15 Items at the Grocery Store That Are Way Overpriced

Rebecca Holcomb

Grocery Store Saving

One of my favorite activities is shopping. I'm not a shopaholic, but the pleasure of picking up items my family needs and finding a great deal is real for me. However, I also love knowing how to get a good deal and when to steer clear of completely overpriced items. 

You know the things I'm talking about. You run to the grocery store to pick up food for a quick dinner and get a text saying you need garbage bags. You run down the aisle and nearly go into sticker shock when the price listed is double or even triple what you'd pay at other, cheaper stores. 

My philosophy is this: grocery stores are for food; get all your other needs elsewhere. If you hate shopping or try to make it the shortest outing on your to-do list, we've curated a list of items you never want to purchase at your local grocery store. 

1. Precut Fruits and Vegetables

Precut vegetables_YGphoto
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One of the lovely and surprising items you can skip at the grocery store is precut fruits and vegetables. Most value stores, like Dollar General, Family Dollar, and even Dollar Tree, have frozen fruits and vegetables available at a considerably lower price. 

This product is especially great if you're making a run for breakfast smoothie essentials, such as fresh frozen fruit. It is a great buy, and you can often find it at a much cheaper price in stores. 

2. Toilet Paper

Woman buying toilet paper
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Toilet tissue is expensive no matter where you purchase it. However, your local grocery store prices food at a good value, meaning everything else gets priced higher than other “value” stores. 

If you need bathroom items like toilet paper, you can find them at a bulk store like Costco, or closer to home at Dollar General or Family Dollar.

3. Ready-to-Eat Meals

packaged meals
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Ready-to-eat meals are the perfect go-to if you're in a fix for dinner or need a quick lunch option. Unfortunately, you'll pay through the nose if you run by your local grocer. 

Whether you're looking for all-in-one microwavable meals or meal kits for an outdoor grill, you'll find the best deals far removed from your local grocery store. If you're looking for value at a good price range, look for closer dollar stores like Dollar General.

4. Paper Towels

Woman buying Paper towel in bulk
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My family goes through paper towels like water. Turn on the tap and watch them fly! They're handy for many tasks, especially in the kitchen, so having them on hand is essential. 

However, if you're looking to get a good deal by snatching them from the grocery store aisle, you're in for serious disappointment. These useful kitchen basics are not a great buy when shopping for dinner. If you want the best value, check out your local dollar store, like Family Dollar or Dollar Tree. 

5. Beauty Products

Woman buying skincare products
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We all want to put on a fresh face. Whether you're looking for your favorite foundation, a new lip liner, or a simple face wash, the Publix or Aldi aisle will not help unless your goal is to waste money. 

By learning who sells what you need, you can maximize your savings. Add in a few well-placed manufacturer or store coupons, and you can really rack up some “rainy day” money. 

6. Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs
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These little devils will run you cash, especially if you purchase the pricey eco-friendly version to save on electricity. 

Aside from not seeing them on the shelf, trying to buy light bulbs at your local grocery store will exponentially rack up some money to the negative.

7. Batteries

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Whether picking up batteries for flashlights or powering your smoke detectors, batteries are a staple for many households. 

However, finding a great deal doesn't happen at your local grocery chain. If you're looking for name-brand batteries like Duracell or Energizer, your best bet is to try Dollar General or order bulk from Family Dollar. 

8. Cat Food and Dog Food

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Feeding your pets is becoming as expensive as feeding your family, but your local grocery aisle isn't where you want to grab your wet or dry pet food. 

Grocery stores see higher animal feed prices for several reasons: inflation, supply chain issues, import prices, and high commodity prices. 

9. Cooking Utensils

Happy Woman cooking in kitchen
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One of the best buys you can grab at Dollar Tree or Family Dollar is the kitchen utensils. Usually priced around one to two dollars, these affordable everyday essentials are a must. 

Thankfully, the return on your investment is so great with this sort of purchase that it just doesn't make sense to try and purchase them from your local grocery chain. 

10. Processed Snacks

Processed Snacks
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In the name of frugality, purchasing your go-to snacks from Dollar Tree, Family Dollar Save-a-lot, or Aldi is an easy way to keep your food budget low. 

These money-saving chains have a corner on the market for pre-packaged, pre-made snacks and offer an affordable option for frugal consumers. 

11. School Supplies

school shopping

I love the school supplies you can find for your children at places like Dollar Tree and Dollar General. Bulk stores like Costco and Sam's Club offer big-buy options and are great options for teachers looking for classroom supplies.

From coloring books and colored pencils to poster boards, construction paper, and glitter glue, these stores have tons of frugal school supply options for families looking to save. 

12. Party Supplies

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Like school supplies, party planning supplies are fun and frugal when you shop at your local dollar store. 

It's a purchase your local grocery stores can't match, even if they sell these items. The prices here are so high that even a buy one/get one sale isn't likely to compare to what you can purchase from a much lower-priced dollar chain. 

13. Bottled Drinks

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I'm a sucker for a nice, cold drink. Whether you prefer Pepsi, Coke, or cold Aquafina water, bottled drinks are a steal at your local dollar chain store. 

However, when you go to your local grocer, you'll pay one to two hundred percent more for that same bottled beverage. It's an easy money-saving choice when you're already in the area. 

14. Pantry Items

Canned soup
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Sometimes, you run across a brand of food that just can't be found anywhere else. Save-a-lot is the only store that sells my favorite tuna brand, and I'm a huge fan of Aldi for produce and chicken. 

Big chain grocery stores are great for sale items and deli lunch meat, but some items just can't compete with value-store goods. 

15. Greeting cards

greeting cards
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Greeting cards are expensive. Hallmark is the premier greeting card maker, and its cards are lovely. However, I'm not looking to go into debt for some fancy words on a pre-printed card. 

I'd much rather make a card and fill it in with what's in my heart. Short of making my own, I usually find cards that cover all the bases in stores like Dollar Tree and Dollar General. Trust me, those stores are pricey enough for cards for all occasions. 

Broke and Hungry? These 11 Cheap Foods Will Keep You Full For Days

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Are you broke but still need to eat? It can be hard to maintain a balanced diet when cash is tight. But don’t worry; there are plenty of cheap and nutritious foods that won’t break the bank yet will keep you full for days. Having a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to settle for unhealthy fast food or expensive processed snacks. Plenty of healthy, inexpensive, and filling foods will provide the nutrients your body needs without breaking the bank. Here are a few options to consider when you’re broke and hungry:

Broke and Hungry? These 11 Cheap Foods Will Keep You Full For Days

12 Ways to Fight Inflation at The Grocery Store

Grocery Shopping
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Are you feeling the pinch at the grocery store checkout line? You're not alone. Rising prices can make the simple act of feeding your family feel like a daunting task. But don't worry! There are innovative strategies to tackle this challenge.

12 Ways to Fight Inflation at The Grocery Store

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