How to shop smart, eat well on student budget

After a summer of mooching meals off of the parental units, it can be difficult to transition to the college student’s kitchen. Those who shop smart can eliminate the disparities between their food stock and the refrigerators of their childhoods.

Know what to buy. If you walk into a store with a list, not only will you have an idea of how much money you are about to drop, you can avoid buying junk food and spending too much money.

Store brand is your friend. It tastes the same; it costs less.

Channel the years your parents spent reminding you to eat fruits and veggies and throw some in the cart. Although it can be more fun to replace this section of the food pyramid with fruity mixed drinks and Bloody Marys, it is more healthy to buy a bag of frozen vegetables instead.

Make friends with a car owner if you don’t have one yourself. Walking home with a load of groceries is not fun and makes it easy for the purchaser to despise the grocery shopping experience.

Buy non-perishables in bulk, especially when they are on sale. It might cost more right now because of quantity, but you’ll see the advantages in the long-run.

Make things from scratch. Yes, it is inconvenient, but you can buy a few huge bags of lettuce then spend a few minutes washing it and cutting it for the price of a bag of precut romaine.

Sign up for grocery store mailing lists, so they will tell you when they are having sales. Occasionally, they give their loyal ad readers sweet coupons.

Plan out meals with your roommates. Homes with two Hoovers sucking down chow usually don’t waste edible matter.

Think about your decisions twice. The clerk may hate you, but it’s really easy to hand them items you don’t want anymore for them to re-shelve. The bag of donuts, pound of chocolate AND frozen french fries—do you need all of that? No.

Stock up on food while you’re at home. The cheapest groceries are those shopped for in the pantries of your parents.