Check out these simple tips and create the Best Grocery List for College Students to streamline grocery shopping and save money!
Whether you want quick snacks for your dorm room or a way to make quick and healthy meals, this list will cover all of the basics!
It can be stressful to purchase groceries while in college, especially for poor college students on a tight budget. But here are some basic tips and essential things you can rely on that are affordable and good for you that will take off the pressure.
Following these suggestions is the best way to keep your grocery bill low. With a little bit of planning, you can make easy meals that will rival your school dining hall and reduce the amount of fast food you eat.
Keep reading for tips and a sample basic college grocery list to get you started. If this is your first time compiling a grocery list, this post will save your life!
Why Make a Grocery Shopping List?
- It's a great way to avoid purchasing unnecessary items and spending more money than you need to.
- A grocery shopping list can help you plan a budget ahead of time and know exactly how much you're going to spend.
- A basic grocery list will aid in avoiding accidentally buying food items you may already have.
- You won't forget things that you do need while you're at the store.
- The grocery store can be stressful if you go in without a plan, and a list will give you a roadmap.
- Your shopping list can also help you keep track of inventory and what you have or might need for the future.
How To Make a College Grocery List
- Consider every meal you'll eat throughout the week, from breakfast (the most important meal of the day!) to dinner.
- Check to see what items you already have in store. See what may be running low or what may need to be replaced.
- Make your list based on grocery store groupings for efficient shopping. This includes things like fresh produce, dairy, canned goods, meat/protein, frozen food, grains and breads, baking, and snacks.
- If you have specific recipes in mind, make sure to add all of the necessary ingredients and the required amounts.
- Double check your list to make sure you're not missing anything important. Have a best friend check it over and provide suggestions. Sometimes we miss things!
- To get an idea ahead of time about how much you might be spending, take a look at the website of your chosen grocery store and see the general prices for the items you're shopping for.
- Commit to a budget and your list and head to your nearest grocery store!
Best Healthy Food Items
These food items are healthy and also fairly inexpensive:
- fresh fruits - apples, bananas, berries, peaches, oranges, grapes, etc.
- veggies - baby carrots, broccoli, peppers, spinach, cucumbers, potatoes, lettuce, etc.
- frozen veggies
- granola bars
- chicken breast
- ground turkey
- microwave rice/quinoa
- canned tuna
- Greek yogurt
Best Essentials for Poor College Students
- paper plates
- paper towels
- mac and cheese
- microwave noodles
- peanut butter
- instant oatmeal
- canned soup
- string cheese
- ice cream
College Student Grocery Shopping Tips
- Keep your options open when it comes to meal prep! Some recipes may instruct you to cook things a certain way but there are work-arounds.
- Make a time table that includes built-in meal time, including both prep/cooking and time to eat.
- Eat before you shop! This will prevent you from straying from your list due to hunger and cravings.
- Utilize deals and coupons whenever possible.
- Keep your pantry, fridge, and freezer as organized as possible so you always know what you have and what you need.
- Try to aim for balance in your shopping list between perishables and non-perishables, meats and veggies, healthy foods and treats, etc.
Easy Recipes for College Students
- Crispy Air Fryer Panko Chicken Thighs - Even a dorm room typically has enough space for an air fryer, which can be a huge asset when it comes to making your own meals. Try these delicious chicken thighs instead of going out for fast food.
- Fish Taco Bowls - Made with frozen fish filets, these easy taco bowls are incredibly customizable and a quick and easy meal. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!
- Easy Microwave Ramen - This fantastic recipe from Steamy Kitchen is a major upgrade to the flavor powder that comes with most microwave noodles. So simple to make right in your microwave!
Depending on how much you eat and what you're willing to purchase, you might spend anywhere from $30 to $75 a week on groceries, give or take $10 or so. Some people have more flexibility, but buying cheap groceries can make a smaller amount stretch further.
Some great fridge items for college are yogurt, cheese, deli meats for sandwiches, fresh fruits, butter, hummus, and veggies.
This all depends on how much you eat in a week and what kind of food you're buying. Some products have a long shelf life and can last much longer than others. There are students who go to the grocery store once a week, while others go only a couple of times per month. Try to eat perishables first and save other items for later to reduce the amount of waste and the amount of trips to the store.
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