Saving money in college can sometimes be a struggle- it’s hard to refrain from buying the more luxurious food items your parents buy you at home, like steak and Keurig cups. However, there are great ways to save some money while you grocery shop, which can give you a little extra money in your budget for a treat down the line!
1. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables
This is especially true if you make a lot of smoothies. When they’re all blended together, there’s no way you can tell the difference between fresh and frozen mango. Similarly, frozen spinach is basically the exact same when you heat it up, and the fact that its frozen makes it more convenient to put on everything. Buying fruit when it’s on sale or in season and putting it in your freezer until you need it can save you big bucks in the long run.
2. Shop those sales!
Pay attention to the sale sections in your local grocery stores, and look online to see what types of food are usually on sale certain days of the week. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved finding things I needed in the sale section: half-priced cereal, soups, and other treats seriously come in handy.
3. Buy in bulk, but only if you’ll use it
There’s no point in buying 10 boxes of granola bars if you barely eat granola bars. But, if you eat granola bars every day anyway, then this can save you a LOT of money. The same motto applies to Costco. Make sure to buy the largest size or bulk packs of nonperishable items you can always use, like flour, sugar, or certain sauces. Buying in bulk can be more expensive in the short term, but will seriously pay back in the long term if you use it all.
4. Look at the unit price
My favorite trick to see how expensive the food I’m buying actually is is to look at the unit price. It should be on the corner of the price tag, and it tells you the cost for every ounce of food. So, if one box of cereal seems like it’s $2 cheaper than another, check that; I’ve found up to 30 cent differences between them! When you’re buying heavier foods, this adds up. Remember: bang for your buck isn’t getting the cheapest possible item, but getting the cheapest item in proportion to how much food you actually get.
5. Buy generic
Yes, I know it’s less appealing, but if you’re really trying to save money, generic products probably taste the exact same, or pretty close to it. If you’re using food in a recipe or buying something plain like beans, generic is the way to go. It’ll save you a couple bucks every time, and you won’t even know the difference.
6. Don’t grocery shop hungry and make a list!
A well-known tip to saving money while grocery shopping is to shop right after a meal. This will help stop you from impulse buying junk food just because it looks good at the time. Similarly, following a list will keep you from meandering around the store. Grocery stores are designed to make you wander around as much as the store as possible, making you more likely to buy food you don’t need. Don’t fall for their tricks and stick to your path!
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