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I’m a Shopping Expert: 4 Items I Always Put in My Grocery Cart



I’m a Shopping Expert: 4 Items I Always Put in My Grocery Cart

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Grocery shopping can be challenging for many reasons. With rising food prices, it can be difficult to stick to a budget while still filling your cart with nutritious items.

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Another challenge with grocery shopping is being bombarded with marketing tactics that encourage you to buy more than what you need. From strategically placing products at eye level to offering deals and discounts that lead you to purchase more than you need, supermarkets are designed to make you spend more.

GOBankingRates recently spoke with Sharon Lechter, a renowned financial literacy expert, New York Times best-selling author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and “How Money Works For Women,” to learn about four things that are always in her grocery cart each week. Lechter had simple but practical advice that anyone can implement if you’re looking to stretch your grocery budget.

1. Fruits and Vegetables That Last Longer

In 2022, grocery prices increased by 11% followed by an additional 5% increase in 2023. Lechter has found some relief from increased prices by focusing on eliminating food waste.

Americans waste 38% of the food supply which is 92 billion pounds of food each year. Lechter focuses on filling her cart with fresh produce but steers toward items that are both in-season and tend to have a longer shelf life.

“Some people lose food quicker by storing it improperly,” Lechter said. “Refrigerated produce can last longer when sealed and stored properly, and with raw meats and seafood, you’re supposed to store it at the coldest part of your fridge.”

Lechter said that she might gear toward grabbing apples and grapes for her family when in season over strawberries and raspberries, which may not stay fresh as long during the week. When it comes to vegetables, she said shoppers should be better off by sticking to fresh options and shopping the perimeter of the store overall to get the best bang for their buck.

“Look at your grocery store layout and you’ll notice that as you go inward and look through the aisles, that’s where you’ll find more processed food and boxed meals with additives,” Lechter added. “I always start from the outside walls for fresh product and meats then work my way inward.”

2. Frozen Fruit

Frozen fruit is another option Letcher recommends if you’re looking to eat healthier or lighter because it’s affordable and can last you several months or more.

“Frozen fruit is also good to have when you don’t know when you’re going to use the fruit; you won’t have to worry about it going bad too quickly,” said Letcher. “I typically get different types of frozen fruits to stock up because they can be used in smoothies or for desserts or snacks.”

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3. Quality Eggs and Meat

Protein is an essential part of any diet and it also helps keep you full for a longer period of time. Letcher always buys extra large organic eggs even though the price can be higher.

“Some things are just worth the cost for me, and I also prefer the highest quality of meat including Grade A or prime cuts,” said Lechter. “But I do recommend getting a loyalty card and taking advantage of timely deals on meat based on your store’s sales cycle.

Lechter said she does keep her shopping list somewhat flexible to be able to accommodate certain meals. For example, she may plan to get some chicken breast from the store but if there’s a good deal on T-bone steaks, she’ll switch to that option instead.

“I also stay clear of seasoned packaged raw meat,” Lechter said. “These meats have been handled more by the people working at the store and could even be a day or two older than the fresh unseasoned meat.”

4. Household Supplies

While not technically considered groceries, household supplies and toiletries are items that may regularly make it into your grocery cart. Lechter admits that it’s convenient to grab non-food items for your home while you’re getting your groceries, but she doesn’t do this at gourmet grocery stores that specialize in all-natural or organic products.

“I see people buy toilet paper and paper towels from those big-name high-quality grocery stores and just don’t get it,” she said. “You’ll likely end up paying twice as much for your household items, and it’s just not worth it, so I get these items at other stores where it’s more affordable.”

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This article originally appeared on I’m a Shopping Expert: 4 Items I Always Put in My Grocery Cart

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