Unorganized Shopping: Grocery Shopping on a Budget


Now,  just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you have to starve. I mean, I know this is coming from a junior who doesn’t even have any motive, interests, or will power to go to college; but, the next best thing to do is to give you shopping advice, because if there’s one thing I like to do to pass time, it’s grocery shopping.

  1. Aldi: No this isn’t sponsored by Aldi. It’s just, honestly, they have amazing prices compared to other stores. Remember that pecan recipe back in December? Got those from Aldi because “WHY PAY MORE” for a small bucket SHOPRITE? Also, if you need just one lemon, Aldi will give you one lemon along with its friends, but at least you have more ideas with that bag of produce. Not to mention, the horrifying speed the cashiers scan your items. I’m not even joking –I sometimes don’t even realize that they scanned my product until they tell me the price. Also, I’ve now realized I’ve never seen an Aldi advertisement in my life, and looking it up doesn’t count.
  2. Convenience Stores: In case there is no Aldi within your area, there are also convenience stores. They’re called convenience for a reason. They’re fast, affordable, and within range usually. I even got my playing cards from there. Pretty efficient.
  3. Dollar Stores are as they say. Like a convenience store, they usually have everything you’re looking for at $1 plus tax. The best one in my opinion is Dollar Tree since unlike Dollar General and Family Dollar, they actually are more true to their roots. You don’t even have to go to Dollar Tree to go to a dollar store; the one in Saddle Brook near TJ Maxx and Walmart is a prime example. A 3ft. long plastic rake for $1 is surprising.
  4. Farmer’s Markets and Small Local Grocery Stores: Not only can you afford the produce, you can also get it fresher and in season. How else you think I got that nacho recipe done? Avocados were $0.79 each. I’ve even been to ones where four grapefruits equaled $1.

There are also ways you can try growing your own food, even indoors, as long as you give it a coaster that is. From my experience, growing sunchokes in a pot is easy, and maybe the same could apply to potatoes that are sprouting and inedible at that point. Other root vegetables that work in a similar nature is garlic. Also, you can grow peas from the grocery store and not one of those little seed packets that give you a scam amount of peas to sow. It’s also possible to grow chamomile from tea bag, and you can also use seeds from spices such as dill, coriander (cilantro), and basil. You can take herb cuttings and propagate them in water, like basil (again), mint, and rosemary (though rosemary is a sluggish one to grow). Sweet potatoes though are unique, since you have to propagate them in water first to force slips out and then plant those slips in dirt, unlike normal potatoes which can be planted directly in dirt. Also, although growing root crops such as radish and turnip from the crown won’t regrow a taproot, you can let it go to seed and use those. If you do plan on doing any of these ideas, grow bags work best, and if you can’t afford grow bags, those reusable bags from grocery stores can work, as long as it’s food grade plastic. Also, it’s better to spray the soil rather than directly watering to decrease chances of root rot, and in case you do damage the floor with watermarks, it won’t be as severe. It won’t prevent damage, but it’ll at least decrease chances of fungal and pest damage on the soil.

Here are just some examples of plants I’ve grown:

This is what I mean about forcing sweet potatoes in water. Also, this is in the same family as morning glories.

I also forgot to mention, peanuts work under same circumstances as beans and peas. This was from a bag of raw peanuts at ShopRite.

These potatoes really caught me by surprise. I knew they were going to grow, but they seem to be thriving nicely.

The fern like leaves are chamomile. The serrated leaved plants are lettuce, and though this was grown from seed, I forgot to mention that leafy vegetables such as lettuce, fennel, and cabbage can be propagated from the base in water and then be transplanted into dirt.

These peas from a bag of dried peas for cooking are even producing.

If you didn’t know about sunchokes, well now you know them today. Bought these from H-Mart and Whole Foods and just wanted to see if these were actually winter tolerant. As it turns out, these can survive a deep freeze even if you plant them in mid-February.

So there you have it. Some examples of good places to shop at that won’t famish your bank account and some prime examples of what you could potentially grow in a small space.