It is time to start deciding where students want to live on campus next year. Do students want to live in a double, pod or an apartment? It all depends on the amenities they want. If they live in an apartment, they will have a kitchen and a reduced meal plan as they are expected to be cooking most of their meals themselves.

Living in an apartment and grocery shopping may be new for most students. If they follow these steps they can reduce the amount they spend on groceries.

Plan ahead. Although it may seem unnecessary, planning meals ahead of time allows students to see what ingredients they will need and how much they will need as well. Also, planning ahead allows people to see what ingredients they are buying that can be used in meals later that week. If only half of a can of beans are needed for Monday’s meal, try finding a meal for Thursday that needs a half a can as well.

Keep pantry stocked. Keeping staple items stored that can be used to make quick meals prevents the urge to go out to eat on nights when nothing is already planned. Canned items, baking items can be bought in bulk at a discounted rate. Only buy items in bulk that are nonperishable or will be eaten within a week. If not, the items will expire faster than they can be eaten and the money spent on them will be wasted.

Make a list. Then stick to this list. Creating a shopping list will help keep everything organized and help prevent any unnecessary spending. When grocery shopping without a list, it is more common for people to make impulsive decisions that do not follow the meal plan that has already been established. Try to only buy what is on the list as it is ensured that the items are needed and will be used.

Buy generic. Getting items that are name brand can cost more when there is often no significant impact on the product or flavor. The store brand will taste exactly the same as the name brand at a fraction of the price. Buying name brand items can make a difference when it comes to more important items, but for the staple items buy the store brand.

All students who live on campus are required to have a meal plan, so do not forget to eat some meals in the dining center so that money is not wasted either. As long as students plan ahead before grocery shopping they will not be spending more than necessary.

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