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Don't miss our tips on what food purchases are busting your budget! Learn how to replace these to save money and still indulge!

It amazes me to think that certain everyday foods we use could be so costly when compared to their alternative counterparts.  These food purchases literally kill your budget.  As I discovered, by using these products I was throwing away money. Yes, literally wasting (so to speak) money that we could be using on purchasing other food related items.

We made the switch to save money and found out that the alternatives contain the same quality and taste and in fact are much healthier for my family. In fact, now that our family has made the switch we are loving it. I would not see it any other way.

6 Food Purchases That Kill Your Budget

Microwave Popcorn

For a 3 count package of microwave popcorn, you can spend between $2.50-$3.99 or $0.25-$0.70 per ounce. This, of course, doesn’t include those extreme savers who are able to score a really great sale matched with coupons.  For most of us, we can’t always count on those hit or miss sales. Buy purchasing whole kernel popcorn and making it yourself, whether old fashion stove top or air popped style cooking you can save a ton of money. You can also you a brown paper lunch bag, add kernels, fold over and place in microwave. A bag of whole Kernel popcorn costs around $2.50 per 64 oz bag or $.04 an ounce.  Using kernel popcorn versus Microwave popcorn has many health benefits too. Microwave popcorn contains extra oils, flavoring, seasonings and ingredients to prepare and preserve freshness, while whole kernel does not. One of my favorite ways to pop popcorn is the Wabash Valley Farms 8 Whirley-Pop Popper.

Marinades & Salad Dressings

A bottle of salad dressing cost $3.39 ($0.46 an ounce), but purchasing bulk red wine and extra virgin olive oil comes out to less than $0.24 an ounce. I actually started making my own salad dressing during my radioactive treatment.  I was not allowed to have anything that contained iodine (which is found in almost everything we eat). I fell in love with my balsamic salad dressing recipe and the price difference. Alternately, marinades fall right in line with salad dressing, but they can actually cost more.

Drink Mixes

I absolutely LOVE my ice tea drink mix, but at $2.79 for 12 quarts I wanted to find an alternative.  This was one of the easier food purchases I could change to stop killing our grocery budget.  I found 100 count tea bags of my favorite name brand for $3.50. I use 6 tea bags to make 2 quarts, plus sweeten with my favorite sweetener.  I can make an average of 36 quarts of tea for almost 70% of the cost, including the cost of the sweetener.  Cheers to savings money!

NonStick Cooking Spay

A can of cooking spray costs roughly $4.49 depending on the brand name.  I never realized until I purchased my Misto oil sprayer the amount of oil actually used in a can.  Each can contained 3 oz of oil, propellant and air.  So, think about pay $4.49 for only 3 oz of oil.  Yes, there is a little upfront cost to saving more money, but not much.  I found my Misto on Amazon for $9.99 with free Shipping.  The Misto is easy to use – fill it 1/3 up with oil, pump 10 times, and spray on the pan. It’s a great way to further reduce the waste we send to the landfill and save a few bucks!  Plus, it also helps to control the oil I use while cooking, so I am actually using less of it.

Snacks, Cookies, & Sodas

These items can be found in our house, but now in limits. Snack foods & soda can add a hefty sum to your check-out bill, not including those empty calories you will consume.  Limit yourself and family to purchasing one temptation per trip.  Have a sweet tooth? Buy the fun sized items and have just one.  Save yourself some money and calories.  Food purchases like these are oten the hardest to stop, but you can even train yourself to make your own homemade versions for lower cost and lower calories.


The coffee craze is filled with the convenience of the k-cup. First, there’s the cost of the machine. These machines are not cheap. In fact, the least expensive Keurig coffee maker is $100, which seems fairly typical. You can purchase traditional drip coffee for as low as $15. According to time.com “K-Cups versus ground coffee, showed that the per-cup cost was 66¢ versus 28¢, respectively. If you make three cups a day, 365 days a year, that adds up to around $723 spent on K-Cups, versus $307 for regular coffee brewers. So you’d easily save $400 a year by going the old-fashioned route”. Which is pretty incredible if you think about it.  If you are looking for more convenience you can make prep your coffee the night before and set an alarm to brew (which more makers have) and wake up to a freshly brewed cup of joe.

There are many food purchases like these that are made for convenience.  Learning to take the time to create your own versions using less expensive products will help your budget, but most likely, your health will be affected in a great way.

Which food ideas are busting your budget?

More Frugal Tips:

The Frugalists Guide To Couponing – Do’s & Don’ts

Eco-Friendly Tips That Save You Money

Meal Planning 101 – With Printable

How Much Should I Really Be Spending On Groceries?

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