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16 Things That Are a Complete Waste of Money at the Grocery Store

If spending money on meals leaves your wallet a little lighter than you would like, you’re not alone. The average American spends $151 every week at the grocery store or restaurants. What’s behind food budget bloat? Sneaky supermarket tricks are partly to blame. Stores have tons of sly ways to get you to spend more than you intend, including pitching high-priced convenience products and hiding the healthier, cheaper staple items in the back of the store.

“The design of the grocery store is actually created to keep you in longer and spend more money,” said Jamie Logie, host of the Regained Wellness podcast. If you’re not strategic about your shopping, he warned, you’ll end up wandering the aisles and tossing expensive, unhealthy processed and packaged food into your cart.

Avoiding the center aisles as much as possible is one of the best tips if you want to eat healthy and save money at the supermarket. But shopping the outer ring of the store isn’t the only way to save. You can stick to a budget by crossing these 16 items off of your shopping list.

1. Food from the salad bar

salad bar

salad bar Salad bars charge for prep you can do. | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Grocery store salad bars promise a convenient, healthy meal. But you pay a price for not having to prep those veggies yourself.

“At the salad bar, most of the items there can be purchased for less in the produce aisle, and it only takes a few moments to wash and cut them,” said Jeremy Kranowitz, the executive director of Sustainable America.

However, if you need a small amount of an expensive item, such as blue cheese or crumbled bacon, the salad bar can be budget-smart option. “From an economic perspective, it makes sense only to load up on those smaller, expensive items on a per pound basis,” Kranowitz said.

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