MIAMI (CBSMiami) – We all need to eat. So naturally, we spend a significant portion of our hard-earned money at the grocery store. Unfortunately, we also make some pretty costly mistakes while we are there.

Today’s “Lauren’s List” explains the mistakes we’re making while shopping for food that hurt us in our wallets.

Failing To Plan
Make a meal plan and a list and stick to it. Bonus points if you write out your list by section so you know exactly what you need from each department and aisle. This will help prevent those costly impulse purchases. Plan your meals at home so you can check what you have in your pantry already before buying more.

Not Using Store Apps
If you don’t want to bother clipping coupons the old fashioned way, most grocery stores now have apps that allow you to clip coupons digitally with just a click. You can also check out the weekly ad to see what’s on sale as you’re planning meals. Some apps are even tied to rewards programs that can get you discounts on gas and other goodies.

Not Comparing Correctly
Just grabbing the cheapest item on the shelf doesn’t mean you’re getting the most bang for your buck. If that cheaper item is half the size of another item, but more than half the price, that’s a bad deal! The fastest way to make sure you’re getting a good bargain is to check the unit price, which is usually listed a bit smaller than the actual price on the label.

Overbuying In Bulk
I’m guilty of this one. I stock up on an item because it’s on sale, and it goes bad before I ever get around to using it! Or I buy the largest can of something because the unit price is great, but a recipe only calls for half that amount. You’re not saving money if the product ends up in the garbage.

What do you do to save money on groceries?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, send it to lpastrana@cbs.com.

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