How can I save money on grocery shopping and food when I live off-campus? What are some cheap but healthy recipes?

4 Answers
The first thing you should do is make a list and stick to it. When making the list, think of the type of meals you are going to make for the week. Meals that I find relatively inexpensive to make in bulk are pastas, salads, and grilled chicken recipes (get creative with sides like rice or different seasonings). When you are buying fresh produce, get items that are in season, which will also have lower prices. Chicken is often my go-to protein as it's cheap, easy to incorporate into any recipe, and easy to freeze and defrost when needed.
Take a look at the weekly ads and see what is on sale. You can also look for coupons online and in circulars for items that you typically buy. Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season or frozen since they'll last longer. Lean meat like chicken and turkey are typically pretty cheap and so is tilapia and flounder. Invest in some spices so you can change up the taste. If you have a market near you, try to get your produce there. It's typically much cheaper than in the grocery store and can save you a lot of money. I try to only buy fresh food and stay away from processed foods. Also, buying the bags of rice instead of Minute Rice is much cheaper.
Soup is my go-to meal nearly any time of the week, because you can put virtually anything into a soup (within reason--you still want it to be appealing!) By this, I mean that if you just buy some vegetable broth (or meat broth, if you're not vegetarian), you can use any leftover vegetables from your fridge and improvise a soup. This not only results in having a food that's easily stored and taken with you in a Tupperware container, but it helps you prevent wasting food that would have otherwise gone bad in your fridge. If you're really struggling to buy groceries and would consider yourself food insecure, thousands of students across the country are eligible for food benefits but just don't know that they qualify. Unfortunately, there's still a harmful stigma around "food stamps" (which have been renamed), and there shouldn't be. Food insecurity is on the rise due to the rising cost of living, and students who are low-income or reliant on financial aid will find that applying for food benefits is super easy and helpful. Lots of universities have a Dean of Students-type department which focuses on student success and student well-being, and staff can help you apply. In California, the program is called CalFresh, and my university (University of California) has been holding big events and festivals to encourage students to learn about CalFresh and see if they qualify. There's nothing to be ashamed of for taking care of yourself and using resources that are available!
When grocery shopping, try to buy non-perishable foods (I personally buy a lot of frozen vegetables and frozen chicken breasts). When going to the grocery store, make a list and do not deviate from that list too much because that is when people tend to overspend. Also buy a lot of grains that can be stored pantries!

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