Saving money on groceries is obviously a good thing on a tight college budget. There are many ways to accomplish this. You can budget for groceries with apps and save money using coupons. But that’s beginner stuff.
The real secret to saving big money on your grocery bill at college requires a mindset you may already be familiar with if you’ve gone camping with friends. With it you can side step rookie grocery shopping missteps and keep more cash in your pocket!
Grocery Shopping Pitfall #1 ~ No Plan
If you’ve gone on a camping trip to a relatively secluded campground you know how important it is to plan.
You have to take into account how much food you need to survive the week. How much time you’ll have for cooking (between having fun). And be aware of the cooking tools available. Now imagine your off-campus house, apartment or residence is your tent surrounded by campus wilderness.
How much food will you need to survive the week without having to shop again or splurge on cafeteria eats? What’s your class load and how much time do have to cook? Do you have access to a full kitchen or just a microwave?
Answering these basic questions, before going to the grocery store, makes your grocery list laser focused and saves you from spending excess money on items that may spoil before you get a chance to eat them or can’t be properly cooked with the kitchen items you have available.
Grocery Shopping Pitfall #2 ~ Shopping Alone
When I went on camping with my friends we’d typically shop for groceries together and pool our money for the food. Sadly this was the only smart thing we did on our camping trips.
Grocery shopping with friends with pooled cash is by far the most effective way to shrink your grocery bill.
What makes it so effective is the pooled money prevents everyone in the group from splurging on non-essentials items others won’t want to pay for. Bring a healthy eater along and you’ll also save some calories because the powdered doughnuts will get nixed from the grocery cart.
Grocery shopping with others also allows you to get better deals on cheaper family pack versions of products that are easy to divvy up.
Reason enough to grab a friend (or two) before venturing to the grocery store. If possible find one who has a car. Why rough it on the bus (or worse portage groceries home) if you don’t have to.
Grocery Shopping Pitfall #3 ~ Forget to Peak in Cupboards and Fridge
When you camp in a tent for a week, with only a cooler to keep your food from spoiling, you become very aware of what needs to be cooked first so no food goes to waste.
Spoiled food on a camping trip means you go hungry. At college it means double dipping into your fragile bank account. You pay once to buy the initial food item that spoiled and again to replace it.
A quick peek in the fridge and cupboards before a grocery trip can prevent double dipping and save you a lot of money. Make a habit of taking a peek inside the fridge every Friday. There’s probably a meal waiting to happen!
As you can see, with the camping mindset you’ll save big bucks on your grocery bills while at college! Now all you need are some easy money saving meal ideas.