Find the best places to grocery shop when on a tight budget

By Jessica Ramos

Depending on car accessibility, shopping on campus is something students tend to avoid until the last box of ramen is out. 

While some have the ability to splurge on groceries at an off campus store and drive home, others make the tiring trip on the bus and come home with blisters from carrying bags full of food. 

Having a County Market store located only minutes away from the central area of campus is quite beneficial for students, however sometimes a little hefty on the wallet. Here are the best places to grocery shop on a budget.


For the students living in Urbana, Schnuck’s is the place to go. With 10 for $10 deals, meaning ten items of any kind on grocery ad lists are only $1, you definitely do not want to miss that. 

The items vary: Fresh apples, frozen vegetables, and Greek yogurt are only a few on the list. The 10 items for $10 deal allows you to cross many things off from your grocery list and with some money left over! 

Schnuck’s is conveniently located near the CUMTD Lincoln Square Garage bus terminal where the Green, Silver and Red buses end their route. Even if you are further off campus, you can catch a bus at the Transit Plaza and make your way over.


While Meijer is located further off campus, it is a great place to go for fresh fruits, vegetables and good deals. It is convenient to visit for those with cars or willing to make the approximately 40-minute trip from campus on the MTD.

At Meijer, you can buy everything on your grocery list without having to make trips to two different stores. If you are considering making the trip via public transportation, the Yellow and Red buses leave you only minutes away from the grocery store.


No matter where you come from, the Aldi chain is one you recognize. It’s also one that you will become very familiar with throughout college. Aldi is the place to go when on a tight budget. Even without weekly specials, the store lends itself to college students. 

Also, if you feel that there are things that still need to get checked off your shopping list, Walmart is located a few minutes away. The store is about 15 minutes away on car and approximately 45 minutes away on the MTD. The Yellow and Red buses are the way to go if making this trip.

The perks of your local County Market

Even though the prices may be a little high when budgeting, County Market is located conveniently close to campus. Because it is walking distance, it is easy to make a quick run to the grocery store to buy some quick cooking needs. 

County Market also hosts the 10 for $10 deal, meaning you can save money and time on the trip! There is also a Caribou Coffee located inside in case you would like to take a quick break.

Balancing expenses and living on a tight budget in college is something that takes time to get used to. By mastering sticking to a food budget, you are able to afford other small incentives like shopping or having a few drinks. 

It’s important to always consider the store’s weekly ads. While some stores are located further away from campus, they are made easily accessible through public transportation.

Jessica is a senior in Media. 
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