Best tips for grocery shopping on a college budget

College students are typically known for being broke.

For those who struggle with grocery store budgets, here are a few tips to keep money from escaping your wallet. 

1. Plan ahead

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Everyone knows going to the grocery store hungry is a bad idea. Have a small snack, such as an apple or a granola bar before shopping to prevent buying unnecessary products. Make a list of what you need and stick to it to avoid impulse buys.


2. Go healthy

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Not only is consuming healthy food good for you, but it can also be cheaper. The key to going healthy is examining the portion sizes. Avoid going to the store and loading up on foods that add calories but zero nutritional value, such as chips, cookies or sugary sodas. Instead, take a look at the fruit and vegetable section and stock up.


3. Take advantage of sales

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You might be distracted by the large, annoying tags that hang below the prices of food items, but they actually can help you save big. Take advantage of the “buy one, get one free” deals and search your local newspapers or magazines for coupons that can cut prices in half. Harris Teeter grocery store in downtown Charleston offers its customers a VIC card that gives special savings and benefits.

“Anytime there is a deal, I don’t mind spending an extra few bucks because it saves me money and time in the long run,” said Emily Ludington, a College of Charleston student.


4. Buy in bulk

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Many food companies make grocery store shopping convenient and easy by making their products available for purchase by bulk. Buying in bulk will give you more products that will last longer and will be cheaper. Water bottles that normally go for about $1 can be bought in bulk for under $10.

“I usually buy water bottles in bulk because it’s cheaper and super easy to grab on the way to class,” said Kelsey Dyer, a student at College of Charleston.


5. Frozen or canned

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Just because the food is canned or frozen does not mean it is unhealthy for you. Frozen food has high nutritional value and can actually last longer when put into the freezer for future use. At any grocery store frozen vegetables, meals, soups and juices are sold for under $10. 


6. Plant a garden

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Making a garden is not only a fun and interactive activity but can also lead to saving money and time out of your day in the long run. Seeds can be extremely inexpensive and taking good care of your garden can result in many fresh vegetables to put into a healthy salad or soup.

“I chose a sunny spot in my backyard and purchased my favorite vegetable seeds, which helped me save big and also encouraged me to spend the day outside,” said Kelsey.


7. Examine all products

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Product placement on the shelves is not random. Major food corporations pay to have their products in direct line of vision depending on those who are roaming the aisles. Make sure to look above and below your line of vision to see different brands and prices of what you are looking for to avoid buying the most conveniently placed item.


8. Use all your food

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Avoid making another trip to the grocery store unless you are completely out of groceries. Leftovers can come in handy when you are on the go or can pack a lunch before class. Believe it or not, the end of the week can result in a tasteful smorgasbord.


9. Make only one trip a week

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If you limit yourself to making only one trip a week to the store, you will avoid spending an unnecessary amount of money. Making that trip alone is important because you are not encouraged or intrigued to buy what your friends are.


by Katie Prazmark



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