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Bright Ideas · Saving Money · 7 Of The Steepest Markups At The Grocery Store (And How To Avoid Them)
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7 Of The Steepest Markups At The Grocery Store (And How To Avoid Them)

Markups are inescapable at grocery stores, but these ones are so steep that they can put a sizable dent in your budget!

Our collective quest to get the most bang for our buck at the grocery store is never truly finished. And in today’s blog post, we’re continuing that quest by exploring the subject of grocery store markups.

While markups are an inescapable part of the retail experience, not all markups are created equal. And nowhere is this more true than at the grocery store, where markups can vary as widely as the variety of items they sell!

Today I’ll be shedding some light on some of the steepest markups at the grocery store, as well as providing some helpful alternatives that can save you money! (And for even more tips and tricks for saving money at the grocery store, be sure to check out my eBook Grocery Guru, available in my shop and free to download for OGT Plus members!)

7 Of The Biggest Markups At The Grocery Store (And How To Avoid Them)

1. Batteries

Most people only buy batteries when they need them and retailers know it. Markups on batteries are relatively high (about 70%) because they know you’re probably going to buy them regardless of the price!

You can get around the steep grocery store prices by buying batteries in bulk at a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club. Making this simple switch can save you up to 40 cents per battery!

2. Produce

Retailers also mark up produce pretty steeply, by around 50 to 75%, mainly to offset losses from spoilage. (On average, about 20% of produce at grocery stores gets thrown out due to spoilage.)

An easy way to save money on produce is to focus on what’s on sale whenever you happen to go grocery shopping. Sale prices on produce are typically applied to items that are available in abundance and are in-season in the location they’re grown.

It’s also smart to stock up on produce when it’s on sale, and freeze it to use later!

3. Pre-Cut Produce

If the markup on produce is considered high, then the markup on pre-cut produce is almost off the charts! You can pay up to three times as much for the convenience of pre-cut or pre-sliced fruits and vegetables compared to their uncut counterparts in the produce section.

As handy as pre-cut fruits and veggies are to have on hand, they can eat up a good portion of your grocery budget. To save money, set aside a few minutes when you get home from the store to peel, cut, or prep your produce items.

4. Bottled Water

No list of astronomical markups would be complete without a mention of bottled water. No matter how much of it you buy at once or how big or small the container is, there’s no getting around the fact that you’re paying hundreds of times more for bottled water than you would for tap water.

If you regularly buy bottled water, you can start saving money immediately buy carrying and refilling a reusable water bottle instead. (And that would still be true even if you invested in a water filtering dispenser too!)

5. Cereal

Cereal is a staple in many households, including mine! But our love of breakfast cereals can come at a cost, to the tune of a 40% markup on average.

But luckily for us, there are plenty of ways to save money on our favorite breakfast cereals! Sales and coupons are extremely common for cereal, so you won’t have to wait long for a good deal to stock up.

And don’t forget about generic brands too—these low-cost alternatives are often just as tasty as the name brand stuff!

6. Baked Goods

As convenient as those ready-made pies, cakes, and muffins in the bakery section of the grocery store can be, they aren’t always worth the cost. In fact, the markup on baked goods is often around 100%!

Many of the items are easy to replicate at home, whether from scratch or using a mix from a box. You’re sure to save quite a bit of money by going the homemade route for baked goods!

7. Spices

I dread running out of any of my go-to dried herbs and spices, simply because I know I’ll have to shell out $5 or more to replace them! Spices have consistently high markups, but there are a few ways to save money on them.

One of the best money-saving options is to buy spices in bulk, which you can typically do at health food stores like Whole Foods and some standard grocery stores. The prices are much lower for bulk spices versus the jarred ones, plus you have the freedom to buy as much or as little as you need.

You can also save money by picking the generic or private label spices over the name brand options.

What’s your best tip for saving money at the grocery store?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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