Cut Coupons Not Class: A College Student’s Guide to Grocery Shopping

Story by Kirsten Olling
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

When you hear the word couponing, the “Extreme Couponing” show might come to mind.  Or, maybe it reminds you of cutting coupons out of the newspaper at grandma’s and that  person in the checkout line who insists on using their expired coupons.

Couponing doesn’t have to be as tedious a task as it might seem to be. It has many money saving benefits, and in fact, I spend a total of 15 minutes planning out my bi-weekly shopping trips to grab the necessities.

Here’s our guide on how to shop around a college campus on a low budget.

Look for what’s on sale at the local stores.
I prefer are Aldi, Kroger and Meijer. If Meijer fancies you well, install the mPerks Rewards Program app on your phone.  All of their coupons are there at the touch of a button, and the app allows you to pin the deals you want to use.

At check-out, you simply scan your phone instead of having to deal with pesky pieces of paper. If you like Kroger, sign up for a Kroger Card so you don’t miss out on exclusive grocery and gas deals. Best of all – it’s free!

Use to see all the deals in stores around you.
With this website and phone app, you can compare store prices and even print off coupons if you don’t already get them in your mailbox.

Choose items that have long shelf lives: pasta, sauce, frozen fruits and veggies, cereal, peanut butter, etc. These are all groceries that will last a while and you can usually find coupons for them.

Other Money Saving Tips

Plan before heading to the store.
What do you plan on making for dinner this week? Take inventory of your cupboards to make sure that you aren’t re-buying items that you already have. By making one crock pot meal, you’re giving yourself approximately 3-4 meals with minimal ingredients needed! I like to make one meal on the stove, as well.

Don’t fill your cart on every shopping trip.
Pick Aldi for perishables because there aren’t clothing aisles to get lost in, and they have unbeatable prices, like $0.89 for a gallon of milk and $0.69 for eggs and bread. My trips to Aldi never cost me more than $10 per week.

Keep a budget book.
Knowing trends of how and where you spend your money is important in the real world. Plus, you’ll look really cute and put together carrying around a tiny notebook with grocery lists and monthly budgets.

Pick the proper produce.
When you learn to find good deals on fruits and vegetables (in season vs. not in season), they actually become cheaper than potato chips or pop tarts. Not to mention, the fiber in fruits and veggies will fill you up faster and keep you full longer.

There are many ways to shop on a budget and stay healthy, it just takes planning, judgement and a couple tricks. When it comes to shopping on a budget, it really just takes practice. Determine what’s a good deal, set price limits and stick to them.