As a krazy coupon lady, I’m always looking for the best deals as well as convenience. But before I started couponing, I used to only shop at larger grocery stores that provided more non-grocery items so that I could get all my shopping done in one place. Of course, all of these non-grocery items are there—light bulbs, batteries, decorative items and so on—but they come at a price (a very high price!). I still find myself frequently tempted to purchase these items just to save time. But I have to keep telling myself that a grocery store’s speciality is groceries—not ceramic pots, paintings, or pillows.

Don’t get me wrong—convenience is great, but if I stick to my list for what I need from certain stores then I can get it all done relatively quickly. In fact, sticking to your list can be the most profitable thing you do; read more about what details your grocery list should include here. Since I find non-grocery items at grocery stores so enticing—and I know I’m not the only one—I made a list of 6 items that you shouldn’t purchase in the grocery store. I promise you’ll find a better price somewhere else!

1. Don’t buy party, gift-wrap supplies or greeting cards.

These items are readily available at dollar stores and party supply stores (where the quality will be much higher!). Dollar stores have modern colors and themes for all of your party needs—plus the price is rock bottom! Why should I pay $3.99 for a gift bag, when a dollar store around the corner has gift bags for $1? Many dollar stores even carry balloons, which are always overpriced at grocery stores!

2. Don’t buy vitamins or over-the-counter medications.

I get all of my vitamins and over-the-counter medications at drugstores when they have sales with store rewards, and then I stock up when I find the items on clearance. Vitamins and over-the-counter medications are offered for convenience at the grocery store, but the shelf price exceeds reasonable costs. Often you can find vitamins that are buy one get one free and many times you can also get rewards for buying these items. On average, I pay about $5.99 for two bottles of name brand vitamins at the drugstore, which is much better than $19.98 at the grocery store for the same product.

3. Don’t buy household items such as dishes, wicker furniture, baskets and outdoor accessories.

These items are typically overpriced compared to Walmart and Target. I recently priced some beautiful dinnerware at Harris Teeter, but they wanted almost $20 for them! I went to Walmart and found the same dinnerware set for half the price.

4. Don’t buy spices and baking items.

I needed some red pepper for a recipe and found a bottle for $3 at the grocery store. Because I had never purchased this item, I wasn’t aware of what my price point should be. I was shocked when I went to CVS and saw their gold emblem brand was $1! Dollar stores also carry a great selection of spices. This lesson cost $2 for me to learn, but now I know to never purchase my spices at the grocery store!
  •  Tip: To have a better sense of what your price point should be, check out KCL’s Stock-Up Price List here!

5. Don’t purchase household maintenance items.

Air conditioner filters are a prime example of a price markup in the grocery store versus at Walmart or Lowe’s. Instead of paying $5.99 at the grocery store for 2 filters, buy a 4 pack for $4 or less at Walmart. Knowing the price point you plan to pay is extremely important, so stock up when you’re at the cheaper stores to avoid impulse purchases of higher priced household items.

6. Don’t purchase batteries.

My local Harris Teeter has a 4-count pack of AA Energizer batteries for $4.99. CVS has the same batteries, but they’re frequently buy one get one free, plus I can use a manufacturer coupon and take advantage of store rewards. Make sure to stock up when they’re on sale!

Bonus tips:

  1. Don’t be influenced by how the store has promotional items arranged: Maybe the chips are on sale at a great price, but the store has conveniently placed the more expensive brand of salsa at the display instead of the store brand which is $1.50 cheaper.
  2. Don’t forget to check the weight of the meat you purchase: Stores will add water to the packaging to influence the weight listed. Stores are required by law to list what is added to the meat, so watch the per pound weight of the meat versus the price per pound.

This is a post by Tammy from St. Pauls, NC.

6 Items You Shouldn't Buy at the Grocery Store!