOY menu planning:)

    • Cassie Howard

      I enjoy menu planning as well. 🙂

  7. Rory Gordon

    I think your right my strategey mostly consisted of filling the cart and when i ran out of things to grab when i got to the fridge I would repeat

  8. jackie

    Thats is not straight true.
    Because, Im from really poor country with a lot crisis around my family when i was child, and I remember and lear about How can save money in home, groceries …etc.
    So, by this way, from my mom i learned all about save money.
    Right now, I live in Nw area in Canada….. and ITs impossible, save money here, is a city (Calgary) where all is getting expensive….

  9. Cathy

    Shopping for groceries hungry would be one of my big overspenders; it’s as if all common sense goes out the window, and hunger takes over – hope that’s just me..

    • Cassie Howard

      Don’t worry, it’s not just you!

  10. Brittney

    In addition to these reasons, I also think where you shop makes a big difference. I know some people have no choice to shop at a certain place because that is all that is available to them, but I notice that Zehrs, Foodland and Superstore ( just to name a few ) are much more expensive than No Frills and Freshco regardless if the items are on sale or not.

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