9 answers

How do y'all save money on groceries while in college?

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9 answers

AUSTIN’s Answer

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Hi Cristina,

I used to struggle with this a lot through college. One of the best ways to save money is buying your own groceries and cooking your own meals, but I always lazy. You can get simple dinners from a Walmart or a Giant Eagle which have Alfredo that all you need is boiling water and milk, throw it on a stove stop, mix it for 7 minutes and dinner is ready. Sometimes these are as cheap as .99 Cents and they are decently filling. Add some cayenne pepper and adds some flavor to it. Time is money, some Walmart's have people do your shopping for you, all you do is go online, put it in your cart, tell them when you plan to pick it up, and boom all you have to do is drive to the walmart and pick up your groceries. This will help you save time and those random ahh I should get this, ohh! that looks good lets get that.


Also, I find Cereal was always a good choice for dinner. Simple, Easy, Quick and Cheap.



Definitely want to echo the advice about online grocery shopping! It's incredibly valuable towards keeping to your budget and planning. (Not to mention some online only coupons!) It is much easier to keep track of your total due and prevents the dreaded "register-returns" when you lose track of your grand total. Additionally, I'd recommend a journal of what groups on campus/ church / social groups have potlucks and freebies. I've always gone by the motto: "If it's for free it's for me." Michael Casterline
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Cassandra’s Answer

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Hi Cristina,

This is a great question, as being financially responsible can be a big task. My first suggestion is to be very cautious about eating out/doing take out, as that can add to your costs quite a bit. Buying store brand items can be very helpful, as many products have the same or similar ingredients, and they often are significantly cheaper than name brands. Another step that can be helpful is to print coupons off of websites such as www.coupons.com.  These are free coupons that can be used at any retailer that accepts them, which can ultimately reduce your costs on your daily needs.

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Laura’s Answer

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Hi, Cristina! I know how important it is to save money while in college especially on groceries. I also found it hard to find nutritious foods for reasonable prices. So I tried meal planning and found that meal planning, while shopping for sale items works really well. Meal planning has helped me save money by avoiding the impulse buys. I also try to meal plan around what is on sale and in season for additional savings. I have also found that most grocery stores have online or digital coupons that can add extra savings.

Laura recommends the following next steps:

  • Find your favorite grocery store flyer and come up with just 1 or 2 meals for the week to give it a try.
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Jennifer’s Answer

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Sometimes it seems impossible to save and not go hungry! There are a lot of options for saving money on food. You can buy in bulk with any roommates you have; just be careful to not buy perishables. If you buy in bulk you can also freeze gallon ziplock bags so they will stay fresher longer. If you have an extra minute of so, try coupon clipping to save money on a splurge item you want :) My best advice is to not give into temptation and buy from the$1 menu at fast food restaurants. Save yourself the hassle and stay healthy!

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Katie’s Answer

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When I was in school, I also took advantage of the free food available at the club meetings I attended. These meetings were a great way to meet people, learn more about my chosen field, and break up the monotony of cafeteria food and my own "cooking." I am not encouraging you to join clubs just for food but do take advantage when it makes sense for you.

Katie recommends the following next steps:

  • Look for clubs or other activities that make sense for you.
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Montressa’s Answer

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Great question! Buy what you need and what will fit into your fridge. Then go to the Cafeteria for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That is a free meal and if you have flex dollars then splurge on something different. I know sometimes groceries can get up in cost.

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Jennifer’s Answer

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I agree with Austin what Austin said...I used the Walmart PickUp system in college and it helped me save money by not allowing me to impulse buy as easily.


 Cristina also mentioned Aldi - this is a great store if you are looking to save money. Their layout is not as intuitive as your regular grocery store, but they are known for their low prices and every cent counts!!


If you buy things for sandwiches like deli meats and breads, a lot of grocery stores have a 'day old' discount. They mark down items that were not made that day. They are just as tasty but will help your pocketbook overtime. I also buy a lot of 'off brand' items. There are somethings I am very brand loyal too, but you can usually get the same taste for a little less if you avoid the brand names.

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Hallie’s Answer

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Hi Cristina-- This is a great question and something that I'm still trying to figure out even post-college! I definitely recommend checking out Aldi for less expensive groceries if you have one near your location. If not, many other grocery stores will also post weekly ads and deals on their websites that can help cut costs too.


Pinterest, and the internet in general, are great resources for frugal recipes as well. For example, these two blogs have a lot of great ideas:

https://www.prudentpennypincher.com/100-cheap-easy-pantry-recipes/

https://thefreerangelife.com/frugal-meals/


One other thing I recommend is checking out some cash-back shopping apps. Ibotta (https://ibotta.com/) is one that I use where you can earn cash back for the groceries you buy just by taking a picture of your receipt. The amounts aren't usually a ton, but they do add up and anything helps!


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Kanan’s Answer

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Budgeting! I try to not waste food and buy a little that will last me for about a week, Freezing some food and meal prepping also really helps

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