A student’s life is demanding. You’ve got a hectic class schedule, numerous home assignments, reports that need to be accomplished, presentations that need to be designed well, dissertations that you have to research on, group discussions that you need to attend, not to mention the extra-curricular activities that you need to participate in.
Thus, there isn’t much room for meticulous self-care and meal cooking. Your life is all about being quick, about dashing here and there, and about doing things the cost-effective way.
So, when it comes to food preparation and eating, you’ve got to be disciplined, most especially if you don’t have the money to splurge on the things that you want to eat. You don’t have the money to spend, no time to prepare, so little space for storage. That’s the life of a college student.
Therefore, how do you survive in a way that you can satisfy your cravings for food with less money? Is there such a thing as a cheap grocery list for college students? What about a poor college student grocery list?
If you want to stay in good health even when your finances are on a shoe-string, you have to craft a healthy grocery list on a budget or a student shopping list and meal plan, if you want to economize without becoming malnourished and weak.
One thing to remember though, you need to have a grocery shopping list that is well organized, that way, your money will not be wasted and you will be able to buy the necessary things.
But what’s the list for? Without a list, the tendency is for you to buy hundreds of unnecessary items, or you will find when you’re already at the cashier’s desk that you have gone way over your budget. Or you will find out that what you have bought is something that you already have and forget the things that you need.
First things first…
A shopping list is easy to compose for as long as you understand the basics such as why you need to eat healthy food while you’re in college. Or how to efficiently shop considering that you only have little money to spare and so little time to go to a grocery and roam around those shelves. If you have fully grasped the wisdom around these essentials, then it will be easy to make a list that will back you up as a college student who is on a budget.
Eating Healthy While In College
When you’re in college and surrounded and bombarded with so much junk food, it is so easy to succumb to the temptation and do away with real nutritious food and scrimping on your allowance. You need to think twice before buying anything. Yes, eating healthy can appear like a scary task for a college student. More often than not, the food that is the right food for you can be quite costly for your kind of budget, hence, you need to be shrewd and be practical to make every penny count.
Primarily, if you have access to a meal plan, the highest priority should be in arriving at intelligent choices when you’re in eating spaces. For sure, there will be a mixture of non-essential foods and healthy ones, so, you’ve got to learn to load up on fruits and vegetables, get a good amount of protein and whole grains, and should limit sugary foods and those with unhealthy fats. When you do these, you are disciplining yourself and not just economizing on expenses.
Likewise, you need to learn how to use alternatives to meat-based protein to keep your budget at a smart level. Kidney and black beans, lentils, chickpeas all contain protein as do seeds and nuts. Dashing some of these on a salad can give you the protein you need while leveling up your vegetable intake.
Finally, go for tap water instead of soda.
Once you have decided a few days of healthy recipes, go ahead with the shopping list. With that list, compute what you’re expecting to spend. Do not hesitate on making modifications to the list.
New Zealander researchers Art Thomas and Ron Garland, did a comprehensive academic investigation into the grocery shopping behavior of people and the conclusion was that buyers who stick to a plan or a shopping list spend less money compared to those who don’t. That is because following a pre-made list removes imprudent purchases. Aside from that, the shoppers finish their shopping faster than those who keep on going back and forth the grocery aisles because they are not sure or don’t know what to buy. Here are some things to remember:
- Remember to always not to go to a grocery when you’re feeling hungry or your stomach is empty. As people of wisdom always say, a “hungry stomach never makes a good decision.” This means that when you’re wandering along the grocery shelves with pangs of hunger inside you, for sure, you will reach out to the nearest fast food item that looks delicious and will never have second thoughts of buying it even when it contains just sugar and fats.
- Remember to save up on staples, collect rice and pasta as these are the items that can be kept for a long time and compatible with everything.
- Last but not the least, avoid looking at the checkout counter especially when you’re not done yet with your shopping. The chocolate bars are there conveniently positioned for your eyes to feast on. They are placed there for a reason, if you’re not careful, you’ll get one of those and include them in your cart even when you know you can’t afford to have them.
If you really can’t make up your mind to making the list, surf the net as there are many grocery shopping apps, such as AnyList and Grocery IQ, that can assist you in making a budgeted shopping list and a good meal plan.
The Cheapest Grocery Shopping List For College Students
1. For breakfast, you need to have the following for you to stay healthy without spending too much – bread, cornflakes, eggs, milk, cereal, oats and cookies.
You might ask, what’s the need for eggs and bread. Well, they are extremely high in protein and can make a good and quick breakfast. The eggs can be scrambled (it is quick compared to sunny-side-up) and can be munched together with the bread. Of course, if you’re too tired to scramble the eggs, then just boil them, have a glass of milk, and presto, you have eaten a good breakfast.
Never forget that breakfast is the most important meal of the day so don’t skip, just make it fast and easy. If not eggs and bread, you can have cereal/cornflakes, add a cup of milk and you’re done. You’ll feel full and ready for the day ahead without ruining your wallet.
2. For full meals (in case you decide to cook), you need these in your list —rice, dried beans, cooking oil, sugar, cheese, dry pasta, apples, bananas, carrots, potatoes, garlic, spinach, lettuce, eggplant, lemons, chicken, fish.
3. Fruits and vegetables are stuff you can eat all day. They can make you healthy and will give you a feeling of “fullness” that you won’t be craving for junk or fast food. They will likewise keep you fresh and active all day. Aside from that, these fruits and some vegetables can be utilized as fresh juices which can serve as a healthy substitute for water and a good source of vitamins and minerals that will keep you hydrated without destroying your budget.
Fruits such as oranges, apples, and bananas are good because they can be stored in the refrigerator for a longer period of time compared to other fruits. They can be eaten straight, without you preparing for anything and they can be munched immediately anytime you feel the pangs of hunger.
Being in college is a daunting experience. But if you keep yourself healthy physically and have kept your wallet stocked (because you strictly followed a plan), then college will be full of memorable years’ worth reminiscing at a time when you’re already weary and grey.