If you’re still eating out in between meals of Pop Tarts and Hot Pockets, you’re not only doing your health a disservice, but your wallet as well. We know that eating out every once in a while is fun and sometimes can’t be avoided, but you shouldn’t be making it an everyday thing — especially in college.

If you’re a regular reader, you know we’re fans of grocery shopping and cooking. The two will not only help you fend off the freshman 15 well into your senior year, it’ll save you some serious cash. Unfortunately, saving money at the grocery store can often be confusing. You don’t want to buy around coupons — you just want to eat good food at a reasonable price.

Below are some real money-saving grocery tips to help you avoid fast food and vending machines:

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The Dark Side of Bulk

One of the tips that’s always associated with grocery savings is buying in bulk. While it is a great tip, many of you are probably not going to be able to afford this, may end up throwing out certain items, and could even lack the space to store the bulk. Everyone’s situation is different, so you might have to adjust your buying accordingly.

Buy Based on Consumption

If you eat a lot of salad and end up buying a bottle of your favorite dressing every week at the store, you may want to consider buying a bigger bottle. You’re not buying the bigger one simply because it’s a better value, you’re buying it because you actually consume enough of it to justify the bulk price.

Always Check the Unit Pricing

Sometimes, buying in bulk isn’t much of a bargain. To find out exactly how much you’ll save by making the bigger purchase now, always check unit pricing. If you’re only saving pennies on something that costs $10, it’s safe to say you can come back for more when you need it. This also helps when comparing different brands.

Don’t Be Afraid of Generic

Store brands might not have attractive packaging or commercials behind them, but they often pack the same quality at a much lower price. However, you will have to discover for yourself which brands are worth the extra money, as some generic items lack in quality and offer little to no savings.

Plan for Leftovers

Cooking is definitely overwhelming at first, especially for those of you used to having your meals prepared by a parent or making quick things in the microwave. By planning out big meals, though, you not only get the satisfaction that comes from a home cooked meal, you get leftovers that can last you days.

 

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