College Grocery Shopping Made Simple

Emma Aneshansley
Senior Health Sciences Student, SAR ’17

I moved into a Stuvi1 apartment my junior year. Like most other students leaving the typical dorms for the first time, I was excited to have my own room and to be granted the new degree of freedom of being able to cook for myself. Luckily I had plenty of practice in the kitchen at home, where I often cooked every meal for myself. The biggest complication that I faced was the expense of buying groceries. Who knew that one trip to Trader Joe’s would leave me with $75 less in my bank account? On top of that, I didn’t have time to cook half of the vegetables I bought and found them wilted and rotten two weeks later in my fridge. After speaking with some of my friends about my dilemma, I found that over-shopping is much more common than I previously thought and that I wasn’t the only one who had no idea how to properly grocery shop.

Here are some simple tips I found that made buying groceries simple and economic:

  • Try to build in a time once or even twice a week to purchase a few items you know you need and will use. It’s easy to go overboard when you go grocery shopping once a month and know you have an empty kitchen back home. For example, Sweet potatoes are great because they can be stored for about 1 month if they are in a cool, dark place. They are also super easy to make.
  • Try to avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach! You will find yourself with a cart full of items that appear appetizing in the moment. However, you may not end up using them and it usually means that you spend more money.
  • Frozen foods tend to come at low costs, which is ideal for college students who are trying to save time and money.
  • Follow the sales! I sometimes prefer Star Market because they always have sales and deals whereas Trader Joe’s may not. Whenever I have a difficult time picking out which fruits or veggies to buy, I go with whatever is on sale.
  • Bring in a list of things you need to stock up on. Think about accumulating ingredients for meals that will last a few days. I once spent an hour and a half cooking eggplant parmesan but I froze it and ate over the course of an entire week!