Munchie Madness: The College Grocery Experience

by Anthony Carbonetta on December 3, 2019

Munchie Madness: The College Grocery Experience

by Anthony Carbonetta on December 3, 2019

Female student holding a bunch of groceries in a front of produce aisle in store

Do we really need the big box of waffles? Quick! Grab more ramen noodles! How did we run out of mac and cheese? 

Eating at college can be hard sometimes. Money is tight, time is crunched, and your roomies are hungry. We’re all balling on a (very, very small) budget, and weekly schedules start to become hectic after the first few weeks of the semester. Making the ride to grab some grub is sometimes forgotten until you’re staring at an empty cabinet. 

How can you tackle food shopping around Glenside in a fun way and stay within your budget? There are plenty of quick and effective ways to keep your belly full, your mind focused, and to make a frenzied trip a great experience. A Fresh Grocer, within walking distance on Easton Road, is open until 11 p.m. There is also a Target and Shoprite just a few minutes away by car, open until 11 p.m. and midnight respectively.

Female student sits in a shopping car holding ramen while two students shop.

It never hurts to bring some friends along for the ride. It can get lonely strolling the aisles every week, so bringing a friend or two along will not only make the experience a little more fun, but it can also be convenient for them. It’s an easy way to save money on gas, but you also add a little spice to a monotonous weeknight with your head buried in books. Some of my favorite college moments have come from last-minute grocery runs, where a group of friends stocked up on anything from pancake mix and chocolate to giant racks of ribs. 

Meat can be expensive and can’t stay in the fridge for too long. I normally buy just enough for a meal and then prepare it the same day I purchased it. Also expensive are things like cereal. Kiss the brands good-bye if you can help it. I can assure you that you can buy the same box without cute animals on it for at least $2 off. 

This one is crucial: Know your go-to snack. If you typically buy 10 different types of chips, cut that down to one or two key snacks. Stick to your select favorites. Buy them in bulk. This saves money and prevents a wasteful situation (and wasted money) where the less-loved goodies get tossed. Make a list before you leave—you will regret it if you don’t. Without fail, that “one thing” you just ran out of is what you’ll forget to buy.

Male student holding ribs in front of meat aisle in grocery store.

Tupperware containers are a must. You never know when a friend or roommate has some extra food to donate— and, of course, you’re going to take some; it looks delicious. Plus, most tupperware containers are microwave-safe, which cuts down on paper plates.

Anything in a can works as quick and easy nourishment, whether you have a microwave or a stove. Baked beans, SpaghettiOs, and the like can be life savers as a late-night meal or something to hold you over when you’re on the move. And as always, you can never go wrong with the ol’ faithful PB&J when you have a break between classes and you need to study or spruce up a last- minute assignment.  

Food shopping can be stressful, especially if you don’t go in prepared to stretch those dollars, but you shouldn’t sweat it. Take up the challenge and get your snack on. If you follow these simple steps and remember to have fun along the way, the grocery runs will cement great friendships and keep you fed all semester long.