This semester I moved into my first apartment as a junior in college, so I no longer have the dining hall to go to for a quick and delicious meal. I went to the grocery store by myself shortly after moving in and I soon realized that grocery shopping isn't cheap-unless you do it mindfully! I've mastered a way to keep my grocery bill to about $50 each trip and this usually lasts me a week and a half to two weeks. The trick is to buy a few ingredients that you can stretch out, which I'll teach you to do in this article, and it's important to buy necessities, not just things you want (trust me I really wanted that pumpkin spice whipped cream and the fancy canned coffees) but they, unfortunately, can't come back with me, because I don't need them. Repeat after me: just because it has a pumpkin or a Christmas tree on it, doesn't mean you need it. Let's jump right in and start saving money!

Choosing the Right Grocery Store

Before you start grocery shopping, try to pick a budget-friendly store such as Lidl, Aldi, or Food Lion. If you have a Lidl or an Aldi in your town, I recommend trying them out. These grocery stores are new to the US, and they are German-based grocery stores that save money on baggers, stockers, and grocery bags because you bag your own food, grab the food out of the storage containers they came in, and bring your own bag which is good for the environment too! This way, the company doesn't have to pay people for these services and saves you money in doing so, which results in keeping goods low-priced. I usually shop at Lidl, so keep in mind the prices below are from Lidl.



For Breakfast, I usually have a fried egg over a piece of toast. This is a quick and easy breakfast that you can even take on the go before class.

Carton of Eggs: $2

Sandwich Bread (for toast): $1.50

Protein Bars/Yogurt

If you don't like cooking or eggs, or you need an on-the-go breakfast, I suggest protein bars or yogurt, specifically yogurt drinks because they are quick and filling. 

Activia Yogurt Drink: $1

Quaker Protein Bars: $3

Breakfast Total: $7.50



I usually make pasta for lunch, and I'll heat it back up again for dinner or lunch the next day as well. My favorite is the viral Gigi Hadid pasta.

Here is the recipe that I use:

1 box of pasta (save one cup of pasta water!): $.92

1/2 cup olive oil: $2.85

1 small onion: $3 for a bag

2 cloves of garlic: $3 for a minced garlic bottle

1 cup heavy cream: $2.50

1 /2 or 6oz cup tomato paste: $.69

2 tbsp vodka: optional as I'm not 21 so I can't add it!

Spoon Tip: Sauce Mixes are delicious, cheap, and easy to make! I recommend the Parma Rosa Sauce Mix (About a dollar or two per packet and you mix it in with the pasta to make an instant sauce that tastes great. I haven't found this one at Lidl, but I've seen it at stores like Target and Harris Teeter!


I have three great sandwiches to share with you guys: meatball sub, egg salad, and chickpea sandwiches. 

Meatball Sub

Meatball subs are quick, tasty, and only require a few ingredients: marinara sauce on sub bread with shredded cheese, and about 4 meatballs. My favorite meatballs are actually the ones from IKEA, but the grocery store has pretty good ones too. My favorite way to make them is to put the meatballs in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 350.

Frozen meatballs (I buy the vegan ones) : $5 

Marinara Sauce: $2

Shredded Cheese (any kind): $2

Sub Rolls: $2.50

Egg Salad Sandwich

I know it doesn't sound appealing, but egg salad is one of my favorite lunches because it is high in protein so it keeps me full while I'm in class until dinner. It only uses two ingredients: eggs and about 3-4 tbsp of mayonnaise. To boil the eggs: Bring a pot of water to a boil and place 2 eggs inside. Leave on high heat for 20-25 minutes. Remove eggs and peel off the shell. Chill. Next, take a bowl and drop in 3-4 tbsp of mayonnaise along with the two chilled eggs. Mash entirely with a fork and place the egg salad on sandwich bread. Since we already have eggs and sandwich bread from past recipes, all you need to buy for this is mayo!

Mayo: $3.30

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches are one of my favorite sandwiches, and they are not widely known even though they are another high-protein sandwich that's also cheap and easy to make. All you need for this is a can of chickpeas, mayonnaise, and sandwich bread. Empty the can of chickpeas, rinse, and put in a bowl with 2-3tbsp of mayo and mash entirely and then spread over sandwich bread. I like to season this with salt, pepper, and garlic powder if you have it. 

15.5 0z can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans): $.76

Lunch Total: $26.52


Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole

Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole is a dump of rice, broccoli, and shredded cheddar cheese, and lasts a few nights. Make sure you have a medium to large-sized dish to bake in. First, preheat the oven to 350 and cook the rice using the instructions on the back of the box or bag. Then, layer the rice on the bottom of the dish, cook broccoli (about 4 cups) according to instructions or microwave for 1 minute. Layer on top of the rice and then add 1 cup of shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

Rice: $1.30

Broccoli (I buy the bagged frozen broccoli): $.84

Shredded Cheese (preferably cheddar): $2


As college students, we've all lived off of ramen and it stays a staple on our grocery lists. I wanted to make a low-sodium ramen for dinner because in case you didn't know, the flavor packets that come in ramen packs are high in sodium, so we're going to ditch those. To make the ramen, I just cook the noodles according to the packet, and I add a little bit of low-sodium soy sauce. You could also use duck sauce or pink sauce. To top it off, I either stir in an egg or fry an egg and place it over the top. 

Ramen: 24 count of ramen: $7.75

Low sodium soy sauce: $1.55

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

As delicious as homemade tomato soup is, I usually just buy the canned tomato soup to save time, but feel free to make it homemade as well. The grilled cheese is just two pieces of sandwich bread which I toast with 2 pieces of cheddar cheese on each slice, and once it's all melted I dip it into the soup, a low-priced, easy, and comforting dinner. 

Cheddar Cheese Slices: $2

Canned Tomato Soup: $1.26

Dinner Total: $16.70

Overall Grocery Total: $50.72

There you have it, a balanced, healthy, easy grocery list for $50, which is sure to last you a week and a half to two weeks. I hope you all enjoy, and let us know if you try out any of these recipes, or kept your grocery list to $50 or under. 

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