Grocery Store Markups

Are you paying too much for your groceries?

Even when you stock up on your favorite cereal for 50 cents less than its normal price, are you paying too much? According to Teri Gault, founder of The Grocery Games, Santa Clarita, California, you are.  "Most grocery items are marked up double or more," Gault says.

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

To cut your grocery bill in half, stock up on everything but beverages and produce during half-off sales.  Combining coupons with sales yields an average savings of two-thirds off regular prices.

Additional Cost-Saving Tips

  • Buy cases of bottled water instead of singles.  A bottle of water in a case of 24 averages 18 cents each during a typical sale.  Convenience stores and gas stations often sell singles for $1.12 or more - at least a 700% markup.
  • Achieve larger savings by forgoing bottled water and drinking tap water.  A glass of tap water adds a penny or so to your water bill.
  • Buy coffee grounds or beans from your favorite coffeehouse.  You'll get the same taste homebrewed.  For instance, a one-pound bag of Starbucks coffee typically goes on sale for $7.99 at supermarkets.  That bag will make at least 27 tall coffees.  That's 30 cents a cup vs. around $1.90 in-store.
  • Pack your own lunch.  This usually costs about $1 to $2 a day, or 10% of dining out.  If you don't have time to prepare lunch in the morning, you can set it up the night before.  Or, if your workplace has a fridge and microwave, buy high-end frozen meals for $3 on sale or $2 with an accompanying coupon.
  • Wait for breakfast cereal sales.  Sales and coupons for 70% to 80% off the regular price are routine.  Never buy a breakfast cereal when it's not on sale.