It is not uncommon for students to head off to college without knowing very much about how to cook or even how to effectively shop for groceries, so check out these Grocery Tips for College Students.
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Grocery Tips for College Students
If you are on the campus meal plan, you are set. However, if you are living off campus and feeding yourself, or even if you like to keep a little food in the dorm for snacks, there are a few tips that can make all of this go much more smoothly.
Make a Budget for Groceries and Stick to it
Do you have a budget? If not, you should. A budget is critical for knowing how much money you can spend each week or so on groceries and on anything else. You can find plenty of information online about how to make a budget, but you need to figure out how much money you have for the semester and divide that by the number of months or weeks it needs to last.
Account for fixed expenses like rent, and this lets you know how much you have left to spend on things like grocery money. If you get a credit card, you'll give yourself a little more wiggle room although you should strive to pay off your balance each month or at least as quickly as possible.
A credit card can be a great way to start building a credit record. It can also be helpful in emergencies. You can read more about how to choose the right credit card for yourself.
Know Your Eating Habits and Plan Accordingly
Be realistic about what you eat. In other words, you might be basing your grocery list on what your family had around or what you imagine that you might eat. But if you fill your fridge with salad ingredients that go bad before you ever get around to making a salad and end up buying a lot of fast food instead, you are just wasting money.
Think about what kinds of things you normally eat, maybe it's things like sandwiches, cereal, and fruit. For now, don't worry about what you can and can't cook. Just make a list of some of the most common foods and meals that you enjoy eating.
Learn a Few Recipes
Look over the list you've made. Chances are, there are some things on there that involve actual cooking. If you can teach yourself two or three recipes, you're making great progress. If you can learn to make spaghetti sauce, burgers, and chili, you've already got a week of dinners as long as you make some extras.
What is important here is understanding that learning to cook doesn't mean you have to begin with the intricate foundations that a professional chef would need. Getting two or three basic recipes under your belt can feed you and others for a long time.
Learn to Make a Few Really Simple Meals
Outside of the handful of recipes that you start out with, there's a lot of variation in what you can eat. Frozen fruit and vegetables retain most of their nutrient, so don't feel like you're slacking if you fall back on these.
Baked potatoes require just enough expertise to turn on the oven. If you do not want to do even that much, fill your fridge with fruit, vegetables, dips, nuts, and sandwich material.
Check out these EASY dinner ideas for a few recipes to get you started!