How to Grocery Shop on a Budget, Stress-Free

Whether you’re a college student, a busy adult, or just looking for a way to cut weekly costs, grocery shopping can be a pain. So many grocery stores have weird layouts, making it difficult to figure out where the one product you’re looking for is, and comparing prices on products can be overwhelming. I’m here to share with you my top 5 tips I learned over the last few years of budgeting as a college student and hopefully rub some knowledge off on you.

1. Meal plan in advance. Thinking about what you’re going to cook that week is a great way to know exactly what you’ll need for meal prepping. You’ll be able to look through your pantry prior to going to the store, so you won’t purchase a bag of brown rice since you have still half a bag sitting in your kitchen.

2. Go in with a grocery list. I would divide up your grocery list into sections: produce, meat/fish, frozen, dry food, etc. That way, you’ll never forget what you’re looking for, and you’ll only go in for what you need. For iPhone users: you can make an easy checklist using your notes app!

3. Check for sales. Many grocery stores post their weekly sales flyers online for those of you who want to look in advance to meal prep for the week (in Atlanta, the sales at Publix and Kroger are effective from Wednesday to Tuesday of the next week). If you don’t want to look in advance, while you’re at the store, look around to see what the better deal may be. Maybe bone in chicken thighs are on sale that week compared to the boneless chicken thighs. The extra two or three dollars you save could add up to a bottle or two of kombucha! Who knows! (Also pro tip – BOGO in Atlanta means you could either buy one, get one free OR buy one at half off. Not sure if this is the same everywhere, but I know it’s true at Kroger and Publix here!)

4. Don’t be afraid to buy the store brand products! Something I’ve learned is that so many store brand products are honestly just as good as big name brand products. The price differences truly do add up, and besides…does it really matter if you buy the name brand flour for an extra dollar than the store brand flour? I recommend checking the nutrition facts/ingredients list and comparing both if you’re worried about switching brands. You’ll probably find that most of the products are made with the same ingredients!

5. If you can’t find something you want – DON’T PANIC! There’s definitely going to be a time when you go into the store andddddd the avocados are totally overripe and not worth purchasing. Just reassess what you’re going to make instead. Maybe instead of the avo toast with an egg you make a spinach omelet. The world is truly your oyster!

There you have it: my top 5 tips for grocery shopping on a budget, stress-free. And if you want to go completely stress free, check out my pre-made weekly grocery lists, all under $50. On Monday, I’ll be posting a $50 Trader Joe’s list, so keep an eye out!

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