Frugal Shopping Tips for College Students

Doing the grocery by yourself? Worried about going beyond your budget?

Here are few tips to shop without burning a hole in your pocket.

Create a to-buy list. Do an inventory of your supplies. Check which items you need to purchase, and those that you can postpone buying until your next allowance comes. If you are certain you would not be needing it, then do not list it down.

Shop for essentials. Again, consider your priorities. Do you really need to store sugary drinks? Also, make use of items you have in your room. There’s no need reaching for plastic cups and utensils when you have reusable ones. Think of it as helping the environment well. You do not accumulate trash, and you do not have to pay for unnecessary purchases.

Check out discounts. Before you raid groceries, go online first to check which nearby stores are offering discounts. You are a student, and so chances are, you are eligible for a myriad of discounts. Browse through online accounts of stores so you can receive updates about deals that are up for grabs.

Compare rates. Here, you would have to consult your parents or your seniors on which grocery stores offer the lowest rates. Cheaper products might take you traveling farther so be cautious about the cost of commuting. Your goal is to save. If the amount you could save is equal to the fare price you’ll be paying, then it is best that you stick to the nearby store.

Go there full. This might sound ridiculous, but it is actually helpful. When you are hungry and when your stomach seems craving for something you cannot identify, you will likely spend more than you planned. You end up stowing in your basket junk foods and any snack that attracts your sight. But if you take a snack before you hit the grocery, you will keep your mind focused on the items that you have listed.

Use shopping bags. Stores such as Kroger, Hannaford and Target offer discounts when you use shopping bags. You are to stay in campus for four years, and within that period, you will have to work your way out of a meager allowance. Hence, saving few cents every time you shop means a lot.

Choose products that are always available. Vegetables and fruits that are available only for a particular period ten to be more costly than their counterparts that are always available, year round. If the nutritive value you can enjoy is the same, then pick the cheaper alternative. 

Buy in bulk. In need of toilet paper? It will cost you less if you will buy a dozen than getting an individual pack. Also, you need not run to convenience stores in case you need extra. So in the long run, you also save time and effort. However, use your stock wisely. You still would end up spending more if you buy in bulk, but double the consumption.

Coordinate with your roommate. For cleaning tools, talk to your roommate about sharing expenses. This will be beneficial for you both as you cut down grocery expenses. And if they will also agree, you can even divide the cost for basic grocery items like milk and cheese which you doubt you can finish before they expire. And with that,

Beware of expiry date. Do not buy goods that are expiring soon. Always go for those products which you can store for long.

Thrift shopping is also about managing finances and weighing priorities. Thus, it is a skill you would find useful even after college. So do not dread the thought of shopping in groceries thinking you are an impulse buyer. Challenge yourself to be a wise shopper instead.