For anyone who doesn’t know it, I’m about to enter my fifth year of college. 2 years living at home and 2 years living on my own buying guy own groceries. I also grew up in a home who appreciated staying on a budget so they could spend money on better things. I know a few things about saving money on groceries. I save money on groceries so I can spend it on much better things, like alcohol or clothes. You see my logic?
So for those of you about to enter the college world and start grocery shopping on your own or maybe you just need to trim your monthly budget here are a few of my tips:
1. One word: ALDI
Live it, love it and take advantage of it. Best advice I have for you, IF YOU CAN’T BUY IT AT ALDI, YOU DON’T NEED IT. If you think you’re too good for Aldi or that your friends will judge your for shopping there, you are an idiot. Kraft shells and cheese is $2.50 at Wal-Mart and the Aldi brand is delicious and less than a dollar. Look at you saving money! Mom wil be so proud! EVERYTHING is so much cheaper at Aldi and I promise you it is all delicious and easily edible. My brother survives on their frozen pizza and would eat them for every meal if my mom would let him.
|Ali’s first trip to Aldi|
Hy-Vee’s base prices are super expensive and you will spend way too much every time.
I haven’t figured out Dahl’s yet but the one in Ankeny is super expensive & it’s always a ghost town
Wal-Mart is Wal-Mart and their produce sucks.
Fareway is cheap and the produce it amazing but still more expensive than Aldi.
2. Make a plan
Try to set a limit how many times you eat out per week and stick to it. If you like to go out on the weekends, don’t go out to eat during the week. Eat in and cook your meals. Eating out is really expensive and starts to add up very quickly. And drink water when you eat out! It saves you like $3 per meal and that adds up big time, plus water is good for you! Plan what nights you will cook a decent meal and what nights you will eat ramen or mac and cheese. This way you can plan your groceries and make sure nothing goes bad.
3. Cook with friends
Instead of eating out with friends take turns cooking meals for a small group of friends or cooking together. It’s fun to try new recipes and learn together. Plus it’s much cheaper than going out. Once a week my friends and I would cook a home cooked meal and it was always a good time and highlight of our week.
4. Make lists
Shop with grocery lists and don’t buy things you know you won’t eat. I moved many items that I bought on sale and still have yet to be eaten. Stick to what you like. You can eat the nice food when you’re home visiting your parents, until then stick to the cheap stuff you know you’ll eat. You don’t need to buy soda on a regular basis either. Maybe just stock up when it’s on sale if you need it to survive, otherwise it’s way overpriced. We stopped buying soda at my apartment and have saved a HUGE amount of money. We stick to water.
5. TRY to make a budget and stick to it!
I’m terrible at this. Now that I have an apartment with a pantry I like to stock up things so I always spend more than I intend to. Don’t do that until you can afford to do that. It’s a bad idea if you don’t have room for the extra food or if it will mess up the rest of your monthly budget.
Bottom line: don’t be dumb with your money when it comes to groceries. There are much better things to waste your money on. Like clothes, things for your dorm or apartment, spring break trips and weekend outings.