Buyer’s Remorse

Publix, E-Mealz, coupons, budget

There is one way to save on groceries that may seem like common sense, but we just seem to forget as we keep piling the groceries high in our carts.  The picture above is my grocery haul from this week.  It seems simple to stick to a budget, but a lot of times we get to the store and start to wander away from our list.  I had all these groceries in my cart and three other items when I went up to the check out line.

Much to my dismay, when the cashier rang me up, I was quite a few dollars over my budget. I immediately had buyer’s remorse over the extra few items I threw in my basket.  Once I finished ringing up and paying, I reevaluated my decisions and quickly decided that my buyer’s remorse was there for a reason.  I needed to return the items I had bought and didn’t have the room for in our budget right now.

I marched right up to the customer service desk with my receipt fresh from 30 seconds ago and returned the items that we didn’t need that week. It’s easy to get caught up in the sale displays, end caps, and flashy logos, but don’t be afraid to just simply put it back or return it if you go over budget. It’s not fun, and it takes extra time to return it, but the extra dollars in your pocket will be worth it!

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9 thoughts on “Buyer’s Remorse

  1. Samantha W

    You should re-evaulate what you are buying before you pay and fully check-out, some stores have the policy that all food is destroyed when it is returned regardless if it is opened. You may feel better that you got your money back, but you are wasting precious resources. Make a list and stick to it. If you have to ask the cashier to un-ring a few items it is better than the alternative.

  2. Gina VanLoon

    I have also returned stuff as it was being rung up. Keep an eye on the display while they are checking you out. I call it my second chance. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think we are often too embarrassed to return things at the checkout line. Dave Ramsey would call it “letting other people make your financial decisions for you”

  3. Terry

    I agree with the first comment. If you are on a tight budget (and I have been in the past), it’s wise to keep track of your items as you put them in the cart. Taking back food – even if you go straight from check-out to customer service is a hassle for you, and it may also result in perishable food being discarded according to store policies.

    It is wasteful – but do you want to buy food that someone returned after leaving the store? To keep things simple for employees and avoid liability, the policy may be to discard all returned perishables. Even if they don’t discard it, that food may sit for a while before it goes back to the shelf. I don’t want to buy dairy or meat that set at the CS counter for a while, then got returned to the shelf.

    A list is one of the best ways to keep a tight rein on your spending. And buying store brands can also ease the expense of food – unless you have a coupon that brings the national brand down to the same or lower price, it’s definitely wise to try the store brands. If you can keep a little extra money on hand, you can stock up on unexpected deals if they are cheap enough to warrant the purchase.


  4. Amy S

    I always try to return at least two items to the shelf on my way to the check-out. Helps keep me within my budget, and cuts down on food waste at home.

  5. Tina

    I may start using a calculator while I shop seems to be the only wat to get a true feel of how much you really spend! Yes you feel silly but better then than when you pay your bills!

  6. Sarah

    So true!! Usually the stuff I “overbuy” isn’t food items or perishables but the other things…a new top, clearance items, that cool cup I’ve been watching, etc. Necessary when I want it but unnecessary when I realize it will take me over my budget. A few years ago I started writing down the price of each item on my list as I marked the item off. It takes a little extra time but has been helpful, esp when it rings up wrong on the cash register. I will go through and add everything up (without figuring in coupons). If I’m close to or over my budget I’ll rethink everything I was planning to buy. I’ve put back many a shirt, toy, and bag of chips by doing this and stayed under my budget. When I was in MOPS I always wanted to get lunch on the way home for myself and my 2 girls but that had to come out of my money or the food budget, same for weekends ordering out for the family. It was a great incentive to reevaluate all my purchases before ringing up, to save a little and use that money toward something else.

  7. Heather Brown

    Thank you all so much for your comments, enjoying the lively discussion. Terry & Samantha, the products were things like chips, non-perishables. I’d always recommend following your list and have recommended that in past blog posts. I know that my store does not destroy foods but puts it back on the shelf to be resold. Everyone brought great conversation to the table and I’m just glad to get to participate in it.

  8. Cassie O'Brien

    It takes a lot of time, energy, organizing and planning for me to go to the grocery store. I don’t want to bust my butt planning my trip to blow it on a few silly items. I write a detailed list with columns for item, estimated price, if I have a coupon and actual price. I also keep a running total on my calculator. RARELY do I ever buy anything that isn’t on my list. With a family of 6 plus running a daycare from home every penny counts. I stick to store brands and sale items to flesh out my detailed menu. Every two weeks my grocery trip takes about 3 hours with 45 minutes being travel time. I’m not willing to spend an extra minute in the store if I don’t have to so the list is a lifeline. I have a panic attack if I can’t find it among my coupon binder and sale flyer. I see people wandering up and down the aisle without one and think they are nuts! I rarely (almost never) have buyers remorse for that reason. Personally I would rather keep my money, not spend it needlessly.

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