8 things that cost more at the grocery store (and where to get them cheaper)


If you’ve ever thought “I can’t believe I spent that much” after a trip to a traditional supermarket (not Aldi), let’s figure out where all that money went!

Cosmo put together a list of eight things that are eating up your grocery budget. In many cases, you can find better bargains on these items, and they can be found at stores that you’re probably already going to anyway, so you don’t have to make several stops.

Read more: Use this simple trick to stop overeating (and spend less on food)

Keep these items out of your grocery cart!


You’re in the supermarket, so why not pick up a pack of batteries? Well, they’re usually way overpriced.

Grocery stores know that it’s just one of those things you grab when you think of it.

Instead, head to Costco and buy their Kirkland Signature AA batteries, which are a Consumer Reports “Best Buy.’ If you don’t belong to Costco, stock up during a sale and get an even bigger discount with a manufacturer’s coupon.

Greeting cards

Flip over a greeting card at the grocery store and you might be surprised to see that some of them cost $5 or more – and then you may also need to buy a stamp to mail it.

Head over to a nearby dollar store and you’ll typically find cards priced 2 for $1.

Salad dressing

If you’re going to the trouble of making a salad, whip up a quick and easy homemade salad dressing as well. It can be cheaper and healthier for you – with far fewer ingredients.

Mr. Food has put together a list of 33 simple and inexpensive salad dressings, many with five ingredients or less.


Name-brand spices

Since spices have an expiration date and lose strength over time, you might find yourself needing to replenish your supply every so often. But Consumer Reports found pricey spices are generally not worth it.

In a cost comparison, spices purchased at Walmart were three times less expensive than a brand sold at traditional grocery stores.

And we have to mention that discount food stores — like Aldi — are a great place to buy spices for $1 each.

Pre-arranged flower bouquets

If you’re looking for flowers that will remind you of your wedding day, the grocery store is probably not the best place to look.

Sure, they’re cheap, but quality can be an issue.

D Magazine found an exception to that rule with Trader Joe’s, which sells smaller bouquets at about half the price of some competitors. Their bouquet held up for 10 days! Just don’t expect that with all grocery store flowers…

If you’re buying flowers as a gift, check online for discounts and promo codes to make sure you get the best deal.

Party supplies

Instead of walking down the party supplies aisle, take a trip to your local dollar store to save on invitations, gift bags, balloons, cups, plates and party hats.

Dollar stores even sell party supplies cheaper than Walmart, according to Cheapism.com.

Pre-packaged lunch foods for kids

Alarm bells should sound every time you hear the word “pre-packaged.” These purchases are all about convenience – and you’ll pay for it.


Buy the ingredients separately and prepare it yourself to save almost 50%.

Bottled water

According to the International Bottled Water Association, 25% of consumers buy their bottled water from grocery stores.

But about a third get it in bulk — from places like Costco — to save money.

And since some of that bottled water is just filtered tap water anyway, you could always invest in a water filter and BPA-free bottle.

Read more ways to save on groceries:

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