Grocery shopping tips for broke Chico State students.


Basket of delicious groceries. Photo credit: Jessica Johnson

Who says you have to eat a 20 cent package of ramen noodles or drink a seven dollar bottle of Burnett’s every weekend? Well, this is college. We understand that sometimes it’s necessary.

Good news, however. Learning how to properly manage your money when grocery shopping will prevent you from eating fattening ramen noodles every night.

Here are some quick tips that can help you achieve this and transform your status from struggling college student to frugal and thriving, real quick!

1. Remember your bags

The obvious and most common mistake while grocery shopping is forgetting your reusable bags at home.

Always try and remember to bring them. Not only are you helping the environment, but you’re also saving a whopping 10 cents. Make that mistake 10 times and you are out one dollar. That doesn’t sound like much, but those little cents add up quickly if you keep making this mistake.

2. Think about your meals

Plan ahead! It is best to go in knowing what you need for your meals beforehand because you might catch yourself purchasing unnecessary items.

Do you really need that jar of capers? How are you ever going to incorporate that in a bowl of ramen? But seriously, always come prepared with a list, so you only buy what you need.

3. Download BigOven

This grocery list app helps you stay organized and it also offers a variety of recipes. It will help create a less stressful experience while shopping.

4. Watch out for expiration dates

We have all been through that heartbreaking moment where we catch ourselves throwing away our money simply because we waited too long to use that bunch of spinach or block of cheese. Always remind yourself to use perishable items in a timely manner to avoid this unfortunate mishap.

5. Buy in bulk

Bulk your everyday non-perishable items! Oatmeal, quinoa, rice, and pasta are all great items that are cheaper when bought in large quantities. Start planning your trip to the beloved warehouse called Costco.

6. Buy in season food

Always buy your produce items in season. There is a reason why strawberries cost eight dollars in the winter months. It’s because they are most likely imported, making prices quickly spike up.

7. Watch for sales

Stores like WinCo always list the prices of food on sale. The prices are color coded. Green price labels are the cheaper products you can buy. Pay attention to sales. They will save you a ton of money.

Again, this doesn’t seem like much, but many don’t realize that those little details add up. Save money. Money is better spent on fun things. Don’t be dumb with your money!

Danielle Cortes can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.