This archived article was written by: Caitlin Wright
I’m going to address a problem that I know many college students face every day; shopping with a budget. There are so many different areas concerned with this topic, but I’m going to talk more specifically about the problem of grocery shopping. These are just some tips that I learned from family, friends and my own experiences.
Everyone knows that it is really hard to just go to the store and start buying. Questions that I often face are “what do I need?” or “where do I begin?” and this more often than not ends with impulse shopping. That is a BIG no-no. When you start buying anything and everything you see there is no doubt that you will go over your budget. The simple solution to this problem is to just make a list. Go into the store and KNOW what it is that you need, and don’t get everything that you want. Ask yourself, “Is it a need or a want?” If it is just a want, then just walk away because you can do without.
One of the best ways to save money when buying groceries is to see what is on sale in the store and make a list according to that. Coupons are a good way to save money, but you have to be careful and compare prices because occasionally the store brand will still be less expensive than the coupon discount.
Another trick to working with a budget is to do little things such as buying in the season. If it’s wintertime, don’t buy strawberries. Sometimes good quality is wanted so you will try to buy brand names, but more often than not the store brand is just as good as name brand and it’s cheaper.
The next problem that might come up is how to even make a list. There are always the basics, but when it starts to go beyond that, it gets difficult to know what ingredients to get for what meals and how much you will need. One thing that my mom taught me to solve this problem is to make a menu. To do this, I just go through a cook book and pick out recipes that are easy and cheap, then list the needed items and go off of that.
These ideas are just a few simple and easy ways to save money that in the end will make a difference. It is hard being a college student with a tight budget and it is even harder to make that budget stretch. Even though it is difficult, there are some ways, many more than I have mentioned, of helping that paycheck go a little farther than usual.