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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at LUM chapter.

Grocery shopping as a broke college student can be nerve wracking. Questions like: What do I buy? How much is everything? How will I be able to afford everything?, have probably crossed your mind a few times.The best way to grocery shop that I have figured out is to budget, meal prep, and most importantly, make lists.

Keeping a notepad in the kitchen or having a dry erase board is an easy way to keep track of what you need whenever you run out of supplies and necessities. Lists also help when you are living with other people and need to keep track of anything communal. From experience, making lists helps you remember the things that you need and ensures that you won’t overspend on unnecessary foods or supplies. It’s simple, yet effective.

I also recommend shopping at a budget friendly grocery store, such as Aldi. Aldi is the best place to go food shopping because it is extremely cheap and a lot of their produce comes in bulk. So, you’re spending less and getting more!

A feature that developed around quarantine time was online grocery shopping. Stores such as Whole Foods, Aldi, and Target added this feature during the pandemic to allow customers to grocery shop without having to leave the comfort and safety of their homes. All you have to do is pick out the products you want on their website or app and an employee will do the shopping in person for you. Who would have thought that something positive could come out of the pandemic?

Online grocery shopping is extremely useful because it allows you to figure out what you want to purchase without being sidetracked by all of the goodies around you, and keep track of how much you’ll be spending. You can also have your groceries delivered to you or do curbside pickup when you can’t find the time throughout your busy schedule and assignments to go to the store yourself.

Another useful tip is to plan out your meals before heading to the store. This way you won’t over buy, forget what you need in order to make the meal, and you’ll actually know what you’ll want to eat instead of figuring it out right on the spot.

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to grocery shopping, start off with the basics. Keep it simple; grains, protein, and vegetables. As long as you have a grain (pasta, quinoa, rice, etc.), a protein (chicken, beef, beans, etc.), and any vegetable (frozen, canned, or fresh) then you’ll be set. Most recipes call for an onion (yellow onions are the best for cooking) and garlic, so make sure you have some of those too. Oh, and don’t forget the seasonings! There are also endless amounts of recipes online that you can use to guide you throughout the process.

Besides that, when you’re meal prepping and shopping, make sure you know exactly what you’re making and buying so you don’t waste any food. One con about Aldi is that all of their vegetables come in bulk. Although it is cheaper and is in a way better, if you’re not constantly cooking and using these foods they could go bad fast. Be mindful of what you plan on making and make sure you don’t let anything go to waste.

Overall, keep things simple and easy, especially if you are just starting off. Be mindful of what you buy and how you’re going to use it. You got this!

Loyola University Maryland '23