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STUDENT HACKS: Grocery shopping and meal planning on a budget

Are you a hungry student always looking for something to eat?

Do you find yourself stressing about going to the grocery store because it's so expensive and time consuming?

Many students struggle during the school year to balance their class time with their personal time. Your eating habits may not be your number one priority while you’re in school, but it should be and I’m going to tell you how to make it easier. Keep reading for some easy student hacks for keeping your wallet and your tastebuds happy!

Tip #1: Make a plan before you go to the grocery store.

Grocery shopping can be a hassle, especially with so many different things to choose from. You’ll want to know ahead of time exactly what you need so you don’t spend too much time searching for items. Create a meal plan 1-2 weeks in advance and make sure you plan your shopping trips accordingly. Being as you are a student, every minute is precious and you might want to try and keep your meal planning simple but wholesome.

Tip #2: Plan for the times you might be the busiest

When you have time to prepare your meals at home, make sure you cook for a few days extra to keep as leftovers in your fridge or freezer. You never know when your class or work schedule could change, and you never want to be skipping meals because it's last minute and you don’t have enough time. Be prepared!

Tip #3: Create a budget for groceries and be consistent

You want to have a budget that forces you to be resourceful but not too restrictive. Your budget for groceries should be realistic and based on your income as well as other expenses to ensure that you are living within your means and aren't overspending. When it comes to good food though, I am sure you would agree that you don't want to be cutting corners. Don’t be too hard on yourself and leave room in your budget for good food that you love.

Tip #4: Find good deals

Take advantage of sales when they come around by looking for flyers online or in store. If you keep an eye out for when the items you need come on sale, you can save tons of money! Make sure you are only buying the things you absolutely need, not just because they are on sale. Use this shopping centre marketing method help you stick to your student budget. Who doesn't love getting more for less?

Tip #5: Plan for the times when you may need to overspend

Whether you’re having people over for dinner or have a fluctuating appetite, overspending can happen. It is important that you are aware of this and compensate in some way so that you don’t get yourself into a money crunch. Set aside 5-10% of your usual grocery budget and save it for those times when you’ll be needing more. Using this strategy, you won’t ever need to cut into other budgets like those for your rent or other personal expenses.

Tip #6: Consider location when searching for properties to rent/buy

This may not be the first thing on your mind but it can sure save you a lot of time and money. Transportation can be a struggle when grocery shopping as a student so you might want to live within short distance of a local grocery store. If you, like many students don’t own a car, a shorter commute to the grocery store would definitely make your life much easier.

Listed below are some links to websites with easy meal preparation ideas including various options for all different types of diet restrictions. Check them out!

Bottom line is, eating is important so why not make it as simple as can be. There are so many strategies on the market for helping students with this challenge, and everyone has their own personal experiences. The best thing to remember is to find a routine that works for you and be as consistent as you can. Happy studying!

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