Grocery Shopping as a College Student

Everyone knows that it’s tough, financially, to go to college.  All your money goes to books and school.  Your stuck eating at the school cafeteria everyday, and what little money you do have you spend once a month on a splurge trip to the movies and a nice restaurant.  But one meal a month that is better than cafeteria food??? That just stinks.  So I’m here to give you some advice on grocery shopping as a college kid.  Everyone can do it, even if you think you don’t have much money.

I have a tupperware box in my room that is 12″x5″x4″.  When I go to the store, I keep in mind that box, and try to buy just enough groceries to fit inside of it.  This goes for snacks, as well as items for meals (milk not included).  This keeps me limited.  Many times when we go to the store, we are hungry and desperate for things we used to get at home all the time, cap’n crunch, rice-a-roni, pizza, chips, dips, coffee, and on, and on, and on.  Next thing we know, we have a whole cart full of groceries and we spend almost 200$ on food that is unnecessary and is probably going to go bad before we can eat it!

My box helps me put things in perspective.  If I’m getting all snack foods to eat in between meals, the box should give me at least 1 and 1/2 weeks worth of snacks.  If i’m getting things to make meals, maybe I should think just a little bigger than my box, but let’s say I’m getting stuff for pizza.  A bag of flour, maybe a little yeast, garlic, a few cans of tomato sauce, pepperonis, and a bag or two of cheese.  This would easily fit in my box.. AND this would make more than one pizza.  So this would make at least one meal, if not more.  If I want one homemade meal a week, this box could last me 2 or 3 weeks!  That is a CHEAP grocery trip.

If I accidentally buy too much stuff to fit in my box, I fill up the tupperware box, and put the rest of the food on a shelf.  I eat out of the tupperware box, until it’s empty and then I take the food off the shelf and refill my box.  I plan on eating a box worth of snacks a week, and this way I can see physically how much I’m eating and how fast my grocery money goes.

Another thing to help with grocery shopping is coupons.  Now, I know most of ya’ll have seen Extreme Couponing on TLC, and I’m not talking about that.  That is almost impossible to do in Texas, because we have strict rules on our coupons.  But if you can figure out a way to get $300 dollars worth of groceries for $1 using coupons, go for it!  I’m just saying that in West Texas, that may not be possible.

But coupons can be dangerous.  Some coupons are buy 5 get one free! Or Buy 3 get 33 cents off!  You have to examine these coupons, and yourself, carefully before using them.  Many times people get sucked into how much they are saving, and don’t look to see how much they spent.  You can easily spend $15 just to save $1.  And then you have $15 dollars worth of prunes that you are NEVER going to eat.

I make a list of items I absolutely know I need, or that I really want.  Then I will go online, and search for coupons.  So if I know I need butter.  I can search blue bonnet butter coupons, and maybe I’ll find some, maybe I won’t.  But if I do, I’ll print it out. And I can use it on something that I was already going to get anyways.   Or,  if you are a member of a coupon website, you can search for a few coupons, go to the store, and buy enough of these to put in your tupperware box and save at the same time. Just keep into mind, how much you will actually eat.  If these coupons will actually save you money, take them! But don’t take coupons for sauerkraut if you hate it.

I hope this helps you!  I know it has helped me!  I have plenty of snacks in my room, and haven’t had to go to the store in 3 weeks! (:

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