As college girls, it’s about that time where we have to be responsible for ourselves when it comes to grocery shopping. Being healthy and following a healthy diet makes grocery shopping a make-or-break mission, and as such it is important to do it more efficiently and get the right foods at the right time. I’ve been grocery shopping for myself for several years now, and here are a few tips I picked up that I wish I had known when I started my freshman year.
Create a list of what you already have
Before you go shopping, it is essential to take stock of what you’ve already got in your pantry to avoid getting more than you need at the store. Make a mental menu of what you can cook with the things you already have, and make sure to put the perishable items in front so that they don’t disappear at the back of your fridge when you put the new items in.
By actively taking stock of what you have, you make sure that less goes bad and you are less likely to over buy at the store, both of which will save you money in the long run.
Keep your lists on rotation
To be more savvy and efficient at grocery shopping, it’s important to know thyself. You’ll run out of your staple items first, whatever those happen to be for you, like milk, yogurt, fruit, or bread, for example. Other items will last longer, like pasta or frozen items, for example. With this in mind, keep your lists in rotation so that you don’t end up having to shop for everything in one trip.
Have one “essentials” list that features all of your staples, and things like eggs and perishables that have to be purchased more often. When you run out of your essentials, do a shopping trip purely to stock up on those. When you run out of secondary items, do the same for those. You may find yourself at the store more often, but this way you will cut your shopping time and immediate expenses down considerably.
Categorize your list by aisle location
Creating a grocery list is essential, so I thought it was too obvious to have it’s own category, but one way to take it a step further is to dichotomize your list by location in your actual store. If you order and organize your list by location, for example grouping all cold or frozen items together in order of where that location is in your local grocery store, you’re less likely to wander down unnecessary aisles and you will be able to do your shopping a lot faster.
For example, if the layout of your grocery store is a cereal/bread aisle followed by condiments, fresh produce, and frozen items, order your list in the same way. In, out, done, no excess.
Never shop hungry
This is a rule that really stands the test of time. Going to the store hungry is sabotaging yourself before you even get there – you’ll over buy and you’ll get random items that “look good” at the time that you are craving but later won’t want. Even if you’re in a rush, at least eat an energy or nutrition bar, maybe a spoonful of peanut butter on a piece of fruit or crackers. Any little snack helps!
Budget yourself, get coupon-savvy
Groceries can be expensive, particularly on a college budget, and eating fresh and organic foods is anything but cheap. To allow yourself to eat healthier, it becomes crucial to save on the smaller or essential items that often have coupon deals. While the world of couponing may be intimidating, you’ll save yourself time and money in the long-term, which will allow you to reallocate funds to more expensive and organic foods.
What do you think?
Were these tips helpful? How often do you grocery shop? Share with us in the comments section below!