Whether you’re living away from home for the first time at school or just moved into your own apartment, the thought of not having your parents cook for you, and having to do your own grocery shopping can be extremely daunting. Why are there so many choices? What brands should I buy? Where should I shop? And worst of all…WHY IS FOOD SO EXPENSIVE? We feel your struggle, which is why we have created the ultimate guide to grocery shopping on a budget.
1. Buy What’s On Sale
One of the easiest ways to save money is by buying what’s on sale and planning your meals around it. This does require some work on your part to see what’s on sale each week, and where. If the thought of flipping through endless flyers sounds archaic and unappealing, don’t worry- I’m with you. Instead, try downloading a weekly shopping app such as Flipp. Flipp uses your location to gather flyers from stores near you and lets you add items to your electronic shopping list. You can also search by item to see what store has the best price and get alerts when sales are ending – a lifesaver if you’re looking to save some $!
2. Avoid Pre-Made Food
As a busy student or working young adult, the last thing you want to do is think about cooking. It can be tempting to go to the store and pick up a premade salad or pre-cooked pasta dish for a quick meal, but if you are looking to save money, this is one of the easiest ways to waste it! Next time you’re at a grocery store, look at the price of a premixed salad. They can easily be $7+, yet buying a head of lettuce, and a bunch of veggies will almost always come out cheaper and will provide you with many salads – not just one! If you’re looking to save money – don’t be lazy! Skip the premades and make it yourself instead!
3. Grocery Shopping While Hungry = BAD
Whatever you do – DO NOT GO GROCERY SHOPPING WHILE YOU ARE HUNGRY! Suddenly, that box of Oreos looks good…and so does the package of croissants and the sushi! You’ll probably end of buying a lot of food you don’t really need – not to mention unhealthy items. Save yourself the trouble and eat before you go, or at least pack something to munch on.
4. Be Careful of Bulk Purchases
If you’re anything like me and you don’t own a car, you probably try to minimize the amount of times you need to go grocery shopping. Costco may seem like your best friend – bulk items at good prices – what more could you want? Just be cautious – buying in bulk may save you some money, but it depends what you are buying. Unless you’re on some crazy protein kick, no one needs 48 eggs, or 8L of milk. If it’s going to go bad before you can finish it, don’t buy it -save the bulk purchases for hoarding snacks and toilet paper instead.
With these tips, we hope you’ll be able to spend a little less cash on groceries and a little bit more on everything else (drinks anyone?).
Paige & the Zillennials