Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Shopping for groceries while on a budget does not mean that you have to buy inferior quality food. You just have to follow some money saving tips for effective money management. It includes proper planning and realistic budgeting. Make a list of all those items that you need for breakfast, dinner, and lunch, and other household items. Otherwise, it may so happen that you end up purchasing a lot of unwanted goods and the essential items are left out. It is also very important that you stick to your list while shopping. Do not get tempted to buy some extra items. Avoid taking kids to grocery stores as their wishes can deviate you easily from your list. Given below are some tips for the same.

Grocery Coupons
These can help you save hundreds of dollars from your grocery budget every year without much of an effort. You can collect them from the Sunday newspapers. Flyers are also sent by different stores through the mail. Some libraries give out such coupons for their patrons. Hence, you can check it out if such a facility is available with your library or not. Take care that you collect only those coupons that are meant for items that you need to purchase. It often so happens that you buy certain things that you don’t really need, just to avail the discount. Thus, a lot of money can get wasted. Keep these coupons in your purse so that you do not forget them when you go shopping.

Discount Sales
Sometimes, grocery stores offer rebates on certain items on a particular day. However, avail such a discount facility only when you require it and stop yourself from overbuying things. It should not happen that you drive to a store which is far from your house just to buy one or two things at a discounted rate. Also restrain yourself from buying perishable goods in large quantities simply because they are at a lower cost. Even if you get them at a cheap rate, when you are throwing away a rotten food item in the trash, it is a waste of money.

Bulk Purchase
There are several stores that give money saving offers to people who buy in bulk quantities. You can avail this facility mostly to buy the regular household supplies like detergents, cleaners, paper towels, etc., and also for non-perishable foods like cereals, snacks, canned items, etc. Avoid buying those items that are not required in large quantities. For instance, there is no point in buying mustard for the next five years just to avail a discount. It will be better if you stay away from buying perishable goods like frozen foods on sale. Most of the time, stores put them up for sale when their expiration date is coming closer. In that case, buying excess of what you cannot finish off before the stipulated expiry date will waste money instead of saving it.

Compare Prices
For this, you have to invest a good amount of time in shopping for the groceries. Select five different stores in your area. Purchase items from all of them one at a time, to find out which store can give you the most value for your money. You also have to consider the location of the store. If a store which is at a long distance from your house is giving you things at a lower rate, it may not be a viable option. It is likely that the money you save in the sale will not be much when you compare it with the money that you spend on gas.

Another effective way to save money while grocery shopping is to use cash to make the purchases. This is because, when you see the cash going out of the purse, you will feel like holding yourself back and spending slightly less. When you opt for cards, it is likely that you end up spending beyond your budget as you don’t see the actual money going out at that point of time.

College Grocery List

The first year in college is all about new schedule, new friends, firsthand experience at cooking and shopping for the same. As you are on a tighter budget in the college, you cannot afford to eat out day and night; which is also unhealthy. Soon will come a time when you will be thinking of cooking yourself (although it may be for the first time in life)! Meal planning will be easier if you have a grocery list and shop wisely. It will also help in saving money.

College Grocery Shopping Tips

First things first! Before going shopping, you need to be fully aware of your budget, i.e., the exact amount of money you can spend on groceries. You should also research in the market to look for grocery stores that have a wider option of goods (with respect to cost of items).
Although you may love to indulge in cheeses and chocolates, you need to make healthy choices in the longer run. A healthy grocery list consists of fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, proteins, etc.
Firstly, you should shop for the items that you need every day like bread, eggs, rice, noodles, etc., as these food items can be used for making breakfast, lunch as well as snacks.
You should look for versatile food items like eggs that can be included in various dishes like salads, sandwiches; or can be eaten as a meal by making an omelet, etc. Bananas, potatoes, fruits, cheese, eggs, beans, etc., are some of the versatile food items.
Meat, poultry, and fish should not be stored for a long time as there can be high chances of getting spoiled. Cereals, dried fruits and nuts, dry pasta, rice, etc., are some of the items that last longer.
Check out for discounts and save your grocery coupons for healthy foods rather than indulging in luxury or gourmet food items.
Lastly, one of the basic tips to remember is to include foods that last for at least a week. This will save a lot of time as you need not go shopping every two days.
Grocery List

Fruits and vegetables can be brought in frozen, canned, fresh, chopped, etc., versions. You can also cut vegetables like carrots and cucumbers and store them in refrigerators to eat as snack later. This list is divided into different categories in order to make sorting and shopping easier.

Dairy
Canned low fat/whole milk
Skim milk
Yogurt
Low fat butter/margarine
Peanut butter
Cheddar, Mozzarella cheese
Eggs
Breakfast
Cereals
Oatmeal
Flaxseed
Whole wheat bread
Muesli
Cornflakes
Cookies/Cupcakes
Frozen Foods
Fish sticks/fillets
Chicken breast/meatballs
Deli meat
Turkey
Spinach/tomatoes/Broccoli
Fruits/fruits juices
Beans
Sauces/salsa/dressing/vinegar
Dry Foods
Dried fruits and nuts
Brown/white rice
Rice cakes
Couscous
Instant rice
Macaroni/pasta
Noodles
Cake/pancake mix
Instant popcorn
Baked low fat fries/crisps
Spices, oil, and condiments
Salt and pepper
Here is a list of one dish meals or quick and easy meals that you can prepare in the college pantry. The following dishes can be eaten as breakfast or even as meals for lunch and dinner. These dishes can be made using above mentioned food items as ingredients.

One-Dish Meals
Cream based soups
Peanut butter sandwich
Scrambled/boiled/deviled eggs/omelet
Beans on toast
Cheese/tomato pasta
Oven ready lasagna, pizza
Salad with spinach/broccoli/bell peppers/cherry tomatoes/fruits/eggs/chicken
Coleslaw
Sandwiches
Burritos
Tacos
Meatball salad/noodles
Burgers/hotdogs
Lastly, also remember to buy some of your favorite snacks and indulge once a while! Good luck!