A College Girl’s Guide to Grocery Shopping!

Hi hi, it’s me again. I’ve had a tremendous case of writer’s block. It honestly was kind of upsetting for me because I have always had something that I really felt was pressing to talk about up here. But, once I took a step back from the computer screen, I had a ton of fun ideas come to me.

ICYMI, I’m living in an apartment now, and I am lovin’ it. There are definitely some things that are rather annoying about non-dorm life though, but overall I am really enjoying the intro to adulting. One big part of why I love it is: I can finally say goodbye to dining hall food. I spent two years eating the same 7 meals that I liked in rotation, and it feels so good to be able to fix healthy, yummy, and just fresh meals two-three times a week. One thing that definitely had to be demystified was grocery shopping  affordable grocery shopping. So, I’m gonna break down my tips and tricks to staying calm in the grocery store and not spending an arm and a leg because I think I’ve got it down.


Plan out your meals for two weeks. This will get you started.

Now, this is more important than I actually thought at first because I figured I would just be able to pull what I wanted to eat in the coming weeks while I was wandering the aisles. Clearly, I gave myself too much credit in this department. SO NOW, I make a realistic schedule of meals and all the things that I need to make them including the technical items like aluminum foil. I like to find really simple and easy to make meals for the weekdays when I tend to come home for two hours to eat and then head right back to the library.

Things like Chicken Fajitas {this one has fresh veggies which is thebomb.com}, Pastas, Roasted Veggies, and Baked Sweet Potatoes are going to be perfect for when you are on a time crunch, but still want to have a wholesome meal. I like to mix it up and nothing is really too crazy! Another super easy Pinterest recipes round up will be coming soon as I try some more out!

Here’s a typical dinner cooking schedule for me {I may or may not actually stick to it, but a girl can dream right?}:

Sun- Chicken Fajitas

T- Baked Chicken Breast 

Th- Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Sun- Salmon 

T- Quesadillas

Th- Baked Potato

I tend to mark down side dishes {current favorites are broccoli, asparagus, brown rice, roasted potatoes and vegetables} on my paper calendar, but the nitty gritty really isn’t important in this post. I tend to keep it uber simple for breakfast and match up two or three things from this list: cereal, oatmeal, bagels, BelVita breakfast bars, grapes, and bananas.


Make a Morning Out of It!

I will only grocery shop earlier in the morning on Saturday or Sunday. Mostly on the weekends because this is the only time I have during the weekend to shop in the morning, usually I have class. Saturdays around 8:30/9am are the best, and I’ll usually grab coffee from the Starbucks across the street when I shop at Walmart or Trader Joe’s. I’d also recommend eating a nice breakfast beforehand, so grabbing or cooking something filling is super beneficial! If I have other errands to run that are easy and don’t take a lot of time, I’ll also get those out of the way in the same trip. One time I dropped textbooks off at UPS, picked up at pair of shoes at Old Navy that I had my eyes on, and did all of my grocery shopping in a span of three hours. Talk about productivity.

Shop with friends.

I have only done this a couple of times because my roommates have pretty different schedules, but I seriously suggest grocery shopping with friends. It will keep you on task and make for good brunch buddies. I find that I spend a lot less money when I’m shopping with my gal pals and I am pressured to be more healthy- peer pressure has nice effects in this situation I guess ? You can share recipes and brands, and sometimes we’ve shared deals like BOGO offers and things, because normally I would never need two 8 packs of yogurt.

Pick one splurge item.

I find that in order to limit what ends up in my cart and to make sure I’m having plenty of money to spend on fresh fruits and veggies; I’ll limit myself to one or two splurge items. What’s a splurge in the food world you ask? Anything with over 10g of sugar and over $5 dollars that isn’t a meat or entree. My past examples are: Talenti Gelato or Ben&Jerry’s, Starbucks Iced Mocha(s), Fig Newtons, etc. These quench the sweet tooth, but are A-okay in moderation! I like to mix them up. So that when its finally their turn; it’s a real treat!

Maximize on filling items.

As a broke {okay so not actually broke but, budgeted} college student, I love to get the biggest bang for my buck. Now whether that’s from stocking up on cheap essentials like potatoes [usually 1 dollar each], rice, beans, pasta, etc and using these as main dishes to only buying meat/fish that’s on sale for a good price, there are a ton of ways to mix up your diet while still staying on budget and not wasting food! I don’t know about you, but one of my worst flaws is getting sick of what I’m cooking or eating so fast that I end up wasting a lot of it. Which aside from being horrible, is a HUGE waste of money. One habit/flaw that I need to drop fast!!!

Check store catalogs for deals and coupons.

I joke about being a grandma frequently, but this is by far one of the most adult-like things that I do. You can save so many dollars and cents just by being sure to check what items are on sale and maybe even coming up with a pattern for when things typically go on sale; I haven’t been doing it for long enough to really notice yet, but we’ll get there! Also, know the coupon policy for all the small things that can be super annoying if you’re not ready for it. Like maybe that Harris Teeter only accepts printed coupons or that Walmart needs a scannable bar code. Yeah, those kinds of things are important to know. Basically, every store has a coupon policy that you can check out ahead of time so that you are prepared.

Specialty stores are great places to get produce, especially if you’re looking for organic.

I love Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods as much as the next blogger, but as a college student they can get pretty pricey and I always go in being prepared. Whole Foods can be more expensive than TJ, but they have coupons and run sales frequently. I’ll go here for flowers, produce, and Halo Top Ice Cream. No matter what, I always make sure to bring my reusable Whole Foods cooler bag with me whenever I go because you can save the earth and get a couple of cents off! Once again, there’s no reason that us college students can’t stop by our favorite organic-loving grocery stores as long as we go in with a plan and knowing exactly what we want or rather need.

Watch and learn from real college students and 20-somethings.

I don’t know what it is, but I have been so fascinated with watching grocery hauls and What I Eat In A Day videos on youtube. I especially love when college bloggers, 20 something lifestyle bloggers and Youtubers talk about their health and fitness because balancing can be so hard, ya know?! Some of my favorites right now are:

MissMollyAnne

Abigail @ Living the Gray Life

Cristina @ Cristina Was Here

Tori Sterling

Natalie Barbu

Katie Horan

and me… ?!? Check out my grocery haul below to see all the goods I got this past weekend and be sure to subscribe to our channel for more vlogs and videos this summer.


One of the biggest things I’ve noticed about eating healthy for me is that I still want flavor and to eat what I want so to speak. For the longest time, I was never a fan of green veggies, quinoa, or almond milk. If it sacrificed flavor, I was not a fan. Still true, don’t you worry. However it’s important to me now to incorporate whole foods: whole grains, greens and fruits, and non-processed foods. It’s been great because I’ve seen the effects of eating healthier: my skin is better, I have a ton more energy, and my clothes are starting to fit better– with some help at the gym!

I want to take a couple of posts a month to document how my health eating and work out journey continues. I’ll be bringing some of my favorite time saving recipes and just updates on how the journey is coming. If you’re interested in any specific aspect of my health and fitness, drop some post suggestions in the comments!

Have a great day friends!

xoxo,

  • Love this post, Gabby! I’ve been doing my own grocery shopping for a couple of months now, but being healthy is still something I struggle with. I really want to get better at it, but I guess I just don’t know where to start. Love these tips!

  • Meal planning worked so well for me in college! My roommate and I would cook meals together and plan them out in advance so we could split who paid for which ingredients. These tips are all great! 🙂

    paige / eyeliner wings & pretty things

    • Yes! I need to just get into a rhythm with it and I have no doubt it will be great for me! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
      xo, G