How to Grocery Shop for Cheap As A College Student

If you’re moving off-campus for the first time or moving into a dorm with a kitchen, you might need to start grocery shopping for yourself. Food shopping doesn’t have to be costly or scary. These tips will help guide you on how to shop cheap for the upcoming semester.

Make a list

Grocery list


Before you had to the store, it is essential to make a list so you stay within your budget. Only purchase items you absolutely need. Stick to simple and healthy whole foods, which are the cheapest.

Some affordable items include:

  • Apples
  • Eggs
  • Carrots
  • Hummus
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Oatmeal
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Bananas

Plan out your meals for the week

Meal prepping


Meal planning/prepping is a smart way that will save you a lot of money. Check out Pinterest for a wide variety of simple recipes that cater to your taste buds. Write down the items needed for the meals you wish to prep before you head out to the supermarket. Set aside time on a specific day of the week to prep your meals.

Make a budget

Food shopping budget


Set a limit on how much money you can spend on groceries for the week. Stick within that budget to help avoid a hefty grocery bill. If you eat meat, some weeks might be more expensive than others depending on how often you purchase meat.

Don’t shop hungry

Hungry women in grocery store


Never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach! Your hunger will trick you into wanting more food items to buy. This is the number one tip to food shopping-cheap as it will cut down on costs by not purchasing unnecessary items.

Stay on the outside aisles

Produce section


The outer aisles of the grocery store are where the healthiest food items are kept. When shopping, walk the perimeter of the store to find all the essentials like all produce, meat, and dairy products. Then go to the center aisles to see if you absolutely need any of the items there. Most of the food in the middle aisles are pricey and more processed snacks. You can get most of the food you need in the produce section.

Look for coupons and deals online



Check online for deals at all your local supermarkets. Be sure to look in flyers for all the best coupons that will help save money. There are many apps like Coupon Sherpa, Shop Savvy, and Grocery IQ. Some stores even have student discounts, so don’t be afraid to ask about them! Whole Foods also gives 10% off your order if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

Freeze meat, veggies, and fruits

Frozen food


A great tip for saving money in the grocery department is buying frozen items like fruits and veggies. Frozen fruit and vegetables carry the same nutritional properties as fresh fruits and vegetables. Freeze any meat products you purchase in bulk to help save money as well. You can also freeze any extra fruits and vegetables that you don’t think you will need for the week! Remember to clean out your freezer every 6 months.

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