Need Vs Want at The Grocery Store

Earlier this year, I wrote a Post about “Need vs Want”, and some of the things I’ve learned along to way to becoming debt free. I’ve also learned about understanding the difference between a “need” and a “want”, even at the grocery store. For example, yesterday, one of the meals I put on my menu had ground mustard. I am out in the cabinet, so I put it on my shopping list. Sprout’s has bulk jars for spices (LOVE them), so I was just going to get a few shakes, and not spend more than $.50 on my “needed” ingredient.

But there was no ground mustard to be found.

Check that, there were pre-jarred Organic ground mustard for a measly $4.69. Considering I had planned on spending $.50 on the mustard, I balked at the price.

I made an executive decision: I’d use a spoonful of dijon mustard in place of the ground mustard.

I’ve done it before, and things come out just fine. But when you think about that small little principle (especially those of you who cook from recipes) and apply it to other things you are making, you really start to see a difference in how much you spend.

Here are a few other substitutes that I do on a regular basis:

  • Lemons for Limes (or vice versa)
  • Cilantro for Coriander (did you know it’s the same plant, but the coriander is the flowery part on the top of the plant?)
  • Dijon for Dry Mustard (no measurement here, I just squirt until I’m happy)
  • Garlic Powder + Kosher salt for Garlic Salt
  • Minced Garlic (from a huge Jar I got at Costco) for ANY form of garlic (powder, salt, sliced, crushed, etc.)

The possibilities are ENDLESS and when you get out from “but the recipe says so…”, oftentimes, you’ll WIN.

Think of it this way: The recipe was written by someone in a kitchen, cooking with what they had on hand or thought would taste good together. Food enjoyment is SO subjective, that their budget/likes/dislikes are likely not going to match up exactly to YOUR likes/dislikes/budget.

If you are a parent, that very fact is sitting around the dinner table with you (at least 4 times a week, I hope) 😉

What are some of your substitutions and omissions that end up saving you a pretty penny? Chime in!


3 thoughts on “Need Vs Want at The Grocery Store

  1. Excellent tips, I agree completely! I’d love a more comprehensive listing of things you feel are a “want” vs a “need” in your kitchen. What are some things you pass on? Do you ever pass on a sale, even at a deep discount just because you don’t “need” it or do you feel taking advantage of that discount is worth it?

  2. I never buy buttermilk….. I have a pancake recipe that calls for it. I sub equal parts milk and sour cream.
    Or, if you REALLY need buttermilk, mix 1cup of milk w/ 1Tbsp of lemon juice – let sit for 15. BAM, buttermilk!

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