Why You Should Never Buy Snack Packs At The Grocery Store, If You Want Extra Savings

It's no surprise that consumers pay a premium for convenience at the grocery store. For busy families and late-working singles, paying more for a container of precut veggies or assembled kabobs may be worth a few extra bucks if it saves you time. What may surprise you, however, is just how much companies profit from our over-scheduled lives and reliance on these conveniences.

According to the USDA, a non-organic whole chicken nationwide averages $1.27 per pound versus $1.86 for a cut-up bird. Marinated, thinly sliced, skinless, and boneless pieces fetch upwards of $5.46 per pound, which adds up quickly. Prechopped veggies and fruit, which saves you ten minutes of chopping, can cost three times more than purchasing the whole fruit and comes with higher risks of food-borne illnesses and shorter shelf life, making a solid argument for slicing your melons yourself.

For families with school-aged children, snack packs are one of the many conveniences we rely on to keep the house running smoothly. When packing lunches in the morning, grabbing a snack for that road trip, or providing snacks for the soccer team, individually packaged chips, Goldfish crackers, and cookies are life savers. For young kids, miniature versions of your favorite snacks are an easy way to gain independence by feeding themselves while minimizing the risk of giant messes when their little hands tear the entire bag open. Unfortunately, these snack packs come at a premium too. If the convenience outweighs the additional expense, here's how to get the most out of your dollar.

There is a 50% markup at grocery stores

As busy consumers, one-stop shopping is a convenience grocery store chains are counting on to increase their profits. It's easy to add the needed bottle of shampoo or greeting card to your grocery cart without thinking. However, for a 38-ounce bottle of Pantene shampoo, consumers will pay $9.98 at Sam's Club, $23.00 at Walmart, and $26.02 at Kroger

While great for portion control, snack packs can cost up to 50% more per ounce at the grocery store. Although trusting yourself with a family-sized bag of Lay's can be risky, taking the time to portion out snacks can save consumers $150 per year, not to mention reduce what we send to landfills. Reusable plastic containers, utilizing bento boxes for school lunches, or the TikTok trend, snackle boxes for on-the-go snacking are helpful strategies to save money. 

If the premium cost of snack packs is still worth it, consider purchasing the individual packages at different retailers or shop around for coupons and sales. An 18-count Frito-Lay Snacks Classic Mix Variety Pack (1-ounce packages) retails for $10.59 at Big Lots, $11.29 at Stop and Shop, and $19.16 at Walmart. If you have serious snackers in your home or feeding the entire team, consider buying the snack packs at warehouse retailers. A 54-count Frito-Lay Snacks Classic Mix Variety Pack retails for $23.99 at Costco, and that's $.44 per package versus $.63 at the supermarket.