Buying groceries doesn't have to be a burden

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By Ali Braboy

Whether students are planning on eating in the dining halls or cooking for themselves, it is a good idea to think about the future months when it comes to buying groceries while in college, as it will help after college as well. 

Although shopping for groceries can take time and money away from other college-related activities, it does not have to be a difficult or a painful process. 

When entering college, it might be a student’s first time buying groceries by themselves, which can be nerve-racking. People have different priorities when it comes to lifestyle choices, but by taking the time to plan beforehand, most priorities can be met by strategizing.

Before college, I had never bought a weeks’ worth of food for myself. I had always relied on my parents for food, which made shopping for food in college difficult. 

Each student’s life is different when it comes to needs and wants, so students should consider their priorities when it comes to buying foods. For me, when leaving for college, I knew my first priorities had been centered on the price and the nutrition of the foods I was buying. 

Students might have other priorities, though, and whatever those priorities are, they should create a shopping list of what they plan to buy. If there is trouble with creating this list, student’s should try asking their parents or friends if they have suggestions. 

With the list, there is less of a chance of going above the budget or getting something someone had not intended on buying. By writing my shopping list before going, I kept to my budget and did not get unhealthy items at the store. 

Even if a student feels they need or want something else that is not on the list while shopping, the list still remains a reminder of what they wanted when planning.

Food can add up in price if someone is not conscious of how much to expect or plan for, so a little research about prices at stores is a good idea before shopping, along with figuring out the best foods to get at what stores. 

Before going shopping, I always search for coupons of local grocery stores to see if there is a specific store I should shop at. During the school year, I shop at Aldi, and one is located in Champaign. I normally did not need to look for coupons or deals for this store—almost everything is cheaper here compared to other stores: bread, fruits, vegetables, cereals. 

Whatever store a student chooses to go to, though, searching around online about what prices to expect helps with keeping up with the needed or desired budget.

During the school year, I normally would buy food in bulk once a week, which was normally on Saturdays. Setting this time to always shop helped with budgeting my time, and it also gave me something to look forward to each week. Students should remember that they might need to shop more frequently if they want fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

Although it may be a student’s first time managing food by themselves, priorities can be met. Taking the time to create a shopping list, researching prices beforehand and designating times to shop can make buying groceries while in college easier. Tweet: Buying groceries doesn’t have to be a hassle for students.

Ali is a senior in Media.
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