By Kim Piggott
Grocery shopping on a budget can be difficult, especially as a student, when your budget might be next to nothing.
Although sacrifices might have to be made, there are ways you can stretch your budget to get more bang for your buck.
I grew up in a house where coupons were everything. In fact, my mom was a coupon master. If we didn’t have a coupon, a lot of times we didn’t buy the product. I think it was the thrill of seeing a $200 grocery fall under $50 that made it worth it to her.
Coupons are probably the biggest way to save money while shopping. While buying a Sunday paper and clipping out coupons may be tedious, the money saved will add up. Also, if you can’t pick up the weekly coupon edition of the paper, a lot of stores offer their own printable coupons off of their websites.
According to a local Meijer store representative, students can sign up for their mPerks program, which provides electronic coupons for all members.
After signing up, you choose the coupons you want by clicking through the selection. When checking out at the local store, all you have to do is enter your phone number and the coupons will be applied to the bill.
Harding’s, Walmart, and Save-a-Lot also offer printable coupons on their website.
If you go online and see a store that doesn’t have coupons easily available, call the local branch and ask what coupons are available.
Another thing that I find helpful when shopping on a budget is to make a list and compare ads at different stores. This way, you can go in knowing exactly what you need and avoid buying things you don’t.
By comparing ads, you can go to the store that will save you the most money. I can’t even count how many times I have left a store with a bill almost twice my budget because of unnecessary items.
Also, never go grocery shopping hungry. When you do, you’ll want to buy everything that looks good, and most of the time, it might be unhealthy snacks.
However, just because you’re shopping on a budget, you don’t need to compromise your health.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation (http://www.livestrong.com) provides healthy, yet inexpensive, food options.
For example, to get the calcium you need, try buying yogurt cups. Not only is yogurt great for on-the-go, but a lot of stores frequently offers coupons such as 10 for $5.
The website also suggests throwing away the seasoning packets the come with Ramen Noodles and throwing in some frozen vegetables, shrimp or chicken instead. Most of the seasoning packets are filled with sodium, which not only cause you to retain water, but also puts you at risk of high blood pressure.
Keep in mind that shopping on a budget doesn’t mean you need to live off crumbs. It may take a little work and creativity at first, but the more money saved means more money for going out and having fun.
For more information on coupons or healthy options, visit the following websites: