Back to school is fast approaching and for those of us entering into college for the first time, it can be both exciting and terrifying. It’s exciting because for some of us it’ll be the first time living away from home, but it’s terrifying for the same reason. No longer will we have access to delicious home cooking. No one will do our laundry for us, and certainly no one is going to do our grocery shopping for us.
Grocery shopping can be tricky for a couple of reasons. First of all, it can get expensive if you aren’t careful. Most college students are on a budget and can’t afford to spend too much. Second of all, grocery stores are confusing and there are a lot of secrets you need to know. But never fear! We have gathered up some tips for college students that will make your first trip to the grocery store stress-free.
Know Your Space
This is the first step to a successful grocery shopping trip. If you’re living in a dorm, don’t buy things that can’t be eaten as they are or prepared in the microwave. If you have a small fridge, don’t buy an epic amount of food. If you’re sharing a kitchen, make sure you only buy enough to fill up your own designated space.
Familiarize Yourself with the Options
It may take a little time and error to find a grocery store in your area that suits all of your needs, but once you do, make sure you know it well. Know the layout and know the best days to go shopping. This way, you’ll can always choose the least stressful, quickest time and place.
Make a List
And stick with it! This is a must for grocery shopping. Decide what you need ahead of time and don’t stray from it. If you do, you’ll probably end up buying a lot more than you need and spending more than you planned. Also, make your list in sections. Groceries stores typically all follow the same layout, so make your list by those sections (produce, dairy, etc). This will speed up the process and make for less aimless wandering.
Read the Labels
Everyone, including college students, have dietary restrictions Whether you are trying to lose weight, or are a dedicated vegan, reading labels is the perfect way to find out exactly what it is you’re buying and will be eating. Also, for dairy products, eggs, and packaged produce, it’s essential that you look at the expiration date before you put it in your cart. If you don’t, you could be buying something that will be rotten in a day.
Only Buy Enough for a Week
Grocery shopping is a chore, and no one really wants to do it once a week, but doing so will save you money and reduce waste. If you only buy what you need for a week, then you’re less likely to splurge on unnecessary items or let your food go bad sitting in your fridge.