List: 10 Overpriced Items at Grocery Stores

Updated: 09/18/2013 3:41 PM KSTP.com By: Ellen McNamara



Minnesotans work hard for their money and want to ensure that it is spent wisely.

But, according to shopping website wisebread.com, there are a number of items you should avoid buying at your local grocery store because you will almost always overpay.

The average American family of four spends between $610 and about $1200 a month on groceries.

If your family buys at least 10 items on the list on a regular basis at a smaller grocery store, you can expect to pay a bigger bill.

Before you check out, check your options.

Diapers, cereal, canned goods, magazines, laundry detergent, batteries, greeting cards, pre-cut food, cosmetics, and light bulbs all make the list.

"The list doesn't surprise me, those are things that I try to buy elsewhere," wife and shopping blogger, Sarah Carlson said.

Carlson and Brie Borntrager are on a mission to save and started The Real Housewives of Minnesota Blog.

"My ultimate goal is to make our money stretch as far as it can," Borntrager said.

We wanted to see how they stretch their money, so we went shopping, and compared prices.

A 14 oz box of cheerios was $3.99 at a local store.

At Costco, where you pay a yearly membership, two 14 oz boxes cost $5.49.

"When you multiply the pennies over the year, you will more than make up your membership," Barry French with Costco said.

If your family does not mind eating Crispy Oats, ALDI's 14 oz box cost $1.69.

"By only carrying our ALDI exclusive brands, we don't have to pay the marketing and advertising fees that are associated with national brands," Danielle Parks with ALDI said.

To the diaper aisle, Borntrager who will deliver any day, is already mom to toddler Lydia, and says you should only buy in bulk.

Forty-two diapers cost $10.99 at a local store, or 26 cents a diaper.

"You way overpaid for diapers," Borntrager said.

At Costco, you can get 210 diapers for $31.49, or 14 cents a diaper.

Target's own diaper brand also costs about 14 cents a diaper.

Buying online through Amazon is also an option.

Unless there is a sale, canned goods usually cost more.

"$1.53 for one can (of green beans) is definitely overpaying," Borntrager said.

Besides prices, the women say shoppers need to compare price per ounce and recommend others use a cell phone to punch in a few numbers.

If you buy 12 cans, you will spend about 5 cents an ounce.

However, if you buy those 12 singles (that cost $1.53), you would lose about $8.

To save on laundry detergent, Carlson actually makes hers!

"It costs us about $20 to make and it makes for over a years worth of laundry detergent," Carlson said.

A number of homemade detergent formulas can be found online.

Professor Anupama Pasricha says there is a reason the list exists.

"The profit margin is fairly low in the food section," Pasricha said.

It is a game of balance.

"They (smaller stores) might be only making 5% profit in one product like fresh produce or 50-70 percent on things like diapers and batteries," Pasricha said.

The professor from St. Catherine University also says because convenience is king, customers in a rush will overpay.

However, the two savvy shoppers say by knowing how to play the game, anyone can save.

"I can put that money in her piggybank for later, or save for college or vacations," Borntrager said.

As for the rest of the items: you will likely overpay for batteries, cosmetics, and light bulbs because of the packaging, and the store knows those items have a longer shelf life.

If you buy more than three magazines a year, you should just buy the subscription or online subscription.

Any pre-cut food, like meat, onions, or fruit, you will overpay for your convenience and the stores labor.

When it comes to greeting cards, sometimes you can find cards for as little as 50 cents each. Many stores also offer them for 99 cents.

If there is a sale at your local store or a buy one get one free special, stock up then.