Grocery Shopping for Beginners

Every food shopping expert agrees that one of the most crucial elements to saving money at the supermarket is to go in with a list and stick to it. But if Mom or Dad or G’ma or Helga or the UC Davis Food Services department has been your primary hunter and gatherer up until now, it can be a little daunting to walk into a mega-mart and know what to buy. The vast variety of choices can cause possibility paralysis, making pre-perestroika Soviet food shortages (Google it, or watch the clip below from the 1984 Robin Williams film “Moscow on the Hudson”) seem almost comfortable in comparison.

Once you leave the relative comfort and safety of the UC Davis dorms and move into your own place, it may come as a shock to realize that no one is going to bring worms back to the nest for you. Part of flying solo is hunting and preparing your own grubs. We are here to help.

We recommend mapping out a week’s worth of menus ahead of time. They don’t have to be elaborate meals; easy, tasty, and relatively healthy will get the job done. They can consist of alternating PB&J with salami and Swiss, but they do require ingredients. Once you’ve sketched out what you’re eating and drinking for the next several days, download and print this shopping list. ┬áIt is an easy way to get in, get what you need, and get out.

The object is to make a targeted assault on the grocery aisles, not get distracted by chips and cheap tequila, and get out with your budget intact.