Your local convenience store may be the reason you’re always broke. Maybe it’s time to step out of line.
If your paycheck rarely stretches to the next payday, it’s easy to blame the cash shortage on high rent, a car payment, and credit card debt or other bills. However, a good portion of your money may be trickling away due to frequent convenience store purchases.
Spending a few dollars a day may not seem like a big expense. Add up the amount every month, though, and you could be blowing hundreds of dollars inside convenience stores annually.
Sure, you can get a good deal on a slice, hot dog, or donut at many convenience stores. But how much are you spending on all that other stuff for sale?
1. Pain relievers
When you’ve got a headache, you’ll pay anything to remove that pain that feels like a hatchet in your head. That’s why convenience stores can charge around $3 for two to four tablets of pain relievers like Tylenol, Advil and other brands.
That’s a waste of money when you could just keep a bottle of generic over-the-counter pain relievers in your home, purse, or car. Next time you’re at the pharmacy, grab a generic bottle of 100 to 500 pain relief tablets and pay less than a dime for each tablet instead.
2. Laundry detergent
You can get a great deal on laundry detergent at any number of retail stores, including Walmart, Target, Aldi or another discount grocer, multiple dollar stores and even at the regular grocery store. So why are you paying $10 for a 25 oz. bottle of detergent at the convenience store on your way home?
Stock up on laundry detergent on a regular shopping day instead. To save even more, keep an eye out for detergent coupons and buy a larger size on sale.
3. Pet Food
When you’ve got a scowling feline waiting at home, a can of overpriced cat food may seem better than nothing. However, you’ll not only pay too much for pet food at a convenience store, you’ll often have to feed your dog or cat food that isn’t exactly top of the line.
Better to clean up your budget by stocking up on pet food at a pet store or online than to clean up after a dog or cat whose stomach didn’t appreciate convenience store pet cuisine.
4. Individual soft drinks
You may find 2-liter bottles or cases of canned soft drinks on sale at a convenience store, but you won’t typically see individual 16 oz. or 20 oz. bottles on sale. Most people just grab the smaller sizes without much thought, even though they’re expensive. Yet if you buy a 12-pack of cans or bottles on sale at a grocery store, you’ll pay only around .25 per can.
Why not stock up with a 12-pack or case and put a few cans or bottles in the breakroom fridge instead of paying $2 for one bottle on the way to work? Even a fountain soda is still a better deal than a can or bottle.
5. Health and beauty products
Health and beauty care products have some of the highest gross profit margins (53%) of products sold in convenience stores, according to market and consumer data provider Statista. Razors, toothpaste, makeup, shampoo, hair spray and soap are all products you’ll pay too much for at a convenience store.
If you forgot an item while traveling, paying convenience store prices may be the best you can do. However, it’s easy to stock up on health and beauty products at retail and grocery stores, usually at a good price, especially when on sale and/or combined with a coupon.
6. Chips and other snacks
Chips are a favorite grab-and-go convenience store item, so you’ll always pay too much. Paying $1.25 for a tiny bag of chips may not seem like much but if you pay that amount plus $2 for a bottle of soda pop five days a week, you’re spending around $65 a month.
Buy a bigger bag of chips for $4, a jar of dip here and there, bags of nuts, pints of ice cream and the occasional box of candy and you can easily spend over $100 to $200 a month at your favorite convenience store.
7. Saltine crackers
Maybe you’re dying for saltine crackers to crumble into your chili or want to try making Grandma’s famous meatloaf. But you’d be crazy to pay nearly $4 for one package of saltines when you can get a box containing four packages for $2 or $3 at the grocery store.
Buy your saltines in a bigger, cheaper box at the grocery or dollar store so when you throw them away, stale and uneaten three years later, you won’t feel like you threw money away, too.
Want to pay twice the typical price for a loaf of white bread? Your local convenience store is happy to accommodate and even sell you some overpriced condiments for your sandwich.
Instead of running to a convenience store when you’re out of bread, stock up with a few reasonably priced loaves at the grocery store and freeze them for later.
Unless you’re tasked with cooking the next day’s holiday feast while a blizzard blankets the city, buying eggs at the convenience store down the street is never smart, since you can usually find eggs on sale at the grocery store.
Even people who rarely cook may still want to boil an egg or break one into a brownie mix occasionally, so buy your eggs at a decent price so you don’t have to scramble to a convenience store at the last minute.
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Published by Debt.com, LLC