If you are like most students in North America - this is your second full week away at school. This means that the food supplies you initially brought with you from home when you moved are starting to dwindle. This is probably the first chance you are going to have to go grocery shopping for yourself. So here's a few tips to help with that initial solo trip to the food store.
Plan ahead - Make a list of meals you want to have in the coming week or two. Check to see what ingredients you have on hand and which ones you will need to buy. Prepare a detailed grocery list before heading to the store. Studies have proven that we spend more money on impulse buys at the grocery store when we don't have a list of specific items - and stick to it!
Go generic - Almost all major grocery chains have their own 'store brand' of products to rival the 'name brands'. These no-name products are usually of equal quality to the big names - at a much cheaper price. You can save anywhere from 25-40% on many staples if you buy the store brand. They are always located right beside each other so comparing prices is very easy. Unless you are a brand name snob when it comes to your groceries and household paper supplies, go generic and save some dough!
Don't go hungry - to the grocery store that is! It may be an old saying but it rings true. Don't go food shopping on an empty stomach. Studies prove you will buy more impulse items and bigger sizes of needed items if you go food shopping while hungry. Have lunch first if shopping on the weekend, or wait until after your dinner to shop for food on weekdays.
Finally - Watch the screen - We all know mistakes happen. Combine human error with electronics at the checkout counter and it could cost you extra. Watch as items are scanned to be sure the proper price shows up - especially for sale items. If you use any coupons -save them until the end to be able to watch the discounts get rung through. It won't happen often - but a couple of bucks is a couple of bucks to a college student!
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you embark on your first solo trip to the grocery store. Cheers!