Having a full refrigerator and cabinets is one of those things that we tend to take for granted growing up. But as you head off to college, you’ll soon discover that the process of grocery shopping while on a budget can be a bit daunting. Food is getting more expensive by the day, but not to worry! There are simple ways to save. Here are four tips for getting more out of your grocery store budget:
1. Make a list
Before leaving for the grocery store, write down your spending goal. Then, make a list of what you plan to buy and see how the cost compares. If it looks like you’re going to go over budget, check the weekly grocery store ads and see if you can swap any items for something that’s on sale. Once you’ve made your final list, don’t deviate! Impulse buying is the worst enemy of a student on a budget.
2. Focus on inexpensive items
In addition to shopping the sales, think about items you can keep in your kitchen that are relatively inexpensive. Fruit, vegetables and eggs are generally pretty cheap (at Trader Joe’s, bananas are sold for as little as 19 cents a pop!). Instead of buying beef, which can become costly, purchase turkey to fulfill your protein intake.
3. Nonperishable food is your friend
Filling your grocery cart with items that last a long time will minimize the number of trips you need to take to the store (and the likelihood that you’ll be tempted by fancy end-of-aisle displays). Peanut butter, jelly and Ramen noodles are great for snacking on the cheap. You can also stock up on fresh items that can be frozen.
4. Go generic
You absolutely do not need to buy that name-brand cereal. The generic Fruit Loops taste just as good, we promise! Name brands are usually placed at eye-level in grocery stores, so look above and below for the best cost-saving options that won’t sacrifice flavor.