Disclaimer: I am no longer a college student, technically. But, I think this advice still applies to young people living on their own in general!
When I moved off campus almost two years ago, I searched for tips on grocery shopping. While I found a few sample list, there was not a lot of information on the topic. Cooking for one, and on a college student budget, can be tricky! I am lucky to have a full kitchen in my apartment, but there are definitely ways to cook full meals in a dorm room. If your only appliance is a microwave, look into a crockpot! Abagail from Living the Grey Life has a great post on making the most of your dorm room kitchen.
Meal Plan & Make a List
When I first started cooking off campus, I wasted so much food! If you take some time to meal plan in the beginning to the week, you know exactly what to buy at the store. This saves you time and money while shopping. Most of the food I make yields 3-5 servings, so I will either refrigerate the leftovers for later in the week, or freeze them for the future. I do not mind eating the same thing throughout the week, but if you get tired of leftovers, make smaller portions or freeze them.
I am not a crazy coupon, but I have used coupons.com for deals on things I buy frequently. One day, I’d like to be better about coupon-ing. I prefer using rebate apps, and I regularly use Ibotta. Basically, you buy a product and then submit the barcode and your receipt for a small cash rebate. You can cash out the earnings by trading them in for a gift card or cash! If you’re interested in using my invite link, here it is. There are a number of other similar rebate apps also out there.
Prepare Simple Meals
As a college student, you probably don’t have a plethora of spices or ingredients to choose from. Look for recipes that use a low number of ingredients, and Google substitutions for ingredients if necessary. Cutting back on the number of items you need to purchase for each meal will definitely cut the total cost of your grocery bill!
After almost two years of preparing meals on my own, I am hardly a pro. But, I have learned a lot about cooking and purchasing food for one! What are your grocery shopping tips?