One of the hardest things about staying within a strict grocery shopping budget is avoiding the temptation of the impulse purchases. How many times do we realize that we need to stop at the store for one or two necessary items and end up walking out of the store with an additional $10 - $15 more of stuff we didn't plan on getting because it was a good deal or we just couldn't resist?
It may sound completely counter-intuitive, but one way I sometimes combat this is to shop at a more expensive grocery store! Before you think I have completely lost my mind, let me explain. My regular Publix and Aldi stores are on the opposite end of my suburban town from my office. My house is kind of in the middle of the two. If I need just one or two items, it doesn't seem worth the time or gas to go to one of those in rush hour traffic. To take that detour in rush hour traffic often means I don't get home until at least 6 o'clock and I'm usually tempted to just check a bit further on the deals (regardless of whether or not I have my coupons with me).
So, I stop at a local grocery store that is basically on my way home. Last night for instance, I needed coffee creamer (an absolute necessity for my morning to start off right) and bananas. So, instead of making the detour across town, I stopped at the locally owned store. I grabbed my creamer and bananas (on the same aisle), went straight to check out, and was out of the store in less than 5 minutes. Since I know this store has higher prices on most items, I wasn't tempted to scan the other aisles. I added it up when I got home, and figured out that I paid approximately .65 more at this store than I would have if I'd gone to Aldi. However, I saved roughly 40 minutes of time and nothing else made it into my little hand held shopping basket.
In this case, the time and gas savings outweighed the cost savings I usually see by going to my regular stores. While this would not be the case on a "big" shopping trip. For 2 items, it was definitely the better choice.