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After you start college, you realize there a tons of things that you don’t quite know how to do. The two big things that I left home without knowing how to do was laundry and grocery shopping. Now, I learned how to do laundry pretty fast… but I still haven’t quite mastered the art of grocery shopping. Whether you live in a dorm or an apartment, grocery shopping is a hard task to carry out. Here a couple tips to follow so that your dreaded shopping trip runs a little smoother.

1. Set a budget and DO NOT go over it, no matter what. Pull up your calculator while you shop and keep track of how much you’re spending, you’ll be surprised at how fast “necessities” can add up. Aka that $6 hummus is not needed every trip.

2. Make a grocery list before you head out. This will help you stay focused on what you need, before you got starry eyed in the Debbie Cake aisle.

3. Go to Coupons.com or google search “grocery coupons” to print out and take with you on your grocery trip. You don’t have to be an extreme couponer, but if the resources are there you might as well spend an extra 10 minutes to save a couple bucks! There are also apps for this like; Coupons.com, Ibotta and Grocery Pal.

4. Bring your own bags. A lot of stores will give you .05 cents or so off for every bag you bring to bag your groceries in! Plus it’s good for the environment!

5. Pay attention to food labels. If you buy healthy, then you won’t have to worry so much about eating healthy… It will be the only choice! Remember that Trans Fat & Saturated fats are bad bad bad! As a general rule of thumb, keep sugars, sodium and fat low and pay attention to the serving size! The label might say everything is low, but it’s only for 4 chips… eat 8 and you’ll double all those numbers, yikes!

6. Even if you live in a dorm, try and buy fresh veggies and fruits! I know first hand how fast these can mold or go bad, so try to buy small amounts if you can. Things like carrots, cucumbers and celery are good snacking foods!

7. Keep frozen meats to a minimum… this a rule I LIVE by. Basically if it says “Meaty Something” then put it down. When shopping for frozen pizza (because what college student doesn’t buy that) try and shop for veggie topped pizza rather than meat topped. Just imagine what they have to do to that meat to make it last that long in a freezer.

8. Canned soups are your friend freshman year, super fast to heat up and eat on the fly, but are STACKED in sodium so keep those to a minimum as well.

9. If you live with roommates, try and talk about how much frozen foods each of you will buy. A small freezer gets full quick when you live with 3 or 4 girls, so talk it out before you come home with all this frozen food and nowhere to put it!

10. The golden rule of grocery shopping… DO NOT go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You will come home with way more than what you needed. And it’s pure torture to walk around a grocery store with hungry eyes. EVERYTHING looks amazing.

Follow these 10 tips to save a little money and make your next shopping trip run much more smoothly!

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