Grocery shopping on a budget

By Brooke Eberle, Special Sections Editor

As someone living in an apartment, I know it can be hard to cope with the fact that you’ve moved out of residence halls and don’t have a dining hall to go to whenever you feel hungry. You’re now practically an adult and need to learn how to shop for yourself. This, plus factoring in the budget of an average college student, can be quite a lofty goal. Luckily, a few of these tips can help you survive adapting to this new life.

Stick to a weekly budget

Putting a cap on how much you spend at the grocery store will help you track your finances throughout the year. Depending on how much you allow yourself to spend, each week’s shopping total should be around $20 to $40. If you find a general amount that works best for you, try to stay close to that number. I personally like to count my total price as I pick up each new item, which helps me keep track of whether or not I’m sticking to my budget.

Pick a shopping day

Nothing is worse than coming home hungry only to find that your pantry is empty. To avoid this, pick a day of the week to head to the grocery store. This really works well if you can go after  class to County Market, Walgreens or any other local grocery store. Making sure your kitchen is well-stocked every week will prevent you from buying more expensive fast food on Green Street.

Choose off-brands

This seems like a pretty obvious one, but staying away from popular name brands can save you a couple bucks. Most would agree that off-brand goods taste the same. If they don’t to you, then only purchase the more expensive food when you’re willing to splurge. Ranking more expensive items as “special occasion only” will keep you from buying them too often.

Make rules with roommates

It is important to set ground rules with your roommates about food early on. Is it OK to eat each other’s food or will everything need to be labeled with each other’s initials? Is everyone going to do their own individual shopping or will you pay back your roommates if they do it for you? Having a meeting at the beginning of the semester to decide this is best to avoid conflict later on.

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Brooke is a junior is Media.

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