In the several decades I've been frugal shopping, I've picked up a few do's and don'ts I live by. Some of them include things I just don't buy at the grocery store. When it comes to frugal living, store hopping is a must, you can get the best deals, by shopping around. Here are a few things you should by at places other than your regular grocery store.
SPICES IN BULK
Spices are one of the most expensive things you can buy per ounce at the grocery. Since the shelf life of most spices is pretty long, you can get the best deal by buying larger quantities in bulk. I buy my spices in larger quantities and store in mason jars and then transfer to my smaller bottles in my spice rack. The best place to get spices in bulk where I live is online, but if you live in a large city, you may be able to get good deals at quality markets that have bulk bins.
Granulated garlic, for example, can go for $1.55 oz in the grocery store or even .80 cents to $1.00 at The Dollar Tree. On Amazon, you can get a 26 oz brand name container of McCormick granulated garlic for only .30 cents per oz or even cheaper the larger container you buy it in. Buying it online is totally worth the savings. If you don't think you can use it that fast, get together with 2 or three friends and buy several spices together and then split them up in jars when they come in.
HOUSEWARES AND KITCHEN TOOLS
I can't remember a time when I ever bought housewares or kitchen tools at a grocery store. Most of them have at least one aisle with baking pans, kitchen tools, and other random kitchen objects. Avoid this aisle at all costs. It's always overpriced and usually of lower quality.
My favorite place to buy housewares is Ross or Big Lots. Depending on where you live, these may not be available though. Search of a discount store that offers discontinued items at a low price. The other option is to check thrift stores. I've gotten outstanding quality, high-end brand appliances, dishes, utensils, kitchen tools, and other items at my local thrift store. If both of these places are duds for you, you'll still get a better deal online than at your grocery.
Batteries, unfortunately, tend to be something you run out of in the most inopportune moments. This frequently causes you to run out and buy them at the nearest store at an overinflated price. To save the most on batteries, it's best to be over prepared. It's well worth the cost to get a battery storage box and re-chargeable batteries. Buy enough batteries to have batteries in all the standard items, remote controls and radios, and a set in the batter box. That way, when your batteries run out in the remote control, you can just go to your battery box and switch them out. If you don't want to do re-chargeable or you need batteries right away, try large boxes at discount stores, hardware stores, and online. Never buy batteries in 4-packs, it's the most expensive way to purchase them.
I have to admit, I have been guilty of buying pre-cut veggies. They are so convenient, especially when dieting. However, now I know that it takes only a little time to pre-cut up all my veggies for the week on Sunday and put them in sealable containers in the fridge. I pre-cut mushrooms, carrots and other salad veggies and it makes it quick, easy and cheap to throw together a beautiful salad for lunch every day. The cost per oz difference between pre-cut veggies and whole veggies is so vast, it's almost always worth the time to cut them up yourself.
than soda, so why not pick up a bottle, it's only a dollar, right? Wrong. Those dollars add up, and they add up fast. Water is so much more expensive in serving size bottles, the smaller the container, the more the cost per ounce. If you're drinking bottled water at home, that's even worse! There are so many cheaper options for water. In sink filtration systems, water coolers you refill yourself, even in fridge water pitchers. Decide on a solution for your home and most importantly, get yourself watertight, unbreakable re-useable water bottles you can take everywhere you go, so you save yourself that $1 every time you enter a store. My husband and I actually keep a cooler in the car with water and snacks so we won't spend money on them when we're running errands.